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Dr Russ Blog - Local Honey for your Allergies?
Local Honey for your Allergies?
Created on 5/21/2010

K asked about the use of local honey to treat allergy symptoms, a topic that has been getting increased attention of late.

The theory behind using raw, local honey to treat allergies seems reasonable. Consider that bees move from flower to flower, and that small amounts of pollen from these plants find their way into honey. Eating honey regularly would theoretically expose a person to small amounts of pollen on a consistent basis and hopefully calm their immune system's response to pollen, and decrease allergy symptoms.


1) Many people wtih allergies to pollen, etc will be allergic to honey. There are medical reports of people experiencing anaphylaxis (a severe, life-threatening form of allergic response) when exposed to honey.

2) Only very, very small quantities of pollen might end up in honey, and many people are also allergic to compounds from plants that do not end up in honey.

3) There is almost no medical research on the topic.

There is a growing amount of supportive medical literature on the use of honey for wound care, especially burns, but store bought honey shouldn't be used for this purpose. Most of the research in this regard has been done using medicinal honey, like manuka honey. Of course, always seek medical attention for serious wounds before trying to care for them on your own!

Other data suggest that honey may be helpful in controlling childhood cough, but remember never to give honey to children under age 1 year - doing so puts them at great risk.

Honey tastes good (!), but as a sweetener differs very little from table sugar, and might even be a little worse for you because it tends to stick to the teeth, possibly promoting the development of cavities (brush your teeth after enjoying honey).

Even though the theory behind using raw, local honey to treat allergies seems logical, K, there's no medical reason to recommend it just yet, but there are actually some medical reasons to avoid it.

I hope this helps! Be well.
Dr. Russ

** Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment. **

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