Honey is mainly a composition of sucrose, water, minerals, vitamins and enzymes. Vitamins present in honey include B6, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin and panthotenic acid. Minerals in honey include calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc.
Honey is a good source of antioxidants and has antibacterial properties. This explains why honey has been used to treat all sorts of ailments for centuries. As a cold remedy honey can be effective soothing agent for sore throat and cough. The best honey variety to be used as a common cold remedy is Manuka honey. Manuka honey is collected from the flower of the Tea Tree bush found only in New Zealand’s coastal areas and it is claimed to have the highest potency of antimicrobial properties. Other excellent cold remedy honeys include Eucalyptus honey which is traditionally used in prevention of colds and headaches as well as Linden honey which is used in treatment of cold, coughs and bronchitis. You can find some ideas how to use honey as a cold remedy here.
It is preferable to use raw honey. Major part of supermarket honeys are not raw, but commercial regular honey which has been pasteurized and filtered. Pasteurization and filtering makes honey look cleaner and smoother. The downside of pasteurization is that delicate aromas as well as yeast and enzymes which are responsible for activating minerals and vitamins in the body are partially destroyed. Thus raw honey is assumed to be more nutritious than honey that has not been pasteurized.
Honey should not be given to children under the age of 12 months. This is because honey may in some rare cases contain small amounts of botulism spores which can lead to botulism poisoning in infants. The intestines of an adult are mature and contain enough acids to counteract the production of toxins the botulism bacteria may produce. Once infants reaches age of one year or older, their intestines are also enough developed to fight off any toxins produced by botulism bacteria.