Does Honey Work as a Remedy for Allergies?

What Are Allergies?

Seasonal allergies are the plague of many who love the great outdoors. They usually begin in February and last until August or September. Seasonal allergies occur when plants start to produce pollen. Pollen is a powder-like substance that helps plants make seeds and reproduce.

People can inhale pollen, which leads to seasonal allergies. The allergies occur when the body perceives the pollen as a foreign invader, similar to a bacteria or virus. In response, the body mounts an attack. This results in symptoms such as:

  • sneezing
  • watery and itchy eyes
  • a runny nose
  • sore throat
  • coughing
  • headaches
  • trouble breathing

There are over-the-counter treatments available for seasonal allergies, but many people prefer natural treatments instead. One example rumored to help with seasonal allergies is local honey. Local honey is raw, unprocessed honey made close to where you live. This honey is rumored to help allergies, but scientists and doctors are skeptical.

Why Is Honey Believed to Help Allergies?

The idea behind honey treating allergies is similar to that of a person getting allergy shots. But while allergy shots have been proven to be effective, honey hasn’t. When a person eats local honey, they are thought to be ingesting local pollen. Over time, a person may become less sensitive to this pollen. As a result, they may experience fewer seasonal allergy symptoms.

It’s true that bees pollinate flowers and make honey. But the amounts of pollen from the environment and plants are thought to be very small and varied. When a person eats local honey, they have no guarantee how much (if any) pollen they’re being exposed to. This differs from allergy shots that purposefully desensitize a person to pollen at standard measurements.