I've come across some studies for and some against the honey hypothesis: one unpublished study noting improvement in symptoms from consuming raw honey, and another disputing the effects of honey. The study disputing the benefits of honey only had 18 participants per study group and didn't mention if raw or processed honey was tested. I was still convinced that it was worth my time to give raw honey a try.
After some searching, we were able to find organic raw honey from mixed sources (not a single source like only clover, or only dandelion), which was produced locally. Honey advocates note that honey from local sources (the closer the better) may have more effect than honey from distant farms. Local honey will more closely mimic the type of allergens we are exposed to during allergy season.
After my short experiment, it did seem that there was some improvement in my allergy symptoms but it was difficult to tell if this was placebo effect or an actual effect of the honey. The effects of raw honey may accumulate over time, so this spring I plan to start consuming honey before the symptoms start. Honey advocates suggest starting to consume honey at least two weeks before allergy season kicks into full gear.
Unlike allergy medications that tend to put me to sleep or dehydrate me, raw honey had no side effects besides a happy stomach. I've read many other benefits of eating raw honey, and supporting local business will keep me coming back for more.
Some of the benefits of raw honey:
- Contains antioxidants, vitamins and minerals
- Digestive aid
- Topical salve (antimicrobial properties)
- Cough suppressant
Note: do not give any type of honey to infants under 1 year of age. Raw honey is unprocessed and may be a potential source of food poisoning.