Honey is said to help with hay fever symptoms here is what the research says about this claim

Honey has a long history as a revered natural remedy in many cultures. Ancient civilizations recognized its therapeutic potential, using it for various medicinal purposes. The ancient Egyptians, Assyrians, Chinese, Greeks and Romans, for example, used it to heal wounds. And many cultures today continue to use it as a remedy for sore throats and coughs.

Some people also claim that honey can ease the symptoms of hay fever. Proponents of this method claim that honey can help thanks to its supposed anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic properties (although there is no empirical evidence for this).

But what does science really say about this ancient remedy? Recent research into the potential of honeys to alleviate hay fever symptoms has yielded intriguing findings that certainly warrant further exploration.

One fascinating aspect that is being investigated is the ability of honeys to act as a form of immunotherapy, a treatment strategy that aims to modify the immune system’s response to allergens.

Immunotherapy involves exposing the immune system to gradual doses of allergens, such as pollen, in a controlled manner. This exposure helps desensitize the immune system over time, reducing its hypersensitivity and decreasing allergic reactions.

Read more: Hay fever: How immunotherapy can help patients who don’t get relief from standard treatments

For example, one study found that people who consumed local honey daily for four weeks along with an allergy pill had significant improvements in their hay fever symptoms compared to those who took just one pill. allergy

The anti-inflammatory properties of honeys are of considerable interest when it comes to hay fever. Honey contains several bioactive compounds, including flavonoids and phenolic acids, which have anti-inflammatory effects. These compounds work by preventing inflammation in the body, which can help reduce many of the symptoms caused by an allergic reaction (such as a stuffy or runny nose).

Honey also has a wide variety of antioxidants, such as polyphenols. These antioxidants remove unstable molecules from harmful free radicals that can damage cells and trigger inflammation. By neutralizing free radicals, honey can help protect cells and tissues from damage, reducing allergic inflammation (and allergy symptoms).

Some types of honey may be more beneficial than others.
Tatevosian Yana/Shutterstock

Honey also has prebiotic characteristics, which may further explain its potential in managing hay fever symptoms. Prebiotics are substances that promote the growth and activity of beneficial intestinal bacteria, improving intestinal health. Emerging evidence suggests that the prebiotic properties of honeys can change the composition and function of the gut microbiota.

Read more: Hay fever could be linked to our gut and nasal bacteria and probiotics can help symptoms

A healthy gut microbiota is essential for maintaining a balanced immune system and preventing aberrant immune responses, including allergic reactions. By promoting the growth of beneficial gut bacteria and strengthening gut function, honey can indirectly influence the severe reaction to seasonal pollen.

What to consider

Not all honey is created equal. Where it comes from and how it is processed can affect its therapeutic potential.

Raw honey, which undergoes minimal processing and retains more of its natural compounds, is often favored for its potential health benefits.

The composition of honeys can also vary depending on the types of plants the bees visit. Monofloral honey, derived primarily from the nectar of a single plant species, may contain specific compounds that offer therapeutic advantages over polyfloral varieties (derived from multiple plant species).

If you’re thinking about using honey to help with hay fever symptoms, it’s important to keep certain practical considerations in mind and exercise caution.

Research recommends consuming 1g of honey per kilogram of body weight each day to have any effect. For a person weighing 80 kg, this would translate into four tablespoons of honey per day. Studies also recommend taking honey before and during hay fever season to get the most benefit from symptoms.

It is important to note that honey may not be suitable for everyone. Children under one year old should not consume honey because of the risk of botulism, a rare but serious disease. People with severe hay fever or asthma should talk to their GP before using honey, as allergic reactions to bee products can be serious.

Although honey shows promise in managing hay fever symptoms, it should complement, rather than replace, conventional therapies prescribed by your doctor, as it may not work equally well for everyone. If you have severe hay fever symptoms, its unlikely honey will provide enough relief.

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Image Source : theconversation.com

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