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Bin Mohd Kamal, D.A. Tualang Honey. Encyclopedia. Available online: (accessed on 14 April 2024).
Bin Mohd Kamal DA. Tualang Honey. Encyclopedia. Available at: Accessed April 14, 2024.
Bin Mohd Kamal, Datu Agasi. "Tualang Honey" Encyclopedia, (accessed April 14, 2024).
Bin Mohd Kamal, D.A. (2021, February 24). Tualang Honey. In Encyclopedia.
Bin Mohd Kamal, Datu Agasi. "Tualang Honey." Encyclopedia. Web. 24 February, 2021.
Tualang Honey

Tualang honey is a wild polyfloral honey produced by Apis dorsata. This honey is named after one of the tallest tropical rainforest trees, the Koompassia excelsa tree (known locally as the Tualang tree), where bees build their hives. The bees collect nectar from plants in the tropical rain forest in the North-eastern region of Peninsular Malaysia in Kedah.

characteristics honey tualang phenolic flavanoid

1. Introduction

Tualang honey is tropical rainforest honeys that mostly originated from Malaysia. The health benefits of these honeys have recently been gaining increased attention and popularity, as evidenced by numerous documented studies.  This honey possesses anti-microbial, anti-cancer, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory effects attributed to its high antioxidant contents[1][2]

2. Physicochemical Characteristics

These honeys have unique physicochemical properties mostly attributed to Malaysia’s tropical climate.  Table 1;  Table 2 show the physicochemical characterisation of Tualang honey extracted from various studies.

On the one hand, Tualang honey mostly complied with the accepted range by the two most common legislation of honey criteria and standards referred to as the European Honey Legislation[3] and Codex Alimentarius Standards for Honey[4]. According to the European Honey Legislation and the Codex Alimentarius Standards, honey moisture should be less than 20%, with glucose and fructose composition of more than 60 g/100 g, sucrose content of not more than 5 g/100 g and electrical conductivity of not more than 0.8 mS/cm. 

Most of the studies reported that Tualang honey contained more than 20% moisture content, thus violating European Honey Legislation and Codex Alimentarius Standards. Nonetheless, honey samples from tropical countries, such as Malaysia, typically have higher moisture content, which could be due to the rainy season all over the year[5]. Therefore, Malaysia’s honey is always first treated by evaporation to reduce the water content, thereby simultaneously increasing the honey quality[6].

Meanwhile, the electrical conductivity of honey is used to determine the botanical origin and purity of honey[7]. An electrical conductivity of less than 0.8 mS/cm indicates blossom honey, whilst more than 0.8 mS/cm indicates honeydew honey[8]. According to the European Honey Legislation and the Codex Alimentarius Standards, honey’s electrical conductivity should not be more than 0.8 mS/cm. The electrical conductivity of Tualang honey is in a broad range of 0.74–1.51 mS/cm. Various factors, such as storage, time, temperature, water content and concentration of ions and minerals, were reported to contribute to the electrical conductivity of honey[6].

Most bacteria grow in a neutral and mildly alkaline environment, whereas yeasts and moulds could grow in an acidic environment (pH = 4.0–4.5). Conversely, the pH values of honey are neither those needed for bacteria nor yeast growth[5]. This is of great importance during storage, as they influence the texture, stability and shelf-life of honey[8]. The pH value of Tualang honey were reported to be in the range of 3.14–3.83. Moreover, the sugar content has complied with the requirement of the European Honey Legislation and Codex Alimentarius Standards. In terms of honey colour characteristics, Tualang honey is described as light amber honey[5][9].

Many studies found that the antioxidant capacity of honey is strongly correlated with the concentration of its phenolic contents[10][11]. The phenolic content of honey comes from the plant that the bees feed on[12]. Thus, botanical origin plays a significant role in determining the constituents and antioxidant activity of honey[13]. Colour intensity is also associated with antioxidant properties. Numerous studies, including those on Gelam honey, associated the honey colour intensity with antioxidant properties. Darker-coloured honey showed higher antioxidant activity and higher total phenolic content[12][14][15][16]. The present review also found that the honey have a high content of phenolic and flavonoid.

The determination of trace elements in honey is essential for quality control and monitoring of trace element composition. High levels of trace elements could be dangerous and cause toxicity. The levels of trace elements in Tualang honey was within the permissible value set by the World Health Organization (WHO), and no honey contamination with pesticide residues was found[17].

Table 1. Physicochemical characteristics of Tualang honey.

Physicochemical Characteristics

Tualang Honey

Colour characteristic (mm Pfund)






Moisture content



Electrical conductivity, (mS/cm)



Table 2. Chemical constituents of Tualang honey.

Chemical Constituent

Tualang Honey

Total sugar content (g/100 g)



Reducing sugar (g/100 g)



Sucrose (g/100 g)

˂ 0.01–1.66


Glucose (g/100 g)



Fructose (g/100 g)



Maltose (g/100 g)



Protein content (g/kg)



Proline content (mg/kg)

248.53 ± 1.33


Mineral content (mg/kg)
































0.033 ± 0.002


Total phenolic content mg/kg (gallic acid)

251.7–1103.94 [6][11][18][21][22]

Total flavonoid content

49.04–185.11 (rutin)[6][11]

65.65 (catechin)[18]

504.5 (quercetin)[22]

3. Medicinal Properties

Tualang honey shared these major health benefits; (a) anti-oxidative; (b) anti-cancer; (c) anti-inflammatory; (d) wound-healing; (e) anti-microbial; (f) anti-diabetic and; (g) anti-obesity (as seen in Figure 1).

Nutrients 13 00197 g001 550

Figure 1. The medicinal properties of Tualang, Gelam and Kelulut honeys. ROS: reactive oxygen species; MDA: malondialdehyde; SOD: superoxide dismutase; CAT: catalase; GPX: glutathione peroxidase; TGFβ: transforming growth factor beta; Apaf-1: Apoptotic protease activating factor-1; IFN‐γ: interferon‐gamma; IFNGR1: interferon gamma receptor-1; p53: tumor protein P53; ESR1: oestrogen receptor-1; TNF-α: tumor necrosis factor alpha; Bcl-xL: B-cell lymphoma-extra-large; IL-1β: interleukin-1 beta; IL-6: interleukin 6; IL-8: interleukin 8; IL-10: interleukin 10; NF-kB: nuclear factor kappa B; IκBα: NF-kappa-B inhibitor alpha; COX-2: cyclooxygenase-2.


  1. Ahmed, S.; Othman, N.H. Review of the Medicinal Effects of Tualang Honey and a Comparison with Manuka Honey. Malays. J. Med Sci. 2013, 20, 6–13.
  2. Devasvaran, K.; Yong, Y.-K. Anti-inflammatory and wound healing properties of Malaysia Tualang honey. Curr. Sci. 2016, 110, 47–51.
  3. EC. Council directive 2001/110/EC of 20 December 2001 relating honey. Off. J. Eur. Communities 2001, 10, 47–52.
  4. Codex Alimentarius Commission. Revised Codex Standard for Honey. In Standards and Standard Methods; WHO & FAO: Rome, Italy, 2001.
  5. Lee Suan Chua; Norul-Liza Abdul-Rahaman; Mohamad Roji Sarmidi; Ramlan Aziz; Multi-elemental composition and physical properties of honey samples from Malaysia. Food Chemistry 2012, 135, 880-887, 10.1016/j.foodchem.2012.05.106.
  6. Norul Liza A-Rahaman; Lee Suan Chua; Mohamad Roji Sarmidi; Ramlan Aziz; Physicochemical and radical scavenging activities of honey samples from Malaysia. Agricultural Sciences 2013, 4, 46-51, 10.4236/as.2013.45b009.
  7. Milica Živkov Baloš; Nenad Popov; Suzana Vidaković; Dragana Ljubojević Pelić; Miloš Pelić; Željko Mihaljev; Sandra Jakšić; Electrical conductivity and acidity of honey. Archives of Veterinary Medicine 2018, 11, 91-101, 10.46784/e-avm.v11i1.20.
  8. Andreas Thrasyvoulou; Chrysoula Tananaki; Georgios Goras; Emmanuel Karazafiris; Maria Dimou; Vasilis Liolios; Dimitris Kanelis; Sofia Gounari; Legislation of honey criteria and standards. Journal of Apicultural Research 2018, 57, 88-96, 10.1080/00218839.2017.1411181.
  9. Fatin Aina Zulkhairi Amin; Suriana Sabri; Salma Malihah Mohammad; Maznah Ismail; Kim Wei Chan; Norsharina Ismail; Mohd Esa Norhaizan; Norhasnida Zawawi; Therapeutic Properties of Stingless Bee Honey in Comparison with European Bee Honey. Advances in Pharmacological Sciences 2018, 2018, 1-12, 10.1155/2018/6179596.
  10. Hussein, S.Z.; Yusoff, K.M.; Makpol, S.; Yusof, Y.A.M. Antioxidant Capacities and Total Phenolic Contents Increase with Gamma Irradiation in Two Types of Malaysian Honey. Molecules 2011, 16, 6378–6395.
  11. Chua, L.S.; Rahaman, N.L.A.; Adnan, N.A.; Tan, T.T.E. Antioxidant Activity of Three Honey Samples in relation with Their Biochemical Components. J. Anal. Methods Chem. 2013, 2013, 1–8.
  12. Siok Peng Kek; Nyuk Ling Chin; Yus Aniza Yusof; Sheau Wei Tan; Lee Suan Chua; Total Phenolic Contents and Colour Intensity of Malaysian Honeys from the Apis spp. and Trigona spp. Bees. Agriculture and Agricultural Science Procedia 2014, 2, 150-155, 10.1016/j.aaspro.2014.11.022.
  13. Monika Tomczyk; Maria Tarapatskyy; Małgorzata Dżugan; The influence of geographical origin on honey composition studied by Polish and Slovak honeys. Czech Journal of Food Sciences 2019, 37, 232-238, 10.17221/40/2019-cjfs.
  14. Khalafi, R.; Goli, S.A.H.; Behjatian, M. Characterization and Classification of Several Monofloral Iranian Honeys Based on Physicochemical Properties and Antioxidant Activity. Int. J. Food Prop. 2016, 19, 1065–1079.
  15. Kek, S.P.; Chin, N.L.; Yusof, Y.A.; Tan, S.W.; Chua, L.S. Classification of entomological origin of honey based on its physicochemical and antioxidant properties. Int. J. Food Prop. 2017, 20, S2723–S2738.
  16. Khalil, I.; Mahaneem, M.; Jamalullail, S.M.S.; Alam, N.; Sulaiman, S.A. Evaluation of radical scavenging activity and colour intensity of nine Malaysian honeys of different origin. J. ApiProd. ApiMed. Sci. 2011, 3, 4–11.
  17. Mohammed Moniruzzaman; Muhammed Alamgir Zaman Chowdhury; Mohammad Abdur Rahman; Siti Amrah Sulaiman; Siew Hua Gan; Determination of Mineral, Trace Element, and Pesticide Levels in Honey Samples Originating from Different Regions of Malaysia Compared to Manuka Honey. BioMed Research International 2014, 2014, 1-10, 10.1155/2014/359890.
  18. Mohammed Moniruzzaman; Ibrahim Khalil; Siti Amrah Sulaiman; Siew Hua Gan; Physicochemical and antioxidant properties of Malaysian honeys produced by Apis cerana, Apis dorsata and Apis mellifera. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2013, 13, 43-43, 10.1186/1472-6882-13-43.
  19. Lee Suan Chua; Nur Ardawati Adnan; Biochemical and nutritional components of selected honey samples.. Acta Scientiarum Polonorum Technologia Alimentaria 2014, 13, 169-179, 10.17306/j.afs.2014.2.6.
  20. Siok Peng Kek; Nyuk Ling Chin; Sheau Wei Tan; Yus Aniza Yusof; Lee Suan Chua; Classification of Honey from Its Bee Origin via Chemical Profiles and Mineral Content. Food Analytical Methods 2016, 10, 19-30, 10.1007/s12161-016-0544-0.
  21. Mohamed, M.; Sirajudeen, K.; Swamy, M.; Yaacob, N.S.; Sulaiman, S.A. Studies on the antioxidant properties of Tualang honey of Malaysia. Afr. J. Tradit. Complement. Altern. Med. 2010, 7, 59–63.
  22. Kishore, R.K.; Halim, A.S.; Syazana, M.; Sirajudeen, K. Tualang honey has higher phenolic content and greater radical scavenging activity compared with other honey sources. Nutr. Res. 2011, 31, 322–325.
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