Last November, a video was posted on You Tube that claimed "sour" honey was a cure for cancer. Since then, we have received a number of phone calls and e-mails about this claim. We even saw a spike in sales of our sourwood honey. All of this activity has prompted us to make the following comments.
First, we know of no credible medical evidence or scientific study that supports this claim. We hasten to add that we cannot give out any medical advice, so if you really want more information about this matter, ask your doctor. (UPDATE: After we first posted this article on February 8th, we were sent a link to an article from the National Institutes of Health regarding Honey as a Potential Natural Anticancer Agent.)
Second, we are in the honey business and we have never heard of "sour" honey as a specific variety. Approximately once a month, we receive offers of bulk honey for sale from both US and foreign companies and no one has ever offered us "sour" honey. We use the term sour honey for something altogether different. Once in a while, a beekeeper will harvest some frames of honey with a high moisture content. If this moisture content reaches 20% or more, then the honey will ferment. Fermented honey is called "sour" honey and is nasty stuff. If it is not too far gone, you can sometimes feed it back to the bees. But most of the time, it must be thrown out. (UPDATE: We recently saw a website offering "sour" honey at $2,497 per 12 ounce container. Yes, you read that right - TWO THOUSAND, FOUR HUNDRED and NINETY SEVEN DOLLARS for less than one pound of honey. All we can say is "buyer beware!".)
Third, sourwood honey is a legitimate honey variety. In fact, it is a premium American honey that comes from the nectar of the sourwood tree blossom. The sourwood tree gets its name from sour tasting leaves, but the honey is delicious. Sourwood honey is NOT the same thing as "sour" honey. You can read more about sourwood honey here.
Fourth, there are a number of articles that talk about the benefits of drinking warm water with honey and fresh lemon juice. Some of these benefits include boosting the immune system, aiding with digestion, and helping to cleanse the body. Read here for more information.
Finally, we do believe that eating raw, unfiltered honey does have a number of health benefits. We have written about this in past blog posts, such as here, here and here. So Eat Honey and Bee Happy, but don't believe everything you read or see on the internet!