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Local Honey: A Natural Remedy for Seasonal Allergies?

4_7_honeyAhh, Spring is here and each year her arrival paints the town with a powdery, pale blanket of yellow. Pollen.

Spring allergies. Just as synonymous with the warm air as bees are to blooming flowers.

Glands the size of cotton balls. Your nose dripping like a faulty faucet. And air as thick as a musty attic.

Seasonal allergies affect more than 36 million Americans, according to the Food and Drug Administration. And while you can try getting allergy prescriptions from your doctor, albeit nasal sprays and pills may not cut it.

I’m a bit of a natural remedy kind of gal, so I’m always seeking out alternative forms of medicine. My go to? Local honey as a cure for spring allergies.

How Stuff Works explained this process, although no scientific studies have been confirmed. Here it is in a nutshell.

Through pollination, bees bring back pollen spores to the hive, which are then transferred to the honey they produce. So much like a vaccine that introduces a small amount of a virus to your body, local honey introduces small amounts of pollen to your body, so your immune system is slowly inoculated.

Again, this evidence isn’t proven, but I’ve had positive outcomes from it. I guess it really depends on how much you like honey. Me? I’ll look for any excuse. It’s important to mention that local in this case is defined as within 25 to 50 miles of your home, since that is where the pollen will most likely affect you. The closer the better.

If I’ve convinced you, here is a list of a few local honey producers:

What about you? Any other interesting natural remedies to cure seasonal allergies?

-By Alexa Lampasona (@activetastylife) for the Food & More blog

15 comments Add your comment

kmbraunstein

April 7th, 2014
10:26 am

Your theory does not work. The majority of the pollens in Atlanta that affect hay fever sufferers are tree pollens from non-flowering trees. Honey bees don’t go to non-flowering trees. While your theory does work for flowering plant pollens, it does not work for the main offenders in Atlanta.

rod

April 7th, 2014
10:28 am

guy recommended this to my father years ago and it virtually eliminated his issues my 18 yr old son does it now and his are virtulally gone must be local unprocessed honey to work

kmbraunstein

April 7th, 2014
10:35 am

Honey contains sugar (glucose and simple carbohydrates). They suppress white blood cells ability to ingest substances (phagacytosis) in this case pollen. I quote from a scientific article on the subject: “This implicates glucose and other simple carbohydrates in the control of phagocytosis and shows that the effects last for at least 5 hr. On the other hand, a fast of 36 or 60 hr significantly increased (P < 0.001) the phagocytic index." Therefore, the science of honey and allergies is not that they immunosuppress by by delivering small amounts of antigens (pollen in this case) similar to allergy shots, but rather honey has sugar and sugar blocks the white cells and this prevents histamine release.

Tinytam

April 7th, 2014
10:48 am

Thank you so much for this info @kmbraunstein! Very helpful information.

JS

April 7th, 2014
11:51 am

I’ve tried honey lately and although my pollen allergy is still there, it has not been as bad as last year when I was taking zyrtec, claritan, etc. Since I’m pregnant, I’m not taking any allergy drugs this pollen season. I found some honey at Harry’s (Whole Foods) that is local and really good from North GA – Georgia Honey Farm, Gallberry Honey.

Ptc Dawg

April 7th, 2014
12:12 pm

I don’t care what it works on or not, I enjoy the taste of a teaspoon of local honey….good stuff..

Ned Ludd

April 7th, 2014
1:21 pm

Jim Beam and Jack Daniels both have recently added a Honey infused product backed by their original whiskies. I have found that a couple of shots of either effectively reduce pollen and non-pollen allergy symptoms.

JM

April 7th, 2014
3:24 pm

I’ve hear of this theory every year. Not sure if it works or not, but I love ‘local honey’ anyway. I had a peanut butter and honey sammich with lunch today!

@Ned Ludd – Or maybe after a couple of shots you really just don’t care? LOL!

Baltisraul.....

April 7th, 2014
4:27 pm

Ned, Jack and honey, what a great idea. Since we are out of honey right now, will just go with the brown liquid after work. Could be late tonite or early morning, but my wrist watch has all 5’s on it.

Just enjoy honey

April 7th, 2014
8:37 pm

Bees pollinate plants with heavy, non airborne pollen, the allergy causing pollen is not coming from sources bees typically pollinate.

TF

April 8th, 2014
12:11 am

Pollen can ONLY come from FLOWERING plants – that’s the definition of pollen. the difference is that the pollen folks are allergic to is from the tiniest sorts of flowers: birch catkins, ragweed, all minuscule airborne pollens. These pollinate by wind more than insects. That said, if raw honey really helps due to the presence of pollen proteins, it may be that the allergenic pollens are cross-reactive with the pollens bees do gather – cross-reactive means their protein structures are so similar that our immune systems think they’re the same. In that event….and, if pollen proteins in raw honey really do act as an immunotherapy (no science evidence that they do) – it could well be for that reason.

w.b.

April 8th, 2014
5:47 pm

allergies are best fought by changing your overall diet/lifestyle. eat healthy. avoid wheat and dairy.

Robert

April 9th, 2014
8:55 am

I think the avoidance wheat and dairy is a bit overblown these days. I think most studies have shown that very few folks are actually allergic to either. They seem to be the food to avoid du jour.

Andy

April 10th, 2014
9:33 pm

Ever since I moved to Atlanta in 1997, every Spring had been a nightmare, my allergies only got worse with as years passed by. I tried a lot of different OTC meds and for the last 5 years, a prescription nasal spray. This year for some reason, its as if a switch was turned off…No reaction whatsoever..so have been wondering for the last two weeks since the pollen outburst started why. This article seems to make sense now..End of last year, I started including in my daily breakfast Wildflower honey from North Georgia that’s available at Costco. I certainly cannot say that’s what triggered my immune system, but could it be that this is what happened? Keeping my fingers crossed as I monitor the pollen count each day, hoping this is indeed the case.

Clan

April 14th, 2014
1:48 pm

More broscience from the AJC!!