Achoo—that's the sound of your seasonal allergies taking their toll on your respiratory system. You may also have itchy eyes and nasal congestion to accompany the sneezing. All of these unpleasant symptoms can make it difficult for you to venture outdoors to enjoy doing what you love or merely take care of your yard.
However, rumor has it that raw honey may help alleviate those unpleasant symptoms. But how is that possible, and does it really work?
Symptoms of Allergies
Firstly, before you purchase honey for allergy purposes only, understand whether you have allergies.
Allergy symptoms can begin as early as February and last until August or September. They typically occur in the spring because several plants produce pollen during this time and that pollen becomes dispersed through the air and inhaled by anyone outside.
A person with an allergy to pollen will have an immune system reaction when they inhale pollen because their bodies recognize it as an intruder or harmful substance, similarly to how the body reacts to a virus or bacteria.
As a result, a person may experience any of the following symptoms:
- Watery or itchy eyes
- Sore throat
- Runny nose
- Continuous cough
- Persistent headache
Treatment Using Raw Honey
Those who believe raw honey can work to help with allergies suspect it works in the same manner as allergy shots. With allergy shots, a doctor injects you with a small amount of your allergen and gradually increases the amount of allergen with each shot over time. By introducing the substance into your system in this way, you gradually build a tolerance for it. After several treatments, you won't have as severe of a reaction when you come in contact with the allergen.
Those who speculate that local honey can help with allergies believe it works in the same way—at least when you choose raw, unpasteurized honey. Thus, they will expose their immune system to the natural pollen in the area by consuming local honey to eventually desensitize their immune systems.
Effectiveness of Raw Honey For Allergies
Currently, there have not been enough scientific studies to definitively prove the success of the use of honey for allergies. For one, the amount of pollen in a batch of honey is inconsistent, while the amount given in an allergy shot is consistent and highly regulated.
One study published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology compared the effects of a person ingesting pasteurized honey versus local, unpasteurized honey. The results indicated that both groups experienced the same results—neither affected allergy symptoms.
However, another study published by the Annals of Saudi Medicine showed when a person consumed high doses of local honey for eight weeks straight, they noticed a decrease in allergy symptoms.
While these are merely two examples of studies, both of these had small sample sizes. Therefore, you can't get an accurate understanding as to whether local honey could benefit you from these studies alone.
Benefits of Raw Honey
This sticky, sweet substance has many proven benefits beyond its use for the relief of allergy symptoms. For instance, local honey contains nutrients such as:
- Minerals (besides iron and zinc)
People use honey for its antibacterial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. For example, when someone takes honey orally, it may act as a cough suppressant and soothe a sore throat, making it a great temporary remedy for allergies. Additionally, people may also use honey for wound care to promote healing, especially for burns.
According to Mayo Clinic, regular consumption of honey may reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and ease the severity of diarrhea from gastroenteritis. Some studies show that honey may also help with neurological conditions like depression, seizures, and anxiety.
Though you may or may not benefit from using honey for allergies, this substance has other proven benefits, including relief from some of the most bothersome symptoms. Therefore, raw honey is great for many other purposes aside from allergies or as a natural sweetener in general.
Try raw, unpasteurized honey from Register Family Farm to enjoy the sweet taste and the many benefits of natural raw honey. We also offer a range of other products including raw pollen straight from the hive!