Can local honey help with allergies? The answer is …

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The idea behind local honey treating allergies is similar to that of a person getting allergy shots. But while allergy shots have been proven to be effective, there's little research that shows honey works.

This post is brought to you in partnership with Novant Health. All opinions are our own.

It’s one of the most common folk remedies that people swear by – eating local honey to ease seasonal allergies that affect so many of us.

The thinking has been that consuming local honey produced by bees acts as a natural allergy shot of sorts by exposing you to local allergens.

Dr. Russell Greenfield, MD

“Is a very nice, neat theory, but there’s very little research to suggest that it actually works,” said Russell Greenfield, MD, with Novant Health Integrative Medicine

Aside from the lack of supporting research, Greenfield said there’s another big reason he’s not a proponent of the local-honey theory: Most people who get seasonal allergies are actually reacting to tree and grass pollen, not flower pollen collected by bees.

Still, Greenfield said trying local honey should be reasonably safe, and he encourages anyone inclined to try any natural remedies to discuss it with their provider. Note: Children under 1 should never be given honey due to the risk of botulism, Greenfield said.

Allergies aside, Greenfield said honey does have its benefits. For children over 1, honey is considered as an effective cough suppressant, he said.

And when it comes to natural allergy remedies, Greenfield said there are herbal options that could merit discussion with a health provider. Some of those, he said, include butterbur, quercetin and stinging nettle. Greenfield strongly encourages those who are interested in herbal remedies to bring them up to their healthcare provider.

Neti pots that use sterile saline to flush out nasal passages might also be an option for some patients. “We have people who swear by their neti pots,” Greenfield said. At the same time, he stressed the importance of not using tap water with a neti pot.

Greenfield said some patients might also consider using a HEPA air filter, especially in their bedrooms.

Allergies got you down? Find a primary care provider who can help. Visit NovantHealth.org/Doctor to find care in seconds.

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