Can Local Honey Help Your Allergies

I’ve been hearing this for a while, and in theory, it makes a lot of sense. I don’t know a lot about bees and honey production, but I do know something about the biology behind immunizations. If your body encounters a small amount of something that triggers an immune response, all the cells that make up that response have a reaction similar to, “Hmmm, what’s this interesting foreign body? Let’s figure out the best way to manage this. We could probably learn a thing or two from figuring out the best way to get rid of this.” Then, when they encounter a larger amount, they know exactly what to do. The cells our our immune systems are incredibly fast learners. But, when they get smacked in the face all at once by an army, they break out every counter-attack and defense they have in their arsenal, which is when we get all of the symptoms of an allergy. They are annoying, but they are in place to protect us — and to sell Kleenex.

Knowing this, it makes sense local honey could act as a daily little dose of the pollen we will encounter near where we live, so that our immune system can calmly, and without overreacting, figure out how to manage this thing it sees as foreign. For our survival, foreign is seen as bad, even if it isn’t incredibly harmful.

It makes sense, but what does the science actually say? I checked it out because I knee jerk bought local honey for my son, Charlie, who suffers with seasonal allergies. I’d get him just about anything to make him feel better. Young boys should be playing outside, not inside doing netti pots and ODing on Zyrtec. Someone said it would help, so I got it. It’s delicious, but does it work?

Shoot! The science says no. It can help with a cough, and it tastes great over berries or in tea, but the type of pollen that is in bee honey, is likely not the type of pollen you are allergic to. That pollen comes from colorful flowers, and you are probably allergic to the pollen from the weeds, trees and grasses that get stirred up by wind. I really did want a quick fix.

Back to the traditional. Here are some regular, boring tips for managing allergies.┬áThese actually help, but they aren’t as easy as a spoonful of honey. Sorry!

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Author: Karen Latimer

Dr. Latimer is a Family Physician and Wellness & Parenting Coach. She works with parents who want to feel more confident when helping their children and coaches young adults to help them better navigate college life and transitions. Contact her at drkarenlatimer@gmail.com to learn more. She is the author of two Audible Originals, Take Back the House -- Raising Happy Parents and Worry Less, Parent Better. She is also the co-founder of the app that makes your life easier and puts social in a healthier place -- List'm.

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