Q. Will ingesting local honey help alleviate the terrible allergy symptoms I experience every spring?
A. Although local honey may help the symptoms of spring allergies, it hasn’t been proven in the recent scientific literature. The belief that local honey consumption helps with pollen allergies is a widespread belief in this area. I have read publications stating that ingestion of local honey may improve allergy symptoms. This is plausible because locally grown honey may contain very small amounts of local plant pollens. Upon ingestion of the honey, an immunologic response may be triggered and the patient may have improved allergic symptoms. However, the truth is that the scientific literature does not support this notion. For those with spring allergies, allergy shots are the most effective research-proven treatment available. There have been several placebo-controlled studies done to research the treatment of allergies with honey and none of them have shown improvement of allergic symptoms upon the ingestion of locally grown honey. Although rare, the scientific literature has reported severe allergic reactions to honey, called anaphylaxis. In short, if ingestion of honey makes you feel better and causes no harm, enjoy!
Dr. Susan Raschal, D.O.
Covenant Allergy & Asthma Care
1350 Mackey Branch Drive, Suite 114
Chattanooga, TN 37421