Sunday, April 19, 2015

3 Minute Consult: Local Honey for Allergies

With Spring comes hay fever, pollen allergies, sore throats and vertigo.  I frequently have patients asking me to recommend OTC allergy medications.  I prefer to use a nasal steroid or a fast acting antihistamine for quick relief, but recently I have been building a top bar bee hive and have been wondering at the benefits of local honey.

The idea behind local honey for allergy prevention is that by ingesting small amounts of the pollen contained in local honey every day that your body will naturally build up immunity.  Some bee keepers add to this idea and add a "pollen trap" at the entrance to the hive.  This pollen trap will brush some of the pollen from the entering bee and then can be used sort of like a vaccine. 

Vaccines work because they introduce small amounts of the allergy causing particle, the "antigen".  So then your body is able to product "antibodies".  The ingestion of daily pollen would be ideal if you were trying to ease your body into producing antibodies that keep you from releasing the histamine that causes watery eyes, sneezing, runny nose, sore throat, etc. 

The caveat of this idea, though, is that the honey has to be local so you can build up immunity to your immediate environment.  Commercial honey or honey shipped from other locations will not have the same antigens that are produced by the pollens in your area.

Contact your local health food store, Craigslist, or beekeeping group to find out if anyone in your area sells local honey!  Its a great way to naturally influence your body's defenses against Spring allergies!

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