I’ve recently been suffering from my first cold of the season, and it caught me off guard. I didn’t have on hand any ginger or lemon for my usual cold remedy tea, no decongestants, nothing that would help. Naturally, in my desperate state of needing some kind of relief from crushing sinus pressure and pain and constant sneezing and blowing my nose, I tried searching the web for something, anything.
I came across something simple to make, with ingredients present in my house and decided to try it. It was a simple mixture of honey and cinnamon, found at Health Home Happy:
Simply mix 1 tsp honey with ¼ tsp cinnamon and ingest 2-3 times daily until cold symptoms recede.
I tried it and I felt better: the pain and pressure subsided, I actually slept that night, and my runny nose/sneezing was all but gone. But there’s really no telling if I wouldn’t have felt better the next day anyway. And I wanted something to work so badly, perhaps the placebo effect was in play as well. Who knows? Honestly, I don’t really mind a little brain trick now and then, if it makes me feel better.
But does it really work?
There are lots of holistic health sites that claim it does, but they also make all kinds of unrealistic claims about what honey and cinnamon can cure. Apparently, there’s a huge list of outlandish claims that’s been circulating the internet for quite some time, which originated in an article from the tabloid Weekly World News. Here’s what Snopes has to say about it.
And here’s a really down-to-earth response to those claims from the Crunchy Coach that I found very helpful.
Ok, now for some medical research:
According to the US National Library of Medicine and the National Institute of Health web archive, it seems there have been several studies done about honey and upper respiratory infection, mostly in children, and almost entirely related to cough symptoms only. The results vary, with some studies concluding that honey works a little better than traditional cough syrup ingredients, about the same as cough syrup ingredients, or might work just as well as cough syrup ingredients, depending on the severity of the cough/infection. One study cited insufficient evidence in determining honey’s efficiency.
Here are links to the studies I looked at, if you’re interested.
And I feel a little silly adding this, since it seems obvious, but I don’t have a background in medicine. If you’ve got something severe or persistent, see your doctor. If you really like the honey/cinnamon thing, you might want to mention to your doctor or pharmacist you’re taking it, as it can react with certain medications and have certain side effects.
Anyone have any thoughts on this? What’s your favorite at-home cold remedy?