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Pine pollen for sale

Spring is officially here, according to my red, swollen, itchy eyes and runny nose.

It’s officially allergy season in my neck of the woods. I don’t bother with any calendar to alert me to spring’s arrival, my internal allergy-meter does just fine. As soon as my eyes start itching, I know spring is near.

The first allergy attack lets me know the pine trees are releasing their pollen. The second or third attack signals the arrival of oak pollen. By the fifth onset of symptoms, I know the grass is no longer dormant.

When the stuff is thick enough to be seen spreading through the air, I know it’s time to hide inside. That’s usually late spring to early summer.

Pollen, as it turns out, can be measured. There’s even a pollen count to let allergy sufferers know when to stay indoors (hint: stay indoors all spring). According to Brookhaven ENT’s allergy meter in the newspaper, today is above 9, which is high.

The top allergens in this area are oak, elm and juniper. Though it’s pine pollen that covers most everything this time of year, it’s not as terrible on my senses as others.

And pine pollen is believed by some to have some pretty potent benefits. You can even buy the stuff in a jar. Why a sane person would buy something that’s readily available for free on the hood of any car is beyond me.

But for $16.95 you can buy 50 grams of the yellow stuff. According to one website, pine pollen strengthens the immune system, detoxifies the liver, is great for hair and skin and is an aphrodisiac. As the male spore of the pine tree, it’s also rumored to help your sex life.

Other websites claim pine pollen contains over 200 nutrients, vitamins and minerals that help unlock peak physical and mental health.

And since I read all those things on the Internet, they must be true.

I’m thinking of starting a side business as a pine pollen distributor. I’ll just wipe the hood and windshield of my car each morning and shake the pollen-covered rag into a container and sell it.

Or maybe I could just charge people to snort it off my car.

It turns out Jackson is one of the worst cities in the country for allergies. It makes you wonder why the people there aren’t smarter and in better shape since all that pollen should be making them super-humans by now.

Maybe pollen is the secret to why Southerners are better than their counterparts up north. Garrison Keillor was known for proclaiming that “the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average” in his fictional Lake Wobegon of Minnesota.

I think he’s got it wrong. I think the prevalence of pine pollen has made that statement true of Mississippians. Or at least it would be true if pine pollen did anything other than turn our eyes red and cause our noses to run like faucets.

Maybe I’ll send Garrison a few jars of the yellow stuff so Minnesotans can enjoy all the benefits that pollen has to offer. Why should we be only ones to suffer?

Luke Horton is the publisher of The Daily Leader.