Derived from the nectar and pollen from rhododendron flowers, mad honey is a type of dark-reddish honey that contains high amounts of grayanotoxin, a natural neurotoxin that may cause side effects such as dizziness and hallucinations, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). Every year, rhododendron flowers in Nepal’s mountains bloom in two seasons, leading to a massive yet risky harvesting spree of mad honey from high cliffs. With that in mind, here are some more interesting facts about Nepal mad honey.
Used in Alternative Medicine
Despite the terrible side effects such as nausea, hypotension, convulsion, blurred vision, and hallucination, that may result from its use, many countries across the Asian continent important huge quantities of mad honey every year. To give you an idea, South Korea imported about 8,000kg of mad honey between 2003 and 2004, as reported by the Royal Society of Chemistry. The main reason behind this huge demand for mad honey is its medicinal properties. More specifically, alternative medicine practitioners use it to treat myriad health problems including, among others, gastrointestinal disorders, hypertension, diabetes, and low libido, especially in middle-aged men. In fact, the Chinese have known about the medicinal properties of mad honey for centuries now.
Collected from the Himalayas
The cool breeze of the Himalayas provides a perfect climate for rhododendron plants, which bloom twice every year. Since they are so prevalent in Nepal’s mountain regions, the bees around there tend to feed on pure grayanotoxins from these plants. As a result, the honey harvested in these regions is pure mad honey. Additionally, mad honey is present in the Black Sea regions of Turkey. Even though it is rare to find mad honey in the U.S., bees can feed on the rhododendron flowers that usually remain after a cold snap in the Appalachian Mountains in Eastern U.S. and make concentrated mad honey.
Mad Honey is Legal in America
Although mad honey can cause hallucinations and other side effects, it is legal in the U.S. and the countries of origin such as Nepal and Turkey. This means you can purchase mad honey online or directly from the beekeepers in Nepal.
Nepal mad honey is widely used as a medicinal drug, especially in Asia. However, it’s worth noting that mad honey poisoning can occur, leading to health issues such as hypotension, vomiting, irregular heart rhythm, and in rare cases, death. Keeping this in mind, ensure you consult your doctor before using it.