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From time to time, people ask us about the reputed potential of bee pollen and honey for reducing hay fever or other allergy symptoms. So we checked into them.

As it turns out, there is no scientific evidence of any kind demonstrating the ability of bee pollen to relieve allergies. Even if it works as well as some individuals claim, though, the risks clearly outweigh the potential benefit. Raw bee pollen may contain impurities such as insect hair, insect parts, mites, bacteria, fungi and pesticides – all potentially allergenic. And the pollen itself is a common asthma and hay fever trigger. Researchers at the Mayo Clinic and the Medical College of Wisconsin, in fact, report that three people developed severe allergic reactions after taking a single tablespoon or less of bee pollen.

So while bee pollen is a wonderful food for bees, it’s not so wonderful for people with allergies – especially those with any kind of pollen allergy.

Modern folklore also says that people with asthma or hay fever will suffer less during the pollen season if they eat local honey containing the pollen to which they are allergic. By taking one teaspoon to one tablespoon of local \ honey a day, some people swear that they get through the season with little or no symptoms. Presumably, the pollen immunizes them. However, there has been no medical research to back up those claims.

As far as hay fever goes, you’re much better off seeking relief from the safe, documented nutritional means.


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