HoneyBy: Mau – Northampton, MA

Many of us suffer from allergies, especially at this time of year. It is believed that eating a bit of local raw (uncooked, unpasteurized) honey can alleviate nasty allergy symptoms. Often allergies are caused by seasonal pollen. Spring is high time for many pollinating trees.

Here’s the idea: bees collect bits of pollen from a variety of trees, bushes, grasses, etc. and they embrue their honey with tiny doses of this cocktail of potential allergens. If we eat honey from local bees we are “vaccinating” ourselves with micro doses of these pollens, thus building up our tolerance to their aggravating effects.
This seems like pretty sound logic, except its not complete.
Some plants are pollinated by insects while others are pollinated by wind. Honeybees collect pollen from insect-pollinated plants and its the airborne pollen from the wind-pollinators that’s getting into our noses, eyes, throats, etc. It’s possible that the pollen micro dose we get from local honey can keep our bodies fit for dealing with the airborne pollen when it comes, but there is no conclusive evidence of this.

I would still argue that raw local honey is beneficial in many ways:

  • Anti-inflammatory – a great plus in dealing with allergies and other common ailments. Many researches, doctors, and clinicians are pointing at inflammation as the culprit to chronic diseases.
  • Blood sugar – Raw honey has shown to lower blood glucose levels in diabetes [1], and daily intake of raw honey has shown to stabilize the metabolic irregularities caused by diabetes mellitus[2].
  • Cholesterol – Research has shown that raw honey can help balance cholesterol levels.[3]
  • Antibacterial – Raw honey, particularly darker varieties, has excellent antibacterial properties. It can be used internally to fight infection and also externally on scrapes and simple wounds.

Though it’s inconclusive whether raw honey can serve as a “vaccine” for spring allergies. It is absolutely a sweet and healthy delight that can help your body steer clear of some of the aggravations of daily living.
Note: Although honey is very safe remedy for older individuals, it should never be given to children under 1 year of age.

[1] Al-Waili, Noori S. Natural honey lowers plasma glucose, C-reactive protein, homocysteine, and blood lipids in healthy, diabetic, and hyperlipidemic subjects: comparison with dextrose and sucrose.
J Med Food. 2004. Volume 7. Number 1. Pages 100–107. Month Spring.
[2] Abdulrhman MM, El-Hefnawy MH, Aly RH, Shatla RH, Mamdouh RM, Mahmoud DM, Mohamed WS. Metabolic effects of honey in type 1 diabetes mellitus: a randomized crossover pilot study. J Med Food. 2013 Jan;16(1):66-72. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2012.0108. Epub 2012 Dec 20.
[3] Alagwu EAOkwara JENneli ROOsim EE. Effect of honey intake on serum cholesterol, triglycerides and lipoprotein levels in albino rats and potential benefits on risks of coronary heart disease. Niger J Physiol Sci. 2011 Dec 20;26(2):161-5.