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?”

More from Bill Hudson
  • dave

    Of course the ‘experts’ don’t believe it, if they believe something natural and as simple as honey helps then they won’t be able to sell you their ‘cures’.

  • Mike

    bull! i’ve eaten raw honey for years and each year i’m sneezing and wheezing my head off.

    • David J. Conklin

      Not just raw honey; it also has to be produced here–i.e., with local allergens in it.

  • MAJ

    This theory has been around for years. Hopefully it helps allergy sufferers.

  • Curious

    So how can we contact Bob at his place of business? I’ve been searching high and low for raw honey in Minnesota.

    • Bob Sitko

      The best location to purchase raw honey ifs from your locaal Farmers Market. Try to get honey harvested from an area within 10 miles of your house so it will have the same pollens as you are exposed to. You can purchase honey from me. I live near Highway 94 east and Manning Ave. Contact me at

  • James

    Curious….Mpls. Farmer’s Market Wkends….there is a “honey guy” in the middle who sells both the raw honey and the “pasteurized” (can then sell in stores) you can tell the difference…, the “cooked” honey is clear….the raw is not!… the raw contains all the nutrients that “pasteurization” cooks out….I like the dark “buckwheat” (pastures bees released near) best! sorry, if I had the jar (always a jar ‘cuz not pourable!) I could tell you their name!….I never have gone back to “cooked” honey again!

  • ClaraCarpe

    Many years ago, a coworker told me she ate honey to ward off colds. Since then, I’ve done the same. At the first sign of a sniffle or the series of sneezes that (historically and QUITE audibly) announces the start of a cold – I grab the honey. It’s added to my nightly “cup-a-tea” and I consume a spoonful or two periodically throughout the day. I honestly can’t recall the last time I had a full-fledged cold! But gone are the days when I endured the type of cold that rapidly moved from a “case of the sniffles” to a head cold (as in, “my nose is so stuffed up I have to eat with my mouth open and won’t hear you when you tell me I’m disgusting”) to a chest cold (i.e., with the embarrassing and non-stop tickle-the-throat coughing jags which tend to erupt only in “no talking!” test taking classrooms, during moments of silent prayer in pew-filled churches or as fellow movie goers sit quietly spellbound). Does a spoonful of honey each day really keep a cold or sneeze away? Who knows? But as I write this, I’m having fun contemplating the notion of a busy bumblebee rubbing Vicks on its little chest…

  • TW

    It is obvious that an expert has gone to school for years to learn all there is to know about allergies and how to treat them. There’s no way untrained honey eaters could know if their treatment works because it is ‘folk medicine’ which we all know is akin to voodoo and witchcraft….NOT!!

    Raw honey, cheap and likely to help you and highly unlikely to hurt you or set you back financially. There’s only thousands of years of research done by common people in every place on the planet where there are bees to back up the claims that honey tastes good and is good for you in many ways still to be understood by science. Go with honey, it will still be there when the drugs have been proven to be useless, harmful or just annoying with side effects.

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