Spring is finally here in all its glory – flowers are blooming, grasses are growing, warm breezes sweep through the yard. But along with all these wonderful signs of spring (and, generally, caused by all these wonderful signs of spring), many of us experience seasonal allergies. As a result, we often find ourselves avoiding the beautiful outdoors instead of enjoying the new growth springing up around us.
According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI), seasonal allergies affect approximately 60 million people in the United States. Symptoms include sneezing, stuffy or runny nose, watery eyes, sinus headaches, and itching of the nose, eyes or roof of the mouth. The scientific term for this condition is allergic rhinitis. Most of us just think of it as pure misery.
There are many ways to manage these irritating occasional symptoms without resorting to prescription and over-the-counter pharmaceuticals like antihistamines and steroids. Natural methods include such things as:
- Ingredients and herbs like quercetin, nettle and Bromelain*
- Homeopathic preparations*
- Spring cleanse and detox programs*
- Dietary changes*
- Neti pot therapy for nasal congestion and irritation*
- Simple avoidance during high pollen count days and other “high-risk times”
(This last choice is the most unfortunate approach, in our opinion, since it means missing out on the beauty of the outdoors during this magnificent season.)
What About Local Honey?
One unconventional approach to seasonal allergies is eating local honey. But while many people swear by eating 2-4 teaspoons per day in divided doses for allergy prevention, the general consensus in the medical world is skeptical. Few studies have been published on the subject, and so far, the results are far from conclusive. The logic behind the idea of using honey to help allergies is similar to the way vaccinations work: Introduce a safe amount of a pathogen to your system to encourage your body to develop immunity to greater doses of that same pathogen. Flu shots are an example of this type of approach.*
Study Showing Honey is Effective in Allergy Relief
A 2011 study published by the South Karelia Allergy and Environmental Institute focused on 44 human participants specifically allergic to birch tree pollen.*
This study approached allergy treatment much like a flu vaccine that works only on the specific strain of flu present in the vaccine. This study tested the theory that honey may reduce allergies only to those pollens present in the honey.*
A portion of the group was treated with honey that was specifically created from birch tree pollen in addition to their normal protocols. Another portion was treated with non-specific honey in addition to their normal protocols. A third group was given a honey-flavored placebo along with their normal protocols.
The results showed that those patients who were treated with honey specifically created from birch pollen had “significantly better control of their symptoms than did those on conventional medication only.”*
Counterpoint: Another Study Shows no Definitive Results from Honey
A 2002 study published by the University of Connecticut Health Center conducted a very similar study but received very different results.
Similar to the 2011 study, this study examined the use of local honey likely made from the same pollens that caused the participants’ allergies, as well as nationally collected honey. The researchers wanted to test the idea that eating local honey may help remedy seasonal allergies. Participants were asked to use their usual protocols only when needed, rather than in preventative fashion.
Like the 2011 study, 36 human participants were split into 3 groups: one group consumed a tablespoon of local, unpasteurized, unfiltered honey per day; a second group consumed a tablespoon of nationally collected, pasteurized, filtered honey per day; and a third group – the control group – consumed a tablespoon of honey-flavored placebo per day.
The results showed no definitive difference in allergy relief between the three groups.*
Your Opinion Matters!
Conflicting data is not uncommon in the world of medical research. And with so few studies conducted on local honey as a treatment for allergies, the question comes down to personal experience.
What’s your opinion? Have you tried using local honey to combat seasonal allergies? What have been your results? Add your thoughts in the comments below, and help contribute to our community of collective wisdom and shared personal experience!
P.S. If you’re interested in engaging in a seasonal cleanse and detoxification program this Spring, EcoNugenics is offering 15% off of PectaClear and Detox Complete through the month of May. Enter promo code: SOP3M Learn more!