Table 1

Summary of characteristics of included studies

StudyDesignAge range (years)InterventionComparatorOutcome measure
Ahmadi et al 13 RCT
double blind
2–5HoneyDiphenhydramineDay time and night time cough frequency and severity (we converted this to a 3 point Likert scale)
Ayazi et al 14 RCT
no blinding
1–12Honey 1; honey 2DiphenhydramineNocturnal cough and sleep difficulty score (validated 5 item, 7 point Likert scale24)
Canciani et al 19 RCT
double blind
3–6Grintuss syrupPlaceboDay time and night time cough severity (modified from validated questionnaire32)
Cohen et al 20 RCT
double blind
1–5Eucalyptus honey;
citrus honey;
labiatae honey
Placebo (silan date extract)Cough score (validated 5 item, 7 point Likert scale24), effect on sleep and combination
Cohen et al 21 RCT
single blind
2–5Grintuss syrupCarbocysteine syrupCough score (validated 5 item, 7 point Likert scale24)
Gupta et al 22 RCT
double blind
18–65Honitus cough syrupMarketed cough syrup, containing diphenhydramineDay time and night time cough frequency score (6 point Likert scale), throat irritation
Miceli Sopo et al 18 RCT
no blinding
2–14Wildflower honey+milkDextromethorphan; levodropropizineCough score (validated 5 item, 7 point Likert scale24)
Nanda et al 23 RCT
blinding unclear
>18Honey+supportive treatmentsSupportive treatments only (regarded as placebo)Subjective symptom score, throat pain recovery, fever recovery
Paul et al 24 RCT
partially double blind
2–18Buckwheat honeyDextromethorphan; no treatmentCough score (5 item, 7 point Likert scale)
Pourahmad and Sobhanian25 Single blinded trialintervention group mean (SD) 24.4 (7.4) comparator group mean (SD) 27.4 (6.2)Honey+paracetamol, naproxen and chlorpheniramineParacetamol, naproxen and chlorpheniramineDuration of signs and symptoms: rhinitis, muscle pain, fever, throat congestion, cough and sneezing, assessed by investigators
Raeessi et al 26 RCT
double blind
21–65Honey;
honey+coffee
CoffeeCough frequency (questionnaire)
Raeessi et al 15 RCT
double blind
21–65Honey+coffeePrednisolone; guaifenesin (regarded as placebo)Cough frequency (questionnaire)
Shadkam et al 16 Four arm RCT
no blinding
24–60 monthsHoneyDextromethorphan; diphenhydramine; supportive treatments also suggested to the other groups, including saline nasal drops and paracetamolCough score (validated 5 item, 7 point Likert scale24)
Waris et al 17 RCT
double blind
1–12HoneySalbutamol syrup; placebo (brown coloured sugar syrup)Cough score (validated 5 item, 7 point Likert scale24)
  • RCT, randomised controlled trial.