Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Raw Local Honey Recommended for Allergies

Homegrown Health Solutions
By Marcia Carroll-Burzair, Dallas Morning News (USA), 2/16/2007

A Sweet Treatment

If you are an allergy sufferer looking for a holistic remedy, locally produced honey may be worth a shot. Although there's no scientific proof it works, Rockwall resident Teresa Udovich swears by it.

"We have moved several times, and each time we move we experience allergies to different things," she said. "Consuming raw honey made locally helps build up immunity to that particular area's pollen, dust and mold. The Rockwall County Extension put me in touch with local beekeeper Janet Rowe. Although our allergies are not completely gone, I have noticed an absolute reduction in the symptoms."

Mrs. Rowe, a third-generation beekeeper otherwise known as the Bee Charmer, says she's heard it all before. She has been involved in beekeeping for over 50 years, is a member of the Texas Beekeeping Association and the Collin County Hobby Beekeepers Association, and is also a Rockwall County Master Gardener. Mrs. Rowe hand-processes honey at her residence in Lavon and sells it locally. She also thinks it can help with allergies.

"I liken it to the same thing as the flu shot or any kind of immunization that you give your child – you give them a little bit of the disease so their body can make up antibodies to protect them," she said. "So if you're ingesting pollens from plants that grow here, your body is getting a little bit of that every day all year long. ... Then, when you go out the door in July, your body's already had a bunch of that pollen, so you are not going to get the same reaction you would have had if you hadn't already been building up immunities to it."

Hand-processed honey contains all of the pollens, propolis and small pieces of wax that commercially produced honey has heated and filtered out. Pollen is rich in protein, minerals and vitamins, while propolis (a material that honeybees collect from leaf buds and trees) contains resins, vitamins, amino acids, minerals and bioflavonoids. Honey and its components are used worldwide as an elixir for the body and a balm for wounds.

"Honey's been used since the beginning of time for health purposes," Mrs. Rowe said. "They use honey in other countries to heal wounds in hospitals. If you were in New Zealand, you could buy a Band-Aid impregnated with honey so that when you put the Band-Aid on, you would have honey on the sore. ... And propolis is used in Japan for healing purposes as well."

And while Mrs. Rowe cannot call her honey "organic" because there's no way to know what her bees are exposed to as they are flying around, it's about as natural as you're going to get.

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