Can You Use Local Honey for Allergy?
The symptoms caused by seasonal allergies can be extremely annoying. Various over-the-counter or prescription medications can help to ease them, but they come along with a number of side effects, such as sleeping troubles. There are many reasons why you might want to replace, partially or fully, your allergy medications with more natural treatments. You might have read on some blog that honey can help with that? Can you use honey for allergy treatment?
Can Honey Replace Traditional Immunotherapy?
Some people think that local honey can be given to people with allergies in order to prevent the symptoms. This theory is based on the concept of immunotherapy.
Immunotherapy is a medical treatment for certain types of allergies. Also known as desensitization, it involves giving increasing doses of the allergen (allergy shots) to an allergic person.
Just as allergy shots, honey is believed to expose you to a small amount of your allergen making you less sensitive to it over time. The idea might work, but in practice, there are a few problems.
First, with immunotherapy (allergy shots), you get the treatment at your doctor’s office, and you are given a specific allergen; whereas with honey, even local one, you never know what exactly it’s made off.
Second, pollen that is found in honey is not likely to cause your allergy. In fact, according to allergy experts, insect-borne flower pollen has nothing to do with pollen allergies.
Most seasonal allergies are triggered by pollen coming from trees, weeds, and grasses, such as birch, oak, or ragweed. This fine yellow powder is transported by the wind, by insects, by birds, or by other animals.
Bees that produce honey don’t pick up this type of pollen. Instead, they use brightly colored flowers, whose pollen is usually non-allergenic.
In addition, there is a research study that disproves the theory. During this study, people with allergies were given one tablespoon of locally-produced honey per day. The results showed absolutely no improvement in their symptoms.
Therefore, even if you buy local honey, it won’t prevent your pollen allergy.
Eating Local Honey May Be Risky
When speaking about honey as a potential allergy treatment, people usually mean local honey, not the one found in supermarkets. Unlike supermarket honeys, local kinds are unprocessed, which means they may contain things like bee parts, mold spores, or bacteria.
In rare cases, pollen or bee parts in unprocessed honey can trigger a severe allergic reaction. The symptoms may include itching, hives, as well as swelling of the mouth, throat or skin. Therefore, doctors suggest that people with allergies don’t eat unprocessed honey, since it may be dangerous.
Besides, local honey is not recommended for people allergic to bees. Honey that is not processed or tested may contain some bee venom, which is likely to trigger a serious reaction.
Honey Can Be Helpful
If you have an allergy, you are probably better off avoiding locally produced honey. However, you can still take out some benefits from processed kinds.
Honey can help to alleviate cough by soothing the irritation in the throat. Besides, honey is believed to contain antioxidant fighting viruses.
You can eat it alone or add it to milk, tea or salads. Remember that honey is contraindicated in infants younger than 12 months. Sometimes, a certain toxin found in honey may cause a serious condition known as botulism. Infants are especially at increased risk of developing it.