Honey are You Toxic?

Honey is delicious and has several health benefits. However, it has been known to be harmful to humans and some animals.

When honeybees collect nectar from poisonous flowers that have toxic substances, they are not harmed. However, if honey is made from this nectar, it can cause harm or death to humans, and some other animals. Here are some of those plants.

Rhododendron poticum (Azalea pontica), has alkaloids,which are harmful to humans. This honey, “maddening” honey, is believed to have poisoned Roman troops in the first century BCE, thus causing them to lose the war. Aristotle, Xenophon, Strabo, Pliny of Elder, and Columella are also documented as being affected after eating this honey.

Kalmis latifolia (spoonwood), is the state flower of Connecticut and Pennsylvania. No part of this flower is safe for consumption. Honey made from its nectar has the same results as the honey made from nectar from the Adromeda flower. An autopsy usually shows gastrointestinal problems and bleeding. It is not only harmful to humans, but to other animals such as the horses, goats, sheep, and deer.

Melicope temata(Wharangi bush), is located in New Zealand. It is said that anyone who eats honey made from the nectar from this plant can die quickly. Although harmful to humans, it is the food source to animals such as the caterpillars and the belid weevils.

Oleander(Neric um oleander), is believed to be one of the most poisonous plants known. Eating honey made from the nectar causes, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, seizures, even comas. It is also toxic to grazing animals such as sheep, horses, and cattle.

Opium poppy( papaver somniferous), Several well-known narcotics such as opium, heroin, morphine, codeine, and other less known such as papaverine, and noscapine are extracted from this widely grown plant. Narcotic opium honey, has also being made from this plant. This honey would have the same effect on the human body, any other narcotics.

Adromeda (Bog rosemary), has a substance called grayanotoxin which cause humans, who eat honey made from its nectar, to become paralyzed in their limbs and then the diaphragm, constricting breathing, which leads to death.

Honey is graded based on its, soluble solids, water content, flavor, aroma, clarity, absence of defects, and color. The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), sets the standards for this grading.

Grade A – Good                                                                                                                                                     Grade B – Reasonably Good                                                                                                                                   Grade C – Fairly Good                                                                                                                                             Good D – Poor, Fail

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  1. I’ve always thought honey was just good for you, I didn’t realise there were varieties that could be toxic. Very interesting article.

  2. Thanks for the info.

  3. That is very interesting information. I didn’t realise honey could be harmful. Thank you.


  4. thank you do much for sharing this knowelde. if i hadn’t read this article i would never have known. very interesting and beautifully scripted. i loved the Kalmis latifolia. excellent!!

  5. Wow, it never occurred to me that bees could make toxic honey from toxic plants, but I suppose it makes perfect sense really!

  6. I didn’t know any honey was poison.If I had thought about it I would have thought poison nectar would have killed the bees before they could turn it into honey. I wonder how anyone determines which honey is poison.

  7. Excellent article, very informative.

  8. I have heard that honey can contain botulism (spelling?), but I had never heard of honey being toxic because of what the bees have collected. Good to know. When I was a kid, parents dipped soothers into honey to calm babies.

  9. This article is very informative for me. I just knew that some honey are toxic for our body. However those flower on your pictures are very beautiful.

  10. Scary

  11. Honey is a carrier of another substance that can cause botulism poisoning in infants. It is recommended that infants do not ingest honey. Evidently they outgrow this fairly soon, because honey is recommended for toddlers to help boost immunization against allergens.

    Honey producers make honey safer by blending several batches of honey, thereby reducing suspected toxins. It seems to work most of the time.

    This was an interesting article. Thank you for posting it.

  12. I knew there was a reason I did not like honey :)

  13. Thank you all for your support. I agree with maranatha about the botulism poisoning in infants. I did run across that in my research, however, due to space and time, I didn’t include everything that I found.

  14. I didn’t know honey could be poisonous if it came from poisonous plants, thanks a lot for the information! But i really like Kalmis latifolia, it looks lovely~

  15. I am not sure about Melicope Ternata as a source of toxic honey in New Zealand, but I can confirm that honey products containing the toxic tutin from the native New Zealand tutu plant (coriarea arborea) can produce symptoms ranging from nausea and vomiting through to death. For more information see:

  16. For some reason I missed this article y/day. But I’m glad that I’ve found it. It is very informative, I’m like Christine, didn’t know that honey could be harmful. But now that I’m thinking about it , I can see why; I suppose that if one’s allergic to bees then such a one would be allergic to honey? Am I right?

  17. great article! i didnt know it could be toxic.

  18. Sorry – poor typing. The native New Zealand tutu plant is Coriaria arborea. The Passionvine leaf hopper (Scolypopa australis), which was introduced from Australia, feeds on the tutu bush and excretes a honeydew containing tutin and hyenanchin. Bees may then feed on the honeydew, particularly in periods of severe drought, thereby introducing tutin and hyenanchin into the honeycomb.

    All New Zealand honey producers are now required by a 2008 food standard ( to mitigate the risk posed by tutin in honey.

    The serious threat posed by toxic honey to the honey industry is the subject of the following New Zealand HortResearch report: It makes for sobering reading.

  19. Thank you OtagoBoB, for the extra information pertaining to the New Zealand regulations on its honey production. I appreciate it.

  20. I didn’t know that =) great article.

  21. wow! how can something so pretty be so deadly?

  22. Didn’t know it either, nice work.

  23. you did an outstanding job of writing this… i learned a lot!

  24. Oh I love it. More please!

  25. As a pharmacist one of the things I constantly drill into people’s minds is: just because it is natural doesn’t mean it is healthy.
    Good piece,

  26. honey. toxic. a big suprise. this is very useful information adding to the benifit of knowing some poisionous plants/flowers.

  27. Say what? I never knew there could be bad honey. I, however, only use organic honey so I hope I am safe.

  28. I have to second Clay Hurtubise’s warning – just because honey is organic doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily safe to consume. In the New Zealand context, for instance, comb honey produced by a hobbyist beekeeper in 2008 proved to be highly toxic because of the fact that bees were feeding on honeydew containing the naturally-occurring toxin tutin. No artificial chemicals were involved.

  29. This very informative. I enjoyed it.

  30. great article

  31. I have heard something about this, but this report is excellent information. Thanks for the clarity on the subject.

  32. Wow! I truly learned something here today. Thanks for sharing this informative piece.

  33. Great toxic information:) I like honey, sugar.

  34. Oh, I never knew about toxic part of honey. Thanks.

  35. Honey is a medicine.

  36. This is a very attractive and useful article with very impressive pictures. I was not aware of the fact that honey is toxic. Thanks for sharing this inportant fact about honey.

  37. Beautiful pics and important warning about honey. I never heard this except we are not to give babies honey.

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