Honey for allergies: Cure or old wives' tale?

Doctor answers common question

By Rachel McNeill - Anchor

HOUSTON - If you suffer from seasonal allergies, you might be a regular in your allergist's office.

The latest buzz seems to be eating raw local honey to decrease your symptoms.

Houston Allergist Dr. Eric Sandberg with Kelsey-Seybold Clinics told Local 2, "Well, people talk about this a lot and it's a common question that we see in the clinic."

The idea is that bees collect pollen and make honey with it, so by eating a spoonful a day, you might become desensitized to the pollen.

Sandberg said while technically that is correct, there's no data to support it.

"We know that theoretically and practically it does work, but with local honey, the amount of pollen is so low, it probably doesn't reach that dose level that we need," said Sandberg.

One technique doctors use to desensitize patients to pollen is placing small amounts under the tongue to build up a tolerance over time.

Sandberg said that just swallowing a spoonful over the tongue isn't going to cut it.

"I'm not sure that's going to have a big effect," said Sandberg. "I think using standardized medicine would be much more effective."

Sandberg said nasal sprays are more affective and safe to use.

If your allergies persist though, he recommends seeing an allergist to be tested.

By identifying exactly what you're allergic to, regular injections under the skin can provide significant relief.

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