Seasonal Allergies and Local Honey

My wife’s friends told her that eating a small amount of locally produced natural honey each day will reduce the effects of seasonal allergies.

While I acknowledge that perhaps there is something to it, I am a bit skeptical. Sounds like an urban legend to me. A quick review of Snopes fails to turn up any UL.

A search of the SDMB turns up this thread, in which this suggestion is made, but not even with a bit of anecdotal evidence, just passing along the “rumor”. A search of Cecil’s archives yielded nadda.

So does anyone have the straight dope on this?

At this point, I’d be willing to listen to any anecdotal evidence in either direction.

The rationale behind the local honey treatment is the same as allergen desensitization - exposure to very small amounts of an allergy-provoking substance, gradually building over time, will retrain the immune system to not react so much.

But local honey - honey of any sort - is not pollen, it is modified nectar, perhaps with some pollen contamination. The amount of pollen will vary considerably, and may or may not contain the plants you are allergic to.

Going to an allergist to undergo desensitization therapy with standardized and purified allergens in a controlled environment is much more likely to provide relief. Of course, it hurts more to get allergy shots, unlike the joys of eating honey, and it costs more money.

I went and got the shots. They actually did me some good. I’m very dubious about the honey cure.

Okay, I spent some time with Google and couldn’t find anything scientific reguarding your question. Searched the Journal of Immunology and a medical journal for Allergists. One thing I did find was just an article refuting most anecdotal evidence:

One other thing I found is that natural honey apparently contains a small amount of bee venom. So, if’n you’re allergic to bee stings along with the seasonal allergies, chances are high for a reaction to the honey.

But despite the fact that local honey doesn’t seem to help with seasonal allergies (allegra here I come) I did find this brochure with some empirical evidence on the healing powers of honey. Interesting read, if you like that kind of stuff…

Broomstick, thanks for the response and balanced perspective.

remf3, Welcome to the SDMB!

The first link you provided is enough to convince me that this is more urban legand than proven folk medicine.

The second link, by not addressing the topic, is even more damning however. I mean, this is a 28 page pamphlet produced by The Honey Board that goes to great measure to talk every possible and conceivable benefit of honey, with lots of references to research journals, but doesn’t even mention this particular claim.

So it isn’t so much what the second link says, it’s what it doesn’t say that is telling.

Thanks to both of you.