Here in the Texas Hill Country, Public Enemy #1 (aka Cedar Season) has come and gone, taking its demon sidekick, Cedar Fever, with it, and I didn’t have one sniffle. This week the TV weatherman explained that PE #2, Oak Pollen Season, had started late and, therefore, would end late, and that’s when I figured out that, in spite of the oak pollen strands carpeting our sidewalk and the pollen dust coating our vehicles with a vivid shade of yellow, I hadn’t sneezed or sniffled even once on its account either. If you’re one of those lucky people who aren’t affected by seasonal allergens, you’re probably wondering why I’m writing about this. If you’re one of those unlucky ones who suffer miserably with spring allergies, you’re wanting to either kill me or beg me for my secret weapon.
Please don’t kill me. My weapon isn’t a secret, and I’ll give it to you gladly. Chances are, somebody has already let you in on it, and you didn’t believe him because it’s so simple. Honey. I’m not getting overly friendly–that’s the secret. I’ll give details later, but right now let’s go back to Bee Basics for a minute or two. Bees make honey from nectar and pollen, right? And pollen allergies are the problem, right? I can almost hear you thinking, “This woman is nuts. Eat something that’s going to make me sick?” To this I patiently reply, “Think about how homeopathic remedies work. They contain a tiny bit of what would make you sick in larger quantities, but the smaller amount triggers your body to build up an immunity.” If you’re not into homeopathics, the same rationale works with immunizations.
Still not convinced? All I know is that in the years before the Goat and I started our honey regimen we were sick as the proverbial dog with cedar allergies. We’re talking stay-in-bed-and-be-miserable sick; three-doctor-visits-and-ten-prescriptions-each sick, all to be “cured” just in time for the oak pollen to pull a TKO on us. I knew that local honey was purported to be a preventative, but I was a little fuzzy on the details. As it turns out, I had good reason to be unsure–“local” can be as close as your backyard up to a hundred miles away, depending on who’s doing the talking. Crazy but true. What’s more important is that the honey is produced from the type of pollen that you’re allergic to. For us, honey produced anywhere in the Hill Country on through South Texas will do the trick although closer is always better. We now have a couple of go-to brands, but if another label catches our eye, we’ll check where it was jarred and use our know-it-all phones to learn the pertinent details.
We put a teaspoon of honey in our first cup of coffee, but you could spread it on toast, drizzle it over Greek yogurt or cereal, or “take it like a man, straight from the spoon.” It doesn’t matter how you take it, just that you do it regularly. If you also have sleep problems, take a hint from British researchers who suggest that a teaspoon of honey an hour or so before bed promotes better sleep. They cited all sorts of scientific evidence; all I know is that I’ve tried it and I honestly think it works.
A couple more things. First, honey is a preventative, and as such isn’t going to help if you wait until you can’t breathe to start taking it. You should begin a minimum of six weeks before the allergy season kicks in, and it won’t hurt anything to keep it up year round. Also, read the label very carefully. My bargain-hunter daughter didn’t and bought a “honey blend” because it was cheaper. Located on the shelf right next to the real honey, it turned out to be honey mixed with high fructose corn syrup. It was not good for her allergies–or anything else, I assume!
Of course, this all comes with the general warning not to give honey to children younger than twelve months because of their immature digestive system. Other that that, honey for allergies is one sweet deal!