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I suffer quite badly in the summer months with hayfever and I've been told by numerous people that eating a spoonful of locally produced honey a day in the months leading up to summer will help me become immune to the local pollen that causes my symptoms.

Is there any truth in this, or any studies to back it up?

  • 1
    I would be interested in this answer too. My wife says it does, and she suffers from allergies. – Larian LeQuella Mar 15 '11 at 23:44
  • I thought that there may be coherence between hayfever and honey alergy as my partner has it both. But apparently it is uncommon. – Egle Mar 16 '11 at 10:24
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    I haven't heard of studies of this but I would expect it would be of some value. Allergy shots are just small doses of the offending allergens. Honey will contain a bit of pollen from local flowers--small doses of the stuff that's making you allergic. Note that this would only work if allergy shots work for you--they don't work for everyone. – Loren Pechtel Jun 29 '14 at 2:13
  • Well since this is not just for your general enlightenment but for your practical use. Try it and even it is is just a placebo, if it works for you, who cares? Also, honey does have many health benefits, so it will be good for you either way. – Jonathon Aug 10 '14 at 23:29
  • Also, I believe it would have to be RAW HONEY, to have any chance of being effective in that way. Not that preprocessed stuff. – Jonathon Aug 10 '14 at 23:31
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While a popular cure in many areas of the US, there is little scientific evidence supporting this hypothesis. For example:

  • This small study from the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology found no improvement beyond a placebo
  • This article from the International Archive of Allergy and Immunology indicated some benefit to using honey linked to the allergic trigger (Birch pollen in this case) can provide benefit when used in conjunction with traditional medication

However, it is fair to say that these trials are limited in scope and contain small sample sizes that could result in non-applicable results for a larger population.

However, the rationale for this myth may be the result of honey's efficacy in reducing coughs (a frequent symptom of seasonal allergic reactions) as shown in this study from the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

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