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Sweet! Honey May Help Curb Seasonal Allergies

By Paula Ebben, WBZ-TV
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File Image (credit: ABBAS MOMANI/AFP/Getty Images)

File Image (credit: ABBAS MOMANI/AFP/Getty Images)

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BOSTON (CBS) – What allergy sufferer wouldn’t be interested in some drug free relief? The answer might be found in the buzzing of bees.

Sheila O’Donnell has to live with all the typical symptoms of allergies, and it’s not fun. “I had really red, itchy, watery eyes. I also sneezed a lot, and I had recurrent sinus infections which were caused and exacerbated by my seasonal allergies,” she explained.

Allergy medications helped, but the side effects were so bad she turned to Mother Nature for relief.

Sheila thinks a daily dose of honey was her answer. “I take a tablespoon of local honey every day. And it’s important to start at the beginning of the allergy system, so I start in March. And I take it all the way thru the frost,” she said.

Beekeeper Ben Walker said, “We have a number of customers who come back and sing the praises of the honey.”

The theory is the bees carry the sniffle causing pollens back to the hive where they make the honey.

When people like Sheila eat it, they are exposing themselves to the allergen that makes them sick. Slowly, they are immunizing themselves against the bad effects.

Dr. Anju Peters, an allergist, is skeptical. “Unfortunately there is no evidence currently, no scientific evidence whatsoever, that honey can treat allergies,” she explained.

Even though honey sounds safe to try like this, medical experts say it can pose some health risks in rare cases.

WBZ-TV’s Paula Ebben reports

Dr. Peters said the pollen in the honey can make some people ill. “In fact, I just saw a patient with this yesterday, where potentially a person could get an allergic reaction to honey consumption.”

Sheila hasn’t had any bad reactions to the honey, and is convinced it worked for her.

“It is sort of the best tasting medicine that I think you could ever find,” she added.

Doctors warn that honey should never be given to babies or small children because their immune systems aren’t fully developed.

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