You've likely heard the phrase- If you consume local honey, it will help suppress or eliminate your allergies from local pollen sources. Science and the holistic crowds will argue about the results of studies and their methodology.
Raw Local Honey to Help with Allergies
Buying local honey for allergies has been praised by some holistic organizations and websites, and there may be some benefits to believing that seasonal allergies and local raw honey can have a positive impact in suppressing those seasonal allergies or eliminating them, but what does science say?
Theory of Honey Seasonal Allergies
First thing to understand is how allergy ailments are dealt with and the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI) states on their website;
Allergy injections help desensitize pollen-allergic people by exposing them to a specific pollen or pollen mixture injected at regular intervals. An important difference here is that the pollen amounts in allergy injections are known, and progressively increasing to a certain level, for best results.
With local raw honey, there is no control over pollen quantity or source. This certainly indicates that using honey for seasonal allergies may at the very least have inconstancies in quantity and pollen type, as it is nearly impossible for the beekeeper to direct the bees on what plants to visit.
Bees and Flower Pollen
The pollen bees spend most of their time foraging on are normally flowers that are typically not on the list of allergens for those that suffer from seasonal allergies. What is important to note is that raw local honey from trusted local beekeepers contain pollen from the bees foraging unlike processed honey found in big chain stores. The difference is most of that store bought honey is filtered, where as raw honey is at most strained, which means most, if not all the pollen in the honey makes it into the jar of a local beekeepers honey.
Science- Seasonal Allergies Local Raw Honey
There hasn't been much for studies that study the effects of eating honey and its ability to suppress those seasonal allergies, however there are some out there and they mostly indicate the same thing.
Brace yourselves.......... studies have shown that there is no significant positive effect that local raw honey provides in suppressing a persons local seasonal allergies. With that said there are some arguments to be made as raw honey does supply you with local pollen, which is what an allergy shot provides. However, it's the pollen sources that make all the difference as well as the pollen potency.
Studies on Honey Seasonal Allergies
There have been studies throughout the world that have tested these theories;
This is backed up by
Lakiea Wright, MD, an allergist at Women's Hospital in Boston and medical director at Thermo Fisher Scientific;
"Unfortunately, [eating local honey] does not help with allergies because the pollens that bees collect are usually from flowers, which are not as potent and don't provoke your immune system like other pollens (i.e. trees, grasses, and weeds) which cause 'classic' seasonal allergy symptoms," says Dr. Wright.
Does this mean that its case closed, in our opinion, no. One study may show results that another contradicts and its all about the way the study was done and the millions of potential variables the study is exposed to. One thing is for certain at this point however, if you suffer from seasonal allergies its best to talk with your allergy specialist or doctor for helping put a management plan together. Then go buy some local raw honey and take advantage of the other health benefits of honey.