The healing powers of honey have now been confirmed in a scientific study which found it's better than over-the-counter medicines for treating coughs and colds.
The research by Oxford University is good news for New Zealand's growing honey industry, which has had a boost in sales during the pandemic.
Honey has long been a go-to for when a cold strikes and now science backs up its efficacy.
The study found that honey is better than conventional cold medicines, especially for coughs.
Doctors in New Zealand are taking notice.
"Both as patients we should be taking it when we get a cough and as doctors we should be thinking about it," respiratory physician Dr Michael Maze said.
Colds are caused by viruses so can't be fixed with antibiotics, but they are still often prescribed and our bodies develop a resistance.
The study, published in the British Medical Journal, says honey's more effective, less harmful and helps combat antimicrobial resistance.
"Having a cough is such an irritating symptom but knowing that there is now good data behind an alternative that isn't an antibiotic and doesn’t cause harm and is more effective is a really good thing," Dr Maze said.
The research analysed 14 previous studies that compared honey with other treatments.
The study didn't assess the efficacy of honey as a Covid-19 treatment and it didn't single out one particular type.
"We can't recommend one particular kind of honey and can't recommend one particular dose, or how to take it, but we can be pretty confident that honey in general can have this effect," Dr Maze said.
New Zealand is a big honey producer with nearly one million hives across the country. The industry now expects sales to increase.
"It just highlights the value the natural efficacy of honey, its' what people are looking for and so yes I think we are going to see continued growth in the export revenue for honey but also domestically as well." Karin Kos, CEO of Apiculture NZ, said.
Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, demand for New Zealand honey has been soaring with exports up about 20 per cent on last year.