Raw honey for allergies is a widespread belief and practice that has been used for ages. Many people believe that eating small amounts of raw honey is a remedy for seasonal allergies. While scientific studies show that allergy shots are effective in dealing with seasonal allergies, there is no adequate proof that eating local honey on a regular basis will improve allergy symptoms. Here is more on facts and myths about raw honey for allergies, how much for treatment, side effects of eating honey for allergies.
Raw Honey for Allergies
What is raw honey? Raw honey is pure, unheated, unpasteurized and unprocessed. This property preserves all the natural vitamins, enzymes, phytonutrients and other nutritional elements. For this reason true raw honey is quite different from processed, commercial honey. This honey is as it exists in the beehive or as obtained by straining, settling or extraction. It has also not been heated above 118 degrees Fahrenheit.
Raw honey contains small amounts ofpollen from the environment- from flowers where bees are found and airborne pollen from trees, grass and weeds. Pollen, just like bee parts, mold spores and bacteria is considered a contaminant and therefore removed during commercial processing. This is what gives raw unprocessed honey a heads-up in allergy relief.
Conventionally, people allergic to pollen are given allergy injections that desensitize them by exposing them to small amounts of specific pollen or a pollen mixture. This is called immunotherapy. These types of pollen given in shots are known and studies have shown that increasing the amounts to certain levels gives great results.
This is the basis on which raw honey is used in small amounts every day to improve allergy symptoms. It is believed that taking a spoonful of pure honey every day can build your immunity against allergens with gradual exposure.
According to doctoroz.com, “Taking a high-quality raw local honey for two months before allergy season can actually lessen your allergies. Bees carry the pollen that aggravates seasonal allergies, and some of that pollen becomes part of the honey. Consuming honey daily before allergy season can help your body grow accustomed to the pollen and immunize your body against it.”
Raw Honey for Allergies Dosage
How much raw honey for allergies? This depends on what type of allergy for which you are using honey raw for. Raw honey for seasonal allergies might not work for all people and all types of allergies. Taking a teaspoon in the morning and evening is the recommended raw honey for allergies dosage. This can be however increased depending on what recipe you decide to make of it. In tea you can use as much as a tablespoonful. Remember that raw honey should be taken in moderation. Too much of it could cause high sugar levels in diabetics, stomach upsets, bloating and diarrhea.
Keep in mind that any honey is too much for an infant.
According to livestrong.com, Honey has the same relative sweetness and chemical backbone as table sugar, so the recommended serving size of honey is the same as it is for table sugar. One tablespoon is considered a serving and it is not recommended that you exceed 10 tbsp. in the course of one day. This 10 tbsp. recommendation is for all added sugars, including those in packaged foods.
Does Raw Honey Help with Allergies?
The idea that bees become covered with pollen when they move from one flower to the other and then transfer this to their honey is what makes many allergy sufferers to use local honey in small amounts to expose them. This is like vaccinating against allergens. This has been shown to be effective in treating mold spores, dust and pollen caused allergy problems like rhinitis and asthma. On myths and facts about seasonal allergies published in webmd.com, most allergies are not brought on by the pollen found in honey – and that means eating it won’t help you build up your immunity.
Does raw honey help with allergies? The president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology- Dr. Stanley Fineman says that he gets this question a lot. He further explains that, “Seasonal allergies are usually triggered by windborne pollens, not by pollens spread by insects,” he said. So it’s unlikely that honey “collected from plants that do not cause allergy symptoms would provide any therapeutic benefit.”
Several honey for allergies studies that have come out to either indirectly support or bash off raw honey as a home remedy for allergies. A study published in the Annals of allergy, asthma and immunology concluded that, there is no improvement on allergies when raw honey is given over commercial honey or honey flavored cough syrup.
In a different study, 44 patients with birch pollen allergy and a control group of 17 patients were given birch pollen honey and regular honey respectively. The results concluded that there was 60% reduction in symptoms, twice as many asymptomatic days and 50% decrease in the use of antihistamines.
With different incomplete and conflicting scientific inquiries, we are left with only theories that using local honey to treat allergies is an effective home remedy to prevent and alleviatesymptoms.
How to Use Raw Honey for Allergies Treatment
What is the best raw honey brand? The best honey for allergies should read raw and locally processed. This is because it contains pollen and other allergens that are likely to cause your allergy.
According to Mark Sisson in the Marksdailayapple.com, “I will say that if you’re going to use raw honey to fight pollen allergies, you’ll want to buy honey that comes from bees who deal with the same plants and flowers that produce the allergenic pollen in question. That means buying local, preferably wildflower honey. Unless you know for sure that your allergy is caused by specific pollen from a specific plant, wildflower will give you the most bang for your buck by covering a large assortment of plants.”
Here is how to use raw honey to treat allergies;
- Take a tablespoonful of raw honey every day
- Do this prior to and throughout the season to combat all season and seasonal allergies
Raw Honey and Cinnamon for Allergies
Cinnamon and raw honey for allergies is a power combo; both have a long history in allergy relief. Honey boosts immunity against pollen while cinnamon has a high effect of dust mites.
- 1 cup of hot water
- 1 tablespoon of raw honey
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder
- Take this ‘tea’ every morning for best results
- Cinnamon and honey for allergies can be used with ginger for added benefits
Raw Honey, Apple Cider Vinegar and Lemon for Allergies
This remedy creates such a great effect in treatment of allergies. It is good for inflammation, to combat free radicals and boost the immune system. Apple cider vinegar fights off infections. When mixed with raw honey and lemon, it treats colds and flus that come with allergic episodes. Make this home remedy for allergy a consistent practice for best results.
- Mix:1 tbsp of ACV + 1 tbsp of fresh lemon +1 tbsp of raw honey
- Add this to a cup of hot water
- Take this every morning and evening for best results
Other than eating honey straight up or in teas, there are different other ways you can use pure honey for allergies while getting other health benefits.
- As a bread spread
- As a topping in waffles and pancakes
- In Greek yogurt
- In frostings
- In dressing and whipped cream
Eating Raw Honey for Allergies
When buying organic raw honey for allergies, the packaging needs to say ‘raw’ or you should ask the vendor or the farmer. Raw honey still contains spores, bacteria and other enzymes that are believed to protect you from allergens and histamine overdose. Eating raw honey for allergies is also dependent on season. It said that if you have fall allergies, you need to use raw honey harvested in the fall because the pollens to which you are allergic to will be found in that specific honey.
Side Effects of Raw Honey
Honey is generally safe and well tolerated by most people. While many people believe that honey for allergies is a great remedy, it is important to keep on mind that there are negative effects that come with its use. Too much of anything is always poisonous, but if used in moderation, eating raw honey for allergies will also improve your health.
- Raw honey is a potential source of food poisoning from botulism spores. According to the NIS, symptoms of food poisoning from botulism spores include; diarrhea, stomach cramps, vomiting and fever. In adults, these symptoms cause discomfort and are rarely dangerous. They may however be life threatening if left untreated and in immuno-compromised people.
- Those who have had adverse reaction to honey in the past should not eat honey as it can also trigger severe allergic reactions. Anaphylactic shock is life threatening.
- Honey is high in fructose and can exacerbate pre-existing insulin resistance in the body.
- Infants under one year should not be given raw honey. It may cause botulism, a rare gastrointestinal illness caused by exposure to spores. This is a life threatening condition.
- May cause chest pain and heart problems when it is produced from the nectar of rhododendrons and taken by mouth.
- Honey is a natural blood thinner and may increase the risk of bleeding. Consult your doctor before using raw honey if you are on anticoagulants for bleeding disorders.
Raw Honey for Allergies in Dogs
Did you know that raw honey can also help alleviate allergies in dogs? Among the many natural allergy treatments in dogs, giving your canine a little raw honey each day may help treat dog allergies. You can simply give one tablespoon of honey or mix it with dog food. For those who do not prefer to give sugary things like honey to their pets, this frequency can be lowered to once in a week for preventive therapy. For a fun snack, try mixing a tablespoonful of raw honey with blueberries. Your dog will love it.
Alternatively, you can use raw honey with natural shampoo and essential oils. Bathing your dog in raw honey and shampoo will help keep away fleas, calm scratching and itching that is common in seasonal allergies.
Other benefits of raw honey for allergies in dogs include; improved mobility in arthritic dogs, higher energy levels, stress reduction and improved digestion in any dog that consumes the raw honey. Raw honey for allergies in dogs should be given in moderation- according to size and weight. Too much of it could cause stomach upsets. It is recommended that you speak with your dog’s vet before giving raw honey for allergies if diabetic or overweight. Do not give honey to very young puppies in fear of contamination with botulism toxins.
If your dog has an allergy that won’t go away with home treatments like honey, you should visit his vet for checkup and treatment.
Raw honey for allergies in children
Honey has previously been used as a source of nutrition for children. It has been shown to be an effective cough suppressant. Some parents give small amounts of raw local honey to children to prevent and treat allergies.
However, both the American Pediatrics Board and the National Honey Board recommend that honey should not be given to infants under the age of one year- including honey in baked goods and cough syrups. Their digestive system and immunity are still premature and cannot digest the botulium toxins found in raw honey. This can lead to a digestive paralytic disorder called botulism if exposed to this contaminant found in honey. Older children and adults are able to digest the botulium spores.