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How to calm allergies with local honey

Popular knowledge asserts that eating local honey is a natural remedy for seasonal allergies. But what does science say?

Jar of honey |

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The hype about local honey

If you ask a group of people about natural remedies for seasonal allergies, you’ll likely hear one or two assertions that eating locally-sourced honey can reduce allergy symptoms. The thinking is that bees infuse local allergens into the honey produced in their hives. When people ingest this honey, the pollen serves as a type of antidote or “vaccine” against problematic local allergens, thus reducing symptoms.

This is a pretty substantial claim, and many people swear by eating local honey for their allergy symptoms. But we’re curious: What does the research really say?

Separating the hype from the facts

Interestingly, science doesn’t exactly support the hype about local honey as an allergy antidote. According to United Allergy Services, the amount of pollen in honey is negligible and does not provide consumers with measurable relief from their symptoms. In fact, research studies indicate that there is no symptom difference between consumers who eat local honey, commercially-produced honey or a placebo.

Essentially, this means that all the people who swear by local honey for their seasonal allergy symptoms are probably just experiencing a placebo effect.

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Reasonable expectations

Thankfully, you don’t have to despair by tossing your raw or local honey. Honey may not directly reduce your seasonal allergy symptoms, but it can boost your overall health so you’ll be less prone to the infections and illnesses that mimic and exacerbate allergies. According to Dr. Rallie McAllister, science actually supports the following benefits of local honey:

  • Honey boosts the antioxidants in your bloodstream. In one study, people who consumed honey for 30 days were compared to a group of people who didn’t consume honey. The honey consumers experienced a marked increase in bloodstream antioxidants, which is linked to a reduction in disease.
  • Honey reduces oxidative stress. Free radicals damage the human body at the cellular level, and free radicals are often produced by oxidative stress. People who consume honey experience a reduction in oxidative stress, which can prevent chronic conditions.
  • Honey reduces inflammation. When applied to the skin, honey can reduce inflammation and promote healing. Whether you have a wound or an allergic skin reaction, applying honey directly to the affected area will help it heal faster.

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You can feel good about adding local honey to your daily routine to improve your overall health. While it may not directly reduce your seasonal allergy symptoms, local honey will absolutely make you feel better and less prone to the illnesses and inflammation that can make allergies worse.

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