Windom Allergy, Asthma, Sinus
Does Local Honey Help Seasonal Allergies?
As an allergist, I love hearing this question and guiding patients on TRUEevidence-based medicine. There is a widespread and FALSE belief that eating local, rawhoney can help allergies by regularly exposing you to pollen - not unlike the concept of how allergy shots work. Allergy shots help desensitize allergic people by exposing them topollen injected at regular intervals. An important difference here is that the amount of pollen in allergy shotsis known, and slowly increased to a certain level, for best results. Studies have shown allergy shots are very effective for decreasing seasonal and year-round allergy symptoms.
Local, unprocessed honey does contain small amounts of pollen from the environment. The pollen in honey is mostly from the flowers where bees are found, butflowering plant pollen is not the cause ofallergy symptoms.Pollen from trees, grasses and weeds are the true allergy causing culprits, and these plants arenot pollinated by bees! Thus, the amount of allergenic pollen in the honey is typically very small. This is considered a contaminant, like the bee parts, mold spores, bacteria and other environmental particles that can be found in honey. (Commercial processing seems to remove most pollen and contaminants.)
There is no scientific proof that eating local honey will improve allergies. One study, published in 2002 in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, showed no difference among allergy sufferers who ate local honey, commercially processed honey, or a honey-flavored placebo.That being said, am I a fan of local honey? Absolutely.Honey is an antioxidant powerhouse, and has natural antibacterial and antifungal properties. The health benefits are amazing and you are supporting the bees, let alone the local economy!
In the end, I fully support buying local honey for all the right reasons. Just don’t ask the bees to cure your allergies.