NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Mar 15 – The idea that honey provides a kind of natural immunotherapy against symptoms caused by aeroallergens does not appear to hold up under scientific testing, Connecticut researchers report.
Dr. T. V. Rajan, of the University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, and colleagues examined the "widespread belief, held with great conviction by many people," that regular ingestion of honey relieves the symptoms of allergic rhinoconjunctivitis.
Thirty-six subjects who complained of allergic rhinoconjunctivitis were enrolled, and all underwent scratch-testing at baseline for common aeroallergens. "The cohort was randomly assigned to one of three groups, with one receiving locally collected, unpasteurized, unfiltered honey, the second nationally collected, filtered and pasteurized honey, and the third, corn syrup with synthetic honey flavoring," the team explains in the February issue of the Annals of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.
The subjects took one tablespoonful of the honey or substitute and followed their normal care to manage their symptoms. They were asked to keep a diary to track 10 subjective allergy symptoms, including five upper respiratory and five ocular symptoms. In addition, they were asked to note the days on which their allergy symptoms were bad enough to require the use of their usual antiallergy medication.