What Is Cactus Honey And Is It Made By Bees?

Despite the name, Cactus Honey is not honey made by bees.

What is Cactus Honey?

The term Cactus honey is a synonym for Agave Nectar or Agave Syrup

Bees play no part in the making of it, since it is derived directly from the sap of the agave plant.  Incidentally, I have a page comparing agave nectar and honey here

However, you may see products available which are called Cactus Honey, and are primarily made from the Agave plant but with some real honey (made by bees) added - the question is, how much?


Cactus honey can be purchased in powdered form (called ‘cactus honey powder’), or a syrup labelled as simply ‘Agave nectar’; ‘Agave Syrup’ or ‘Cactus honey’ - or a jelly.

Various sources suggest that Agave Nectar is suitable for diabetics.  However, the American Diabetes Association state that you should still count the carbs in agave nectar (or 'cactus honey') like any other carbohydrate, and keep portions small.

In general, neither cactus honey nor realhoney is not are suitable for diabetics.

Diabetes UK state: 

"Although honey, agave nectar and maple syrup are marketed as healthier alternatives to sugar, they’re really just other forms of sugar".

Also see: What food group is honey in?

Is the term ‘Cactus Honey’ controversial?

Please note, I am not against the product itself.

However, if labelled as ‘Cactus Honey’ and then packaged with a label or box featuring pictures of bees and honeycombs, it might be thought by some buyers that it contains or is a type of honey made by bees, who have gathered nectar from cactus flowers. 

So, the question for me is: are people misled when they buy it (do they believe it is made by bees prior to purchase?).

In other words:

  • Is there a reason why confusion could arguably occur, such as packaging illustrations? 

  • Is the description (when sold on line, for example) - fair?  Is it clear when a product is primarily Agave syrup - or at least half, and has the price been wildly inflated to suggest it contains a lot of a premium ingredient (such as real honey made by bees)?

It has to be said that some suppliers are very clear about the plant origins of the product, and as far as I'm concerned, this represents good practice.  

Personally I'm fine with it all if labelling is clear, and there is no attempt to mislead people, because at the end of the day, honey is a premium product, and bees and beekeepers go to a lot of work to bring it to the buyers.

And please note, I'm not picking on suppliers of Cactus Honey in general - I had the same questions when I wrote a page about granulated honey (which sometimes, I DO have a gripe with!).

Products made from Agave can reportedly be used very successfully as a substitute for sugar in drinks and baking (I have to say, I have never tried it), and judging by comments and reviews for the product, it is very popular with some people who are fully aware of what it is.  Organic versions of the product are available.

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