Honey used as alternate allergy cure

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Some people swear that a teaspoon of pure (and locally produced) honey will keep springtime allergies at bay.  A member of the FOX6 marketing staff gulps a spoonful of honey each morning and says he hasn't needed allergy medicine in the past seven years.

"I usually start about March 1st, just drink it every morning. And by the time it's yellow and on everybody's cars, I don't have a problem," said Randy Mize.

A garden shop in Homewood sells local honey, and one worker said sales are definitely picking up this season. Pam Clark sold three jars of honey before noon today, including one to a customer from Tennessee who had never suffered from allergies until moving to Alabama.

"For whatever reason, she was suffering this morning. So she saw the sign a few months ago and came in to get some honey," Clark said.

Dr. James McMinn, a wellness doctor in Birmingham, said research shows that taking a dose of honey is similar to getting a flu shot.

"We give people a small dose of some kind of allergen. And their immune system learns to recognize that. And when it comes a long in a larger dose, they don't have the immune response. And it makes sense that honey would do the same, especially local honey," McMinn said.

Since bees pick up pollen as they fly around, it naturally gets passed into honey and those who eat it are exposed to low amounts of the allergens. To fight allergies, however, it's important to eat locally produced honey, which contains local pollens.

McMinn also noted that honey should not be given to infants younger than one year old, and to beware of allergies to honey itself.

If you're suffering from a case of the sniffles, it might not be a bad idea to follow in the footsteps of people like Mize and try out some local honey.

"What do you have to lose? I mean I'm not sure about the science, I don't know how it works, I don't know why it works, but it's so cheap and it's natural. It's worth a try," Mize summed up.

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