Sweet Relief for Cystic Fibrosis Patients: Honey Syrup Promising Results

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For cystic fibrosis patients dependent on harsh drug regimens just to breathe, an ancient Persian medicine syrup made with honey and herbs offers a sweet sigh of relief

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a progressive genetic disorder affecting over 70,000 people worldwide, caused by mutations in the CFTR gene. It causes severe respiratory and digestive issues due to buildup of thick, sticky mucus that is difficult to clear. Mainstay drug treatments like steroids, antibiotics, and mucus-thinning agents can help manage symptoms but come with short and long-term side effects like osteoporosis, diabetes, and kidney problems. The median age of survival is only around 40 years old, so better treatment options are desperately needed. For these patients dependent on harsh drug regimens just to breathe, an ancient Persian medicine syrup made with honey and herbs offers a sweet sigh of relief.

A recent clinical trial published in BMC Pulmonary Medicine demonstrated significant improvements in lung function in 44 children and young adults with cystic fibrosis (CF) after taking a twice-daily oral dose of compound honey syrup (CHS) for 12 weeks.1

CHS is a traditional Persian preparation containing honey, saffron, cardamom, ginger, galangal, and cinnamon. It has been used for centuries to loosen thick mucus secretions, but this marks the first controlled study investigating its effects in CF patients specifically.2

The results were striking - fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO), a measurement of inflammation and airway dysfunction, increased markedly over the 12 weeks in the CHS group. This signals likely improvement in mucociliary clearance and lung performance. CHS was also very well tolerated, with no concerning side effects reported.

While further studies are still needed, these initial findings offer hope that this natural honey-herb formulation could provide a complementary therapy for CF patients. Current standard drug treatments like steroids, antibiotics, and mucus-thinning agents often come with short and long-term side effects. A safe, low-cost botanical syrup would be an invaluable addition to care.

As such, CHS represents an exciting bridge between ancient healing wisdom and modern medicine. The power of nature may yet yield better breathing for those suffering from this challenging chronic lung disease.

For more information on natural and integrative approaches to cystic fibrosis, visit our database on the subject here


1. Sadr S, et al. Fractional Exhalation Nitric Oxide (FeNO) changes in cystic fibrosis patients induced by compound honey syrup: a pretest–posttest clinical trial. BMC Pulm Med. 2023; 23:488.

2. Sadr S, Kaveh S, Choopani R, et al. Efficacy and safety of Iranian poly herbal formulation (Compound Honey Syrup) in pediatric patients with mild to moderate asthma: a randomized clinical trial. Galen Med J. 2017;6(4):291-301.

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