Can Honey Really Cure Allergies (and If So, How?)

Can Honey Really Cure Allergies (and If So, How?)

shutterstock

Can Honey Really Cure Allergies (and If So, How?)

shutterstock

The longtime home remedy for helping with a sore throat has been the focus of studies over the years to establish whether it is also good for curbing allergy symptoms.The jury is still out on that one, but experts agree it won't hurt. 

Eat local honey

istockphoto.com/arinahabich

Locally produced honey contains pollen spores which were picked up by the bees from local plants, Dr. Mercola says. This in turn, introduces a small amount of allergen into your system. Therefore, you should “[eat] honey from your local area in order to build up immunity to the local flora,” Max Wiseberg, airborne allergies expert and creator of the HayMax organic allergen barrier balm, says.

Organic honey

shutterstock

Organic honey is full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that will help boost your immune system. “Eat organic honey as it won’t be full of nasties like pesticides,” Wiseberg says.

Mix it with Nettle tea

istockphoto.com/stray cat

“A couple of spoonfuls [of honey] a day should do the job. It’s really easy – add it to your pancakes, or a hot tea drink,” Wiseberg says. “Nettle tea can help with hay fever so Nettle tea plus honey should be perfect.”

It contains magnesium

istockphoto.com/andresr

Low levels of magnesium are associated with increased risk of developing asthma and allergies. Activation notes that low levels may result in lower measure of several lung functions, including airway flow and lung capacity. This mineral has proven to help relieve constricted airways in the lungs.

It contains vitamin C

shutterstock

Research by the University of Maryland Medical Center notes that one preliminary study suggested children with asthma suffered from less wheezing when they ate a diet rich in foods with vitamin C. They also explain that other studies have determined that taking a vitamin C supplement (1g per day) may help keep airways open.

It contains folate

shutterstock

Researchers have found that people with high blood folate levels have the lowest incidences of allergies and people with low folate levels high the highest incidence, according to WebMD.

Immunotherapy

Shutterstock

The theory behind using local honey is that exposure to pollen in the honey will decrease sensitivity to allergens with time. The appeal of honey is that you are treating symptoms with local pollen, which is exactly what immunotherapy is, Dr. Manav Segal from Chestnut Hill Allergy & Asthma Associates in Philadelphia, says.

Honey in high doses

Shutterstock

The amount of local pollen in honey is likely not big enough to decrease sensitivity, Dr. Segal says. A 2013 study found that honey ingestion at a high dose improves the overall and individual symptoms of allergic rhinitis, and it could serve as a complementary therapy for spring allergies.

Allergies and pollen spread by insects

Shutterstock

“Spring allergies are triggered by windborne pollen, not by pollen spread by insects,” Dr. Segal says. “It’s unlikely that honey collected from plants that do not cause allergy symptoms would provide any benefit in improving allergy symptoms,” he adds.

Pre-seasonal use

Shutterstock

Research has found that patients who preseasonally used birch pollen added to honey (BPH) had significantly better control of their symptoms than those that used conventional medication only, and they had marginally better control compared to those on regular honey. The results were preliminary, but they indicate that BPH could serve as a complementary therapy for allergy.

Pasteurized honey vs. local honey

Shutterstock

A study investigated the effect of pasteurized honey on allergy symptoms compared to local honey and whether either ameliorates the symptoms of allergic rhinoconjunctivitis. One group received locally collected, unpasteurized, unfiltered honey; the second nationally collected, filtered, and pasteurized honey; and the third, corn syrup with synthetic honey flavoring. Researchers found no difference between the placebo and the honey groups.