More than 300 types of honey are recognised, the most common being buckwheat and clover. The flavour can vary season to season, and area to area. Other factors that influence taste are the plant of origin, the climate, soil, and various weather factors. Honey is composed of glucose and fructose sugars.
Honey has been used by earliest mankind as a food and a medicine, and honey found in Pharaohs' tombs has still been edible.
In rare cases, honey results in allergic reactions due to contamination with pollen allergens. These pollens may vary from region to region. Some authors suggest that honey should be considered in any patient with unresolved food allergy. Honey is made from many plant sources, and any of the "parent" plants' pollen may be found in the honey. Possible sources of plant nectar include: Acacia, Bluegum, Citrus, Clover, Cosmos, Eucalyptus, Heather, Cape Fynbos, Grape, Lucerne, Sunflower, and other wild flowers. Other exotic varieties include Avocado, Litchi and Mango.
Used as a colouring, flavouring and emollient in cosmetics. The flavour and colour depend on the plants from which the nectar was taken.
IGE AND IMMUNE:
Allergy to honey is very uncommon.
Urticaria. Dyspnoea. Diarrhoea.
Allergic reactions for forest, rape and dandelion honeys.
Anaphylaxis, abdominal pain, diarrhoea and vomiting - reactions to sunflower honey.
Itching in the oral mucosa, severe systemic symptoms, anaphylactic shock due to the presence of allergens in honeybee heads, isolated bee venom sacs, and sunflower pollen in the honey. (Bauer 1996 ref.710 43)
Anaphylaxis, rhinitis, pharyngeal pruritis, laryngeal and lip oedema, and GIT complaints (Kalyoncu 1997 ref.749 02)
Anaphylaxis due to mesquite pollen found in honey. (Mansfield 1981 ref.1106 2)
Allergic reactions - probably due to contamination with pollen or bee allergens. However, de la Torre was unable to find the allergen for reactions in 3 patients when pollen and bee allergens were discounted by further investigation.
Allergic reaction due to pollen allergens in honey. (Florido 1995 ref.728 28)
Bousquet reported a bee keeper who was Compositae allergen sensitive (inhalant) and reacted to honey containing this pollen. A patient with the same pollen allergy was reported to have reacted to honey containing sunflower pollen.
Three sources of sensitisation to honey identified; the honey itself, airborne pollen, and cross-reacting venom components. (Helbling 1992 ref.70 780)
In 23 patients allergic to honey, including sunflower honey, with symptoms ranging from itching in the oral mucosa to severe systemic symptoms to anaphylactic shock, proteins derived from secretions of pharyngeal and salivary glands of honeybee heads and pollen proteins were found in the honey which were responsible for causing allergic reactions to honey. (Bauer 1996 ref.710 54)
This study describes two cases of severe systemic reactions (anaphylaxis and generalized urticaria/angioedema) due to honey and royal jelly ingestion in patients sensitized to compositae (mugwort). (Lombardi 1998 ref.5322 8)
Allergy (anaphylaxis) to honey containing sunflower pollen. (Birnbaum 1989 ref.532 78)
This study does not confirm the widely held belief that honey relieves the symptoms of allergic rhinoconjunctivitis. (Rajan 2002 ref.6706 7)
This 1977 article states that the hepatotoxic alkaloids known to occur in tansy ragwort may pose health hazards to the human consumer when present in honey produced from the nectar of this species (Deinzer 1977 ref.3142 2). No subsequent reports have been found in the literature.
Information supplied from an abridged section of:
Allergy Advisor - Zing Solutions
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