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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013, Article ID 829070, 7 pages
Review Article

Honey as a Potential Natural Anticancer Agent: A Review of Its Mechanisms

Department of Pathology, School of Medical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 16150 Kubang Kerian, Kelantan, Malaysia

Received 9 July 2013; Revised 8 October 2013; Accepted 21 October 2013

Academic Editor: Tung-Sheng Chen

Copyright © 2013 Sarfraz Ahmed and 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.


The main treatment for cancer is by using chemotherapy and radiotherapy which themselves are toxic to other viable cells of the body. Recently, there are many studies focusing on the use of natural products for cancer prevention and treatment. Of these natural products, honey has been extensively researched. The mechanism of the anti-cancer activity of honey as chemopreventive and therapeutic agent has not been completely understood. The possible mechanisms are due to its apoptotic, antiproliferative, antitumor necrosis factor (anti-TNF), antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, estrogenic and immunomodulatory activities. We collate the findings of several studies published in the literature in order to understand the mechanism of its action.