I covered a great way to help with allergies in a previous post. I now want to focus on another natural form of allergy control: honey. I was talking to my doctor that other day and the topic of natural health came up. He asked me if I had tried honey as a method of allergy control. I told him that I have been eating a lot of honey, but that I was unsure of how much I ate per day. He stated that the suggested amount of daily honey is 1 tablespoon per day.
The thought behind honey is that bees feed on pollen. By eating honey everyday, you are essentially taking in a small amount of pollen. This concept is similar to the method of allergy hyposensitization (allergy shots.) One key is that the honey must be produced locally by free ranging bees. This allows the bees to collect the pollen from sources that are likely bombarding your histamine cells.
So is there any science behind the claims that honey helps to alleviate allergy symptoms or is this simply a false claim?
There does not to be a peer-reviewed study that has been conducted on this treatment/ theory. As a veterinarian, the premise makes
sense in that you are introducing very low amounts of the allergens into your body over a long period of time (the same concept as immunotherapy). It appears that the pollen should be a local as possible (within three miles is generally recommended.)
One informal (unfunded) study on allergies and honey conducted by students at Xavier University in New Orleans produced positive results. Researchers divided participants into three groups: seasonal allergy sufferers, year-round allergy sufferers and non-allergy sufferers. These groups were further divided into three subgroups with some people taking two teaspoons of local honey per day, others taking the same amount of non-local honey each day and the final subgroup not taking honey at all. The Xavier students found that after six weeks, allergy sufferers from both categories suffered fewer symptoms. The group taking local honey reported the most improvement.
The good effects of this local honey are best when the honey is taken a little bit (a couple of teaspoons-full) a day for several months prior to the pollen season. There are a multitude of success stories online to back up these claims.
Some allergists rebel at the concept of honey relieving allergies. Their claims are based on the thinking that most allergies are caused by plants that are fertilized by the wind and not insects. As a result, the bees do not collect this pollen and it does not show up in the honey that they produce.
- Benefits of Honey (farmfoodieandfitness.com)
- Natural approach to Allergies (heritagebreedfarms.wordpress.com)
- Allergies? Some Pollens Are Much More Aggressive Than Others (myallergysupport.wordpress.com)
- Can Local Honey Help My Allergies? (webmd.com)