Can honey lessen seasonal allergy symptoms?

Answer From James T C Li, M.D., Ph.D.

Probably not. Honey has been anecdotally reported to lessen symptoms in people with seasonal allergies. But these results haven't been consistently duplicated in clinical studies.

The idea isn't so far-fetched, though. Honey has been studied as a cough suppressant and may have anti-inflammatory effects. In addition, some experts point out that honey can contain traces of flower pollen — an allergen. And one treatment for allergies is repeated exposure to small amounts of allergens.

For now, however, it appears that honey may just be a sweet placebo. Don't let that stop you from using it in food and beverages. Just don't give honey to children younger than 1 year because of the risk of infant botulism, a rare but serious form of food poisoning.

Dec. 16, 2020