The honey wrap: Is it an effective treatment for phlegmy coughs in kids?

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If you hate that dreaded phlegmy cough in your child, then you must read about the latest natural treatment option for such coughs - the honey wrap - that is very popular these days.

The only thing worse than a kid's cough is a kid's cough with phlegm.

While there are plenty of over-the-counter medications that swear to cure coughs and colds, medical experts say that these don’t really help and may pose a risk (although small) of side effects, especially to young children.

A good alternative to these harsh medications are natural remedies for coughs, and this is where we introduce you to the honey wrap, which has recently gained fame as an exceptionally good phlegmy cough treatment, especially for kids.

The honey wrap phenomena

Honey has been long associated with healing treatments -- especially for coughs -- due to its high antibacterial properties. So it's no surprise that honey is the star of this treatment, which has recently gained popularity on the Internet.

The wrap, which is easily made at home, is said to be an effective way of eliminating a bad phlegmy cough in just one night. It is supposed to work very well on children* and believed to have great anti-inflammatory and warming properties.

Here's how you make it: 

You will need:

Honey, flour, vegetable oil, gauze, medical adhesive tape and a napkin.

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Step 1: Mix the flour with a small amount of honey so that you get a mixture for the compress. It should not stick to your hands when ready.

Step 2: Add some oil and roll the mixture in the flour again.

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Step 3: Place the mixture on a napkin and wrap in gauze.

Step 4: Attach the gauze-wrapped mixture to the chest or back, securing with medical adhesive tape, and put on pyjamas.

Your homemade, honey wrap should be placed above the child's heart and for best results applied just before the child goes to sleep. It can be removed after two to three hours. An adult can keep it on for the whole night.

This wrap can reportedly be used effectively on children above the age of six months -- but as always -- seek medical advice before trying out any home remedy on a young baby.

Tried and tested

Singapore mum, Rachel Lim, has tried the honey wrap on her child and shares on Facebook that it is extremely effective.

Instead of vegetable oil, Rachel used virgin coconut oil (VCO) and also added ginger juice to the honey-flour mixture.

In her Facebook post, she says:

"Usually about 2-3hrs into his [her baby's] sleep, he will start coughing profusely and whine. Last night I paste the wrap for 4hrs, I never hear anything from him, no nasal block, no phlegm sound also!Throughout whole night not a single cough from him."

We got in touch with Rachel who again confirmed the effectiveness of the honey wrap to us, and also said that she believed the ginger juice added extra healing properties to the honey wrap.

According to the RxMed website, the medicinal components of ginger are its essential oils, antioxidants and oleoresin. Oleoresin, in fact, is known for is antitussive abilities, meaning that it can relieve and suppress coughing. The aromatic compounds found in ginger are the phenylalkylketones, which are known as gingerols, shogaols and zingerone. They are the chemical compounds that provide ginger with its medicinal qualities and ability to soothe coughs. - See more at: www.livestrong.com/article/539683-the-benefits-of-ginger-for-a-cough/#sthash.r1l5h5sT.dpuf", like honey, has long been used by traditional medicine practitioners to soothe coughs and sore throats.

What do doctors say about the honey wrap?

Dr Pradeep Raut is a consultant pediatrician and neonatologist for Kinder Clinic.

When asked for his opinion on the efficacy of the honey wrap, he explained that there is "no data to support the topical application of honey is useful and helpful [for coughs] in children or adults."

However, he points out that there are studies reporting the clinical effectiveness of honey in nocturnal cough in children above one year and oral honey as a treatment option for acute cough in children over the age of one.

Dr Pradeep further says that honey is "inexpensive, has an excellent safety profile, a good demulcent effect and antioxidant properties, and it increases cytokine release, which may result in antimicrobial effects."

*Please note the honey wrap mixture is not for internal ingestion. Children under one year old should not be allowed to eat honey as it carries the risk of botulism

Mums and dads, we would love to find out what you think about the honey wrap. Have you tried it on your child or do you know anyone who has? Drop a note in a comment box below and share your thoughts.