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Beekeeper’s Notes March 2018: Hayfever And Honey

Published on: 1 Mar, 2018
Updated on: 1 Mar, 2018

Hugh Coakley keeps bees in Worplesdon. He talks about whether local honey can help hayfever sufferers.

Does local honey cure hayfever?

There are different views ranging from the sceptical ‘No, it’s nonsense, there’s no evidence’ to the enthusiastic ‘Yes. I’ve taken local honey over the last year and I now don’t suffer from hayfever at all’.

Well, you take your pick. If I am asked, I lean towards the positive and that is purely based on what people who eat my honey tell me.

I have a neighbour who takes half a spoonfull per day and she no longer suffers from the symptoms. She now gives it to her son as well to help him. She is not the only one to have told me that it works.

Against that view is the lack of evidence that honey actually helps. Trials in America using local honey, supermarket honey and a placebo of a honey flavoured syrup, did not show that it helped (‘Is honey a cure for hayfever?’).

The reasoning given by those who do believe that it helps is that honey contains pollen particles and eating small amounts of honey through the year can desensitise the allergic reaction. Counter to that, hayfever is supposed to be mainly triggered by grass pollen which is wind pollinated and not specifically gathered by bees.

Evidence to support the effectiveness of honey cites a preventative study in Finland assessing the impact of local honey on birch pollen sufferers  (‘Does local honey reduce hayfever?’). The researchers compared symptons of sufferers after taking either birch pollen enriched honey, locally produced honey or taking no honey at all.

The enriched honey performed best but the local honey also did very well. Those taking the locally produced honey also reported less need for medication with 38% feeling that they were in better general health, with fewer colds and stomach upsets, compared with 7% of those in the control group.

So, the evidence is there if you suffer from a specific pollen allergy like Birch but anecdotal otherwise.

But it is hard to ignore when people actually tell you that it works. I find it a compelling argument.

The key seems to be that you have to take it before the sneezing starts. So, If you want to see whether it works for you, start now….

The fruit of our labours (the bees and me) all from my hives – pure local honey.

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test One Response to Beekeeper’s Notes March 2018: Hayfever And Honey

  1. Harry Eve Reply

    March 3, 2018 at 7:44 pm

    Air pollution may be making hayfever more of a problem, apparently.

    Increasing traffic in and around Guildford could make matters worse for us – but a side effect could be an increase in demand for honey!

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