Is Manuka Honey Good for Hay Fever and Seasonal Allergies?

Come spring, and it signals the beginning of seasonal allergies for most Australians.

Commonly known as hay fever, seasonal allergies have nothing to do with hay, nor does it cause any fever. However, it does make life quite difficult for those who suffer from its symptoms that resemble the common cold—runny and itchy nose, sneezing, watery eyes, and sore throat. For some, the symptoms can exacerbate and cause headaches and difficulty in breathing.

Hay fever, also called allergic rhinitis, occurs as plants produce pollen which gets inhaled by people. In those who experience hay fever, the inhaled pollen causes the immune system to mount an attack as it perceives the pollen to be a foreign body like bacteria or virus. When the pollen enters the body, mast cells release chemicals called histamines, which leads to allergy symptoms.

But hay fever is not limited to spring only. Some people experience allergic rhinitis all year round (perennial rhinitis) or over one season. While the most common allergens are pollen, other triggers such as mold, pet hair, dust mites, and cockroaches are also to be blamed.

While there are over-the-counter medications to help with symptoms of hay fever, some people prefer more natural remedies. One such natural method of alleviating seasonal allergy symptoms is Manuka honey.

Honey and its effect on seasonal allergies

There is a common belief that eating local honey can help with hay fever, as the honey contains small doses of pollen that can be responsible for the allergy symptoms.

However, there is no clear evidence that ingesting honey can help treat allergies. A 2002 study showed that there was no difference in symptoms in people with allergies who ate local honey, commercially processed honey, or honey-flavoured placebo.

However, Manuka honey is different. Even though there is no clear evidence that Manuka can cure allergies, it is useful in your fight against allergies. Manuka honey can provide support some for those pesky symptoms.

Why Manuka honey can be useful for allergy symptoms

Besides its strong antimicrobial activity, Manuka contains unusually high levels of an active ingredient called methylglyoxal (MGO), which occurs naturally in many foods, plants, and animal cells.

MGO has strong antimicrobial activity that is shown to be effective against bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus), which is associated with atopic diseases, including allergic rhinitis.

The bacteria form a strong biofilm (containing a community of bacteria) that is difficult to eradicate. But the MGO in Manuka is effective in reducing biofilm formation because of its strong anti-biofilm properties.

A common symptom of allergies is nasal congestion caused by mucus formation. Research shows that MGO can be effective in treating nasal mucus, which makes it helpful in alleviating congestion and giving you some relief.

Some studies have shown that honey may have anti-inflammatory and immune-modulating effects that can help improve symptoms of allergic rhinitis.

Considering that Manuka honey has powerful anti-inflammatory properties (compared to other honey), it may be beneficial in regulating the autoimmune response, which can reduce allergies.

In fact, a 2020 review shows that honey like Tualang and Manuka honey (with strong anti-inflammatory properties) can be effective in treating allergic diseases, such as allergic rhinitis.

There is another type of allergic rhinitis which is caused by fungal spores, with symptoms like nasal congestion, running nose, and headache. Manuka honey, which is a strong antifungal, has been shown to have some positive effect against fungal rhinosinusitis symptoms. But more research is needed in that area.

Get Manuka honey for allergies

As you can see, Manuka honey provides some relief from allergy symptoms which makes it a handy product to have.

If you’re looking for Premium 100% Australian Manuka Honey, be sure to visit our online store.