A Sweet Medicine for Your Sinuses


Ahhhhh springtime, the season full of new life, blossoming flowers and….sneezing and itchy eyes! Attention allergy sufferers, there might be an all-natural, alternative solution to your aliments. Local honey can sweeten your tea and may also sooth your sinuses.

Honeycombs have long been known as nature’s medicine cabinet. For thousands of years, honey has been used for its medicinal purposes, including treatment for allergies, moisturizing skin, and even increasing energy levels. Though it remains scientifically uncertain, many swear by honey’s healing properties.

Locally gathered honey is thought to be beneficial because it contains the pollen found in your immediate environment, the same pollen causing your reaction, according to Sutter Health’s Doctor Jun Lu, Allergist. Theoretically, Dr. Lu explains, like allergy shots, the pollen being ingested desensitizes systems with all-natural doses that include a combination of allergens. Put simply, ‘medicinal honey’ follows the same theory as vaccines, creating immunity through exposure. However, Dr. Lu doesn’t recommend going out right now and buying honey for its healing powers when it comes to allergies. This is because, as he explains, there simply isn’t enough evidence to prove or disprove its effectiveness.
In addition, Dr. Lu says that local honey does not include all types of allergens that cause reactions, and the dosage of pollen in each spoonful is unpredictable. He adds, “A lot of people are allergic to more than just pollen.” For example, those with allergies to cats, dogs or even dust are unlikely to find relief from honey, or ingesting pollen of any type.

Yet, many Americans still swear by honey’s holistic ability to alleviate allergies. George Dale, owner of Honeydale Beekeeping in Stockton, says “for some people it works, for others, it doesn’t.” While he meets people who have tried to remedy their sinus symptoms with no avail, he meets others whose only relief comes from honey.

Though he is also unsure of whether honey can be a cure for plant based allergies, he says it doesn’t necessarily have to be locally gathered. The specific plant inducing an allergic reaction can be grown all over the world. For example, if you’re allergic to orange blossoms, aim for honey made from orange blossom nectar. In other words, know what you are allergic to and find honey that contains that particular pollen. “There are so many different kinds of honey” ranging from wildflower, and dandelion to varietal, and much more.” Dale explains that finding pollen in commercially produced honey can be hard. This is due to the fact that the USDA labels pollen as a containment, so ‘Grade A’ honey found in the grocery store may lack the very pollen needed. Local beekeepers are able to deliberately keep some of the pollen in their honey through the extraction process, explains Dale. When the honeycomb is ready to harvest for honey, “some pollen can be mixed with honey allowing for a low dosage, or inoculation, which can slowly build immunity, in theory.” Whatever the case, Dale adds, “it’s worth a try because the worse-case scenario, you get to have a spoonful of yummy food.”

For More Information:
Honeydale Beekeeping
(925) 207-9076
Stockton Medical Plaza
Dr. Jun Lu, Allergist
2505 W. hammer Ln., Stockton
(209) 954-3370