What is it about local honey that has everyone buying into its allergy fighting powers?
Based on theory, if you consume local honey it is likely to contain trace amounts of the same pollen that afflicts you. Ingesting small amounts of pollen helps build immunity; therefore, making you less susceptible. This is why eating local honey is important because it will be made from the flowers, trees, and bushes that aggravate you. The honey acts as a vaccine…according to theory. I get it, the theory makes sense; however, few studies have been done to test this theory. In fact, I was only able to find two studies.
The first by the University of Connecticut Health Center (2002) was published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. The study involved a small group of thirty-six volunteers who were given either local raw honey, pasteurized honey, or a placebo. It concluded that neither of the honey groups experienced relief of allergy symptoms beyond those given the placebo.
The second by the Department of Allergy at Helsinki University Central Hospital (2010) was published in the International Archives of Allergy and Immunology. This study specifically looked at a sample of forty-four individuals who had an allergy to birch pollen. Although the study found that those patients who consumed honey (regular or with birch pollen added) reported less symptoms — the differences were not significant.
While more studies need to be done on this theory, purchasing and consuming local honey may have two advantages: as a pure, unadulterated source of honey and as an allergy fighter sweetener. I ended up purchasing two jars of local honey from the workshop when I began to wonder…