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The Buzz: Local Honey Helps With Allergies

Allergies are an over-reaction of the immune system caused by an allergen (something your allergic to-obviously). Spring has sprung so let's focus on the allergen known as pollen...

Coughing, sneezing, itchy eyes and runny nose are often symptoms of spring. Usually, people know when they will have allergies and start loading up on the meds. I, thankfully, do not have allergies--that doesn't mean I won't develop them if I come in contact with a different kind of tree or plant than I'm used to. Unfortunately, my little brother does. Badly. So my mom got him local honey and he "takes" his honey every morning in the spring and summer months when his allergies tend to be worse. (insert eye roll) Crazy mom making the claim that local honey keeps him from having allergies--buuuut when I saw that my 15 year old brother actually complies to taking his honey, I realized it must help! Then, I actually though about it, and it makes total sense! Maybe mom's not crazy after all...

How does local honey make a difference?
There are different kinds of pollen, grass, trees, weeds, flowers, etc... Bees use it all to pollinate and help keep the circle of life in motion. Honey made from local bees is thought to work like an allergy shot. Instead of acting like a drug that simply relieves allergy symptons, honey has parts of digested pollen that introduce the body to the particular pollen, and can prevent the start of allergies. Same concept as when you get a flu shot or other vaccination. The trigger (in this case pollen) is introduced into the body in small amounts, so the body begins to recognize it, and is more likely to become immune to it. Local is important because pollen is different in every area where trees and plants are different. So local pollen is incorporated into local honey meaning your body will be familiar with the local pollen reducing the immune systems over-reaction when it comes into contact with actual pollen outside on your pollinated yellow car or in the air.
Say I get my honey from Walmart, it was made in Canada, where a lot of honey is made-- the pollen from that region won't really help me down here in 'Bama, so it should be from local farmers, if I want to familiarize my body with the pollen produced here.
Makes sense right?

How to "take" honey?
Take 1 or 2 tablespoons each day for about a month prior to spring, or a time when pollen will be everywhere. It's never too late to start thought, go ahead--start today, and your allergies just might improve within the next couple of days. Everyone is different, so depending on your own immune system, you may need a couple of weeks to see allergy improvements, or maybe just a couple of days. Don't give up:) Put down the allergy meds that just relieve the symptoms for a little while, and pick up the local honey that can prevent the symptoms! Spread local honey on your toast in the  morning, spoon it into your oatmeal, or into your tea! It is nature's sweetener that has been around for centuries and never spoils (ask the Egyptians), so take advantage of it! It hasn't been scientifically proven as a treatment of allergies, but if you have allergies, you know that it's worth a shot!

Where to Find Your Honey
  • Your local farmer's market.
  • http://www.localharvest.org/ Type in your zip code and find local honey farms near you!
  • In Jasper, where my mom gets her honey, local farmers sell their honey at convenience stores.
  • Health stores in your area. In Tuscaloosa, you can find local Hewitt's Honey at Manna Grocery.
Speaking of bees, check out Michael's Missions Musings to see what they are doing in Honduras!


So, Frankie, should you eat cat hair to alleviate your cat allergies...probably not.

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