With hot and humid temperatures soaring outside and air conditioners and fans whirring inside, the summer bedtime ritual is often accompanied by hacking coughs. According to a new Israeli study, a spoonful of honey can improve symptoms of the common cold.

“The cough due to a viral [upper respiratory infection] is generally a self-limited disease,” study author Dr. Herman Avner Cohen, chairman of the Pediatric Community Ambulatory Care Clinic with Clalit Health Services in Petah-Tikva, told HealthDay News.

“However, parents often [want] some active intervention,” Cohen said. This often leads to the use of over-the-counter cough medications, which are potentially dangerous because of the possibility of accidental overdose, he said.

Results of the study have already been published online and will appear in the print edition of Pediatrics.

“Honey may be a preferable treatment for cough and sleep difficulty associated with childhood upper respiratory infection,” the authors concluded.