Does Honey Help With Seasonal Allergies?

When allergies flare, it's tempting to seek relief from easy, inexpensive treatments. Can honey help with allergies? Here's what the research says.

It’s that time of year: Your box of tissues never leaves your side and your eyes may as well be made of sand. That’s right—it’s allergy season and you’re probably desperate for any fix. Of course, you can rely on over-the-counter medications or try to stay inside, but have you heard that honey might help with seasonal allergies? After all, the ingredient can already do so much in the kitchen.

Why honey?

The theory that honey can help with seasonal allergies is based on the science of immunotherapy. That’s how allergy shots work—small doses of an allergen are injected to help build up a natural immunity. So it’s thought that honey since it comes from the pollen of plants that often cause us to sneeze and wheeze, might be able to help in the same way.

Does it work?

Unfortunately, there is little (well, almost no) evidence that consuming local honey helps improve your immunity to seasonal allergies.

According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, there’s no scientific proof that local honey will improve seasonal allergy symptoms. And a small study conducted back in 2002 also concluded that consuming honey didn’t improve any symptoms.

The only study that found that honey alleviated any symptoms has a few caveats. This study examined only 40 people and participants took loratadine (more commonly known as Claratin—an allergy medicine) along with the honey. So it’s safe to be skeptical about the conclusion.

Honey can help (just not with allergies)

Just because honey can’t help you get rid of those pesky seasonal allergies, doesn’t mean it’s not good for you! Some studies have shown that honey can help tame your cough.

And don't forget these honey recipes!
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Stephanie Thurrott
Stephanie Thurrott has been a freelance content creator for more than a decade. She'd put her signature seared duck breast, turkey stuffing and homemade whiskey sours up against the best of them. Just don't ask her to bake.