Honey for Throat Pain: Does It Work?


9 minute,
30 seconds

Essential Takeaways

Honey can be a very effective remedy for throat pain thanks to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Different types of honey offer different levels of antimicrobial potency, with manuka honey coming out on top.

It’s best to opt for UMF™-graded manuka honey to ensure your product isn’t contaminated, low grade, or diluted. Many of the honeys on grocery store shelves will have diminished health benefits, or may even have lost them altogether thanks to overprocessing.

The best way to get results from your manuka honey for a sore throat is to eat it raw. You can lick it straight off the spoon, add it to foods, or make your own delicious smoothie.

Throat pain is a common occurrence for many of us and can be caused by any number of things.

Sometimes it's a bacterial or viral infection, perhaps it’s from straining your singing voice, or from changing humidity levels in the air.

Whatever the reason, you don’t always have to take medication. Many people have had amazing results using honey to help relieve symptoms like a sore throat and cough.

In this article, we’ll explore how it works and the best honey to use for easing a painful throat.

In this blog about using honey for throat pain:

Why Does My Throat Hurt?

Throat pain is usually caused by damaged tissue and is a signal to the brain that something needs to be repaired¹.

You might have torn or scratched your throat with something you ate. Or a bacteria or virus may have infected your throat through contact with someone else or airborne spores².

The most common causes of a sore throat include:

It might also be the result of your lifestyle, like smoking or singing which can aggravate the throat.

In more serious cases, throat pain may be the start of something more sinister, like cancer. But it’s usually something much less serious and simply irritating.

So if the usual remedies that work for you just aren’t shifting your painful throat, make sure to get advice from a doctor.

Fortunately, there are natural options if you want to move away from medications. For example, many people use honey for throat pain.

Here’s why...

Why Honey is Good for Throat Pain

Using honey for health and wellness dates back to the very first medical journals³.

Thousands of years before we could verify whether it actually worked with scientific studies, honey earned an impressive and enduring reputation for healing.

It had to be doing something.

Today, we know much more about its benefits and we have the science to back them up.

Honey has antibacterial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties³ which have been found effective in treating many medical conditions, including the specific bacteria that causes throat pain⁴.

“Honey is effective in faster recovery of signs and symptoms of sore throat having antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties without causing any side effects.”

In some cases, honey has proven even better than traditional medications:

“Honey was superior to usual care for the improvement of symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections. It provides a widely available and cheap alternative to antibiotics.”

Honey works by coating the damaged area with a moisture barrier that also keeps out microbes and helps to boost tissue regeneration⁵.

The potency of these effects varies between different types of honey and their botanical origins. In other words, the nectar that was used to create the honey is a big driver of how effective it is.

This means there’s one type of honey that is best for throat pain, which we’ll discuss next.

Is honey good for a sore throat?

Yes, honey is great for a sore throat and has been used to treat this ailment throughout the world for a long time⁶. Our customers have had fantastic results with their manuka honey for throat pain:

“​​I'm in the hospital right now for a throat irritation, and honey works better than medicine to treat my throat.”

Does honey get rid of a sore throat quickly?

This all depends on how you use the honey, the problem with your throat, and lifestyle factors such as your diet and whether you smoke. When used properly, honey can certainly help to speed up your recovery. Here’s what a few of our customers have to say:

“I enjoy the rich creamy flavor and with a spoonful a day, I seem to avoid colds even with minor signs that I might have a scratchy throat. It’s gone the next day.”

“I sincerely believe that the honey has helped boost my kids’ immunity! They don’t fall sick as often and bounce back much faster if they do. Highly recommend!”

Which is better for a sore throat, honey or lemon?

There is evidence that both honey and lemon juice contain antibacterial properties which can help a sore throat⁷, so why not use both?

Combine pure, raw manuka honey with freshly squeezed lemon juice in warm water for the perfect soothing drink. Get the full recipe here.

Does raw honey act like an antibiotic?

Yes, pure and raw honey has antibiotic properties which might help you to avoid or reduce your antibiotic use both for throat pain and for other medical conditions. Always check with a doctor before doing this.

“I use this for medicinal purposes. And boy it works. Have managed to stay away from antibiotics.”

“I recently injured my toe and was losing the toenail and it caused an abscess. I can't take steroids or antibiotics due to severe reactions, and that was what was prescribed. I wrapped it up with this honey and literally in two days it looked like a normal toe. Dr. is amazed I didn't use steroids or antibiotics.”

Is honey safe to use for children with throat pain?

Yes, it’s safe to give honey to a child to relieve a sore throat as long as they are not allergic to bees or pollen, and they’re over two years old.

It’s not advised to give honey to young infants because of a bacteria found in honey that can cause botulism. It’s safe for older children because more mature digestive systems can move these spores before they have a chance to do any harm⁸.

Always ask your child’s doctor if you’re unsure.

Find out more about using honey when pregnant and for infants.

The Best Honey to Soothe Your Throat Pain

With the highest levels of antibacterial activity, using manuka honey for throat pain is likely to give you the best results.

The bioactive compound most commonly associated with the antibacterial effects of honey is methylglyoxal (MGO).

Manuka honey has been found to have the highest levels of MGO (compared to any other type of honey) as well as a unique combination of other compounds that contribute to its high levels of antibacterial activity.

This has earned it a global reputation as a health and wellness superfood. And as a result of the rising antibacterial resistance crisis⁹, it has become a promising alternative already used by doctors and vets throughout the world.

Some manuka honey is UMF™ graded. This independent system protects the integrity of genuine, pure, fresh manuka honey and helps consumers feel confident about what they’re purchasing.

The higher the UMF™ grade, the more MGO is contained in the honey and the higher its antibacterial activity.

So when using manuka honey for medical purposes, we generally recommend buying at least UMF™ 15+.

But the higher the grade of honey, the better and faster your results should be.

“I’ve tried 15- 24 UMF now and recommend the higher grades for various GI issues, colds and healing skin issues as well. This one is great used medicinally and I’ll be buying it again for my health!”

“I knew the difference in quality and taste when I just opened it and tasted it right away. I also feel it improves digestion, skin and so many other things for their enormous nutritional value and antibacterial properties.”

“Tastes so good, so fresh and authentic. The only trusted honey I would get.”

Is there a difference between honey and raw honey?

Not all honey is pure or raw. A lot of the honey you find in the grocery store these days has been filtered and possibly even diluted to increase stock levels. Unfortunately, this processing can reduce or remove its beneficial properties.

In order to get the best results using honey for throat pain, opt for pure, raw manuka honey with a UMF™ grade like ours. This honey contains the highest antibacterial potency and is tested to rigorous independent standards to ensure its purity and freshness.

What is the difference between supermarket honey and real honey?

Some supermarket honeys have been highly processed. This might mean they’ve been heated at high temperatures and filtered to achieve a runnier, more translucent look, or that other sugars have been added to change the flavour.

These processes can diminish or destroy the beneficial compounds in 'real' or raw honey.

Here’s how you can avoid buying fake honey.

How to Use Honey Home Remedies for Throat Pain

The best way to get the health benefits of honey for throat pain is to keep it as raw as possible. With that in mind, here are our top recommendations.

  1. Eat it straight off the spoon

Simple! Grab your very own wooden spoon when you order your jar of our manuka honey and that’s all you need. A spoonful of honey a day should help.

  1. Dollop it onto your toast

Why not slather manuka honey onto your morning (or afternoon) toast? Our customers have recommended pairing their sweet, earthy manuka honey with cheese:

“Great for a sore throat and perfect with cream cheese. Not too sweet, just right.”

  1. Maximise the nutritional boost with a fruit smoothie

This is a great way to get other natural remedies for a sore throat into one superfood healer. And since your throat pain is probably due to another illness, this is a great way to help your body recover.

Why not mix your favourite fruits with some manuka honey, Greek yoghurt and a hint of ginger for an energising yet soothing tonic?  

“It’s good for soothing an irritated throat and tastes great in my smoothies.”

  1. Use it as a marinade for meat and veggies

Feel like getting creative? Try using manuka honey on vegetable side dishes or chicken. Just be sure to add the honey after cooking and once the food has cooled to ensure that you retain the raw, bioactive health benefits.

  1. As a vinaigrette or salad dressing

Making your own manuka honey mustard, vinaigrette or salad dressing is a great way to make those lighter meals feel a little more luxurious and ever so nutritious.

There are so many ways that you can use manuka honey.

But we’ve tried to list as many of them as possible right here.

You can also find ways to use manuka honey on our Instagram and TikTok accounts.

When to See a Doctor About Your Throat Pain

It’s important to recognise when you may need professional help for your painful throat. Here are some signs that you should get tailored advice:

  • Your symptoms have worsened despite resting, using your usual medication, and any natural remedies.

  • You notice any negative changes in your throat like swelling, more pain, pus, or discharge.

  • You have difficulty breathing or swallowing.

  • You experience fever-like symptoms such as shivering and/or a high temperature.

If you’re in doubt, it’s best to go straight to your doctor.

Get Yourself Some Premium Manuka Honey for Throat Pain

Our manuka honey is UMF™ graded, and sourced from rural and remote parts of the New Zealand countryside by some of the best beekeepers in the business.

Every batch is fully traceable, non-GMO, raw and glyphosate free - so you know that you can trust what you’re putting into your body. We only deal in real.

Find out more about our accreditations and standards.

Shop the range.

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