A Cure for Georgia’s Yellow Fever

23 Mar

The last week has had folks in the south walking around looking like Big Bird, and sneezing our heads off.  The cause?  The heaviest pollen season we’ve had in over a decade.  According to Accuweather, Atlanta’s pollen count on Monday March 19th was 8,164 particles of pollen per cubic meter of air – a thirty-five percent increase over the previous record.

And Georgians are feeling it.  Itchy eyes, sneezing, runny nose, coughing, exacerbated asthma – we’re like a walking Zyrtec commercial.  Anything left outside becomes encrusted with a greenish-yellow, sickly-sweet layer of pollen.  But before turning to pharmaceutical drugs, consider this delicious solution: honey!  Raw, unpasteurized honey from one’s local climate contains pollen that has already been processed by bees (thank you, bees!).  When getting acclimatized to a new or blooming environment, this can be helpful for the body to adapt to the local flora and its allergens.

So drizzle it on your cereal, in your tea, on your peanut butter sandwiches, in your springtime cocktail – wherever!  Raw, local honey makes a helpful addition to many meals, and nearly any dessert.

But as always, be a wary consumer.  Food Safety News reports (FSN) that up to three-quarters of the honey sold in supermarkets has had its pollen content removed.  Though the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says that the bee by-product must retain its pollen content to be considered honey, the FDA doesn’t screen products for pollen.  FSN also unhived a host of other issues with imported honey from China and India containing unsafe levels of antibiotics, and lack of inspection of honeys sold on big chain’s shelves.

So make sure your honey is local and raw, and enjoy it in some lemonade on these ever-warmer days.

Because the other thing we need to talk about is that this pollen crisis is almost certainly linked to climate change.

***

Find out what the buzz is about other bee by-products like propolis from the team at Goop.

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