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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 410406, 10 pages
Review Article

Honey and Cancer: Sustainable Inverse Relationship Particularly for Developing Nations—A Review

Department of Pathology, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Kelantan, 16150 Kubang Kerian, Malaysia

Received 13 November 2011; Accepted 6 May 2012

Academic Editor: Alyson Huntley

Copyright © 2012 Nor Hayati Othman. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Honey and cancer has a sustainable inverse relationship. Carcinogenesis is a multistep process and has multifactorial causes. Among these are low immune status, chronic infection, chronic inflammation, chronic non healing ulcers, obesity, and so forth. There is now a sizeable evidence that honey is a natural immune booster, natural anti-inflammatory agent, natural antimicrobial agent, natural cancer “vaccine,” and natural promoter for healing chronic ulcers and wounds. Though honey has substances of which the most predominant is a mixture of sugars, which itself is thought to be carcinogenic, it is understandable that its beneficial effect as anticancer agent raises skeptics. The positive scientific evidence for anticancer properties of honey is growing. The mechanism on how honey has anticancer effect is an area of great interest. Among the mechanisms suggested are inhibition of cell proliferation, induction of apoptosis, and cell-cycle arrest. Honey and cancer has sustainable inverse relationship in the setting of developing nations where resources for cancer prevention and treatment are limited.