Birch pollen honey for birch pollen allergy

There haven’t been many studies on the efficacy of complementary remedies for allergic disorders, but now one such study investigating whether pre-season consumption of birch pollen honey (honey with added birch pollen, BPH) or regular honey (RH) has any effect on birch season allergy has found birch pollen honey could serve as a complementary therapy for birch pollen allergy.

In a study carried out by the South Karelia Allergy and Environment Institute, Lappeenranta, and the Department of Allergy, Helsinki University Central Hospital, Helsinki, both in Finland, forty-four patients with diagnosed birch pollen allergy regularly consumed either BPH or RH from November 2008 – March 2009. Seventeen patients on their usual medication served as the control group. Then, from April to May, all participants made daily recordings of their rhinoconjunctival and other symptoms along with their use of medication.

The results showed that during birch pollen season the patients who had been taking BPH had a 60% total lower symptom score. BPH patients also had twice as many asymptomatic days (days with no symptoms at all) as those in the control group, 70% fewer days with severe symptoms and used 50% less antihistamine. The differences between the BPH and RH groups were not significant, except where the use of antihistamines was concerned. The BPH group used less antihistamine than the RH group.

The researchers concluded that although more research is certainly needed, birch pollen honey users had better control of their symptoms than those on conventional medication.

Source: International Archives of Allergy and Immunology

First Published in May 2011

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