Local Honey for Allergies: Fact or Fallacy?

May 8, 2014 10:58 AM

With springtime allergens in the air, many are searching for any reprieve from allergy symptoms.

You may have heard people buzzing about consuming local, raw, and unfiltered honey to build tolerance for allergens; some swear by it.

“I hear that a lot from different consumers of honey on how well that works for them,” Buzz Landon of Buzz’s Bees said. “It seems the bees work well collecting the honey for them."

But is it just an old wives tale?

"It's a great topic,” said allergy specialist Dr. Anton Dotson, MD. “And I believe whatever someone says works, works."

Allergy sufferers aren't the only ones who dislike airborne pollen… neither do bees.

"Most people allergic have the springtime allergies, the hay fever per se, and that's mostly grasses that they're allergic to,” Landon explains. “Bees don't generally collect those types of pollens, but they bring in other pollens that are a little bit larger."

"It might be that using local honey, since it's so concentrated—kind of like a salt water gargle—might make people feel better,” Dr. Dotson said as he explained why so many people use honey to treat allergy symptoms. “But in general, it's not regarded as immunologically effective because the plants that make pollens that people are sensitive to, tend to use the wind to pollinate."

But Dr. Dotson said he won’t argue with positive results and if something works for you, go for it. "If you're happy, we're happy," he said.

For other, natural ways to help ease your allergy symptoms, Dr. Dotson recommends nasal rinses, washing your hair before bedtime, as your hair collects pollen throughout the day, sleeping with your windows closed because plants pollinate mostly in the early morning hours, and driving with your windows up and air conditioning on to help filter the air.


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