Honey for allergies- does it work?
A lot of people believe that having honey for hay fever symptoms can help them to feel better. It has been reported that a number of sufferers have found local honey to be a relief from their symptoms. But is it really effective?
It might sound too good to be true at first, but many people around the world swear by the benefits of having honey as an allergy reliever. A study was done with participants who were given hay fever symptoms with pollen exposure and one group was given local honey and another group was not, they then tracked the symptoms over the next 24 hours. After 24 hours, those who had been given honey had reduced symptoms than those who had not been given any treatment at all. The study concluded that those who were treated with local honey experienced a reduced duration of coughing, less nasal congestion, and reduced sore throat. Studies have also shown that local honey produced from plants in your area can help reduce hay fever symptoms by boosting immunity against plant pollens.
However, the placebo effect has been shown in research on hay fever - people who consume honey reported that their symptoms improved and decreased over time, even though there was no change in their diet. It's hypothesized that this could be because people feel like they're trying something new and exciting. It can also lead people to believe that eating honey for allergies will improve their condition.
Spring and summer hay fever are caused by an allergic reaction to airborne tree and grass pollen. Honey predominantly contains pollen from flowering plants collected by the bees and not carried by the wind. So the idea that local honey helps hay fever symptoms because it exposes the sufferer to small amounts of local airborne pollen may not play an important role as once thought. However, pollen levels in the air are very high during spring and summer and trace amounts of grass pollen in particular do occur in samples of honey.
Other reasons why honey may work for allergies:
Honey acts as an anti-inflammatory agent due to its low pH, high sugar content and high fructose content. These properties may reduce allergic inflammation in the body, reducing symptoms of allergy. The lack of pollen in pasteurised honey makes no difference because there are other substances present in honey that have been shown to have anti-allergic properties. Honey provides respiratory protection for those who suffer from hay fever or other respiratory allergies due to its ability to coat the throat lining with a thin layer of lipids which prevents allergens from coming into contact with the airway. Honey has also been found to reduce histamine levels in allergic patients and therefore can reduce allergy symptoms such as sneezing, itching, and runny nose.
In conclusion, many people say that local honey helps with their hay fever symptoms and believe this is because it contains the pollen from plants growing in their local area. This may be just one of the reasons it works against allergies so that honey not from a local source can also be effective at reducing allergy symptoms. However, since most local honey is raw honey ie not pasteurised (heated) and retains more of its natural properties, raw honey is probably most effective at helping hay fever sufferers.