Can You Use Local Honey for Allergies?

As winter slowly fades away, spring is on its way. If you are one of the approximately 36 million people within the United States with seasonal allergies, then you may be dreading the upcoming spring. It is easier to take care of your allergies today thanks to over-the-counter and prescription medications that can counter histamines, but you will always have to worry about side effects. Many people swear that honey relieves their seasonal allergies just as well as medications, but can local honey allergies cures really work? Keep reading to find out.

Can Local Honey Relieve Your Allergies?

There hasn't been any scientific proof connecting local honey allergies treatment. One study didn't find a difference between those who had a honey-flavored placebo, commercially processed honey, or local honey. If you are highly sensitive, eating unprocessed honey may actually lead to an allergic reaction. Many people, however, swear by this remedy so you can always give it a try but watch out for potential symptoms. Honey also works to treat symptoms of allergies, such as coughs and irritation.

The theory behind the saying that local honey can relieve allergy symptoms is known as immunotherapy. Essentially, you have a small quantity of the item you have an allergy to, such as pollen, and this reduces your sensitivity. Eventually, you will build up a resistance.

It is true that local and unprocessed honey contains small quantities of pollen from the nearby environment. Most pollen in the honey comes from flowers where bees live and this flowering plant pollen is less likely to cause symptoms of allergies. There will also be lesser amounts of airborne, allergenic pollen from weeds, grasses, and trees. This means that local honey will have very small amounts of allergenic pollen. In fact, this type of pollen is thought of as a contaminant, just as other environmental particles, bacteria, mold spores, and bee parts are.

Other Ways to Relieve Seasonal Allergies

1. Neti Pots

This treatment requires you to rinse your nasal cavity using a saline solution. It loosens mucus and flushes out pollen and other allergens. You just fill it with warm water (distilled or boiled) and salt, then tilt your head so you can pour the solution into one of your nostrils, letting it flow out the other side. Finally, repeat on the other side.

2. Saline Spray

A saline spray works similarly to a Neti pot but can be easier to use. They let you deliver the spray in a more gentle, even fashion. Sprays, however, are just as effective at relieving the symptoms associated with allergies in the same way as Neti pots.

3. HEPA Filters

HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters are a great alternative to local honey allergies treatment. They trap allergens along with airborne irritants, including dust and pet dander. You can find a portable air cleaner with a HEPA filter for your bedroom or small spaces or make sure to include a HEPA filter in your home's HVAC system. Dehumidifiers and air conditions can also improve the cleanliness of the air.

4. Herbal Supplements

Herbal supplements like eyebright, goldenseal, and spirulina can help relieve allergy symptoms as well. The extract butterbur has shown the best results by reducing airway inflammation. Doctors also suggest their patients try bromelain which is an enzyme in pineapple that can minimize inflammation following sinus surgery.

5. Hot Shower

Taking a hot shower is a great way of temporarily cleaning your nasal passages and soothing your sinuses. As a bonus, taking a shower will help remove allergens that stick to your skin or hair after being outdoors. This can prevent them from getting on other items in your home.

6. Steam Inhalation with Eucalyptus Oil

If you don't want to take a hot shower, you can simply inhale some steam. Buy a vaporizer from your local store or just boil water and place it in a bowl. Lean over the bowl and put a towel on your head to create a tent. Inhale the steam for five or ten minutes, but don't burn yourself. For added benefits, add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to the water to take advantage of its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

7. Acupuncture

Some studies have shown that people with allergies that underwent active acupuncture three times weekly over the course of four weeks saw improvements in allergy symptoms such as sneezing and congestion. It may work by regulating your immune responses.

8. Spirulina

Spirulina is a kind of algae with a great deal of protein and vitamin B12. Research showed that patients who had a 2,000 milligram supplement of spirulina daily for 6 months had improvements in sneezing and nasal congestion. You can also add it to drinks like smoothies.

9. Allergy Shots

Allergy shots or subcutaneous immunotherapy are actually very natural. Most doctors will rely on the actual allergen. Instead of giving you medication, they place a small quantity of the allergen underneath your skin so your immune system improves its response. Best of all, after three to five years of treatment, you won't have a reaction to those allergens anymore. You can have either pre-seasonal immunotherapy that takes place before the allergy season or perennial immunotherapy that takes place all year round.

10. Sublingual Immunotherapy

This alternative to local honey allergies treatment is just as natural. It works like allergy shots by changing your immune systems so it doesn't produce such severe allergic reactions. Your doctor places a concentrated dose of ragweed, pollen, grass, or another allergen underneath your tongue three times each week over the course of three to five years. Your body absorbs this allergen and like it does with the shots, it builds a long-lasting immunity. 

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