We've all been feeling it over the last few weeks - the runny nose, the itchy throat - pollen is back and hay fever season is here.
If you’re anything like the team at the Scottish Bee Company you will have spent the last month sneezing incessantly, and just when you think it’s gone, along comes another pollen filled day to ruin your week. It’s hay fever season, which means we get asked one question on repeat - does honey help hay fever?
We always find our honey becomes very popular in the summer months, and although there is no official evidence to prove it, for hundreds of years people have believed that taking honey every day helps with your hay fever.
So what's the truth, does honey help hay fever?
Many people swear that a teaspoon of local honey each day desensitises you to pollen and helps alleviate hay fever symptoms. Sadly, there is no scientific evidence to support this. In fact, bees don’t pollinate grass and trees, and the pollen in honey is the heavy, flower-based pollen that doesn’t cause hay fever. Local, unprocessed honey does contain small amounts of pollen from the environment, but this pollen is mostly from the flowers where bees are found (with flowering plant’s pollens less likely to cause allergy symptoms) and allergenic, airborne pollen from trees, grasses and weeds (not pollinated by bees!) in lesser amounts.
Is honey a natural cure for hay fever?
However the mind is a powerful thing, and because honey does have other health benefits, honey may well have a placebo effect. 2020 research has recognised that Scottish heather honey is a superfood, including its antimicrobial, antioxidant and antibacterial properties, and so many people take it to help boost their immune system. Some people believe that the honey has to be from your local area to have any real effect - but again, none of this has been proven.
The long held idea behind honey helping treat allergies is very close to the idea of someone having vaccinations or jabs to help with their allergies. When someone consumes ‘local honey’, many believe you are also taking in the local pollen with it, and over a period of time, they might not be as sensitive to it. Saying this, as our other blogs show, honey helps with a cough and has anti-bacterial and inflammatory properties, and in particular pure heather honey. Honey has been studied as a cough suppressant and may have anti-inflammatory effects.
Why not try some and see if it helps in some way - every person has a different experience and our pure heather honey is always highly recommended by those who use it. Or give our local small batch blossom honeys a go!