This hallucinogenic honey can sell for over $ 60 on the black market
I found a research article on the subject which immediately caught my attention; it’s the only kind of honey I consume.
The researchers point out that “Mad Honey” can only be found in Nepal and Turkey, but that it can also be purchased online.
We, in Turkey, also call it “Mad Honey” but the more common name is “Chestnut Flower Honey” or “Chestnut Honey”. Let’s see what the researchers have to say.
“When bees feed on the pollen of rhododendron flowers, the resulting honey can pack a hallucinogenic punch.”
It is called mad honey, and it has a slightly bitter taste and a reddish color. There are a few types of rhododendrons and they all contain grayanotoxin, which can cause dramatic physiological reactions in humans and animals. Depending on how much a person consumes, reactions can range from hallucinations and a slower heartbeat to temporary paralysis and unconsciousness.
One jar of “Mad Honey” that I tasted had all of the above warnings written on the label and advised that one should not consume more than 1-2 teaspoons.
I guess what we call “Chestnut Honey” and the “Mad Honey” made from rhododendron is the same or at least contains grayanotoxin and, therefore, warrants the same warning.
There have been no modern deaths recorded from eating mad honey. But as rhododendrons flourish at high altitudes, and bees often nest on sheer cliffs, gathering the honey may be more dangerous than consuming it. In Nepal, honey hunters make dangerous vertical climbs – while enduring stings from enormous bees – to harvest mad honey.
To be honest, I have no idea what our Turkish honey hunters have to put up with.
But eating the honey can be an unpleasant venture too. One of the earliest accounts of mad honey, which comes from Xenophon of Athens, a student of Socrates, describes a company of Greek soldiers in 401 B.C. passing through Turkey. After eating honey stolen from beehives along the route, they vomited, had diarrhea, became disoriented and could no longer stand. But, as recounted by Vaughn Bryant, a honey expert and anthropology professor, they were fine the next day. Modern consumers describe similar effects from too much mad honey. In 69 B.C., it was recorded that Pompey the Great’s army fell victim to a literal honeytrap in the same region. Local forces placed honey along the marching route, and then swooped in to massacre the intoxicated soldiers.
It seems that mad honey has no culinary uses either. Turkey and Nepal, the epicenters of mad honey, have traditionally cultivated the honey as medicine. Today, it is touted as:
- Relieving hypertension
- Providing a burst of energy
- Being a sweet substitute for Viagra.
As a result, mad honey ranks among the most expensive honey in the world. It sells for $ 80 a pound on the black markets of some Asian countries, several of which have very strict anti-drug laws.
Remember, no more that 1-2 teaspoons.
That’s it for now; see you all the next time.