Minor ailments in the family – be it a cough or cold or mild fever- are a part of day to day life for the working mother.  Honey has been known to be useful to cure minor ailments for ages. Most Grandma’s  rough and ready homemade remedies include a spoonful of honey thrown in.

A teaspoon of honey before bed seems to calm children’s coughs and help them sleep better, according to a new study that relied on parents’ reports of their children’s symptoms.  “Many families are going to relate to these findings and say that grandma was right,” said lead author Dr Ian Paul of Pennsylvania State University’s College of Medicine.

The research appears in December’s Archives of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.US health advisers have recently warned that over-the-counter cough and cold medicines should not be used in children younger than 6, and manufacturers are taking some products for babies off the market.

We derive our knowledge of the earliest use and importance of honey in historic times from archives of the ancient cultural states, Babylon, Assyria, Persia, India, Egypt, Greece and Rome. The oldest existing scripts corroborate the fact that bees were already domesticated creatures and honey was extensively used for food, drink, medicine and exclusively for sweetening purposes. Honey was an important commodity. Taxes and tributes were imposed in the form of payments of honey and wax. It was equivalent to currency.

Tickner Edwardes wrote about honey: “Honey is good for old and young. If mothers were wise they would never give their children any other sweet food. Pure ripe honey is sugar with the most difficult and most important part of digestion already accomplished by the bees. Moreover, it is a safe and very gentle laxative. And probably, before each comb-cell is sealed up, the bee injects a drop of acid from her sting. Anyway, honey has a distinct antiseptic property. That is why it is so good for sore throats or chafed skins.

Good honey is an ideal food, nutritious and easily digested. Professor Klemperer of Berlin claimed that a tablespoonful of honey is equivalent in nutritive value to the largest-sized hen egg. According to Professor von Bunge, 98% of the lime, iron, salt and grape sugar, of which honey contains 77%, are directly absorbed by the blood. Honey is six times richer in fuel value than milk and, in addition, it contains more inorganic substances. The flavor of honey has also a dietetic value as it induces the free flow of saliva which in itself promotes digestion.

For those of us who need to speak a lot, honey is soothing for the throat. It gives you the energy you need. Its benefits extend from the young to the old.

So next time you or your kids have a minor ailment and you look for a home made remedy, reach out for that jar of honey.