The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.
Avoid in people with a known allergy or sensitivity to celery, pollen, or other bee-related allergies, and when honey made from plants in the Rhododendron genus is used, due to toxicity.
Allergic reactions have been reported after honey use, including asthma, cough, difficulty swallowing, hives, lip or tongue inflammation and itching, lung inflammation, shortness of breath, swelling under the skin, voice changes, and wheezing, as well as severe life-threatening reactions.
Side Effects and Warnings
Honey is likely safe when taken by mouth in food amounts, or when recommended doses are used. Honey is possibly safe when applied to the skin.
Honey may cause abnormal or absent heart rhythms, blurred vision, changes in taste, changes in white blood cell count, chest pain, diarrhea, double vision, drowsiness, faintness, fatigue, feeling of burning or tingling on the skin, fever, heart attack, honey intoxication (sweating or weakness when honey produced from Rhododendron plants is used), hyperactivity, impaired consciousness, increased saliva, lung problems, mild paralysis, musculoskeletal problems, minor scarring, nausea, nervousness, pain, seizures, sleep problems, sweating, tooth decay, upset stomach, urinary tract infections, vomiting, weight loss, and wound dryness or infection.
Honey may affect blood sugar levels. Caution is advised in people with diabetes or low blood sugar, and in those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that affect blood sugar. Blood sugar levels may need to be monitored by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, and medication adjustments may be necessary.
Honey may increase the risk of bleeding. Caution is advised in people with bleeding disorders or taking drugs that may increase the risk of bleeding. Dosing adjustments may be necessary.
Honey may cause low blood pressure. Caution is advised in people taking drugs or herbs and supplements that lower blood pressure.
Honey may interfere with the way the body processes certain drugs using the liver's "cytochrome P450" enzyme system.
Use cautiously when the origin of the honey is unknown, due to possible toxicity.
Use cautiously in people who have heart conditions, nervous system disorders, and stomach or intestine conditions.
Use cautiously in people who are taking antibiotics, heart medications, nervous system agents, stomach or intestine medications, and weight loss agents.
Avoid in children under 12 months of age.
Avoid in people with known allergy or sensitivity to celery, pollen, or other bee-related allergies, and when honey made from plants in the Rhododendron genus is used, due to toxicity.
Note: Honey that is contaminated with the bacteria Clostridium botulinum may cause poisoning in infants and young children. However, this is not a danger for older children and adults.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
There is a lack of scientific evidence on the use of honey during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Honey may contain contaminants that may be harmful to pregnant or breastfeeding women, or to unborn babies.
This evidence-based monograph was prepared by The Natural Standard Research Collaboration