April 1, 1988

Mad Honey

Author Affiliations

Karadeniz University School of Medicine Trabzon, Turkey

Karadeniz University School of Medicine Trabzon, Turkey

JAMA. 1988;259(13):1943. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03720130021010

To the Editor.  Rhododendron ponticum, a member of the botanical family Ericaceae, grows extensively on the mountains of the eastern Black Sea area of Turkey.1,2 Its flowers are pink or vioSee also p 2009. let. All parts of this particular species, including the nectar, contain toxic diterpenes known as grayanotoxins (formerly, andromedotoxins). Ingestion of honey derived from this plant may cause profound hypotension and bradycardia.3,4 It is known locally as "mad honey."From 1984 to 1986, sixteen patients with honey intoxication were seen at the Hospital of Karadeniz University in Trabzon, Turkey. Their mean age was 41 years (range, 30 to 48 years). Fourteen were men and two were women. Samples of honey that the patients had eaten were analyzed in the chemical analysis department of Ankara (Turkey) Health Institute. In each specimen, pollens belonging to Rhododendron species were found.The complaints in all patients started