Texas Living

How to Use Honey as a Natural Allergy Treatment

By M. Elise Giller 4.1.16

Fifty million Americans are familiar with allergy symptoms. Instead of the usual antihistamines, consider local honey as an alternative natural allergy treatment for seasonal sniffling and pollen problems.

Consider the evidence

The concept behind using honey for health is called immunotherapy, and it’s the same idea behind booster shots: You ingest a little bit of the pollen or plant spores to which you’re allergic into your body and thereby build up a tolerance to it, becoming less sensitive over time.

Although much of the evidence is anecdotal, believers say that by consistently ingesting a spoonful or two of honey per day, they’ve noticed a huge difference in allergy relief and overall sense of well-being. And of course, unlike prickly shots, eating a spoonful of honey is pretty delicious.

Keep it local

Why should you treat allergies with local honey, and how do you know that the honey you’re buying is local? Here are some tips.

  • Make sure to buy raw honey created by bees within a few miles of your house, so that the plant spores in the honey are the same ones you’re around day in and day out.
  • Buy your honey seasonally for the same reason. For example, if your allergies mainly bother you in the spring, buy honey that was harvested in the spring; if they mainly bother you in winter, buy honey harvested in winter.
  • Buy it at your local farmers’ market or health store. Or go straight to the source and visit a local apiary or beekeeper. Those folks will often be able to tell you exactly where their bees are feeding.

Serve it up

The optimal amount varies from person to person but is usually around a teaspoon or two per day. Eating honey by the spoonful can also help suppress coughs, and it contains antioxidants that aid in fighting viruses.

However, be sure not to give raw honey to children under 1 year old, as it can result in a gastrointestinal condition called botulism. People with compromised immune systems should also avoid it. Always check with your doctor to be sure honey is right for you and your loved ones.

While it’s delicious to eat on its own, you don’t have to serve it by itself every day. You’ll get your daily fix just as well in a salad dressing, or by drizzling it over yogurt or ice cream, or including it in a dessert. Next time you’re craving something sweet, don’t reach for the sugar bowl: Pour on some honey.

For more great health and dietary tips, check out our how-to guide for growing your own herbs.