Mad honey is Himalayan honey valued for its traditional healing properties. It is harvested from a cliff amidst red rhododendron forest. Hilly and mountain region of Nepal harbours medicinal plants like Acacia catechu, Bacopa monnieri, Bombax ceiba, Drymaria diandra, Rauvolfia serpentina,Tribulus etc. giant Himalayan honey bee collects nectar from the flowering medicinal plants and stores it in the form of most potent form, the honey.
Mad honey is psychedelic due to the presence of grayanotoxin. Giant honey bee accumulates grayanotoxin along with nectar from the rhododendron flower which contains grayanotoxin
Mad honey in Nepal is harvested by the locals, usually gurungs of foothills of mountain. It is especially found in Lamjung, Dolpa, Mugu and Mygdhi. It is harvested 2-times a year. Hunters hang with locally made ropes with stairs without other protection. One of the hunters burns green leaves to distract bees, another lowers the basket and another hunter strikes the bee comb with a wooden stick. After the honey drops in the basket, the basket is pulled to the top of the cliff.
This Honey is separated from the comb using a local bamboo basket. Honey drips from the small pores in a basket like a fine golden thread. Hunters know how strong the honey is i.e it’s Grayanotoxin levels just by dropping a drop of honey in their hand. A hunter said “ if honey is strong it produces burning sensations if with a drop in hand. This same honey may not produce the same burning sensation to you. It is because we have our senses to it. ”
Mad honey is valuable in the international market due to its medicinal properties. The price of mad also may vary with time of harvest. Mad honey is classified into Rhodium, platinum, and gold versions on the basis of grayanotoxin level and price may vary in among these versions.