By Amy Norton, Reuters, 12/17/2009
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - People hoping to boost their sex lives with the help of "mad" honey may find themselves in the emergency room instead, according to a new report.
The honey, produced from the nectar of a particular rhododendron species, has long been linked to food poisoning, with most of the documented cases seen in Turkey. In the country's Black Sea region, mad honey is used as an alternative medicine for gastrointestinal problems and, more often, as a sexual stimulant.
Reporting in the Annals of Emergency Medicine, Turkish researchers document 21 cases of mad-honey poisoning that passed through their ER over five years. Nearly all patients were middle-aged and older men -- a demographic that, according to local beekeepers, usually buys mad honey as a way to enhance sexual performance.
The problem with mad honey is its concentration of substances called grayanotoxins, some of which can cause low blood pressure, slowed heart rate, vomiting, dizziness and fainting…