Time for the next question!
Mary, from AZ, asks:
“What is the story on honey? Is locally grown best? Does it really help fight allergies or anything else?”
This is a timely question because as I type, I am battling what seems like seasonal allergies. This is not something I normally struggle with, but when it happens, the constant sneezing and runny nose makes for a not so fun day!
Honey can be very beneficial in it’s natural, unprocessed state. Raw honey contains an array of enzymes, plus B vitamins, minerals such as calcium, iron and magnesium and even vitamin C.
So let’s talk first about what to look for when buying honey so that you can be sure to find the honey that is the most beneficial to your health.
You want to look for raw honey versus processed honey. Most commercial honeys have been heated to make for a more clean, smooth looking honey. Pasteurization also kills any yeast and prevents fermentation. However, the downside to this is that the heat kills important enzymes, vitamins and minerals in the process. In fact, some honeys on the shelf isn’t even what it claims to be– manufacturers have added corn syrup and even sometimes artificial coloring which leaves the customer with just a glop of processed sugar. Not what you want to put in your tea or oatmeal, is it?
It’s easy to spot raw honey, as it is clearly states “raw” on the label.
The next best thing is to find honey that is not only raw but also local. The reason for this has to do with allergies, like you had asked about.
Evidence has been mostly anecdotal, but many people have claimed that raw, local honey has helped diminish or eliminate their allergies. The reason for this is because as the bees pollinate the flowers, the pollen gets carried with them to the hive. Now, this may seem odd to be eating something that contains pollen as that is the very thing many of us are allergic to. However, think of honey as a type of vaccine. Your body develops an immune response to it, and if taken on a regular basis, could help prevent allergies.
The reason it is best consumed from a local source is because if it’s out of state, you may not be allergic to that particular flower.
As a side note, I always encourage buying local when possible anyway– let’s support our local farmers!
As far as scientific studies… there is not much out there. I did find two different small scale studies, both of which used a placebo group. One study found that there was not conclusive evidence that honey helps with allergies and the other study found that it indeed does help.
On a personal note…I just like the taste of raw honey anyway, so I always take a tablespoon when first coming down with something. Does it work for me? Well, it seemed to a few months ago, but this week, so far it hasn’t.
I would also encourage buying honey that contains royal jelly and bee pollen as well, as that could make the biggest difference as far as helping with allergies since it contains more of the whole source and not just an extract.
So, I would just encourage you to try raw honey, preferably local and see how it helps you!
I also wanted to give a shout out to my good friend, Mary Metzger.
She is involved with a wonderful company that sells natural products. One product is called:
“Bee Natural Tablets” which is a great way to get all the nutrients from the hive, as the product contains royal jelly, propolis and honey.
Right now, she has a GREAT offer that expires on Sept. 17th!
Check it out here:
What do you all think of honey? Has it helped your allergies? Please comment below!