Do you suffer each year from itchy eyes and runny nose? Are you dreading those first blooms of the Spring or the harvest each Fall? Most people experience some form of seasonal allergies ranging from a minor discomfort to a more extreme reaction. While over-the-counter allergy medications may provide relief, these pills also come with a slew of side effects. Drowsiness or anxiousness can affect your daily routine and impair your livelihood. That a daily allergy pill also adds one more set of pharmaceuticals and unnatural chemicals into our bodies and our lives. Fortunately Mother Nature has already provided us with a valuable resource that can help fight seasonal allergies. Local Raw Honey.
Most peoples already know that bees produce honey from the nectar and pollen they gather from local plants and flora. This means that honey contains enzymes for breaking down the nectar and pollen of these plants. When you eat raw, local honey, you are ingesting the pollen from these plants, in a broken down form. The pollen is no longer active so it doesn’t cause a reaction, and your body gets used to the pollen being in your system. After some time, your body will react less harshly to that pollen in your environment, thus reducing your seasonal allergy symptoms. Local raw honey, then works like a natural vaccination against the allergens.
However, in order for this natural allergy treatment to work, you must use local, raw honey. Unfortunately, when you walk through your grocery store, some of those jars labeled honey,may contain little or no actual honey. A quick look at the label will show you that many of the generic honeys from large companies are mostly made up of artificially flavored corn syrup. Real honey is one of the few things in nature that can truly last forever. It has an almost indefinite shelf life and therefore, needs no preservatives or additives. Make sure your honey is just honey. Raw honey has not been as heavily processed as regular honey, which is important if you want to fight seasonal allergies. Overprocessing will kill the enzymes which help neutralize reactions to plant pollen. Unfiltered honey is even better, as this type of honey will contain higher amounts of pollen.
The last important criteria for your honey is that it must be local. Wildflower honey from Hawaii is delicious, but it will not help me in the Midwest to fight seasonal allergies. That’s because the local flora in Hawaii is very different than the plants in the Midwest. Local bees are using the plants in your area to make their honey, so the benefits are specific to those plants. There is no specific rule for how close the honey must be, in order to be considered local. Generally, the closer the better. However, as long as the area contains similar plants, the honey should be effective. To help you find honey near you, I’ve compiled a directory of local honey suppliers. Click to access this free resource and find honey in your area.
Using Your Local Raw Honey
Now that you’ve got your local raw honey, how do you use it to help fight seasonal allergies? While there is no specific amount, as little as 1 tablespoon a day can help you start to build up a tolerance to local pollen and reduce your allergy symptoms. A spoonful in your morning coffee or nightly tea is an easy way to incorporate honey into your diet. But as a natural sweetener and healthy alternative to refined white sugar, honey can be used in almost anything. From smoothies, to baking, once you start to experiment, you’ll be surprised at how often honey can replace sugar or other sweeteners in your cooking. As an added bonus, you’ll be removing one more processed ingredient from your kitchen and replacing it with a natural alternative. Honey is also sweeter than sugar, so you will use less to achieve the same effect.
A word of caution, remember that children under 1 year old should never be given honey. Those with severe or life-threatening allergies should always consult a doctor before trying a new remedy. This article is meant to educate and advise. Always use your own judgement for your specific situation.
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