People say that small doses of honey help to improve the symptoms of seasonal allergies. However, this product belongs to the group of allergens and can cause inflammation by itself. Is it harmless to use honey as a cure for allergy?
Some people say that natural honey is an effective remedy for allergies. Can eating honey reduce seasonal symptoms? Are there any reasons to use caution?
It is a widespread notion that eating locally grown honey helps to treat allergies and asthma. Bee pollen can be bought without a prescription at any food store and the majority of cans are marketed as a natural remedy that can reduce inflammation.
Bee pollen is also commercially available in the form of jelly and propolis. The theory behind the medical use of honey stands upon the fact that it carries various advantageous ingredients, including components of bees and pollen allergens.
At the same time, about 40 million people in the USA suffer from symptoms of seasonal allergies to pollen. So, how does it work? And does it work at all?
Studies on Allergies and Honey
In order to show the effectiveness of a new medicine, it is compared to placebo. The role of honey was studied during two researches concerning allergic rhinitis.
In 2002, the researchers compared two types of honey that were produced locally and nationally against placebo. The research was held among people with pollen allergy. Said enough that there was no alteration of allergy symptoms in all three groups of participants. However, almost one in three of the allergy patients dropped out of the research because it was too much for them to eat one tablespoon of the sweet substance every day.
In 2013, during the study in Malaysia, there was a slight positive change related to eating honey. The participants who ate a gram of honey for each kilo of their weight per day had improved allergic rhinitis symptoms when compared to people that ate the same amounts of corn syrup with honey flavor.
Today experts agree that it is necessary to arrange some more studies for further investigations of the possible benefits of natural honey in people with allergies.
Is Locally Produced Product Better than National?
Locally produced honey includes local plant pollens that cause the allergic reaction among the residents of the region, so it is thought to be the preferential product for treating allergies. Consuming honey that is made from pollen to which a patient has allergy should improve its symptoms – it makes sense just like sublingual immunotherapy. The fact that a few people had a severe reaction – anaphylaxis – from eating honey shows that it contains enough active ingredients to stimulate the immune system.
Is Eating Honey Dangerous for Allergic People?
All-in-all, honey is harmless for most people who tend to be allergic, but in certain cases a great amount of this product can even cause anaphylaxis. So, the question can have two answers.
On one side, consuming local honey may sound like a great idea for improving your allergic symptoms. On the other hand, it could be a cause of a severe and life-threatening allergic reaction.
Consequently, patients with allergy may be most sensitive to dangerous reactions from consuming locally produced honey, due to the venom and pollen in its composition.
To crown it all, we should admit that the benefit of eating natural honey for allergies is just a placebo effect. In the meantime, such “treatment” carries a huge, though rare risk of causing a serious allergic reaction.
However, this product is extremely beneficial for healthy people, especially as a dietary supplement and a wound healing product.
It is better to take some other natural remedies for asthma and allergies into account. We are talking about quercetin and omega-3 fatty acids. Nettle and herbs butterbur have also shown good results during studies regarding allergy. If you are bothered with seasonal allergic reactions, you can also try nasal irrigations and acupuncture.