The Truth About Local Honey and Your Allergies
With spring in full bloom, many of us are suffering from runny noses, itchy eyes, and uncontrollable sneezing that comes along with unavoidable seasonal allergies. While taking allergy medication and over the counter remedies is one way to combat the symptoms, some people are looking for more natural ways to heal and manage their ailments. One natural remedy that has been buzzing around lately is that consuming local honey can help to aleve the pain and misery associated with seasonal allergies.
In an article posted on Slate.com, author Rachel E. Gross explains that seasonal allergies are the body’s overreaction to a certain allergen in the environment, which causes all of the normal symptoms. Many individuals suffering from this are actually allergic to pollen. The logic behind the idea that local honey controls seasonal allergy symptoms is that by exposing ourselves to the pollen found in honey can help our bodies develop a natural tolerance to them, helping to control the overreaction and the symptoms.
This makes sense, right? Even though the scenario is plausible, it is completely incorrect, according to Ms. Gross. The first thing to consider is how honeybees make honey – honey is created from the nectar that bees collect and is actually not made from pollen. Although there are traces of pollen in local honey, usually from the pollen collecting on bee’s legs, there is not enough to have a significant nutritional impact and definitely not enough in order for the body to be well exposed and help to build up defenses against it.
While the lack of pollen in honey is a good reason why this home remedy does not work, there is a second reason why consuming local honey will not help with seasonal allergies. The allergies that we suffer from in the March to April timeframe is usually caused by the pollen that is released from weeds, trees, and different types of grasses – this pollen has much smaller particles than that of actual flowers and causes more problems for allergy sufferers. So, even if honey was full of flower pollen from honey bees, it would do nothing to offset our seasonal allergies simply because it is the wrong type of pollen.
Even though consuming local honey will not help to cure seasonal allergy symptoms, it is still an overall healthy food as well as a tasty treat. Andrew Murphy, an allergist from Pennsylvania, says “I just don’t think there’s going to be a lot of help from using it,” but also says he wouldn’t forbid patients from eating local honey. “I’ll try to educate them, but if somebody really wants to do it, they’re going to do what they want to do.”