The editorial team of Medical News Today (MNT) made a mini-gallop and a subsequent scientific analysis for each and presents the results…
Lemon and honey: The most popular
It seems that a hot drink with fresh lemon juice and honey was the most popular choice, with the 62% to prefer it, while the hot drink with plain lemon came in second place with 31%.
Our belief in lemon and honey comes from the knowledge that is passed down from generation to generation, but also media reports.
This is mainly based on family and friends who recommend it, although it is also supported by studies and data based on the intake of vitamin C from lemon and the intake of antimicrobials from honey.
Lemon is popular in beverages due to its high levels of vitamin C.. Interest in the use of vitamin C for the treatment of the common cold begins in the decade of 1940, but the results of the various clinical trials conducted since then vary.
Although previous studies have reported that taking vitamin C reduces the duration of a cold, the current scientific view is that, in the general population, is ineffective.
On the other, There Are Some Groups Of People Who Can Benefit From Vitamin C When They Have A Cold. These include people who do serious physical exercise, people exposed to cold environments and people with vitamin C levels below the recommended.
But there is no evidence that it soothes a sore throat.
Honey, flu and sore throat
Honey is known for its antimicrobial properties. A study found that Manuka honey is effective in reducing how fast the flu virus reproduces.
As for the sore throat, or pain in general, Honey has been studied mainly in the context of tonsillectomy and research has shown that it is effective.
Other studies have examined the effectiveness of honey in reducing cough, associated with the common cold and flu. Here, Several clinical trials have shown a slight improvement in night cough and sleep quality in children over one year of age.
So, honey probably helps with sore throat and lemon may or may not help speed recovery from our symptoms.
Sore throat: Alcoholic beverages in the second place of preference
Although the lemon with the honey was the clear winner, alcoholic beverages came in second place. The 31% MNT authors report that hot or cold alcoholic beverages soothe sore throats.
The reasons for this in people's minds range from "alcohol disinfects the throat", to "alcohol is anesthetic and numbs the pain".
Although there is evidence that alcohol can kill the viruses responsible for the common cold and flu, this only applies to hand alcohols and disinfectants or lozenges containing alcohol.
Alcohol also has anesthetic effects, but there is no scientific evidence for the benefits that people arbitrarily attribute to various alcoholic beverages, to reduce sore throat. These are just speculations.
On the other, alcohol is definitely a vasodilator. So, if you feel chills and pain due to a cold or flu infection, an alcoholic beverage can bring a… pink tinge to your cheeks and help you feel warm and relieved at the same time.
Sore throat: Spices in the last place
The final category in the small MNT survey was spices, or flavored drinks.
Ginger was mentioned by 23% of respondents as an effective method to reduce sore throat. Actually, ginger has been shown to reduce pain in general.
In a study, the researchers used a computer program, to see if ginger could prevent the flu infection, specifically for strain H1N1, causing swine flu. The scientific team found out, that the active ingredient in ginger prevents the virus from infecting human cells.
The last option on the list was cinnamon, which is preferred by 8% of MNT respondents.
According to a study, An ingredient in cinnamon essential oil inhibits the growth of influenza virus in vitro and in vivo tests. But there are no specific studies examining cinnamon and sore throat.
This "research", of course, is too small to give a true picture of the general population. But it was not far from the findings of a large study published in 2016.
According to that research, the 99% people use some form of home remedy, when they experience symptoms from the common cold, such as sore throat.
As in the search of the MNT offices, honey was first in the great research, with the 42% of the participants to choose it for relief.
Generally, Hot drinks of all kinds have been shown to have the best effect on sore throats.
As Professor Ron Eccles explains (Former Director of the Center for the Common Cold of the School of Life Sciences at Cardiff University in the United Kingdom) hot drinks -especially hot and sweet drinks- help better lubricate an sore throat soothe pain.