Is Honey a Cure-All for Hay Fever?

Hay fever affects more than 20 percent of the population. Many of those suffering prefer to rely on complementary and alternative remedies rather than take medications. One such alternative remedy that is widely used but hasn’t been proven effective in clinical studies is honey.

Honey for allergies? It has been hypothesized that regularly eating honey may help fight allergies by gradually “vaccinating” the body against allergens like pollen because it contains the same spores that give allergy-sufferers so much trouble. The idea is that over time, the body gets used to the allergens and stops reacting to them. The catch is that it has to be locally produced honey, as pollen spores from another state may not be the same ones causing allergy symptoms where you live.

The other catch is that it hasn’t been proven to work, no matter how ardently honey-lovers swear by it.  Most recently, a study conducted at the University of Connecticut Health Center found that neither a daily spoonful of locally collected, unpasteurized, unfiltered honey nor nationally collected, filtered and pasteurized honey improved allergy symptoms.

If you like honey, there’s no reason to stop eating it, but don’t count on it to magically cure your hay fever. Hmmm, we wonder if Winnie the Pooh had less allergies than other bears?

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