ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Health»
  • Diseases, Disorders & Conditions

Local Honey and Allergies: Does Eating Local Honey Help Prevent Allergies?

Updated on March 20, 2012

I Would Like This To Be True, But I am Skeptical

I raise bees that produce honey, which I harvest and sell. We sell all our honey locally. The demand for local honey seems to be driven in large part by the idea that local honey helps to prevent seasonal allergies, but does it? I am skeptical. There is no scientific evidence to support this claim. In fact, one small study found that eating local honey did not affect allergies.

Many people’s allergies are caused by specific types of pollen. Honey contains small amounts of pollen. It’s in the honey by accident. Bees store pollen separately from honey. I suspect that most of the pollen found in honey gets mixed into it during the extraction process that beekeepers use to harvest the honey from the comb.

When people eat honey they are exposed to small amounts of pollen. By eating local honey regularly and exposing the body to these small amounts of pollen, so the theory goes, the body is desensitized and no longer reacts negatively (an allergic reaction).

Most Allergies Are Caused By the Pollen of Wind Pollinated Plants

One immediate problem with this idea is that most people are allergic to the pollen of plants that are wind pollinated. Plants that are wind pollinated don’t depend on bees or other insects to spread the pollen from flower to flower. Rather, they release large amounts of pollen into the air; the pollen drifts randomly, but some of it lands on appropriate flowers and pollinates them.

Honey is most likely to contain pollen from plants that depend on bees and other insects for pollination because these are the plants that have evolved to be most attractive to bees. Bees are exposed to all sorts of things when they forage and they might bring back pollen from wind pollinated plants, but it’s not something that you could count on.

Honey Is Produced and Harvested at Specific Times of Year

Beekeepers harvest surplus honey from honey bee colonies at specific times of the year. When there is a strong nectar flow (a lot of nectar producing flowers are blooming) beekeepers add boxes of comb to their hives. These boxes are called supers and this is where the bees store the honey that the beekeeper will harvest. The supers are only placed on bee colonies at certain times of the year.

The length of time that the supers remain on the colonies varies from a few days to several weeks depending on the geographic region. If a plant blooms outside of the time that the supers are on the colonies, it is unlikely that any of its pollen will make it into the honey that is later harvested. So if you have summer allergies, but are eating spring honey, it is unlikely that you are consuming any of the pollen to which you are allergic.

Beekeepers Still Have Allergies

Last, but not least, perhaps the most compelling reason to be skeptical about local honey as an allergy cure is that beekeepers still have allergies and beekeepers eat a lot of local honey.

So, given the following facts:

1) Most people are allergic to the pollen of wind pollinated plants.

2) Whether or not a specific pollen is present in honey depends in large part on when the honey was produced and harvested.

3) Beekeepers eat a lot of local honey and still have allergies.

It seems unlikely that local honey is a reliable cure for seasonal allergies.

Eat Honey, Support the Bees

Certainly there is a lot of anecdotal evidence that honey helps prevent allergies. I would love this to be the case, but a close examination of the facts makes it seem very unlikely. Eat honey because it tastes great; it’s a wonderful, sustainably produced, natural sweetener. Besides, while all that nectar is being gathered to make the honey that we enjoy, something far more important is happening: all those flowers are being pollinated. If I am wrong, and honey really does help prevent allergies, what a great bonus!

If you have tried local honey as an allergy cure, do you think it helps?

See results


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Wib Magli profile image

      Wib Magli 6 years ago from Tennessee and Alabama


      I am sure that you have heard the old saying that if you ask the same question to ten different beekeepers you will get 11 different answers.

      We are planning on raising queens from several colonies that have never been treated for anything and have lived three years or more. I am excited to see how they will do. Treatment-free is the direction that the beekeeping world is moving. Especially among hobbyists.

      Thanks for reading,


    • aethelthryth profile image

      aethelthryth 6 years ago from American Southwest

      Good points. I started backyard beekeeping because I wanted to know exactly what was in my honey. Eventually I figured out I have no idea what is in my honey; probably even the bees don't know. But it tastes great. All I can say is I know what medications I have never put in my hive (though to all the organic people who think that is the only way to do things, I haven't got much honey out of it yet.)

      One thing I enjoy about talking to beekeepers, especially long-time beekeepers, is that they tend to have strong opinions, based on thought and observation, but often come to different conclusions. So I think beekeepers don't follow the crowd as much as others do, and you can learn a lot from an argument between long-time beekeepers.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: ""

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)