There is definitely something in the air. One of the most common questions we get at Honeycombers is “is it true that if you eat local honey it helps with allergies?”. The answer isn’t straightforward, nor is it conclusive, but many of our customers feel that ‘local honey’ helps with their hay fever.
So why should this be? In essence, the question builds upon the premise that small amounts of pollen contained within the honey helps the body to build a resistance against pollen related allergies. Indeed, healthcare professionals use this approach in clinical settings to de-sensitise patients to allergies such as nuts.
However, as anyone with a nut allergy knows, it is not where the nut comes from that is the problem, rather the type of nut itself. So the idea that ‘local honey’ is a silver bullet maybe somewhat hopeful. What is key in answering this common question is understanding what pollen someone might be allergic to.
If you are allergic to tree pollens or flower pollens then perhaps there may be some validity to the assertion that honey may help, after all the bees bring plenty of pollen into the hive from their forage. However, if you are allergic to grass pollen, which is wind pollinated, it would be a challenge to understand how the consumption of honey could directly help.
That said, this month’s Honey of the Month takes an ingenious approach to this commonly posed question. The Northumberland Honey Company carefully collects small amounts of pollen from their hives across all of their apiary sites throughout the year. This ensures that the bees have enough pollen for their needs (it is their primary source of protein), yet also ensures that there is a broad spectrum of typical British pollen types collected across multiple seasons. Surely there could not be a neater solution?
Nevertheless, when it comes to the proof it is definitely in the eating, for this delicious Northumberland honey is enhanced by its enrichment through the 4% addition of pollen. Here is what our Taster-in-Chief, Olly Smith had this to say about his choice of Northumberland Honey Company, Wildflower Honey with Added Pollen:
”Open the jar to release the beautiful farmyard aroma of this Northumberland honey – in a good way!
This is between a runny and a set honey, the wonderful thick texture brings a very silky finish. As I tasted it I could really sense the magic of the pollen – the melting texture is extremely pleasing, leaving a cooling effect on the tongue. There is impeccable sweetness to this honey and it just feels full of goodness with a noticeable dose of real pollen shining through.
Eat it raw off the spoon for a treat. This is a textural masterpiece, very, very good indeed and my youngest daughter’s current favourite.”
We hope you enjoy this honey as much as we did. Please let us know your thoughts. If you would like to purchase a jar you can click this link