Honey is renowned for its health benefits and has been used for thousands of years as food and medicine. Honey is used to soothe coughs and is applied topically to cuts and bruises to speed up the healing process. It is known to have anti-inflammatory properties and is used to reduce allergy symptoms. It is a quick source of energy because of its sugar content that is directly absorbed into the bloodstream, according to Medical Daily. Honey can be ingested as an antibiotic and used in the treatment of burns by disinfecting the area of the skin affected. Honey is eaten as food and used as an additive in food and beverages.
However, honey may contain certain poisonous substances that can eventually kill, especially if consumed in excess. Honey may contain some poisonous toxins from contaminated nectar from poisonous plants. An article by the National Center for Biotechnology Information says that some compounds harmful to humans may form during the heating or preservation process of honey. This substance may be mutagenic, carcinogenic and cytotoxic. Reports also indicate that honey can be contaminated with heavy metals such as lead, arsenic, mercury and cadmium.
Honey produced from the nectar of rhododendrons contain alkaloids that can be poisonous to humans, while those produced from Andromeda flowers contain grayanotoxins that can cause paralysis and eventually death. Honey produced from Wharangi, and Tutu plants native to New Zealand are known to be fatal to humans.
Honey produced from Datura plants native to Mexico and Hungary is also very poisonous and bad for consumption. Other plants that make poisonous honey, according to Country File include; Azalea, Trumpet flower, Oleander, Yellow Jasmine, Mountain Laurel, Stargazer, Heliconia or Lobster Claws, Bog Rosemary, and Amaryllis. Honey produced from these plants can slowly kill or lead to paralysis if taken in excess. The toxins in the Yellow Jasmine, for example, are as fatal as hemlock, according to reports.
Oleanders and Azaleas have been used in the production of rat poison, the seeds, leaves, roots, branches and even flowers can be fatal to humans when ingested. As per a report on KEW, Philip Stevenson, a Plant Chemist, and Alison Scott-Brown, a plant/insect ecologist, say that rhododendrons are responsible for producing the world’s first recorded chemical weapons. Apart from containing harmful toxins, honey contains sugars like fructose that is unhealthy for overweight people. Identifying healthy honey is as important as eating it for its numerous benefits.