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Can Raw Honey Cure Seasonal Allergies?

STILLWATER, Minn. (WCCO) -- After years and years of putting up with seasonal allergies, Bob Sitko had enough.

"At first I had hay fever," said Sitko.

He said that he didn't take allergy shots, but instead just put up with the misery. As any allergy sufferer knows, the sneezing, sniffling and watery eyes caused by pollen allergies is often times simply too much to bear.

That's the way it was for Sitko. And then he heard about a simple and easy natural way to combat the troublesome symptoms: Raw honey.

"I worked with a guy who said there's a simple solution to it. Just take a spoonful of honey each day, but it's got to be raw honey," Sitko said.

It's a simple theory that's explained in countless books on folk medicine. Honeybees will deposit small amounts of the annoying pollen in all that honey they produce. If that honey is made using flower nectar from near an allergy sufferer, chances are pretty good that the pollen in the honey is the same type that's causing your problem.

Eating honey over time just might help desensitize the body's immune system. But believers said it's only if the honey is raw and produced nearby.

Outside his rural Stillwater home, Sitko walked past a beehive of activity. He became his own beekeeper to have a constant flow of honey. Now, he tends of dozens of hives.

"You can see how busy they are," Sitko said.

His bees produce anywhere from 700 to 2,000 pounds of honey each year. He and his family could never consume that much, so they sell what they don't use. Many of his returning customers are folks in his same shoes, who eat raw honey for their health.

"It doesn't work," said Dr. Brenda Guyer.

Dr. Guyer is an asthma and allergic specialist with Park Nicollet Clinic in Burnsville. She said to combat allergies effectively requires much larger doses of "lighter pollens" to get relief. The pollens in most honey are comprised of heavier pollens and in much smaller amounts.

"A lot of the pollen that's in honey is the heavy flower pollen that doesn't blow around in the air and cause allergies in the nose and eyes," said Guyer.

Still, for Sitko and other allergy sufferers, though it's never been scientifically proven, they swear by this apparent miracle treatment.

Despite the critics, he said a medicine that tastes so good can't be all that bad.

"I say try it, it surely can't hurt. It's inexpensive and it's healthy for you, so why not?"

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