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    Seasonal Sneezing - Does Honey Help With Allergies?


    What causes seasonal allergies?

    It all starts with microscopic protein particles called pollen, which are made by the male parts of flowers and tree blossoms. When these tiny particles come into contact with female flower parts, a seed is created. Pollen spreads from plant to plant by floating through the air or by catching a ride on insects, birds or other animals. This process of crosspollination results in stronger more hardy plants. How do these tiny protein particles end up causing so much misery for so many people?

    It all starts with microscopic protein particles called pollen, which are made by the male parts of flowers and tree blossoms. When these tiny particles come into contact with female flower parts, a seed is created. Pollen spreads from plant to plant by floating through the air or by catching a ride on insects, birds or other animals. This process of crosspollination results in stronger more hardy plants. How do these tiny protein particles end up causing so much misery for so many people?


    How did you become sensitized to pollen?

    There are two possible explanations. First, genetics. Pollen sensitivity can be passed from generation to generation via genetic coding. If you are in this category, then you can thank your parents or grandparents. A second possible explanation is something called "co-infection." If maybe you had a bad cold or the flu at the same time that a certain plant pollen was prevalent, then your immune system may have mistakenly concluded that this pollen caused your cold or flu. This could explain why some people can live for years in a certain location without any issues and then, all of the sudden, they develop pollen allergies.

    After you become sensitized, when pollen particles enter through your nose, eyes or mouth, your immune system springs into action. Immune cells start producing protein particles called anti-bodies. These anti-bodies are similar to pitchforks. They pick up the pollen and transport it over to the nearest white blood cells. Upon contact, your white blood cells immediately release a class of chemicals called "histamines." These histamines trigger your body to start itching, watering, sneezing and wheezing in an effort to expel the pollen from your body through your eyes, nose and mouth. These symptoms continue as long as pollen continues to enter the body, or until the pollen sensitivity subsides.


    How do common allergy medications work?

    Most common allergy medications are antihistamines. These chemicals are designed to interfere with your natural immune system and stop the body from releasing histamines. Some medications are combined with decongestants, which reduce the fluid in the lining of your nose. This, in turn, reduces congestion and swelling. Common allergy medications can provide full or partial relief from your coughing, wheezing and sneezing, depending on genetics (again) and the severity of the pollen season.


    Does honey help with allergies?

    This is actually a more controversial question than you might think. On one side of the debate are those who say that scientific studies do not support the claim that using raw honey for allergies is beneficial. It is interesting how this side includes a number of allergy doctors and drug companies. On the other side are thousands of testimonials from people who have tried it and who say that honey does help with allergies. For example, one customer from Mississippi told us: "I take tupelo honey every day for allergies. I have not sneezed from hay fever or been unable to breath for a few years." It should be no surprise that beekeepers tend to be in this second group.


    Why is honey good for allergies?

    Assuming that raw honey does provide some relief from pollen allergies, how might it work? The theory is simple. Honey in beehives contains pollen particles from the trees and plants visited by bees. Bees bring in this pollen voluntarily (packed onto their hind legs) and involuntarily (sticking to the tiny hairs on their bodies). If the honey is not filtered during harvesting and processing, then this pollen remains in the honey that we eat. But the pollen levels found in raw honey are relatively low. In addition, raw honey contains various beneficial enzymes, vitamins and minerals. In this harmonious combination, over time and with repeated exposure, your body may become less sensitive to the pollen. So, in some way, your immune system is being reprogrammed to stop reacting to pollen as a bad thing. Once this relearning is completed, pollen no longer triggers the negative reactions of before.

    This effect, however, is definitely gradual and does not work for everyone. We know of one case where a father was cured of his moderate springtime allergies by using raw honey daily, but his son ate the same honey and it did nothing for his pollen sensitivity.


    What is the best honey for allergies?

    Any good quality raw honey still contains plenty of pollen and would be a good choice. You might want to use a polyfloral honey from many different plants from your area or region. It does not necessarily need to be from a beehive within 50 miles of your house as long as the flora visited by the bees are the same or similar to the flora that are causing your allergies. In essence, the best honey for allergies is any raw honey you actually try. Don’t let it sit on the shelf. At the first sneeze, use raw honey to relieve allergies right away.


    How much honey should I take for allergies?

    In our experience, for best results, at least 2 teaspoons of good quality, raw honey should be consumed daily throughout the entire year. And if you are just starting with raw honey, then you should begin this regimen well in advance of springtime (like the winter before)


    What about eating honeycomb?

    DeForest Clinton Jarvis graduated from the University of Vermont Medical College in 1904 and opened a private medical clinic in Barre, Vermont in 1909. Only a few patients were coming into his office, and he wanted to know why. When he started asking around, the locals replied that they always used home remedies for their illnesses. Only when such remedies failed did they seek out a doctor. For Dr. Jarvis, that started a life-long study of home remedies, eventually leading to the publication of his best-selling book "Folk Medicine" in 1958. One of the folk remedies that receives a lot of attention in his book is honey and honeycomb. In the chapter on honey, Dr. Jarvis notes: "Vermont folk medicine divides hay fever into three classes: mild, moderately severe and severe. Its treatment is both preventative and symptomatic. If honeycomb cappings are chewed once a day for one month before the expected hay fever date, the hay fever will either not appear or will be mild in character. "There is not a lot of scientific study regarding this claim. But it does make logical sense. Honeycomb will have even more pollen particles than raw honey. Plus, honeycomb and beeswax may contain additional, beneficial substances that are not necessarily present in honey alone. So as Dr. Jarvis concludes, there is at least enough anecdotal evidence to give plausibility to this time-tested remedy of eating raw honey and chewing on raw honeycomb.

    Raw Honeycomb
    Raw Honeycomb
    Raw Honeycomb
    Raw Honeycomb

    Raw Honeycomb

    $12.95
    Honey and Comb Combo
    Honey and Comb Combo

    Honey and Comb Combo

    $23.00


    Will consuming raw honey relieve my allergies?

    Raw honey can be a valuable component of your overall treatment for allergy relief. Results vary and might depend on your individual immune system response to pollen. If you are in the lucky group that gets good results from raw honey for allergies, thank the bees and pass along the honey to the next sneezer in the house.