Honey as a potential cancer cure? The truth behind sour honey

26.01.2020. 11:00

Today we have more than 300 different types of honey to choose from and all contain many of the essential enzymes and nutrients that play a big role in our life. Honey also contains some important antibacterial properties our body needs. When mentioning how many varieties of honey is available, some of them are considered special types. These include Manuka, Nigerian Jungle, Pasture, Royal Jelly and many more. One honey that not many people have heard of is sour honey, the latest to say it is a cure for cancer. 

When they mention sour honey, it is not really a honey, but is a substance called propolis. This is a natural mixture that is produced by honey bees from substances they have collected from plants and trees. The main ingredient is tree resin collected from the cracks and buds of the bark. It looks like a brown sticky substance and is also known as bee glue. This does have various anti-cancer benefits. Propolis has been used since ancient times by humans medicinally. It has shown that it has antioxidative, anti-tumor, antimicrobial, and anti-ulcer properties.

The product they call sour honey does have a lot of medicinal benefits. It is said that it produced by sting-less bees in different parts of the world. There are approximately 500 species of this type of bee, also known as meliponines. These bees are related to the common bees, such as honey bees, and bumblebees. This species does have stingers but their stingers cannot be used for defense like other bees because their stinger is highly reduced. Their defense mechanism is to bite.

One place they mainly use to get this sour honey is a desolate, small area in the Brazilian jungle where there is prominent production. According to scientists, they believe that the honey gotten from this area is so pure. The reason for this belief is that it has not been tampered with for thousands of years. One reason is that these sting-less bees do not produce large quantities at a time unlike honeybees for example. Honeybees, which have stingers, can produce up to 75 kilograms of honey each year. The sting-less bees only produce yearly a couple of kilograms even though they are active all year. This makes this honey one of the rarest on Earth.

Medicinal benefits of sour honey

Honey, in general provides us with many benefits. Some of sour honey properties include:

  • Antiviral

  • Antibacterial

  • Anti-fungal

  • Anti-inflammatory

  • Digestive

  • Antioxidant

  • Antiseptic

The powerful antioxidants found in honey can help to increase the blood flow and reduce blood clots. Honey also has vitamins C, B6, B5, and more. It can also help to deteriorate over 80 different pathogens along with helping to fight multiple diseases.

According to studies done, sour honey has more benefits than regular honey. Some researchers have described sour honey as having miracle-like properties. It has been found to help combat neurological and gastrointestinal diseases and disorders and treat small wounds.

Interesting facts about what honey can do

  • Soothe a sore throat—it has been shown that in addition to helping soothe a sore throat, it can calm the most persistent cough. Honey will line the larynx, trachea, portion of the esophagus, and pharynx to take care of these issues. It is suggested that two tablespoons a day will help suppress a cough.

  • Treats small wounds—there is a special compound found in honey that belongs to a class of fungus called pinocembrin, which acts like an anti-fungal agent. It can be used in the treatment of eye infections, cold sores, and minor wounds. This includes 2nd degree burns. When it is applied three times a day, topically it will help a wound heal faster.

  • Helps to promote a stronger immune system—it will also help fight diseases and eliminate chronic fatigue. Sour honey can also be used to treat the flu and colds. This is due to their anti-bacterial and antioxidant properties. These two combined help to combat the free radicals found in the organ systems of your body.


There is one more exciting benefits of sour honey, specifically propolis, which is the anti-cancer properties. It has the ability to suppress the progression and development of certain cancers and tumors. A study done by Bioinformatics and Medical informatics Research Center at San Diego University by Dr. Seema Patel supports the effectiveness of propolis against most types of cancer, including:

  • Pancreas

  • Skin

  • Colon

  • Brain

  • Prostate

  • Breast

  • Blood

  • Kidney

  • Liver

  • Bladder

In propolis, there are over 300 active components that can help to inhibit the growth of cancer in various ways. This includes mitigating the side effects of chemotherapy medications. According to research done, it was shown that sour honey used on prostrate and breast cancer cells in test tubes, was able to kill those cells within 24 hours. From test tubes they progressed to mice that had human-like tumors. When they received sour honey, the growth of the cancer cells slowed down about 50%. Researchers and scientists have used sour honey in different stages of cancer diagnoses from the beginning to the late stages. At this time there have been no legitimate tests that involve humans but there are testimony and stories by people who have testified with confidence that sour honey has helped them with cancer.

Sour Honey Rumors and Negativity

On the other side of the coin there are many rumors and negativity surrounding sour honey. Some feel that it is a conspiracy theory that has to do with politics and some crooked pharmaceutical companies that are trying to get some type of financial gain. Some also feel that this a made-up story about it being a cure for cancer. The reason that some feel this way is that after thousands of years, “pure” honey is suddenly discovered in a remote area of the Brazilian jungle. And this “so-called sour honey” is produced by sting-less bees. 


  • There is no honey that is produced as sour because honey has a sweet taste and if it is left to ferment it will turn sour but has a nasty taste

  • Propolis is really what people are saying is Brazilian honey

  • It is known that propolis compromises the antimicrobial properties so it can help us to be safe from infections like the flu or colds along with helping to fight against bone diseases, pain, and allergies

  • Some people may know this but whenever you eat honey you are already consuming a small amount of the propolis


There are three types of Brazilian propolis that contain these chemicals.

  • Brown—it contains high levels of the chemical CAPE (caffeic acid phenethyl ester). This chemical is thought to thwart various types of cancer. It also has a novel compound called diterpene 3.

  • Green—this contains the potent cancer inhibitor artepillin-C. This will take on vicious cancer promoting the enzyme called PAK1

  • Red—this is fairly new but researchers and scientist have recently discovered unique compounds that help to fight cancer. Two of these compounds are formononetin and vestitol.

All three forms of propolis have been shown to defeat several cancers effectively even though their composition are very different. In animal studies using artepillin-C it has shown potential in fighting prostate or breast cancer. CAPE has been shown to be effective in cell line studies at inhibiting the growth of cancer cells. The red propolis, in studies, has shown to help combat colon cancer.

In conclusion

Sour honey, or just honey in general, is packed with health benefits previously mentioned. It can also help to alleviate post-surgery pain. According to animal studies and laboratory investigations it is valid to state that in sour honey there are some specific chemicals that may have potential for cancer therapy. This is only true if the results of the cell-line and animal studies show relevance to humans when they start testing on humans. The main chemicals that the scientists and researchers are interested in for anti-cancer properties are formonoetin, artepillin-C. vestitol, and CAPE. At this time there are no known human trials being done in practice or in published human trails. 

It is important to realize that whether these studies will hold relevance to us humans still remain to be seen. For the most part, all of these studies have only tested isolated chemicals in doses that have been regulated. Also propolis chemical makeup varies a lot sample by sample. Basically, this is telling scientists and researchers that while one sample may have great results in anti-cancer properties the next sample may not. This piece of knowledge is just one of several issues that have to be resolved before Brazilian sour honey can be called a really true cancer therapy.

At this time all that is really known about sour honey and its ability to be touted as a potential cancer cure is that in some laboratory studies and animal testing they have had positive results. What is not being said is how many failures happened before they got that one favorable result. Unless there is some medical reason not to enjoy sour honey then it would be wise to consider adding it to your meals so you can take advantage of the other healthful benefits that it offers you. It would be wonderful to announce that sour honey is a cure for cancer but at this time, the jury is still out on that verdict.