Journal Article

This article is a systematic review which set out to assess the efficacy of honey in relieving symptoms of URIs. Use of antibiotics for URIs is leading to antibiotic resistance and is not indicated. Honey is known to have antimicrobial properties and therefore, the researchers set out to see whether honey could be an effective alternative treatment for URIs. The study included 14 articles. What they found was that honey may improve the symptoms of URIs (specifically cough severity and cough frequency) more than usual care. When looking at the results the researchers say that for cough frequency there is a standardized mean difference of -0.36 and a SMD of -0.44 for cough severity. The SMD allows researchers to compare effect sizes across studies, even when they measure outcomes using different scales. It’s useful in systematic reviews and meta analyses, where researchers want to combine results from multiple studies to obtain an overall estimate of the effect of an intervention. A negative SMD indicates that the treatment group has a lower mean outcome than the control group. In this case, the negative SMDs indicate that the groups treated with honey have a lower cough frequency and severity. 

There was limited research with comparison to placebo, with only 2 such articles included. More research should be done in the future, especially looking at comparing honey with placebos. From this research, it is believed that the use of honey is cheap and safe and provides adequate symptom relief. This is beneficial when it comes to URI treatment and allows clinicians to avoid the use of antibiotics which in turn leads to antibiotic overuse and resistance.