Agriculture, Central New York, Community, Environment, Food, Health

Honey may not help with common allergies

You may have heard how those with pollen allergies should eat raw honey to try to help with their allergies. I wanted to find out why or why not this solution would have an impact. (c) 2018 Peters

By Mary Peters ITHACA, N.Y. (NCC News) – With allergy season underway, many people may be dealing with sneezing and runny noses.

One recommendation that those with allergies hear is to eat raw honey to help with the symptoms because supposedly the pollen in honey will help make them immune to pollen in the air.

“The problem is most of the pollen that produce hay fever symptoms are not in honey,” beekeeper Peter Borst said.  “They’re never in honey.”

The hay fever symptoms Borst is referring to come from pollen on trees and grasses that travels quickly and easily in the wind.  Pollen in honey is from sticky pollen and that pollen does not travel far.

“They’ll blame it on the dandelion because that’s the only thing they can see,” Borst said.  “Then they’ll see bees on the dandelion and they’ll think I should eat honey because that’s going to help me with my allergy.  There’s a gap in this.”

That is not the pollen causing them to sneeze.

Here’s another way to think about the different kinds of pollen.  Borst said he is allergic to peanuts.  He’s not allergic to all nuts.  He’s able to eat cashews and pecans.  The same concept applies to pollen allergies too.  People are allergic to specific kinds of pollen, but not all pollen.

When it comes to tree pollen allergies, honey may not be the magic fix after all.

“You’re probably not allergic to the pollen that is in honey,” Borst said.  “That is probably not going to work.  But I want you to try it.”

Experts suggest closing your windows so the pollen does not blow in.  There are also over-the-counter drugs to help with allergy symptoms.