With flowers in full bloom around South Jersey, for many there is a not so pretty side of spring - allergies, and this is a particularly bad season. There's a natural remedy some allergy sufferers swear by, but doctors aren't sold.
"You can see all the grass I have to mow around here, it's about five acres and all my life I would swell up with red eyes, sore throat for a couple of days." But Gary Schempp says his days of suffering from seasonal allergies are now a thing of the past. "In the past 4-5 years, I haven't had any problems with that since I've been consuming honey," he said.
But not just any honey, local honey that Schempp actually harvests and sells, as the President of Busy Bees NJ. He is one of many believers that say by regularly eating it; it has acted like a vaccine. "As you consume the honey, you're consuming pollen and your body builds immunities to the allergens," he explained.
Interest in the benefits of local raw honey has increased dramatically over the last several years, as more and more people look for a natural solution to their ailments, especially allergies.
"Even after a few weeks of consuming local honey, allergies seem to go away," said Schempp, "and I have lots of customers telling me that."
"The science does not support it." Allergy specialists say their patients have asked them about honey and its benefits for years, but as far as they're concerned, there really aren't any.
"I'm a physician, so I have to go by what science says," said Dr. Mahendra Dadhania, an allergy and asthma specialist, "and as long as science is concerned, there is no proof that locally grown honey improves your hay fever or so."
Doctors say that medications, like antihistamines are proven to help allergy suffers, but say adding honey to your arsenal of allergy fighting antidotes is a personal choice. "It's not going to hurt you," said Dr. Dadhania, "but don't expect miracles from it either."
While it's a remedy that's created a lot of buzz, it's something you'll just have to try yourself to see if you bee-lieve it.
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