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Healthy Children

with Steven Parker, MD

This blog is now retired. Dr. P passed away on Monday, April 13, 2009. The WebMD Community will dearly miss his kind, caring, and often humorous manner.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

The World’s Best Children’s Cough Medicine



Original collage/cartoon by Jack Maypole, MD
You say you want to help your child sleep at night when he cough, cough, coughs. You say you’ve read that children’s cough medicine doesn’t work and could have side effects. You say you’re frustrated and upset and sleepless in Cheboygan. What’s a parent to do?

Relax. Dr. P is here for you.

Behold Dr. P’s Miracle Cough Syrup (Active ingredients: buckwheat honey, water, hot air + many double secret magic ions). It’s scientific! It works! It’s all natural! It’s safe! It is beloved by kids and parents throughout the world! And it’s made by your own Dr. P, the most trusted name in pediatric miracle medicine.

Here’s all you have to do: Just send Dr. P three easy payments of $19.95 and he will send you six (6) full ounces of his magic syrup. But wait, there’s more! As a thank you for reading his blog, send the cash now and he’ll include an extra 2 ounces! That will cover two extra colds and one episode of coryza!

Listen to what parents just like you have to say about Dr. P’s MCS:

  • At $59.85 for 6 ounces, it’s a bargain. I’d pay twice that for a good night’s sleep!”
  • You have saved my life Dr. P. I worship the ground you walk on.”
  • Why have the evil drug companies suppressed this miracle medicine for all these years? You’re a brave man, Dr. P.”
  • My kids love to scarf it down. ( By the way, they claim there is something familiar about its taste and texture, but I tell them that’s all part of the miracle.)”

* * *

Here’s the scientific study* upon which I based my miracle cough cure:


105 kids, ages 2-18 years with cold symptoms, were given cough medicine, a placebo (i.e., no medicine), or buckwheat honey at night to soothe their cough. Since each preparation was made to look and smell alike, parents were unaware of what they were giving their child. They were then asked to rate their child’s cough for the next two nights in terms of severity, frequency, and effect on sleep.


Honey was the most effective cough suppressant, with 47% of parents reporting improvement (versus 25% for the placebo). The authors speculate that it may be due to honey’s demulcent (a beautiful word meaning “a soothing film”) effect and/or its antioxidant properties and/or its ability to induce saliva that thins out the mucus.

Dr. P’s conclusion:

This is a good study because it is a “randomized controlled trial” (the best study one can do). Based on its effectiveness and safety and wonderful taste and texture, I now recommend 1-2 teaspoons or so of buckwheat honey as the best cough ‘medicine’ known to man and child (over the age of 12 months) for coughs due to minor colds.

Yes, it’s true that in my beneficience I have created Dr. P’s MCS for you but, I suppose, in a pinch you could go to your local health food store and get your own stash of buckwheat honey to use on the inevitable next night of hacking family coughs.

* * *

*Article cited: “Effect of honey, dextromethorphan, and no treatment on nocturnal cough and sleep quality for coughing children and their parents.” Paul I, et al.
Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. December, 2007.

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Posted by: Steven Parker MD at 3:26 pm


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