What Is Sour Honey? Exposing This "Cancer-Curing" Honey

Is there a type of honey that can actually cure cancer? In 2016, various blogs and news outlets (outside of mainstream media) began reporting that sour honey might be a viable cure for cancer. They reported that not only could sour honey cure cancer, but that the government was working with the pharmaceutical industry to prevent this information from getting out to the public. But really, what is sour honey? Or are sour honey’s medicinal properties just a medical hoax propagated by internet trolls? 

What Is Sour Honey?

Although many bloggers and internet trolls propagated the myth that sour honey exists, this is not a real type of honey. Sourwood honey is a form of honey, but this is something completely different. 

If you search “where to buy sour honey,” you will find many products come up – chances are, this is sourwood honey trying to cater to people who still think this magical sour honey exists. 

Sourwood honey comes from the nectar of sourwood tree blossoms, and it’s naturally found in North America. Bees collect nectar from sourwood trees and break it down into simple sugars that they store in honeycombs. Humans get sourwood honey when we harvest beehives with this honey from sourwood tree blossoms.

Much of the confusion about sour honey probably arises because we often mix up sour honey with something called bee propolis: a concoction of pollen, beeswax and resin collected by bees from the buds of specific plants and trees. Humans have used this substance for thousands of years as a treatment for everything from acne to more serious illnesses. 

Propolis itself is composed of specific chemical compounds that range from types of acids, and, although it has been shown to have some minor health benefits, bee propolis has never been medically established as a cure for cancer.

That said, since honey has so much sugar, it could have negative effects on the body when consumed in large amounts. Instead, we recommend opting for plant-based sugar alternatives such as Monk Fruit sweetener or Stevia (which actually has a number of its own health benefits)! 


How Did the Sour Honey Myth Begin?

During the 2016 Presidential election, a series of YouTube videos began circulating which claimed that a cancer-curing “sour honey” had been discovered in the Amazon rainforest, and that Hillary Clinton and Big Pharma had teamed up to prevent the honey from becoming available to the public. 

News stories in publications like The Horn News advanced the claim that sour honey could cure various types of cancer; these stories cited dubious sources like “private” emails between supposed “government researchers” that revealed the cancer treatment efficacy of sour honey.

Unfortunately, these news sources could not provide any images or links to the emails. Although the information remained entirely unverified, the hoax spread like wildfire. 

People began blaming the “Clinton Cartel” for refusing to make effective treatment available to patients suffering from cancer. If sour honey were available to treat cancer, they argued, then Clinton and their partner pharma companies would lose millions as sales of chemotherapy drugs plummeted. 

The Truth About Sour Honey

Sour honey doesn’t exist. While regular honey has shown very minor health benefits and can maybe make your skin glow, it doesn’t seem to have any cancer-curing effects. 

On top of that, honey is not plant-based, so those following a vegan or plant-based diet will likely want to exclude it from their diet. However, this isn't a bad thing! Since honey has so much refined sugar, it can actually have negative (even potentially cancer-causing) effects on the body if you go overboard, which we all know is easy to do with sweets.

Pure maple syrup is an even better alternative that has shown to have more nutrients than honey (including calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, copper, and even more).