Most of us already know the great health benefits and other uses of honey. You can use it in flu and sore throat treatments, it’s great for your immunity, it improves sexual performance and it’s also delicious is tea or cakes. But did you know you could also use it as a recreational drug? The variety is known as “mad honey”, and besides its recreational drug properties (which granted its reputation as hallucinogenic honey), it also has amazing health benefits. The active ingredient in mad honey is grayanotoxin and, besides its recent fame after the release of the documentary about honey hunting in Nepal, is also historically found in the Turkish Black Sea region, where it’s known as “deli bal”. Here, the honey is cultivated in rhododendrons and azaleas. In this region, it was used as poison during the war, but also as a hallucinogenic drug. In Nepal, Gurung honey hunters risk their lives every day, hunting for honey in precarious conditions. They look for the hives of the Apislaboriosa, the world’s largest honeybee. The hives are usually located on steep cliffs, doubling the risks: not only do they risk getting stung, but they can also fall to their deaths, or injure themselves. However, once extracted, the honey is in itself the best reward. The people of Nepal use it for medicinal purposes, as well as a recreational drug.
Also known as the Tamu, the Gurung people are an ethnic group that inhabits various regions of Nepal. Their group rose to fame after a documentary made by freelance photo journalists Diane Summers and Eric Valli shed light on their honey hunting practices. BBC2 also made a documentary on the matter in 2008. The tribesmen risk their lives, climbing steep Himalayan hills, in order to collect the honey of the Apislaboriosa, the world’s largest honeybee. They also gained online momentum after VICE magazine published an article and documentary in September 2016, entitled “Hunting for Hallucinogenic Honey in Nepal”. The grayanotoxin-filled rhododendron flower is Nepal’s national plant. When the giant Apislaboriosa bees pick up the pollen from the flower, they also infuse their honey with the toxin’s psychedelic properties. The Gurung don’t do it just for the honey, they do it for the sake of keeping up a centuries-long tradition that has come to define their tribe from generation to generation.
Our honey is top-quality mad honey. It’s extracted by pollinating the rhododendron flower, it’s 100% natural and can work wonders on your health. What is more, our honey is fully authentic, extracted by the Gurungu tribesmen of Nepal.