How To Consume Bee Pollen For Health Benefits
Bee pollen is the primary source of food for the hive. Bee pollen is added to food or drink for humans, such as a salad topping or a smoothie to prevent seasonal allergies and its many health benefits. This includes possible liver health, an immune system boost, and metabolism improvements. While its effectiveness for allergies varies or may not be large, taking bee pollen can be worth it when also looking to reap the other health benefits it may provide.
Coverly says the taste of bee pollen depends on the flowers it comes from. This could be tasteless, bitter, or sweet. You are getting a mixture of all the flowers that are blooming at that time, he adds.
This beekeeper of close to 30 years isnt a fan of the taste. But, he does mix it with yogurt or ice cream for its health benefits. Along with being a smoothie bowl topping as seen in trendy recipes, the bee pollen can also be added to water to help with seasonal allergies.
Can Honey Help Relieve Seasonal Allergies
The idea behind eating local honey as a remedy for seasonal allergies is that it might work similarly to an allergy shot. When bees produce honey, it contains small amounts of pollen from nearby flowers. Consuming that honeyand therefore the pollenmay combat pollen allergies in a certain location. Ingesting flower pollen from a certain region, the thinking goes, may make you less sensitive to it.
Its an interesting idea, but unfortunately, it isnt proven. Research is scant and inconclusive. One small study in Malaysia found that honey consumption was beneficial to allergic rhinitis. But an earlier, small study at the University of Connecticut found no benefit in allergy sufferers who consumed local honey, commercially processed honey, or placebo .
Theres a fundamental weakness in eating honey as an allergy remedy: The amount of pollen that bees deposit into honey can vary widely. So theres no standard for how much pollen youre consuming. It might not even be the kind that causes your allergy symptoms. Relying on honey to assuage your hay fever is a shot in the dark.
To put it simply: There is no scientific proof that eating local honey will improve seasonal allergies, says the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology .
Why Locally Produced Honey
Locally produced honey, which supposedly contains local plant pollens to which a person would be allergic, is thought to be the preferred type of honey for allergies. It makes sense that consuming honey that contains pollen to which a person is allergic would improve allergies, much like how sublingual immunotherapy works. And, the fact that many people have experienced anaphylaxis from eating honey means that there may be enough pollen to stimulate the immune system.
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Here Are Some Ideas For Minimizing Your Exposure To Pollen According To Dr Wright:
- Keep your windows closed
- Remove clothing after coming in from outdoors
- Wear sunglasses outdoors
- Try to minimize outdoor activities at dawn and dusk, when pollen counts are the highest
- Talk to your healthcare provider about taking an over the counter medication, including antihistamines and/or a nasal steroid
If your symptoms are not well controlled despite the above strategies, discuss with your healthcare provider if you are a candidate for allergen immunotherapy .
How Does Honey Work On Allergies
In order for it to be effective it must fit these criteria:
Raw The honey needs to say that it is raw or you need to ask your farmer directly. Honey that is raw will still contain all the living enzymes needed to protect your body from a histamine overdose.
Local I have heard all sorts of specific mileages on this. Im not sure where they all come from. The truth is that there isnt a magic number of miles within which you must purchase your honey. Any raw honey that is harvested nearby where the same sort of plants are blooming at roughly the same time can be considered local.
Allergen Appropriate If you have fall allergies, you need to use raw, local honey that is harvested in the fall. If you buy raw, local honey that was harvested in the spring, you will no doubt enjoy some honey and get some health benefits. You will not, however benefit from the allergy prevention because the pollens to which you are allergic will not be found in this honey.
The big drawback here is that raw, local honey only works on pollen allergies. For years I was frustrated that I couldnt help people with other sensitivities. So I developed one of our honey spreads to work on the histamine reaction and to support the liver. The herbs I like best for allergy suffering are:
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Pollen Insects And You: Things To Know Before You Die
Without flying insects like butterflies, wasps and bees, flowering plants would have a hard time surviving. To reproduce, flowers create seeds, which eventually grow into new plants. Seeds don’t develop spontaneously they develop after pollen, sticky spores found on the stamen of a plant, come in contact with the pistil. This process is called pollination.
Unlike humans and other animals, flowering plants can self-pollinate, since they have both the male and female reproductive parts. Self-pollination happens when pollen from a plant comes in contact with its own pistil. Seeds are produced but usually make for weaker plants. Cross-pollination occurs when the pollen from one plant is carried to the pistil of another plant. This type of pollination can produce the hardiest offspring, but it’s difficult for most flowering plants to pull off . Some flowering plants, like dandelions, adapted to produce spores that are easily carried off by the wind . Others get by with a little help from their friends in the insect world.
When winged insects look for nectar , they generally climb around the reproductive organs of flowers to get it. Since there’s only so much nectar to be found in a flower, insects will travel from flower to flower to get their fill. As they do this, the sticky pollen spores that attach to the insects’ limbs are transferred to the pistils of other plants they visit. The miracle of cross-pollination has occurred.
How To Effectively Manage Allergy Symptoms:
Of course, if you’re looking for treatment methods that do work for your allergies, there are many proven methods.
“The best strategies for battling allergies are taking steps to limit your exposure to the things you’re allergic to and taking the appropriate medications to keep symptoms under control,” says Dr. Reisacher.
If you’re unsure about the best allergy medications for you, your doctor can provide allergy testing to find the appropriate ones.
“I highly recommend talking to your healthcare provider about getting tested to find out what you are allergic to,” says Dr. Wright. “There is an allergy blood test available, which can evaluate you for common environmental allergens, including pollens , dust mites, animal dander, and molds.”
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So Does Eating Local Honey Work As A Treatment For Your Allergies
“Unfortunately, does not help with allergies because the pollens that bees collect are usually from flowers, which are not as potent and don’t provoke your immune system like other pollens which cause ‘classic’ seasonal allergy symptoms,” says Dr. Wright.
Not only are flower pollens less potent than other pollens, but the amount of pollen present in local honey also isn’t enough to play a role in allergen desensitization. “Eating honey is ineffective because it only contains small amounts of pollen,” adds Dr. Wright.
What’s worse is that eating local honey isn’t just ineffective as an allergy remedy, but it could actually worsen your symptoms.
“In some cases, eating local raw honey may contribute to allergic symptoms because if you are highly sensitized, ingesting pollens in small amounts can cause local symptoms like an itchy mouth,” says Dr. Wright. “In rare cases, you can potentially have a more severe reaction like anaphylaxis because raw honey may contain bee parts, and if you have a bee allergy, you could have a reaction.”
Local honey isn’t the only food that can worsen seasonal allergy symptoms. Due to a condition called oral allergy syndrome , also known as pollen fruit syndrome , certain foods can cause an allergic reaction or worsen existing symptoms in those with pollen allergies. We put together a list of oral allergy syndrome foods to help you identify what foods besides honey might be worsening your allergy symptoms.
You May Have Heard That Eating Raw Honey Can Help Lessen Allergy Symptoms But Is It Safe For Kids Here’s The Scoop
Have seasonal allergy symptoms such as sneezing, an itchy nose and coughing got your child down? Have you ever thought of using honey for allergies? If your kids have seasonal allergies, youre probably willing to try anything to ease their symptoms especially something yummy like honey. And for natural-minded moms, honey may offer a natural alternative to conventional allergy medications that can cause a number of side effects, including headaches, drowsiness and digestion issues.
Many allergy sufferers report that eating raw, locally produced honey alleviates their seasonal allergy symptoms. The idea is that eating a small amount each day helps build immunity through gradual exposure. Bees transfer a small amount of pollen spores, those same spores that give allergy sufferers so many problems to their honey.
The theory is that eating the honey with those spores can desensitize the immune system. Its the same principal as allergy shots, where patients are given very small amounts of the substance theyre allergic to. Over time, the immune system will recognize the offender so it doesnt launch an attack, explains Dr. Julie Glass, a naturopathic doctor in Portland, Oregon. Honey wont help with food or other allergies, of course, but it could possibly help with seasonal allergies.
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Can You Fight Allergies With Local Honey
You can barely drag yourself out of bed. Winter is gradually receding back into the closet of seasons once again, and you’re painfully aware that spring is up next. You find the thought of facing another sunny, upbeat vernal equinox when nature bursts to life anew once more too depressing for words.
It’s seasonal allergies. All of those beautiful, fragrant flowers and deep green grasses that allergy-free people just love to coo over and pick and prune literally make you sick. Springtime is when trees and plants spread their seeds — at least the pollen that becomes seeds. And that pollen wreaks havoc on your body whenever you take a breath outside.
You’re hardly alone. The Food and Drug Administration estimates around 36 million people in the United States alone suffer from seasonal allergies, known also by the common name of hay fever and the more technical name allergic rhinitis . It may not improve your mood to know this, but all that pollen is actually harmless. Those months of runny nose, scratchy eyes and headaches you endure each spring is actually the result of a case of mistaken identity. Your body mistakes pollen for damaging invaders like fungal spores and dust mites. This triggers the release of histamine, a natural chemical that’s part of an immune system response. Histamine causes inflammation and irritation of soft tissue, which leads to your suffering .
Does Local Honey Reduce Hay Fever
Eating locally produced honey is a popular treatment for hay fever. Local honey contains pollen, pollen causes hay fever, and taking pollen allergens by mouth can reduce allergic reactions by building an immune tolerance at least for grass pollen allergies.
One argument against the local honey hayfever cure is that most pollen found in honey is heavy, flower pollen from attractive, bee pollinated flowers, rather than the lighter, wind-dispersed pollen from trees and grasses that trigger hayfever symptoms. Bees do accidentally collect non-flower pollen however, and exposure to low doses of tree and grass pollens could still help to reduce hayfever symptoms. Local honey also contains natural antihistamines and other anti-inflammatory substances that might reduce hayfever symptoms. So what is the evidence that local honey is the best honey for hayfever?
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Can Eating Honey Reduce Seasonal Allergy Symptoms
To bee honest, eating any kind of honey, raw or in any other form, may make you sweeter but it wont prevent problems with seasonal allergies.
The theory that eating so-called natural honey is beneficial is purely anecdotal and mostly found in homeopathic, or non-scientific, publications, according to Dr. Samuel Welch of the UAMS Department of Otolaryngology , Head and Neck Surgery.
The main basis for immunotherapy, either traditional allergy shots or sublingual immunotherapy, is based on the administration of very small and controlled doses of the substance that the patient is allergic to, says Dr. Welch. In the process, the body responds to the internal presence of the antigen by making very specific antibodies and so subsequent exposures to the antigen results in a kind of neutralizing or protective effect. So at first glance, consumption of local honey might seem logical.
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Birch Pollen Enriched Honey For Birch Pollen Hay Fever
Between 10% and 15% of people living in Finland have a birch pollen allergy, with hayfever symptoms typically lasting from the beginning of April until the end of May. A preventative study was therefore timed to assess the effects of eating a local honey containing birch pollen and a local honey not containing birch pollen, against symptoms of birch pollen hayfever.
Volunteers took the local honey treatment from November until the end of March, before the seasonal allergies were expected to kick in.
The researchers used a locally collected, unpasteurised, unfiltered organic honey which contained no birch tree pollen , and compared its effects with the same local honey that was enriched with bee-collected birch pollen. Each gram of enriched honey contained around 8,400 birch pollen grains. The two types of local honey looked and tasted identical.
Forty-four volunteers with hay fever, and doctor-confirmed positive skin prick tests to birch pollen, were divided into three groups. One group acted as a control and did not take any local honey products, while the other volunteers were given 900g each of either the regular local honey or the birch-pollen enriched local honey.
The volunteers kept a daily diary of allergy symptoms throughout the honey stage of the trial, and during the subsequent birch pollen season. They also detailed their use of antihistamine tablets, nasal sprays and eye drops. The researchers also documented the daily pollen concentrations.
Natural Allergy Relief Options
What helps relieve allergies fast? Watching what you eat, getting plenty of fresh air and drinking enough water are some of the natural remedies that can relieve allergies by improving functions of the immune system.
It may take several weeks for your symptoms to subside, but they are likely to be better kept under control when you tackle the root causes. Here are nine ways to get natural allergy relief.
1. Eat an Anti-Inflammatory, Alkaline Diet
First and foremost, start eating an anti-inflammatory diet to reduce your risk for allergies and many other health problems. Caring for your body with nutrient-dense foods gives your immune system the ability to repair itself, bringing it back into balance so it can fight off common allergies in your environment.
Here are some of the best foods and ingredients to incorporate into your diet to help you beat allergies:
Although its not abundant in many foods, vitamin D is also important for immune function and may help manage allergy symptoms. In fact, certain studies have shown that children who live farther from the equator are more likely to develop allergies and suffer higher rates of hospital admissions due to allergic reactions.
You can get enough vitamin D by spending about 15 minutes in the sun most days without sunscreen and by eating foods like whole milk and some mushrooms for natural allergy relief.
2. Local Raw Honey
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
5. Neti Pot
6. Stinging Nettle
Why Would It Work
It is a popular notion that eating honeyespecially locally grown honeyis a natural remedy for allergies and asthma. Bee pollen, propoliis, and royal jelly are bee products that some people use as a supplement. They are not proven to improve any medical condition.” The theory behind the use of honey is that honey carries various ingredients, including pollen allergens and components of honeybees.
This is an important question considering 7.8% of Americans cope with seasonal allergies to pollen of some form. Yet does it work?
Treating A Honey Allergy
If youre dealing with only mild allergy symptoms, you can usually buy over-the-counter antihistamines. If the symptoms get worse or dont improve in a short time, visit your doctor immediately.
Honey and other bee products are used in a variety of food. If youre used to having a severe allergic reaction, pay close attention to the ingredients list, especially when buying processed food. If youre not sure which allergen affects your body, consult your doctor to make additional allergy tests.
Honey Has Health Risks
When people talk about eating honey to prevent allergies, they donât mean the kind at the supermarket that comes in a plastic bear. Itâs often local, unprocessed honey. And it can have some pretty nasty stuff in it, from bee parts to mold spores and bacteria. These things are usually removed during commercial processing.
Itâs rare, but eating unprocessed honey can cause a serious allergic reaction. You might have itching, hives, or swelling of your mouth, throat, or skin. The culprit: pollen or bee parts in the unprocessed honey.
âOne of the reasons I never recommend unprocessed honey for allergies is because someone may be allergic to it and not even know,â Ogden says. âI worry about local honey that hasnât been processed or tested.â
And if youâre allergic to bees, itâs possible unprocessed honey could contain some bee venom and cause a severe reaction, Ogden says.
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