Honey use in folk medicine dates back to 2100-200 BC. Historically, it has been used for gastritis, peptic ulcer disease, hypertension, wound healing, cold, and diabetes. Modern scientific literature suggest potential health benefits of honey as an antihypertensive, antidiabetic, antioxidant, hepatoprotective, cardioprotective, antitussive, anti-bacterial, antiviral, anti-fungal, antiinflammatory, and antitumor agent.
It is contaminated with grayanotoxin, which causes intoxication. This grayanotoxin is found in rhododendron plants in various places such as Turkey, China, Tibet, Nepal, Myanmar, New Guinea, Japan, Indonesia, Philippines and North America. Mad honey produced in spring is more toxic and contains more grayanotoxin than that produced in other seasons and has a sharp and biting taste which is irritating to throat.