Updated: Apr 12, 2022
My littlest has recently picked up the most southern habit of blessing anyone who sneezes within ear shot. It's an adorable side effect of the season where pollen has touched every life: maybe with an assault on your eyes, ears, and throat OR maybe by turning your car windows into a crude art canvas.
Thomas Honey usually benefits slightly from this season each year, with loads of people looking for homeopathic allergy relief (spoonful of "sugar" anyone?). Some companies even advertise their local varieties as allergy blends, or some version of that genius marketing strategy. Because if there is one thing the general public likes, it's a natural symptom remedy that tastes good too!
*Pause. In the beekeeping and honey packing world, "local" is everything. Our bees work all over - Columbia to Suwanee to Hamilton, and even just over the Georgia border on occasion. If you want to know if honey is local to YOU - check the local flora. While some beeks have capitalized on "hyper-local honey", meaning they want you to know their honey is made in their own back yard, the benefits of that probably fall closer to the ~marketing for exclusivity~ side of things.
But hey - y'all do you. We're here for it when other's hype what they have to offer, and it's our mission to make honey a pantry staple in homes everywhere. We can't ever fully meet the need for the vision we have, so we'll need to link elbows with those who tackle advertising a little differently than us.
But back to the question at hand: Does honey really help with allergies?
As many of you know, my mom is a science teacher. And I love informed consumers, so I wanted to break this down for the curious at heart.
The bad news:
Control studies have not historically found "reliable" results to support the claim that honey helps with allergies. BUT, when this research started out years ago, lots of studies were done with pasteurized honey (eye roll). And to be fair, most of the widely-used and anecdotally accepted homeopathic remedies lack scientific backing (this can apply to everything from herbal supplements to essential oils, or even your favorite cold-fighting vitamin drink.)
So the lack of scientific results is kind of like quoting statistics to prove a point - maybe it's sort of valid in one respect. And maybe using your own experiences to form an opinion is an okay alternative.
It is worth noting that the worst offenders during allergy season are grasses, tress, and weeds - plants whose pollen is light enough to blow in the wind. If you know anything about pollination, you know that means bees are not the primary source of pollen transfer for these plants... meaning there probably isn't a LOT of pine tree pollen in your Wildflower honey. Also, the amount and type of pollen found in honey can vary greatly because honestly, the bees don't really care about your itchy eyes. They have things to DO. So the science communities reservations are a little understandable... *we guess*.
The good news:
There have been more recent studies that found a reduction in allergy symptoms after regularly consuming raw honey for a couple months. As Mayo Clinic notes, while some of this benefit miiiight be a bit of a placebo... honey IS a natural cough suppressant and has naturally anti-inflammatory effects so there are specific benefits that are indisputable. Also, small exposures to allergens are established medical practice. Claims of honey helping with allergies only get *sticky* when applied too broadly or when those claims are implied to be a cure-all. Besides, ALL of our faithful customers can't be wrong.
You probably can't substitute honey with your go-to allergy medication and call it a done day. However, if consuming raw, local honey has made you into a believer in the allergy benefits... WE treat food as medicine, and if you do too... we've got what you're looking for!