Does Eating Local Honey Help Control Pollen Symptoms?

Published: July 16, 2018
Photo: Getty

Q: I suffer with tree pollen allergies in the spring and am often told by people to “eat local honey” to control my symptoms. Does that actually work?

Dr. Bassett: The thought process goes like this: since honey may contain small amounts of pollen from various flowers, consuming locally produced honey will, over time, therefore provide protection from unpleasant symptoms for those who suffer from seasonal allergies.

A natural approach to managing seasonal symptoms always sounds so tempting. The problem is that it may not provide reliable relief, particularly for those with significant and truly bothersome allergy symptoms.

One study performed at the University of Connecticut, and published in the Annals of Allergy Asthma & Immunology did not find any benefit by taking a daily dose of either commercial or local honey. This held true for both seasonal nasal and eye symptoms. In fact, participants consuming honey for symptoms fared no better than those taking a placebo.

Remember also, that pediatricians advise against feeding honey of any variety to very young children, especially those under 1 years of age.

Related: 6 Spring Pollen Myths: From Flowers and Honey to Forecasts 

Dr. Clifford Bassett, allergist and asthma specialist, is the Medical Director of Allergy & Asthma Care of New York (Twitter @allergyreliefny). He is on the faculty of NYU School of Medicine and Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City and is also the author of The New Food Allergy Solution: Supercharge Resistance, Slash Medication, Stop Suffering.


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