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Top 8 surprising facts about mad honey that is found in Nepal also

Photo by Krzysztof Niewolny on Unsplash

Honey plays different roles in your life from being your best buddy in cough and body aches to being a partner in morning rituals. Honey compliments its sticky nature by adhering to you in different meals. The love for honey is common among people, but the taste differs from person to person as per which type of honey they prefer. From super sweet to slightly tangy and burnt taste, the world consists of different types of honey altogether. One of such unique types of honey is mad honey that is found in Nepal also. 

Here are some amazing facts about mad honey which might make you crave some of it. 

1. Formed by the world’s largest bee (Apis laboriosa)

World largest bee. Photo by Kai Wenzel on Unsplash

Apis laboriosa is one of the largest bees in the world which mainly inhabits the Himalayas and neighbouring mountain ranges of Asia. This bee measures up to 3 cm in length. It lives at heights ranging from 1,200 m to 3,600 m making it possible for them to forage on rhododendrons present in high altitudes. It tends to colonise one site in a reproductive season.

They usually do not migrate below 1,200 m and tend to find a warm temperature zone in winters. They build their hives on inaccessible cliffs which are away from the direct sunlight and safe from the natural attackers. 

2. Harvested from up to 3,500 metres above sea level

As noted earlier, the bees tend to build hives at the top half of the cliff which is up to 3,000 metres above sea level and 300 metres above ground level. The brave honey hunters from the Gurung tribe of Nepal dangle on braided bamboo ropes to get natural mad honey. 

They move, surpassing waves and masses of angry bees, with tiring arms and pains of bee stings. Mad honey harvesting is an age-old tradition from time immemorial. It is passed on from generation to generation, and it is not just a journey to get honey but also a journey to preserve their culture of harvesting mad honey. It is one of the rarest and profound cultures in the world.  

3. Agent for active lifestyle

In this fast-paced life, to deal with the everyday workload and pressure, one wants to stay active. Proper energy to deal with this lifestyle has become a need. 

Mad honey has proven to be an agent for an active lifestyle. It acts like an energy drink all day long. Energy difference in your body will be vividly noticeable. 

4. Rarest honey in the world

Usually, great things are rarest in the world. It is somewhat similar in the case of mad honey as it is not abundant. Mad honey is found in the Black Sea region of Turkey, mountains of Nepal, China, and India and harvested twice a year.  

Mad honey is ‘unifloral’ honey that is produced exclusively at high altitudes where bees can stay only during some months. The seasonal migration of the bees is required; therefore, the harvest is not abundant due to meteorological conditions. 

Besides that, harvesting mad honey is a risky and menacing task that could also lead to death if not done carefully with necessary precautions. These factors make it rare, special, and expensive in nature.

5. Love drug 

Did you know that mad honey is also popularly known as a love drug or aphrodisiac food? It helps to address sexual problems and boost performance. 

Locals have been using this honey from ancient days to address such issues and it is working on them. Many customers also claim that it works as a sexual stimulant. Mad honey is indeed a kind of wonder honey. 

6. Health benefits 

Honey itself is one of the healthiest natural sweets in the world. Besides that, mad honey has greater health benefits which are scientifically proven and even customers have felt the difference after the consumption. With great nutritional values such as vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and C as well as calcium and amino acids, it manages to cure viral to serious diseases. 

Researchers have claimed mad honey helps you reduce ulcer and other gastrointestinal diseases, ease cough and throat irritation, and strengthen the immune system. Rich in antioxidants, antibacterial and antifungal elements, it helps prevent cancer and heart disease and increase athletic performance, and is a remedy for hypertension. 

7. Buzz of “grayanotoxin”

Have you ever thought that honey can give you a recreational effect? We are sure no one in the first place would ever think about it until and unless they are aware of mad honey.

Honey bees forming mad honey forage on a special type of rhododendron belonging to the family Ericaceae which contains a compound called “grayanotoxin”, the key element of mad honey. Therefore, this psychoactive compound facilitates recreational and hallucinogenic effects in the mad honey when consumed.

This makes a person feel numb, lightheaded, trippy, and relaxed; the sensation is felt due to neurotoxic compounds. However, it should be consumed in the right amount, one to two tablespoons, or else it can lead to overdose. 

8. First chemical weapon 

Mad honey is said to be used as a weapon for mass destruction for invading armies. The first reference of mad honey dates back about in 401 BC by Xenophon, an Athenian author and military commander. 

He has described how his troops were poisoned by honey from rhododendron flowers who were heading back from a battle in the Turkish province to Persia.

Later in 67 BC, under the order of General Pompey, the Roman soldiers invaded the Black Sea region with an intention of capturing Turkey. However, the admirers of the existing King Mithridates did not want the rule of Romans. Therefore they covered their whole path with honeycombs of mad honey. At that time, the soldiers who started their journey from one place to another used to rely on the food available in the forest and the soldiers consumed this honey from combs present there. 

In this way, Roman troops were poisoned by mad honey. However, they were all alive but vomited and acted like mad people. It was much later that the locals found out the notable benefits of the honey and harvested it purposely and sold it at higher rates. 

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