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Honey is a sweet fluid often substituted for other sweeteners such as sugar. Beyond it's obvious use, honey is also widely recognized for having medicinal uses.

Honey and Hayfever

One of the most common medicinal uses for honey recently is in the treatment of hay fever. Having searched on the internet, many hayfever sufferers will conclude such benefits are simply a myth. You'll come across it a lot. "There is no evidence to suggest consuming local honey has benefits in treating allergies". Wrong! The evidence is in the many thousands of people who have tried it to find it has cleared their hayfever completely or significantly.

To clarify, the idea behind local honey in treating hayfever is this; the bees collect nectar and pollen from the various plants, flowers, trees in your local area, then bring it back to the hive where they do their magic to turn it into comb honey. The beekeeper then collects the excess "raw" honey (contains some pollen) and either leaves it as is, or filters and strains it at a high temp. to create ultrafiltered honey (no pollen) and sells that on the supermarket shelves. The hayfever sufferer, instead purchases either the honey on the comb, or a jar of the raw "unfiltered" or "unstrained" honey, from the beekeeper or local herbal remedy store, and NOT from the supermarket. The sufferer then consumes the honey, maybe 1 tbsp a day for several weeks prior to the next hayfever season (start February - April), and the introduction of small amounts of pollen to the body encourages it to create an immunity that will have success on some or maybe all of the pollen strains. The body is now unaffected by these pollens when they get airbourne.

What results is a significant decrease in the symptoms of hayfever, in some cases, a complete "cure".

What you have to remember is that everybody is different, there are different "types" of hayfever. Different plants, trees and flowers release their pollen at different times of the year, from February all the way to October. One person might be allergic to just one of them, whilst many hayfever sufferers struggle with several of them. Local, unstrained and unfiltered honey (sorry for the repetition but those words are very important!) might reduce your allergy to Birch Tree pollen, released in April, but not to grass pollens, released from May to September. But then the opposite could be true! And it often is - sometimes both! It also depends on which plants, flowers and trees the bees in your area favor for collecting pollen - they do collect pollen from all three types, but will shy away from anything that doesn't produce enough pollen to warrant a place in their busy schedule! In my own case, consumption of this type of honey resulted in a 5-6 year history of suffering hayfever heavily from April through to August, to a bit of a sniffle and a few sneezes in early July and not a lot else - and it seems permanent *touches wood*.

It seems ironic that the only people telling you that it doesn't work "according to studies" are those who themselves don't suffer from hayfever. There are no conclusive studies on honey in relation to such allergies nor is there any interest in doing them, because there is no "big" money in local farmers and beekeepers selling local honey to local people. What you will learn on this subject you will learn from other hayfever sufferers who have tried and tested it. But there is a treatment which works in a similar manner - Allergen Immunotherapy works by injecting pollen into sufferers pre-season, and has been used since it was pioneered in 1911 to alleviate symptoms in allergy sufferers. Small amounts of pollen are introduced to the system to create a response which allows the body to build an immunity. Sound familiar?

I would recommend every hayfever sufferer speak to their local herbal/natural drug stores or beekeepers within a 50 mile radius or as close as possible and give local honey a try. Even if the results aren't spectacular, this type of honey and the pollen within it has many properties and nutrients which are beneficial to your health, so there certainly is no harm in it. If the honey has crystallized some, just heat it gently in some hot water and it will become liquid again.

One small theory I heard is that the pollens you are affected by are dictated by your DNA from birth and are not relative to the area you are immediately living, and that you might want to get the honey from the places where your familys' recent generations have been living if it doesn't work initially. It almost makes sense since allergies like hayfever, asthma etc are thought to be an aftermath of the poisonous exhaust fumes, smoking and dangerous gases (hair sprays, deodorants) we've been inhaling daily for a century or so. Just an afterthought.

Either way, once you have your honey, try mixing it with tea or other concoctables, making cakes or finding a way to consume it other than eating it straight with a spoon - unless you enjoy that, it's a bit sickly sweet for me. But get it down your neck, regularly, before the hayfever season. (You might want to time it to morning/night so you can brush your teeth...) And just to emphasize this one more time, MAKE SURE YOU HAVE THE RIGHT HONEY!... :)

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