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 Annual 2012

Annual 2012

 

           
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Sweet Relief

Fight Allergies and Other Woes With Local Honey

     If you’re among the more than 40 million Americans who have an aggressive immune reaction to pollen, seasonal allergies can bring misery in the form of sneezing, wheezing, coughing, runny nose and itchy and watery eyes.
      Seasonal allergies are reactions to the pollens that annually drop from trees and plants. In the Bay Area, the worst culprits in spring are trees, specifically mulberry, oak, juniper and cypress. During the summer months, trees, flowers and grass can prove to be a
bane to allergy sufferers.
       To combat these troublesome symptoms, many Bay Area residents are finding allergy relief in the form of organic, raw, locally-grown honey. While experts say there are no documented medical studies to support these claims, local honey farms boast customers who regularly purchase honey to combat the effects of seasonal allergies.
      “We’ve had countless people from throughout the Bay Area come to us asking for honey that can relieve their allergies to pollen,” says Helene Marshall, co-owner of Marshall’s Farm Natural Honey, a local honey producer that sells honey online (www.marshallshoney.com) and at farmers markets throughout the Bay Area.
      The Marshalls place hives in counties throughout the Bay Area and sell honey specific to the area where their customers live and work. When the bees gather the pollens, they bring them to the hive where the pollens are blended with the honey that they produce.
      “Consuming honey produced within a location-specific 50-mile radius from where you live and work and that is also seasonally correct helps the body’s immune system build up a resistance to the pollens that are causing the allergies,” Marshall says. “I remember one customer who approached me
at a farmers market with itchy eyes
and a runny nose and within a half hour of taking a teaspoon of our Honey So Fresh blend, his symptoms had disappeared.”
      Marshall also has found that applying a drop of honey at the corner of each eye can relieve the redness and itchiness associated with allergies. While no medical studies have confirmed that honey benefits allergies, health experts acknowledge the sweet substance has created quite a buzz among allergy sufferers.
      “It’s a good idea to speak to your primary care doctor or allergist about whether honey might help your specific form of allergies,” says Dr. Elizabeth Applegate, a nationally renowned expert on nutrition and fitness from the Department of Nutrition at the University of California, Davis. “We do know that honey provides a good way to refuel when exercising, and I always have my athletes consume honey before and after strenuous exercise.”
       Applegate, who serves as the nutritionist for the Oakland Raiders, says that unlike most other sweeteners, honey offers a wide variety of vitamins, including B6, B1, B2 and B5, and minerals such as calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, sodium and zinc, as well as anti-oxidants and amino acids.
      “Using a teaspoon of honey as a sugar substitute in your cereal, coffee, tea or recipes can offer an array of health benefits,” Applegate says. “Raw honey contains a significant number of phytonutrients, which have been shown to fight inflammation and infection.”
       The website, www.benefits-of-honey.com, also lists testimonials of raw honey helping with weight loss and cholesterol, sleeplessness, stress and many skin ailments including acne, athlete’s foot and eczema.
       While honey may offer health benefits to adults, Applegate advises not to give honey to babies.
      “Their immune systems are not fully developed and honey can contain a bacteria that can cause infant botulism,” she says. “While this is rare, it is a risk, and parents should avoid giving honey to children under the age of 1.”


Reap the Benefits, Support Local Producers

Marshall’s Farm Honey sells organic, raw, locally-grown honey at farmers’ markets throughout the Bay Area. For a full list of market days and times, visit www.marshallshoney.com.

Bee Healthy Honey in Oakland sells different quantities of pure raw local honey and offers a free tasting hour weekdays between 3–4 p.m. 2950 Telegraph Ave., Oakland. (510) 388-9112. www.beehealthyhoneyshop.com.

Alameda Honey, made in a backyard aviary on the island, is sold at Alameda Natural Grocery and Julie’s Coffee & Tea Garden in Alameda.


 

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