Today was Bee day at WE Gardens. The suits are back and the bees are buzzing. It’s only February 23rd, but spring is right around the corner. And spring means it’s time for the Urban Bees to start pollenating and making honey.
Did you know that local honey can help with allergies? Raw, local honey contains bits and pieces of bee pollen, propolis and even beeswax. What does this have to do with solving your allergy problem? Quite a bit actually. The reason you have an allergy to a particular plant, tree or grass is because you’ve been overexposed to it at some point in your life. Almost all of us have some level of immune dysfunction happening in our bodies meaning our immune system either under or over-reacts to invaders, harmless or not. Your overexposure to this pollen developed into an allergy (over-reaction) and now your immune system regards this pollen as an invader, even though it might be harmless Golden Rod or Aster. Whenever your immune system senses it in your body, you get allergy symptoms.
So what does this have to do with using raw, local honey for allergies? Lets say for example that you have an allergy to Golden Rod as it is present in your local area and you were overexposed to it at some point in your life. Honeybees happen to pollinate Golden Rod and as a result, very small amounts of Golden Rod pollen will be present in the honey produced by these bees. When you consume this local honey, you will be ingesting very small amounts of the allergen – Golden Rod.
It would be fair to expect that consuming more of a substance that you are allergic to would only cause more allergy symptoms. But this is not the case when using honey for allergies. As recent scientific studies have shown, honey has very strong immune modulating (balancing) properties. One study in the International Archives of Allergy and Immunology found that patients reported 60% less allergy symptoms and 70% fewer days with severe symptoms while consuming a local honey over a five month period. It seems that by exposing yourself to tiny amounts of the pollen that you are allergic too through honey, your immune system becomes less sensitive to the allergen.
Plus, let’s face it, honey is delicious. Make sure to visit the WE Market table at Pepper Place Market all spring and summer to pick up a jar!