Throw out the allergy meds, grab honey instead?

By Lauren Keith - bio | email

(KFVS) - The spring weather brings us all the pretty flowers, blooms, trees and freshly cut grass....but also allergies. There might be a natural way that can help ease those symptoms. In fact, many people in the Heartland say it's time to throw out the pills and nasal sprays and take a teaspoon of locally harvested honey instead.

"I take a TBSP before I go to bed at night," said Jim Blakemore of Cape Girardeau.

That's been his ritual for the last 15 years.  It didn't take long for him to see the advantages to eating a bit of locally-harvested honey.

"Within a couple of days, I quit taking all my allergy tablets that I had to buy and I could enjoy the outdoors more."

He's not alone.  Just ask local beekeeper Grant Gillard.

"The secret is the honey is locally-produced with pollen from the surrounding area. The bees bring it back, and that's what you ingest orally. So, when you breathe in the pollen, your sinuses don't go crazy," Gillard explained.

Just like the bees flock to Gillard's flowering bushes and trees, so do local allergy sufferers. Some are desperate to try anything to relieve their symptoms.

"Most people--when they come to see me, they have run the gamete of tests and been to the doctor. They take my honey as a last resort, and then they'll come back several weeks later looking for more locally-harvested honey," said Gillard.

In fact, Gillard now sells honey to five different stores and even in his own driveway, but before you tell your allergy meds to "buzz off", Gillard says raw honey won't necessarily cure all your coughing and sneezing.

"if you're allergic to dog hair, cat hair, cigarettes, dust--- it won't really help.  It can't hurt, but it probably won't help."

He reminds everyone: taking a bite of honey won't cut the sting of allergy season right away.

"It's not instantaneous.  It's not like taking Benadryl where you're dried up like that. They'll come back three to four weeks later and say though, 'my cough is gone, I've stopped sneezing so much and I'm a believer."

Jim Blakemore certainly is.  He says his allergies have not only eased up after eating raw honey, but he's also saved money these last 15 years.

"With my health right now, I take a lot of pills. Anytime I can keep from having to take pills, I think that's a plus. You don't have to get a prescription from a doctor either," said Blakemore.

That said though, before you head out to buy locally-made honey, do talk with your doctor about it.  If you get the doc's OK, you'll definitely find raw honey at several different orchards and small specialty stores in the heartland.

Beekeeper Grant Gillard is one of the leading producers in Missouri. You can contact him at (573) 243-6568 or his web site:  Be sure to click on "Symposium Info" link.  This summer, he'll sell his raw honey at the farmers' markets in Cape Girardeau and Jackson. You'll also find it at Natural Health in Cape, Fruitland Dressed Meats, Family Friendly Farms, Jones Heritage Farms, Green Gardens in Patton, ALPS in Perryville and Rozier's in Perryville.

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