Uh oh! Weepy eyes, itchy noses and that hacking cough, announce the beginning of allergy season! So, what do we do? We head to the local pharmacy to arm ourselves with our seasonal supply of Benadryl. Benadryl is a brand name used for several different allergy medicines that contain antihistamines.
How do anti-histamines work? Antihistamines block the effects of histamine, the chemical in our body that is responsible for letting us know we have come in contact with pollen or other allergens. When histamine is released, it binds to special sites called receptors on cells in our nose and throat, causing them to swell and leak fluid. This results in inflammation, nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, itching, and other symptoms. Antihistamines block the effects of histamine by “coating” the receptors, which prevents binding. This, in turn, prevents nasal allergy symptoms.
Antihistamines sound quite harmless until you do a little research on the side effects of the drug. All drugs have side effects, and some are quiet deadly. According to WebMed Medical News, a new study shows that taking antihistamines may raise the risk of developing certain types of brain cancer. People who used the medications regularly were 86% more likely to develop low-grade brain tumors than people who didn’t take the drugs.
So what is a more natural solution? Raw unprocessed honey! Honey contains bits and pieces of pollen and honey, and as an immune system booster, it is quite powerful. Let’s say you are allergic to ragweed. The honeybees collect pollen from the plant species in your area and the pollen from ragweed is present in small amounts in the honey. When you eat the honey, it acts as an immune booster.
The effects are best when the honey is taken a little bit (a couple of teaspoons-full) a day for several months prior to the pollen season. Always use untreated, unheated honey that was collected closest to where you live; the closer the better, since it has more of the pollen you need. It may seem odd that straight exposure to pollen often triggers allergies, but exposure to pollen in the honey usually has the opposite effect. In honey the allergens are delivered in small, manageable doses and the effect over time is very much like undergoing a whole series of allergy immunology injections. The major difference is that the honey is a lot easier to take and it is certainly a lot less expensive. I am always surprised that this powerful health benefit of local honey is not more widely understood, as it is simple, easy, and often surprisingly effective.
Pharmaceutical companies have huge budgets and can fund studies, but with honey scientific research doesn’t seem of high priority. I am not suggesting that local honey will replace allergists. But what I am saying is that since visits to allergists are expensive and the series of immunology shots, although generally very effective, are costly, it makes perfect sense to give the local honey a try first. Many times, as many others and I have seen firsthand, that local honey will take care of the problem, quickly, safely, and inexpensively.
So, instead of sneezing & wheezing your way through allergy season, taste the sweet goodness of honey instead!