When it comes to soothing throats, singers have known for generations
that a spoonful of honey would sweeten their performance. You don’t
have to sing an aria to appreciate the soothing benefits of honey—yelling
at a football game can strain your voice and lead to a sore throat.
According to the American Association of Family Physicians, many things
can cause a sore throat. These include infections with viruses, such as colds
and flu; sinus drainage; allergies; or cigarette smoking, among others. Sore
throats caused by bacteria such as streptococci, are usually treated with
antibiotics. Always check with your doctor if you have a fever, or if symptoms
continue for more than a few days.
Time is the most important healer of sore throats caused by viruses, but
for relief of the irritating symptoms, try a spoonful of honey to soothe
and coat your throat. Take a spoonful straight, as often as you need, to
relieve the irritation. In between, keep up your liquids with a steaming
cup of tea sweetened with honey. For added vitamin C, try mixing in orange,
grapefruit or lemon juice. (Try a Honey-Citrus Soother.)
Honey, nature’s soother, is more than just sweet. A recent review
of scientific literature revealed that honey contains antioxidants and, although
in trace amounts, a wide array of vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Honey
contributes to a persons overall intake of recommended nutrients. Sweeteners,
such as refined sugar, offer no additional nutrients. Be aware, of course,
that honey should not be fed to infants under one year of age. Honey is a
safe and wholesome food for older children and adults.
Eating honey regularly, not just when colds and flu strike, makes good nutritional
sense. There are approximately 300 varieties of honey in the United States.
In general, lighter -colored honeys are milder tasting, while darker-colored
honeys are bolder in flavor. Darker honeys also tend to have a higher mineral
content and antioxidant potential.