Every year, springtime means constant sneezing and itchy eyes for those with seasonal allergies. While the blooming trees and flowers are beautiful, the pollen that comes along with them is not as enticing. People looking for a treatment to help with their sufferings may have heard that honey can help minimize your allergy symptoms. This is unfortunately not the case.

The Concept:

The belief is that raw, unprocessed honey can help minimize allergy symptoms by regularly exposing you to pollen. This is based on the concept of immunotherapy, or allergy shots. The constant exposure to allergens will help desensitize your body, helping decrease the reaction your body has to the allergen. With immunotherapy, the amount of allergen you are being exposed to is steadily increased and you are always aware of the amount you are exposing your body to.

Eating unprocessed honey will not have the same effect because the amount of pollen is unknown. Even when consistently consuming honey, you will be unaware of the quantity of pollen exposure. Unprocessed honey contains very small amounts of pollen, and it is mostly pollen from flowers. Bees pollinate flowers, while the wind spreads tree and grass pollen. People are less likely to have an allergic reaction to flowers as opposed to tree and grass pollen. Most of the pollen found in unprocessed honey is flower pollen. While there are some small trace amounts of tree and grass pollen in honey, this is considered a contaminant and will not be a large enough amount to be used to decrease your body’s sensitivity. This will not help seasonal allergy symptoms.

There is no scientific evidence that eating honey will reduce your seasonal allergy symptoms. For those who are suffering throughout the year, allergy immunotherapy might be the right treatment plan. Talk with an allergist to find the best possible treatment for your environmental allergies, and enjoy honey for its taste, not to desensitize yourself to pollen. To schedule an appointment with a board-certified allergist at National Allergy & ENT, call (843) 797-8162 or schedule online.

Source: American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology