Did you know that more than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies? According to WebMD, 30 percent of American adults and 40 percent of American children are affected. While outdoor allergies like ragweed, pollen, and hay fever are not the only types of allergies encompassed by these numbers, one staggering statistic did show that due to global warming, the outdoor allergy season length has increased between 1 and 3.5 weeks between 1995 and 2015.

Not only do allergies seem to be getting worse, but people are now allergic to things we were never allergic to before, due to factors such as increased prevalence of chronic, digestive, and inflammatory conditions in general, and constant exposure to toxicants in food, personal care products, water, and other environmental factors. Not only do these allergies cause itchy eyes and respiratory issues, but also some skin conditions such as hives and dermatitis.

Raw honey as a natural allergy remedy

One traditional home remedy for managing seasonal allergies is regularly consuming local, raw honey. The idea behind this is that local bees pollinate local plants that produce local allergens. Consuming small amounts of honey containing trace amounts of these local allergens helps the body build up a natural immunity to these allergens over time.

This is not a new concept, though it been practiced for centuries by societies around the world who rely on nature for their medicine; it is also the idea behind allergy shots and other vaccines in the realm of allopathic (Western) medicine, The idea is that administering small doses of a suspected allergen or pathogen will cause the body to become immune to it.

What kind of honey works for allergies?

You can’t just go to the grocery store, pick up a honey bear, and use it to solve your allergy problems. You have to use a raw, local honey. It has to be raw because the pasteurization process used in commercial honeys will destroy many of the inherent beneficial bacteria, antioxidants, and other healthful properties that give honey its purported benefits. It has to be sourced locally, preferably within 20 miles of your home, because anything further than that will introduce allergens that are not in your immediate environment, which somewhat defeats the purpose.

Some better grocery stores and specialty health food stores source raw, local honey; but your best bet is to go to your local farmer’s market, and see what they have, or find a local beekeeper. Even if you live in an urban or suburban area, there is likely a local market that sells products sourced within 20 miles of your home. Ask around locally, or search for local raw honey near you using The Honey Board’s Honey Locator.

How do you take local, raw honey for allergies?

The best way is to start eating small amounts of the honey prior to the start of the allergy season, gradually increasing to one teaspoon a day, and continuing throughout the season.

Is using local, raw honey for allergies safe for children?

Honey is generally well tolerated, but any substance should be tested in a very small dose to rule out any adverse reactions prior to regular consumption. However, honey in any form must not be given to babies under one year of age. Although a rare occurrence, it could cause infant botulism.

Does science support using local, raw honey for allergies?

As with many tried and true natural and home remedies, there are little to no scientific studies proving the efficacy of honey on allergy prevention and treatment, and what little studies there are have shown conflicting evidence. The reason is because small, local farmers simply do not budgets for large-scale clinical trials or controlled, double-blind studies like the pharmaceutical companies who manufacture allergy shots and antihistamines do, and pharmaceutical research budgets prioritize pharmaceutical treatments for diseases, not natural remedies. What they do have, however, is hundreds of years of success stories from real people and real families. If honey was not effective, people would have stopped using it by now.

Local, raw honey has so many wonderful uses.Not only does it provide sweetness to our food in a way that works with the body, but it can also be used to treat minor wounds, clear up problematic skin, and soothe digestive problems, and deliver vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to the body. Adding allergy prevention and relief to that list makes honey a very powerful and multi-functional gift from nature.

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Have you ever used local, raw honey for allergies? How did that work out for you? Please share in the comments below.

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