Using Honey to Treat Allergies
- Buy locally-farmed raw honey.Favor honey made by bees who, in their travels, collect traces of pollen found in your area.Choose raw honey over processed, since processed honey is less likely to contain pollen after being heated, pasteurized, and filtered.If there are no bee farms in your immediate area, sample raw honey from elsewhere.
- Visit local farmers markets or natural food stores to find locally sourced honey.Alternately, search online for the nearest bee farm.
- If you shop outside your area and know exactly which pollen triggers your allergies, research the farm’s location to make sure the same type of plant grows there.
- If you don’t know which pollen you’re allergic to, search for the bee farm that is nearest to home to better ensure a similar environment to your own.
- Take small daily doses.Strengthen your body’s tolerance to allergens by ingesting a little bit of honey each day. Condition yourself with a limited intake of 1 tablespoon of honey per day. Avoid taking more than this, since you may end up ingesting more pollen than your body can handle at present.
- Either consume a tablespoon by itself, or apply the honey directly to other foods, like toast.
- Do not use your daily dose to cook or bake. Heat may destroy the pollen in the honey, thus rendering it ineffective.
- Adding honey to a hot beverage, such as tea, should be fine, since the beverage’s temperature is unlikely to be high enough to destroy the pollen.
- Start early.Expect your body to require some time to strengthen its tolerance against allergens. Do not wait for the pollen season to start before beginning your treatment. Begin as early as possible so your body has the most amount of time to adjust to daily exposure.
Understanding the Limitations and Risks
- Take your honey “with a grain of salt.”Be aware that studies on this subject are inconclusive. Some have indicated that people do experience lighter allergy symptoms thanks to honey. Others have found little to no difference in symptoms between those who use honey and those who don’t.Keep your usual allergy medication on hand in case your honey proves to be ineffective.
- Expect low to zero amounts of offending pollen in your honey.Consider it highly likely that you are allergic to weeds, grasses, and/or trees. Understand that bees chiefly pollinate flowers, and are therefore unlikely to come into contact with other kinds. Even if you are in the minority of people who are allergic to flowers, be aware that bees do not intentionally bring pollen back to their hive, and so their honey may not contain enough pollen to make a substantial impact on your immune system.
- Expect more than just honey in your jar.When buying raw honey, understand that it has not been pasteurized, heated, or filtered. Raw honey may contain bacteria and mold, as well as bee venom and body parts.Do not consume raw honey if you are allergic to bee stings.
- Anticipate possible allergic reactions.Be aware that, in addition to other possible allergens like bee venom and body parts, raw honey may possibly contain concentrated amounts of the very pollen that you are allergic to. Understand that there is no way to control or distribute the amount of pollen in raw honey. If you are extremely susceptible to allergic reactions from even small traces of pollen, avoid using raw honey as a remedy.
- Discontinue use if you experience swelling, itching, or hives on your skin, in your mouth, or in your throat.
- Only give honey to children older than 12 months.Never give honey (whether it’s raw or processed) to infants. Beware of toxins that may cause botulism in babies, which can be life-threatening. Seek immediate emergency care if your child shows the following symptoms after ingesting honey:
- Constipation, lack of appetite, and weakened muscles evidenced by loss of appetite, listlessness, feeble crying, pronounced floppiness, and a lack of strong facial expressions.
Trying Bee Pollen as an Alternative
- Control your daily intake.Understand that bee pollen only makes up a fraction of a percent of an average sample of raw honey.Ensure that you are consuming a more sufficient amount of bee pollen each day by taking bee pollen directly instead. At the same time, eliminate the risk of dosing yourself with more than you intended, which may happen with raw honey.
- Although the amount of bee pollen in honey may not be effective in combating allergy symptoms, thyme honey has proven to be effective against them thanks to other ingredients.Combining processed thyme honey with local bee pollen may allow you to fight symptoms in general while building a stronger immunity to specific pollens.
- Do not consume bee pollen if you know that you are allergic to bee stings or if you have suffered anaphylactic shock in the past.
- Consult your doctor about using bee pollen if you are pregnant, nursing, or using blood thinners.
- Buy local products.Visit a natural food store or farmer's market to find bee pollen from a local source. Make sure that you are going to be consuming pollen that is found in your area, thus containing those pollens that you are allergic to. Failing a local source, purchase a bee pollen that features a wide array of colors. This indicates a wider variety of pollen types, increasing the chances that it includes the one you need.
- Bee pollen is available as a liquid, pill, or powder; however, best results are often found with bee pollen that hasn’t been processed.
- Test your tolerance.Before you begin taking daily doses, test your current sensitivity to the pollen’s ingredients. Place a very small dab of liquid, powder, or granules on the tip of your tongue and then close your mouth. Hold it there for two minutes. As long as you experience no allergy symptoms, swallow the measure. Wait another 24 hours before beginning your daily regime, just in case any delayed reactions manifest.
- Discontinue use if you suffer an allergic reaction to such a little amount.
- Work your way up.Start off with small daily doses of a half-teaspoon or even less. Pay close attention to your body to spot allergic reactions if and when they occur. As long as you are clear, slowly increase your intake over a four-week schedule, with the aim of consuming 1 to 3 tablespoons each day afterward.
- Be careful not to rush the process. If a larger amount causes allergy symptoms, cut back to an amount that proved safe and stick with that for a while before attempting another increase.