Can Local Honey Help With Seasonal Allergies?

Thursday, February 9 2012 3:17 PM - by Brett Kappelmann

As the winter wraps up and we head into the spring, we know that the sniffles and sneezing for many people are on their way as well.  What I’m speaking about is seasonal allergies, commonly caused by the release of pollen spores by blossoming flowers in the spring.  There is a theory that honey, especially honey produced locally, can actually reduce the severity of allergies from those allergic to pollen.  But how does that work?

The answer is actually quite interesting.  At this point it is just theory, but the idea behind eating honey is kind of like gradually vaccinating the body against allergens, a process called immunotherapy. Honey contains a variety of the same pollen spores that give allergy sufferers so much trouble when flowers and grasses are in bloom. Introducing these spores into the body in small amounts by eating honey should make the body accustomed to their presence and decrease the chance an immune system response like the release of histamine will occur. Since the concentration of pollen spores found in honey is low -- compared to, say, sniffing a flower directly -- then the production of antibodies shouldn't trigger symptoms similar to an allergic reaction.  Ideally, the honey-eater won't have any reaction at all.

Local honey is supposed to pack more of a punch against allergies.  This proximity increases the chances that the varieties of flowering plants and grasses giving the allergy sufferer trouble are the same kinds the bees are including in the honey they produce. After all, it wouldn't help much if you ate honey with spores from a type of grass that grows in Augusta, Georgia if you suffer from allergies in Augusta, Kansas.

So support your local beekeepers before picking up honey from the grocery store produced by bees miles and miles away.  That decision may just be beneficial to your health!  I am happy to announce that we sell honey produced locally by beekeeper Richard Harvey at Cooper Drug Store.  Stop by and see us!