Sitting in the doctor’s office the other day with my croupy boy, the doctor gave me a rather harsh and stern warning.
“No over the counter cough syrups for children under 6.”
“Are you serious?” I asked the doctor. I may have also rolled my eyes, but that’s not a crucial point, right? By this point and time I was going on three days of little sleep.
“Very. Honey and lemon only for the cough.” This is the part where he launched into the recommendations given recently on cough medications, and why children should not be given it. In 2007, the Food and Drug Administration recalled many over the counter cough medications due to overdosing…mainly in children under the age of 6 and for all children under 2. Cough medicine products were pulled off the shelves, and dosages were rewritten. But by that time, my oldest had just turned six, and my youngest was just barely two.
However, I also fit into the “old” generation of cough medicine users, so the eye rolling might stem from the fact that my daughter received cough medication from the age of 2 to 6 and did just fine. So this new honey recommendation was a little new to me. But the doctor had me convinced that honey had been proven to be more effective than cough medications and that the effectiveness of cough medications in general was being questioned.
I started to read information on honey and coughs and found that the type of honey is very important. In a study done on children who were given honey to treat coughs, buckwheat honey treated coughs better than other honeys. The study was conducted by Dr. Ian Paul, a researcher at Penn State’s College of Medicine. In addition to buckwheat honey, Dr. Paul recommended using the darker forms of honey as the darker the honey, the more antioxidants the honey contained. The more antioxidants equaled more health benefits for the child.
One over the counter honey cough syrup that has been widely used and increasingly more recommended in years past is Zarbee’s. Zarbee’s contains a proprietary blend of buckwheat honey and other dark honeys for maximum health benefits. Zarbee’s is considered all natural and has quickly become one of the most recommended forms of cough syrups for children under 6. Zarbee’s can be taken by children over 12 months and is considered safe and non harmful to children.
One of the drawbacks of the product is it must be taken every four hours. Traditional over the counter cough medications could be given every 4-8 hours. However, it does last longer than other other “natural” cough syrups like Boiron, which allow you to give their cough syrups every two hours.
The first dose didn’t seem to have much effect, but by the second dose the cough had calmed significantly and worked well. And I quickly became a fan.
You can pick up Zarbee’s cough syrup at Walgreen’s or other health stores.
“Honey Treats Coughs Better than Drugs” http://abcnews.go.com/Health/ColdFlu/story?id=3947988&page=1
“Zarbee’s Cough Syrup” http://www.zarbees.com/