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Ah-choo!

April 23, 2013

Spring is here!  What a glorious time of the year.  For many, though, spring means the full onset of allergy season.  The runny nose, the itchy eyes, the scratchy ears, the tickley throat, the sneezing, the sneezing, the sneezing. Ah-choo!

Enter:  LOCAL HONEY. 

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Blatt’s Bee Farm Honey and Tyler Creek Farm Honey, both available for purchase at The Wild Ramp.

There’s been a lot of talk about the benefits of local honey, especially the use of local honey for allergy sufferers.  According to an article titled “Can you fight allergies with local honey?” on discovery.com, honey can gradually expose the body to allergens which could immunize a person against those allergens.  It states:

“The idea behind eating honey is kind of like gradually vaccinating the body against allergens, a process called immunotherapy. Honey contains a variety of the same pollen spores that give allergy sufferers so much trouble when flowers and grasses are in bloom. Introducing these spores into the body in small amounts by eating honey should make the body accustomed to their presence and decrease the chance an immune system response like the release of histamine will occur.  Since the concentration of pollen spores found in honey is low — compared to, say, sniffing a flower directly — then the production of antibodies shouldn’t trigger symptoms similar to an allergic reaction. Ideally, the honey-eater won’t have any reaction at all.”

The author admittedly notes that there have been no peer reviewed scientific studies that illustrate that local honey helps reduce allergies.  However, considering the recent investigation surrounding honey sold in many grocery stores, purchasing local honey may be the best option, no matter what your intended use. The Wild Ramp carries several varieties of local honey including, but not limited to, Blatt’s Bee Farm Honey, Tyler Creek Farm Honey, and Killer Bee Goodwater Farm Honey.

Another home remedy used to treat allergies is called nettle.  Dried nettles come from the stinging nettle, or Urtica dioica, plant.  According to an article on livestrong.com, consuming dried nettles may be able to provide you with relief from sneezing and itching associated with allergies or hay fever. This could be due to the plant’s ability to lessen the amount of histamine your body makes when it reacts to an allergen, thereby also reducing your inflammatory symptoms.  The Wild Ramp carries many wonderful herbal teas from The Herbal Sage Tea Company, including nettle tea.

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Whether you are an allergy sufferer or not, stop by The Wild Ramp today and pick up your favorite tea and honey combination.

Emily is a wife, mother, and attorney, living on the banks of the Ohio.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. April 23, 2013 12:30 pm

    We’re beekeepers but I’m also of the “show me the proof” sort. So while hard science is lacking, I will say that it is one of the most common things we hear from friends and contacts when the subject of our bees come up and many swear buy eating honey as local as possible. Best I’ve read is that the honey has to be HYPER-local, meaning drawn from as nearby as possible – it’s why I always suggest keeping your own bees right at home- if your city allows it, they are a fun and cheap hobby and endlessly fascinating. My wife just hived our bees Sunday- here’s a video: http://wedgeintheround.com/2013/04/22/our-2013-honeybees-have-arrived/

    • April 23, 2013 12:43 pm

      When I’m working in the market I always ask the people purchasing honey for allergy reasons where they live and suggest one of our Producers based on proximity to their home.

  2. April 23, 2013 1:29 pm

    Nice!

  3. Dubrovniklady permalink
    April 23, 2013 2:25 pm

    Our homemade honey is wonderful and I use it when I am coughing. Also a small teaspoon if I wake in the middle of the night, helps me to return to sleep easily.

  4. April 24, 2013 5:31 pm

    I have suffered from severe seasonal allergies since childhood. The local honey theory makes so much sense to me and gives me hope but I’ve not yet developed a good habit of eating it every day. What is the recommended amount to consume daily and how long typically does it take to see results?

    • emilyjclick permalink
      April 25, 2013 1:30 am

      Barbara, most of the articles I read while researching the topic for this post suggest that a couple teaspoons of raw, local honey a day should suffice. If you are interested in reading further, I would suggest the following links:

      http://www.localharvest.org/blog/24679/entry/honey_and_allergies_nothing_to

      http://www.marksdailyapple.com/dear-mark-raw-honey-and-allergies-and-resveratrol-debunked/#axzz2RQxg2tVD

      http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/05/27/can-eating-local-honey-cure-allergies.aspx

      I am an allergy sufferer myself and am trying local honey and nettle tea for the first time this year in conjunction with my regular antihistamine.

    • emilyjclick permalink
      April 25, 2013 1:45 am

      Here’s a study that my sister’s friend sent to me after I wrote the post.

      Birch Pollen Honey for Birch Pollen Allergy – A Randomized Controlled Pilot Study
      Saarinen K. · Jantunen J. · Haahtela T.
      Int Arch Allergy Immunol 2011;155:160–166 (DOI: 10.1159/000319821)
      Abstract
      Background: Only a few randomized controlled trials have been carried out to evaluate various complementary treatments for allergic disorders. This study assessed the effects of the preseasonal use of birch pollen honey (BPH; birch pollen added to honey) or regular honey (RH) on symptoms and medication during birch pollen season. Methods: Forty-four patients (59% female, mean age 33 years) with physician-diagnosed birch pollen allergy consumed either BPH or RH daily in incremental amounts from November 2008 to March 2009. Seventeen patients (53% female, mean age 36 years) on their usual allergy medication served as the control group. From April to May, patients recorded daily rhinoconjunctival and other symptoms and their use of medication. Fifty patients completed the study. Results: During birch pollen season in 2009, BPH patients reported a 60% lower total symptom score (p < 0.01), twice as many asymptomatic days (p < 0.01), and 70% fewer days with severe symptoms (p < 0.001), and they used 50% less antihistamines (p < 0.001) compared to the control group. The differences between the BPH and RH groups were not significant. However, the BPH patients used less antihistamines than did the RH patients (p < 0.05). Conclusions: Patients who preseasonally used BPH had significantly better control of their symptoms than did those on conventional medication only, and they had marginally better control compared to those on RH. The results should be regarded as preliminary, but they indicate that BPH could serve as a complementary therapy for birch pollen allergy.

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