How can honey, specifically local honey, help combat allergies?
— Sneezy in South ParkDear Sneezy,
This is a great question and we can definitely explain the buzz surrounding local honey.
We all know that when allergy season strikes, you look for relief that will alleviate your symptoms naturally. For that reason, more and more people are turning to local honey, one of nature’s perfect foods, to eliminate their watery eyes, scratchy throat and headaches of the spring/summer seasons.
Natural honey gradually vaccinates the body against allergens in a process called immunotherapy. Because honey contains a variety of the same pollen spores that give allergy sufferers so much trouble when those same flowers and grasses are in bloom, it only makes sense that introducing these spores into the body in small amounts by eating honey should make the body accustomed to their presence and decrease the chance an immune system response like the release of histamine will occur. Since the concentration of pollen spores found in honey is low—compared to sniffing a flower directly—the production of antibodies shouldn’t trigger symptoms similar to an allergic reaction. Ideally, a honey-eater won’t have any reaction at all after a week of a honey regimen. Some individuals may suffer an allergic reaction to honey and children under 12 months of age whose immune systems haven’t fully developed shouldn’t eat honey at all.
If you are planning an anti-allergy strategy, local honey is generally accepted as the best variety to use. Local honey is produced by bees usually within a few miles of where the person eating the honey lives. Sunny Bridge Natural Foods use local honey vendors to ensure freshness and supply.
There is no hard and fast rule of thumb on how local the honey has to be, but honey enthusiasts suggest the closer, the better. Local proximity increases the chances that the varieties of flowering plants and grasses giving the allergy sufferer trouble are the same kinds the bees are including in the honey they produce. After all, it wouldn’t help much if you ate honey with spores from a type of grass that grows in Michigan if you suffer from allergies from plants found in Georgia.
Make your day a sunny day!