What You Need to Know About Zarbee's Naturals Cough and Cold Products

coughing child
Young girl coughs in bed. DesignPics/Don Hammond/Getty Images

Zarbee's Naturals is a line of cough and cold products developed by Pediatrician and father of four, Dr. Zak Zarbok.

Based on research that shows that honey is more effective at soothing coughs in children than over the counter medications, Zarbee's products are natural and honey based, containing no medication.

Zarbee's line of products started out as cough relief for children but has since expanded into the adult market as well.

An important note: honey is not safe for children under 12 months of age as it can cause botulism. Zarbee's baby products do not contain honey, so they do not pose the risk of botulism for younger babies over the age of 2 months. Do not give the products labeled "adult" or "children" to a child under 12 months old.

Zarbee's products are sold in many mass retailers across the country. Although they are natural, they are not "homeopathic".

Zarbee's products are made with buckwheat honey, which is the ingredient that was used in a few studies looking at the efficacy of over the counter cough medication vs. honey for soothing coughs in children. The honey worked better, prompting many doctors to recommend the use of honey rather than over the counter medications for cough relief in children over the age of 12 months. Zarbee's products have not specifically been tested by the FDA and per regulations are not intended to treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease.

I had the chance to talk to Dr. Zak about the products he developed and his motivation to do so. "I'm a full time Pediatrician and do Zarbee's as a sort of full time hobby. I set out to create something that actually works and that you can give to kids."

Why Zarbee's Was Created:

Dr. Zak says, "Several years ago, the FDA finally recognized that cough and cold medications don't work (for children), which is something that we have known for a number of years, but also that they are potentially harmful.

Around that same time there were a lot of great studies coming out about the benefits of honey and in particular buckwheat honey. So that's when I set out to create something that actually works and that you can give to kids."

"As a healthcare provider it's very difficult to tell parents you can't help. That's why I created Zarbee's to begin with."

Is Zarbee's Homeopathic?

"All our products are drug free but none of them are homeopathic. They are natural products - what I call a mainstream natural. I wanted to create something that my patients can get at Walmart, CVS and Rite Aid" says Dr. Zak.

"They are regulated (by the FDA) as far as what we can say about them but they don't go through trials like medications from pharmaceutical companies. The FDA does regulate our research and monitors our manufacturing process. They do make sure we aren't making false claims."

What About the Infant Products?

"Our honey based products aren't safe for children under 12 months.

But children under that age still get colds and get sick and I wanted to find something safe for them. So we looked for a different ingredient that had all the same properties as the honey without the risk of botulism. We were able to find an agave syrup that matches in terms of viscosity, sweetness and the properties of honey. We do market it for 2 months and up because if your child is under that age, you should really have them seen by a doctor before doing anything else."

Products Zarbee's currently sells include:

Children's Products

  • Zarbee's Naturals Children's Cough Syrup - Grape or Cherry
  • Zarbee's Naturals Baby Cough Syrup - Grape
  • Zarbee's Naturals Children's Mucus Relief + Cough Syrup
  • Zarbee's Naturals Children's Nighttime Syrup - Grape
  • Zarbee's Naturals Children's Sleep

Adult Products

  • Zarbee's Naturals Adult Daytime Cough Syrup
  • Zarbee's Naturals Adult Nighttime Cough Syrup
  • Zarbee's Naturals Adult Daytime Drink
  • Zarbee's Naturals Adult Nighttime Drink
  • Zarbee's Naturals Sleep
  • Zarbee's Naturals Seasonal Relief

As stated earlier, these products are not regulated by the FDA because they are marketed as a supplement not a medication. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure of prevent any disease.

Sources:

Mahmood Noori Shadkam, MD, Hassan Mozaffari-Khosravi, PhD, and Mohammad Reza Mozayan, MSc. "A Comparison of the Effect of Honey, Dextromethorphan, and Diphenhydramine on Nightly Cough and Sleep Quality in Children and Their Parents." THE JOURNAL OF ALTERNATIVE AND COMPLEMENTARY MEDICINE Volume 16, Number 7, 2010, pp. 787–793. 10 Feb 14.

Ian M. Paul, MD, MSc; Jessica Beiler, MPH; Amyee McMonagle, RN; Michele L. Shaffer, PhD; Laura Duda, MD; Cheston M. Berlin Jr, MD. "Effect of Honey, Dextromethorphan, and
No Treatment on Nocturnal Cough and Sleep Quality for Coughing Children and Their Parents." Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2007;161(12):1140-1146. American Medical Association. 7 Feb 14.

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