Sweet Remedy? Treating Allergies with Honey

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You may have noticed the yellow-green dusting of pollen covering just about everything outside this spring.

While many people find all that pollen to be a major annoyance, some say eating honey containing local pollen is a natural way to fight allergies.

This time of year, beekeepers Patty and Matt Stewart get lots of requests for their honey from people wanting relief from itchy eyes and stuffy noses caused by springtime allergies.

"They swear by it and ask if we have dandelion honey, I say, you bet," Matt Stewart said.

The theory is bees, in addition to collecting nectar, also collect pollen. Since locally-produced honey contains that pollen to which local people are allergic, eating the sticky sweet substance decreases their sensitivity to the yellow powder.

"When there is little granules of pollen in the honey, you actually build a resistance to it," Patty Stewart explained.

People who advocate this treatment say for it to work you have to buy honey that's local, raw and unfiltered.

Although there is plenty of anecdotal evidence, there is little scientific evidence that honey effectively treats allergies.

In perhaps the best study looking at honey and allergies, the University of Connecticut studied 36 volunteers who were given local, raw honey, a nationally-distributed honey, or honey flavored corn syrup. No differences were found among participants.

So while beekeepers continue to sell honey to people suffering from allergies, whether this home remedy works is still up in the air.

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Lorie  Johnson

Lorie Johnson

CBN News Medical Reporter

Lorie Johnson reports on the latest information about health and wellness. Since medicine is constantly changing, she makes sure CBN News viewers are up-to-date on what they need to know in order to live a healthy life.  Follow Lorie on Twitter @LorieCBN and "like" her at Facebook.com/LorieJohnsonCBN.