“Let food be your medicine,” Hippocrates implored a couple of thousand years ago. If we take the advice of the father of medicine, and combine that with a product of Mother Nature, we have to look no further for a perfect food/medicine than honey.
Not only is honey a great tasting food (whether eaten by itself, on toasted bread, or added to other foods or beverages as a sweetener), but it is also a germ-free product that can be used for applying externally to treat cuts and burns on the skin. It is said to promote healing and aid in the prevention of scarring. Honey also acts as a disinfectant in treating irritated mucous membranes, as in the occurrence of cough or sore throat.
Since the work habits of the bee are legendary (as in “busy as a ___”), let’s take a look at what our productive little friends do, how they do it, and how that relates to our health and well-being. The worker bees travel from their hive, making periodic and frequent stops at flowering plants, usually within a radius of just a mile or so from their home. They extract nectar from the blossoms and pass it into their “honey stomachs,” where it is partially digested, taken back to the hive, and regurgitated to be stored in the honeycombs.
This is where the homeopathic viability of locally produced honey comes into play in the treatment of seasonal allergies. Since the honey contains pollen from nearby plants (the same pollen that becomes airborne and drives you to tears and tissues), eating the honey is the same as ingesting a small amount of the irritating pollens. This helps your system build up resistance to those same pollens that are causing your body so much discomfort. This is the whole principle behind homeopathic healing, anyway; treating a disease with small amounts of a substance that in large amounts produces symptoms that are similar to the disease itself.
So how much honey should you injest to gain any homeopathic benefit? Most advocates of this method recommend at least 2 to 3 teaspoons per day. They also suggest that you start consuming the honey several months before the active pollen season begins in your area.
A few key points should be considered about the honey you choose to eat. It should be raw, unrefined, unfiltered 100% pure honey that has been harvested within no more than a 50 mile radius of your home; the reason being, of course, that the makings of the honey will have been collected from those same plants causing you the most trouble.
One good source of local honey is usually your local farmers’ market. (See our article entitled The Farmers' Market: Think Globally, Act Locally
.) The light colored product you find on shelves in major grocery store chains might be tasty, but who knows how far away it was produced or how much it has been processed?
This method of treating seasonal allergies may or may not be helpful to you, but at least in the process of trying it, you will be consuming a delicious natural food that is loaded with good things such as vitamin C, antioxidants, vitamin B-6, niacin, and lots of other vitamins and minerals. Honey is also a low-calorie food and makes a healthful sugar substitute in your diet.
Pay attention to father Hippocrates and mother Nature; try honey, the perfect food, and see if it won’t alleviate some of your seasonal sniffles.