Fall is the season everyone waits foryear-round, bringing with it football, cool weather and, unfortunately, seasonal allergies. It is no wonder that so many studies and drugs exist to help fight these ubiquitous irritants. The question is, has the miracle solution to these pesky allergens been right under our itchy noses all along?

According to a long-standing theory, consistent consumption of local honey prior to allergy seasons can prevent and lessen seasonal allergy symptoms. Local honey refers to raw honey that contains pollen found in the environmental conditions specific to that location.

“Our honey is locally produced and has all of the pollen from the flora that exists in South Carolina,” says Scott Derrick, owner of the Blythewood Bee Company. “We don’t extract the pollen from the honey by filtering or pasteurization, which is usually the case with store-bought brands.” Blythewood Bee honey is pure, unheated and unprocessed to preserve the natural vitamins, enzymes and phytonutrients that are beneficial for overall health and immune system functions.

The theory is plausible — consuming local honey is equivalent to consuming small amounts of the local allergen, which can reduce sensitivity to it. In theory, over time and doses, a person’s body will build up immunity to the local pollen that causes so much suffering. “Many customers come to buy local pollen collected from our bees. The pollen can be ingested, and many swear it helps their allergies,” says Scott.

However, there is no scientific evidence to prove that local honey will alleviate allergies. The pollen that causes the most common allergies to flare is spread from grass and trees through the air; thus, bees, and ultimately their honey, contain small traces. Pollen found in local honey is mostly from flowering plants.

Although no scientific proof supports honey’s allergy fighting abilities, there are still many benefits to consuming raw, local honey. Studies have shown raw honey to be packed with antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals. In addition, raw honey aids digestion and sleep, treats wounds and ulcers, suppresses coughs, helps maintain heart health, stabilizes blood pressure and sugar, and is an excellent all-natural energy source — the list goes on!

So in this upcoming allergy season, trying a daily teaspoon of local honey for allergies could possibly benefit combating the unavoidable Midlands pollen. But, if not, reduce your pollen exposure, keep your sinuses and nasal passage ways clear, take over-the-counter medications, use air filters, and if all else fails, head to the doctor!

Image courtesy of columbiametro.com