Why You Shouldn't Rely On Honey For Allergy Relief

Allergens seem like Mother Nature's way of making it clear that humans come second to everything else in nature. Perhaps that's why so many of us suffer every year with runny noses, itchy eyes, and uncontrollable sneezing fits. In fact, over 50 million Americans have experienced the symptoms of an allergic reaction at some point during their lifetime (via Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America).

For so many, the spring and summer seasons are synonymous with hay fever. While there are several OTC medicines available to treat these pesky symptoms, you may have also tried more natural remedies such as targeted supplements, sinus washes, or even honey. Mental Floss reports that eating local bee honey is a popular home remedy used by those with allergies. It's certainly wishful thinking that something as simple (and delicious) as eating honey every day would be a magic cure for allergic reactions, but what do the experts say about it?

Science says honey won't help allergy symptoms

According to the Cleveland Clinic, people have allergic reactions when the body has a reaction to an invader — such as pollen — triggering a defensive response by the immune system. Mental Floss notes that honey is publicized as a simple way of alleviating seasonal allergies because it contains pollen and, when ingested, helps the body to build up resistance over time.

Science Focus disagrees, citing a 2002 study out of the University of Connecticut which sampled three types of honey, all failing to make an impact on hay fever reactions. The publication shares that the pollen contained in honey is actually from flowers, which are not responsible for the majority of seasonal allergy symptoms generally caused by trees and grasses.

Eat This, Not That! agrees that honey is not an effective remedy for allergies, explaining that it contains such a small amount of pollen that its effect is negligible. The publication goes on to say that people who are extremely sensitive to pollen may actually suffer adverse effects from eating honey, as the pollen contained within it could cause an allergic reaction itself.

The bottom line is, while local honey may be a great addition to your afternoon tea, it's not a cure for your seasonal allergies.