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Author Topic: Spoonful of honey cures allergies  (Read 2589 times)
rayb
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« on: May 01, 2008, 09:42:34 AM »

A recent morning news show featuring Dr. Tim Johnson talked about relieving seasonal allergies. He stated that taking a spoonful of local raw honey daily may be tasty but will not help allergies because the pollen is "just from flowers".

I realize that the "flowers" may be on trees also, but don't know if there is anything more to this "cure".

Anyone have any opinions on this? I would email him with some thoughts if you have info.

Thanks, Ray
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Daddys Girl
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« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2008, 11:05:32 PM »

I have been using raw, local honey for about 18 months, in conjunction with homeopathic Histaminum 30C to treat and stay on top of my allergies.  I had used Histaminum 30c alone for about 2 years prior to adding the honey, and experienced a small drop in allergy symptoms that first Spring after the honey was added.  This Spring is the first time in 14 years that my allergies have not hit me so hard that I was significantly ill as a result.

Raw honey has a number of properties, including enzymes and trace quantities of pollen, molds, and other allergens that could contribute to improved health.  It works differently, and on different time scales for everyone.

Disclaimer:  This is anecdotal evidence.  I also lost 40 pounds and did a total reworking of my diet, including the removal of uncultured dairy and soy from my diet.  Your mileage will probably vary.  A lot.
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indypartridge
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« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2008, 07:10:02 AM »

A recent morning news show featuring Dr. Tim Johnson talked about relieving seasonal allergies. He stated that taking a spoonful of local raw honey daily may be tasty but will not help allergies because the pollen is "just from flowers".

I realize that the "flowers" may be on trees also, but don't know if there is anything more to this "cure".

Anyone have any opinions on this? I would email him with some thoughts if you have info.

Thanks, Ray
There is a considerable amount of anecdotal evidence supporting the claim that honey helps with allergies. As DaddysGirl noted, mileage may vary. While there may not be controlled medical studies validating honey as helpful to people with allergies, Dr. Tim obviously knows little about bees or honey or he wouldn't have made the statement about pollen "just from flowers".
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PDCambs
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« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2008, 07:40:37 AM »

Placebo is a powerful consideration that affects any medicinal efficacy analysis, and I understand that Caonola pollen is unable to effect a hay fever reaction (despite all those people who get hay fever in the spring when it is in flower and say it's the cause)

That said, I don't contradict anyone over a reason they may have for wishing to buy my honey, it's working for them (they think) and their money is as good as anyone else’s.



Peter
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qa33010
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« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2008, 12:31:38 AM »

  What I was told by a doc is that as long as the honey has the pollen in it that is affecting you it can help over time.  But if it does not have that pollen in it that you are trying to desensitize yourself to, it's sweet and is still good for you.  I guess it is also a seasonal thing.  Me for instance, I have been having some severe allergy problems for the past three weeks and my honey I had was from last summer and fall.  So none of the pollen I need is in that batch.  I will pull honey and see what happens.  Maybe start pulling from some hives in the spring and other hives in the late fall and leave enough behind for wintering. huh

   See what happens.  But I have heard doctors say the same thing when I was a kid and never had any say to the contrary.  That is the only personal sources/research I've really done.  The rest have been accidental readings (more like a short blurb) that say more research is needed.
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Angi_H
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« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2008, 01:33:54 AM »

Why not put a pollen trap on and collect the pollen. My kids say it is sweet from the bees mixing the nectar with the pollen to get it stuck.  And people that have bought it from me have also said the same thing. Taking 1tsp a day will help more with your allergies then just honey alone. As you can collect pollen every other day. Or ever 3rd day and you have what ever is in bloom bothering you at that time. I am having trouble keeping pollen in stock. And almost wish I had more bees but I dont have more equipment to put them in even though I had 5 swarm calls the other day I had to turn down due to lack of supplies to put them in. One lady I have swears by it. I am getting for 6 oz bear 9.00 it is by volume. And for a 32oz size I am getting 32.00. the more bulk you get the cheaper it is. I have had to go in with my friend that has 200 hives to get pollen from him. He dont use pollen traps because he is a firefighter and is gone days on end but said if I would handle it and do it every 3rd day I could put traps on as many as I could handle.

Angi
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Cindi
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« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2008, 09:34:36 AM »

Angi, you got a pretty good deal going on there.  Your pal will provide lots of pollen from his colonies so you can supply your customers, that is good, yeah!!!  Have a great and wonderful day, Cindi
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Vetch
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« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2008, 06:00:51 PM »

I have been reading the medical research on various bee-products lately. There is a study from the University of Connecticut in 2002 that compared locally collected unpasteurized honey to nationally marketed pasteurized honey and also to a sugar solution. No difference was found between the 3 groups as far as hay-fever symptoms. Skeptics will undoubtedly point to this as proof.

I think the question is still open. The research summary did not say how long the people took the honey or placebo. Nor is it clear what the primary pollen sources were for the locally collected honey - it could be different from the type of pollen that causes the hay-fever, in which case, no surprise it wouldn't lead to oral desensitization. The idea that something from flowers can't have any effect on people is obviously false, as the pollen that causes that type of allergy is 'just from flowers'. 

There is lots of research showing apitherapy works for various things, but as far as beeks making specific claims, that could lead to problems. 
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Dane Bramage
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« Reply #8 on: May 07, 2008, 08:19:08 PM »

I eat a tablespoon (at least) of fresh or fresh-frozen pollen (from my own colonies, of course) every day year-round since I started collecting last June. 

 

Loads of raw (never heated) honey also (can't forget the royal jelly either, lol).  I can understand the homeopathic argument that the pollen collected may not be what one is allergic to and, therefore, ineffective (Homeopathy is somewhat controversial on it's own) - but my personal experience is to the contrary as well.  I have viscous hay fever, allergic to weeds & grasses but my condition has improved significantly when taking pollen, etc.,.  So far this year <knocks on wood> my allergies are non-existent.

Even if pollen weren't a remedy I'd still be taking it.  It's so healthy ~> Flower power!    grin  Really all the bee products are so excellent; honey, pollen, royal jelly, propolis, wax... bee's wax candles, for example, reportedly help clean the air:
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Candles made of pure beeswax have well documented anti-allergic properties. Are you bothered by tree pollen, mold spores, or dust? These nefarious particles are positively charged and conduct static electricity. Allergy sufferers are encouraged to close the windows of their house and light a pure beeswax candle. The all-natural wax emits negatively charged vapors that will IONIZE the air. Burning beeswax candles liberates the air of positively charged allergens as it emits negatively charged vapors into the atmosphere. Try it...it works!

& propolis, when vaporised, reportedly kills airborne pathogens:
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Experiments carried out in schools by the A.S.L. 5 of Collegno (Turin) have shown, after three days of utilization of the Propolis vaporizer within a confined environment, resulted in an average reduction of the microbial load by 71.8%!!!


So it's beeswax candles heating (vaporizing) propolis @ casa de bramage!  afro

Cheers,
Dane

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Vetch
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« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2008, 09:03:25 AM »

I can understand the homeopathic argument that the pollen collected may not be what one is allergic to and, therefore, ineffective (Homeopathy is somewhat controversial on it's own) - but my personal experience is to the contrary as well.  I have viscous hay fever, allergic to weeds & grasses but my condition has improved significantly when taking pollen, etc.,.  So far this year <knocks on wood> my allergies are non-existent.

You are right - homeopathy is controversial, (and I'm skeptical of the theories of homeopathy). I am looking at honey from a standard immunology perspective. There is evidence that pollen or altered pollen can be used as an oral vaccine to desensitize people to allergies the same way that allergy shots work.

From a study called "Sublingual Allergen Immunotherapy" (sublingual = oral, "under the tongue")
"Oral tolerance is a well-documented immune process and the sublingual route of administration of allergen immunotherapy is attracting interest. Recent meta-analyses show that sublingual allergen immunotherapy for grass pollen and house dust mite allergy is clinically effective and safer than injection immunotherapy."

Bee products are also rich in flavonoids (which have been shown to reduce histamine release) and contain other biologically active compounds. So the possibilities are there.  Glad it is working for you!
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TwoBigCats
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« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2009, 07:16:55 PM »

(i came searching for this topic, found this older thread and want to add my feedback)

i'm a 2nd year beek and have suffered terribly from seasonal allergies ("hayfever") for the past 38 years.  in that time, i have:

* taken over-the-counter and prescription meds by the handfuls. horrible side effects.

* had my sinuses surgically cauterized (20 years ago) to relieve swelling. expensive. painful recovery, benefits lasted 5+ years.

* annually taken a 3-series of steroid shots in my sinuses. expensive. discomfort. benefits last for 1-2 months.

last year i began keeping bees and consuming 1 teaspoon of honey in my morning coffee. i also replaced white / brown sugar (to flavor) w/honey in my other drinks such as lemonade and iced tea. 

this is the first allergy season since '71 that i have had no allergy symptoms whatsoever, period, overnout.  is it because of the honey or a placebo effect?  can't say, don't know. but what i can say is that i'm putting away enough honey from my harvest to last me 1-2 years of my own, personal use.

(btw, as happens in beekeeping, i lost my initial colony last year and had to purchase new bees this year.  while i wasn't keen on spending the extra $$'s to do that, given the allergy relief it's bringing me, i'll gladly do it every year going forward if need be.)

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tlynn
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« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2009, 12:25:22 AM »

Yep, here we go again.  Dr. so and so makes a claim and since he's an MD he must be right.  Science is right and anecdotal evidence is just so much superstition.  Such thinking keeps people taking dangerous drugs with a multitude of side effects.

TwoBigCats suggested their honey intake after radical medical intervention cured their allergies and that perhaps it could be "placebo effect."  Maybe so, but who cares?  The symptoms are gone! 

I have done many non-traditional treatments throughout my life, and most of them with success.  I can't explain why taking little small pills with micro quantities of plant extracts cures sore throats or seasickness, but they work. Do I have expectation they will?  Yes.  And I'm sure that makes a difference.
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gardeningfireman
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« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2009, 11:08:01 AM »

I think it's all politics. The medical field says homeopathy doesn't work. Well, they get paid by the drug companies, right? Well, they won't bite the hand that feeds them! Same thing regarding the chemical companies paying the EPA, politicians, and universities; they say CCD HAS to be a natural thing. It ABSOLUTELY CAN'T have anything at all to do with pesticides. Again, they won't bite the hand that feeds them. Read the book "A Spring Without Bees", and you'll see what I mean!
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Scadsobees
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« Reply #13 on: July 21, 2009, 12:38:13 PM »

I'm not going to debate whether it works or not, if people think it does an they buy my honey because of it, then it definately works  grin.

Don't work for me, but I don't have allergies either.  It does work awesome to make oatmeal more palatable, though.

Technically it can't work, since the pollen that causes allergies is windborn(pine, grasses, ragweed), and the bees don't typically collect windborn pollen (yes, I know they do sometimes but it isn't the bulk of what is in the honey).  I suppose pollen shares proteins to some extent, so maybe it is the proteins not the specific type of pollen that is the problem, and if that is the case then local shouldn't matter.

But if it works for some, then it don't matter how it works. Smiley

Rick
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Rick
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« Reply #14 on: July 22, 2009, 10:46:03 AM »

It seems to help me a little.  The big problem is some of the most allergenic plants around here are wind pollenated or aren't generally visited by bees.  Single seed juniper, four wing salt bush, russian pig weed are all bad news for my allergies and bees don't forage them.
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Dane Bramage
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« Reply #15 on: July 22, 2009, 11:10:03 AM »

Technically it can't work, since the pollen that causes allergies is windborn(pine, grasses, ragweed), and the bees don't typically collect windborn pollen (yes, I know they do sometimes but it isn't the bulk of what is in the honey).  I suppose pollen shares proteins to some extent, so maybe it is the proteins not the specific type of pollen that is the problem, and if that is the case then local shouldn't matter.

Your correct in that, technically, it can't work exclusively via homeopathic means.  That doesn't mean it doesn't work (for surely, it does).  It just means the mechanism is unclear.  

I offer three seasonally harvested varieties and receive a lot of queries from allergy sufferers.  Most suffer from severe hay fever in early Spring and assume that the June (Wildflower) harvest would be most effective.  Again, this is based on the homeopathy logic.   I've used all my honeys concurrently, never one single variety and can't say if one is more effective than another.  Troubling thing is, if there's absolutely no homeopathic factor it rules out one of the popular incentives to buy local honey.  

I'd definitely like to see more research on precisely how honey (& bee pollen) works as remedy to allergies.  

Cheers,
Dane

ETA - here's a typical response I write to seasonal-specific variety allergy queries:
Quote
I believe the concept behind honey helping allergies is a homeopathic one.  That being; little and repeated doses of "poison" until you become more immune.  Our poison is pollen and the "immunity" we need to build is to not have that auto-immune/histamine reaction.  The logical issue I have with honey (& bee pollen) being a homeopathic remedy is that the bees don't collect pollen from grasses & weeds but from flowers.   They do collect from trees as well and some folks might have those allergies (maple, elm, willow?), but not I.  That being said, I have found it really does work when used consistently and well in advance of allergy season.  Though not a panacea, my allergies were greatly improved.  If you get a late start, it still helps albeit to a lesser degree.

So, all that (long-winded, lol) background to just say I'm unsure if it's purely, or even partially, a homeopathic response, which would make the coordinating seasonal honey more effective.  I've not done a study of that and have used all the honey varieties I collect (usually solely based on what flavor I'm craving, heh) throughout the year.  Ditto for the pollens, which I'm considering offering soon as well (collect daily and immediately fresh frozen packed in glass jars).  Perhaps there is some other beneficial action at play or maybe it is simply teaching one's body to digest, rather than react to, the pollen.  Whatever the case, it sure is my kind of medicine (tasty!).
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