It’s that time of year again, where we have shed our winter coats ready for the warmer weather, cleaned out the excess ‘things’ we gathered during the last year (hello spring cleaning!), and re-started some of those healthy habits we may let go of over the colder months. While spring is definitely a time to renew and re-energise, unfortunately for some, with blooming trees and blossoming flowers come allergies!
Luckily, mother nature has provided a sweet golden nectar to naturally relieve symptoms of common springtime allergies. Here are three ways how raw honey can help:
1. Immune System Rebalancing
A clinical study in Malaysia proved that consuming high doses of raw honey (50 to 80 grams per day) significantly reduced sneezing and the prevalence of a blocked and runny nose among participants. Improvements in hayfever symptoms mostly continued even after they stopped taking antihistamine medication. Researchers have hypothesised that the minute amount of pollen found in honey “teaches” our immune cells that they aren’t a threat, thus decreasing the need to activate the body’s immune response.
Studies have also shown that honey varietals containing the same types of pollen you are allergic to can have a stronger, more beneficial outcome when consumed. A clinical study compared the effects of birch honey and standard honey in 44 people allergic to birch pollen. Compared to a third controlled group taking only their usual medications, the birch honey group had twice as many days without symptoms, 70% fewer days of severe symptoms, a 60% lower symptom score, and were able to halve their use of antihistamine as a result. Similar results were found within the standard honey control group, however those consuming birch honey required less use of their usual allergy medications.
2. Antioxidant Protection
Raw honey is known to have higher levels of antioxidants than heat-processed honey. A study involving children with hayfever revealed that these children had significantly more oxidative stress than children of the same age without hayfever. While their antioxidant capacity increased to counteract allergy symptoms, over an extended period of time, the body’s levels of antioxidant levels become depleted without the necessary dietary support – and adequate absorption of the antioxidants from dietary sources.
Other studies on the effects of regular honey consumption, found that all honey varietals with varying levels of antioxidants, provided some increases to participants’ blood levels of antioxidants, however the stronger (darker) raw honey varietals had greater effects.
Honey is known as a demulcent, meaning it has a soothing effect when applied directly to areas affected by inflammation – not just topically, but internally to the throat when we consume honey. The demulcent effectiveness of honey in protecting against airway irritation is partly due to the increase of mucous production, which helps to remove aggravating substances such as dust and pollen. In turn, the honey creates a protective barrier between the airways and environmental irritants.
So, there you have it: a spoon of honey a day keeps the spring allergies at bay!
Have you found relief from allergies by consuming raw honey? Tell us about it in the comments section below!