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Let your food be your medicine… the wonderful benefits of raw honey

April 25, 2007 | Sara Thyr, N.D.

If spring ever actually arrives in New Hampshire, we may experience the usual allergy symptoms that the buds and pollens brings. I’ve written on naturopathic treatments for spring allergies (see www.DrThyr.com for “Beat Spring Allergies”). Recently I have become more aware of the benefits of a most delicious therapy… raw honey.

The theory (not well studied) is that the bees are foraging on the flowers and trees that you are reacting to in the spring. Much like allergy shots that some people have received, eating honey before the pollen is released in the spring will create a sort of homeopathic immunity to the allergens.

It is important, if you are going to try this treatment, that you find local, raw honey. I love my friend’s honey from Kansas, but while I am here in New Hampshire that won’t help my allergies much. If it is filtered at all to remove some of the beeswax, it should be through a nylon mesh that will leave some pollen grains in the honey.

Finding local honey is not difficult. Most local health food stores carry it. Make sure that it is raw and unfiltered. If it has been heated, the effect of the pollen can be destroyed.

Honey has been touted for millennia for many other health benefits. Digestive disorders have been known to be improved by honey, as well as improvements in the immune system. Asthma, bronchitis and allergy sufferers have reported decreased illnesses and symptoms from regular ingestion of raw honey.

Remember not to give honey to anyone under 18 months of age. Very rare case reports of anaphylaxis to honey have occurred if the person is sensitive to the Compositae family of plants.

While substantial medical research is lacking to prove the health benefits, it is certainly a delicious and safe therapy to try before reaching for any of the OTC allergy medicines.

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