Spoon of honey

Can Allergies Be Treated with Honey?

Millions of Americans struggle with seasonal allergies every year. It’s tough to deal with congestion, sinus pressure, watery or itchy eyes, and a runny nose. Day-to-day life can become quite a challenge. Understandably, allergy sufferers are constantly looking for ways to treat their allergies better. This is why so many patients have sought out holistic allergy treatment in Arlington Heights, IL. You may be surprised to learn that local honey is sometimes recommended as a treatment for seasonal allergies.


Allergies are caused by hypersensitivity of the immune system to otherwise harmless substances in the environment. Seasonal allergies are remarkably common, although the severity varies considerably. Some people have mild allergies that are able to be largely ignored throughout the year. They may live their entire lives and never experience serious allergy problems. Other patients can barely function when the pollen count is very high. For seasonal allergies, pollen is the environmental factor that triggers a person’s hypersensitivity.


As you know, pollen comes from flowers, trees, and other plants. You’ve probably seen pollen powder on vehicles when the pollen count is incredibly high. It usually looks orange or yellow. When someone with seasonal allergies breathes pollen, their immune system responds as if it were a bacterial infection or virus. Because it treats the pollen like a disease, standard symptoms are very similar. Congestion and sinus pressure are two of the most common signs of allergies. A runny nose isn’t unexpected. If you suffer from seasonal allergies, you’ve probably learned to keep tissues nearby.

Allergy Shots

The theory behind honey is similar to the approach of allergy shots. With allergy shots, the patient is exposed to measured doses of allergens over a period of time. These doses increase over the course of the treatment so that the patient can build up a tolerance to them. This is a treatment that has repeatedly been shown to be effective. With honey, the idea is to expose the patient to pollen. The thought is that, as bees gather pollen and produce honey, the honey will inevitably contain traces of the pollen in it. However, there’s no telling if any pollen will actually be contained in the honey, or how much. Because of this, it’s impossible to apply standard measurements as is done with allergy shots.


The studies conducted have had inconsistent results. One study showed no effect at all with honey. Another showed improvement with allergy symptoms when patients were given a high dose of honey. Research is still ongoing, and the sample sizes need to be much larger. The best that can be stated right now is that research regarding honey is inconclusive.

Using Honey

If you’re otherwise healthy, there’s unlikely to be any issue with using honey. Children under the age of 1 shouldn’t be given raw, unprocessed honey. It’s known to pose a risk of botulism in infants. If you have severe allergies to pollen, the pollen in honey could potentially trigger anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis causes difficulty breathing and can be life-threatening. Other minor reactions are possible as well, such as swelling or itching.

Although honey hasn’t been conclusively shown to help with allergies, it isn’t a bad way to sweeten your tea. It’s a viable substitute for other sugary additives. Honey is sometimes used as a cough suppressant. For now, you may be better served by other treatment options until honey is better understood.

Holistic remedies for allergies in Arlington Heights, IL, could be tremendously helpful. Contact Midwest Allergy Relief Centers at (847) 392-7901 if you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment.