Allergy and hay fever sufferers know that symptoms can greatly impact one’s qualify of life. As such, many people search high and low for cures or remedies to alleviate symptoms. Sometimes, they stumble on questionable advice or old wives’ tales in their quest to do anything that helps take away the irritation, sneezing, and stuffy noses. Unfortunately, many of these “cures” are simply myths that don’t do anything to address the underlying problem or help much with symptoms.
According to numerous studies and scientific evidence, eating honey produced by local bees can also be debunked as a myth when it comes to being a remedy or preventative measure for allergies and hay fever. The all-natural approach touted as a cure-all doesn’t actually work at all.
The idea behind this myth is simple in theory, but doesn’t really work in practice. Here’s why:
- The concept of honey helping with allergies is based on the logic that an allergic reaction is caused by the body’s overreaction to an allergen, such as pollen. Because pollen is used by bees when making honey, allergy sufferers can eat honey and expose themselves to small doses of pollen, which is the allergen they are allergic to. This will help the body develop a tolerance to pollen and eventually stop overacting when exposed to it. Right?
- The logic behind this theory is immunotherapy, which is a method of treatment that uses the body’s own immune system to fight reactions or diseases.
- The problem with the theory is that it is wrong in several ways. First, because bees actually make honey using nectar, not pollen, there is a miniscule amount of pollen present in honey. Second, what little pollen is present in honey is not even the right type of pollen. Most pollen that produces allergies comes from local trees, grasses, and weeds, including ragweed, not from flowers where bees get nectar. Additionally, immunotherapy uses controlled and isolated allergens to treat patients and medical professionals work to ensure patients don’t experience reactions when trying to desensitize the body. There are also health risks to consuming raw and unprocessed honey, as it can contain bee parts, mold, and bacteria.
In a 2002 study conducted by the University of Connecticut, over 30 people who suffered from hay fever were divided into separate groups and either given local and unpasteurized honey, non-local honey purchased in a store, and corn syrup with artificial honey flavor added. After evaluating patient symptoms and seeing no improvement in any group, researchers concluded there was no evidence to support that honey can help with hay fever or allergies. Other studies have found similar results and the medical community generally considers the honey cure to be a myth.
While eating honey may not actually help your allergies, there is typically no reason why most allergy sufferers can’t still enjoy it. There are also better treatment options and approaches available for people who suffer from allergies and hay fever, including those provided by our team of Board Certified specialists at the Center for Allergy and Asthma of Georgia. Our specialists and support staff can help you better understand the underlying cause of your symptoms and provide proven treatment that helps you obtain much needed relief. We offer a comprehensive treatment approach and 24/7 booking online.