To the question in the title of this article, my answer is: no, “sour honey” is not a cure for cancer. But the next question you are probably asking in your head right now is: “What is sour honey? I have never heard of it before.”
That’s a long story. But I have just enough time to delve into it, and tell you all about the substance dubbed “sour honey” and why I don’t think it is a cure for cancer – at least not just yet.
How Cancer Took Over the Twenty First Century
In our time, cancer is the disease that has most vividly captured the imagination of society. Many of us know at least one relative or friend that has died due to cancer. Those who survive it are treated as heroes just as if they had fought a dragon and emerged victorious.
It is speculated that factors such as poor diet and pollution of the environment are responsible for the increase of cancer cases in the world today – even affecting poor families living in developing nations.
Different people point at different things as the cause for cancer. In fact, almost everything harmful these days is quoted as a “possible cause for cancer”. In this fearful, uncertain environment, hoaxers, con-artists, faith healers, genuine natural health practitioners, medical researchers, and so forth have cropped up, all with claims of having found the “cure for cancer”.
One of the famous cures touted in recent time is sour honey. Just how true is this rumor? Should you invest your money in several jars of sour honey?
The Origin of the Rumor
The story of sour honey as the ultimate cure for cancer is at heart nothing more than a conspiracy theory. And like most conspiracy theories, it has something to do with politics and the ever-scheming “powers-that-be” – in this case, pharmaceutical companies.
It began floating around during the buildup to the November 2016 elections, in which the Democrats fielded Hillary Clinton as their candidate, and the Republicans had Donald Trump.
The conspiracy theory is a clever marketing campaign used to push through a substance called Brazilian sour honey. The story goes that Hillary Clinton, in cahoots with a “crooked cartel” of pharmaceutical companies, are trying to keep the information about the cancer cure from public knowledge so as to protect their financial gains.
The product is supposedly made “in the heart of the Brazilian jungle”, in a remote place where special bees create “one of the rarest substances on earth” – a type of “sour honey” that has remained untouched for millennia – well, until they recently tested it in a laboratory and it yielded “near miraculous results”.
On the first day of the test, the sour honey destroyed 13% of breast cancer cells on the spot. When they did a study on mice that had human-like tumors, they found that sour honey halted tumor growth by 50%.
The articles and YouTube videos go on to describe other miraculous scientific breakthroughs that have been demonstrated by the wonderful substance.
What is Sour Honey?
The first thing I should tell you is that “sour honey” does not exist – at least not in the sense described in the articles. There is no type of honey called sour honey.
There is honey known as sourwood honey, made from the nectar of the sourwood tree blossom, and that honey is sweet not sour. But the articles and videos are not talking about sourwood honey.
And I do not think that they are talking about fermented honey either. When bees make honey from nectar, they evaporate over 60% of the water content leaving only 14 – 18% water content.
As a result, honey is highly resistant to microbes and can last a long time. Sometimes, a beekeeper harvests honey that has high moisture content, and it ferments and becomes sour and bad-tasting. But the articles are not referring to this either.
What the viral marketing campaign is referring to is, in fact, not even honey, but rather a substance known as propolis or bee glue. It is a resinous mixture made by bees using their saliva, beeswax, and exudates gathered from tree buds or sap flows.
Bees use it as a sealant for unwanted open spaces in the hive. It reinforces the structural stability of the hive, minimizes vibration, and prevents diseases and parasites from coming into the hive, and inhibits the growth of fungi and bacteria.
Is Bee Propolis the Much-Awaited-For Cure for Cancer?
Propolis has been an ingredient of traditional medicines for thousands for years. The National Institutes of Health cautiously rates it as being “possibly effective” for treating post-surgery mouth pain, cold sores, and genital herpes.
At the moment, the evidence of propolis’s effectiveness in treating other conditions is not sufficient to give it a rating.
Is Brazilian propolis capable of curing cancer? The scientific and prudent answer would be “maybe, maybe not”. However, based on the lack of credible scientific research on the matter and the general lack of credibility of the parties that originated this campaign, the best answer would be “no”.
It is no in the sense that the marketing campaign is not being honest, not no in the sense that propolis is absolutely devoid of any cancer-alleviating properties.
The best hoaxes or cons usually have a kernel of truth in them, and it is so too with propolis/sour honey. For instance, artepillin-C, one of the chemicals found in Brazilian propolis has shown potential in fighting breast or prostate cancer.
However, these are animal studies, and it is not yet clear that they hold the same relevance for humans.
Also, the studies mostly tested isolated chemicals in regulated doses. The chemical makeup of propolis also varies significantly in different samples. Such issues must first be resolved before it can become – or even begin to be considered as – a true therapy.
In the end, this is just an extremely well-thought-out marketing campaign that uses as-yet-unsubstantiated research to sell an old product that has a new name. Besides, all that talk of Hillary Clinton and “crooked cartels” that don’t want you to know the truth about cancer should be enough to make you smell a rat.
Is sour honey a cure for cancer? Maybe, maybe not. Should you spend a fortune trying to procure the product being marketed as rare Brazilian sour honey? I would not advise it.
Until credible scientific authorities support this hypothesis with rigorous scientific research, the substance known as propolis to many and sour honey to a few will remain as only a potential cure for cancer, rather than THE cure for cancer. There is a difference, you know?