If the mad honey were to be ever given a synonym then it would be “uniqueness”. As mad honey possesses distinct virtues of earthly smell, rich texture and taste, medicinal benefit, and recreational effect.
Being the only honey with two in one benefit, it stands out to be the most vibrant and rarest honey in the world available in only a few parts of the world which are the Black sea region of Turkey, Nepal, China, Myanmar, New Guinea, Japan, Indonesia, Philippines, and North America out of which Turkish and Nepali mad honey is the most popular one. So, what makes it enigmatic and magical ?
Mad honey is derived from the largest bee in the world i.e., Apis laboriosa which forages in the special species of Rhododendron which consists of a pleasing compound called “GRAYANOTOXIN”. This compound then is found in the mad honey which gives psychedelic or psychoactive effect. It is said that Nepalese mad honey has the strongest psychedelic effect than any other mad honey.
In most parts of the world like Turkey, mad honey is cultivated but in Nepal, it is directly harvested from the hive made by the wild bees in the Himalayas cliff side. It is harvested by the honey hunters who belong to the Gurung tribe who bet their life in order to get mad honey.
They climb above 300 m in a braided rope ladder and get the mad honey overcoming the hurdle and risk of getting bitten by the angry bees. In Nepal, honey hunting is not just a mere profession, it’s a tradition, culture and values passed on by the ancestors of the tribe.
At other places, the honey is cultivated and sold but in Nepal, a ritual is performed — honey hunting is a tradition to some tribes here in Nepal. An auspicious day is selected by the pujari (priest) and the journey is commenced on that particular day.
The pujari recites prayers and offers flowers and fruits along with sacrifices of sheep, goat, and chicken in order to avoid any mishappening in the journey. The villagers cooperatively work and believe in mutual benefit.
What makes mad honey popular around the globe?
The mad honey is different from any other average honey as it contains high medicinal values. So, here are the few benefits that mad honey has to offer.
1. Antiseptic properties
Raw honey is found to be an effective germ killer and also helps in tissue regeneration. Hydrogen peroxide present in the honey prevents bacterial growth hence results in antibacterial action of rhododendron honey. Mad honey is rich in antibacterial and antifungal properties. At the moment, honey-based wound treatment has been developing across the world as it favors in quick healing.
2. Rich in antioxidants
The potentiality of antioxidants is determined by the total phenolic compound present in the honey. In a research published by the International Journal of Food Properties, the level of antioxidants was examined by using ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP), total phenolic content (TPC), ABTS(SC50), and DPPH(SC50) methods.
The study by Kucuk et al. depicted the TPC ranged from 0.132 to 0.239 mg catechin/100 g honey. The lower the percentage of SC50, the higher the antioxidant capacity. ABTS and DPPH radical scavenging method showed 50% scavenging radicals.
As per the research, the mad honey has thousands of phenolic compounds which have antioxidant properties that protect the cells from getting damaged and also maintains homeostasis of cells and tissues. Chlorogenic, ferulic, coumaric, and gallic acids are said to be the main phenolic compounds in mad honey.
3. Gives psychedelic effect
From drinking hallucinogenic beverages to smoking leaves and cig people imbibe different things to get intoxicated since time immemorial. It is taken as a medium of enjoyment and recreation.
There is one other healthy source to get psychedelic effect i.e., mad honey. The giant bee forages on a special type of Rhododendron flower which consists of a psychedelic compound called “grayanotoxin”. The compound is also found in the honey formed which gives hallucinogenic or psychedelic effects after consumption.
Other alternatives to getting boozed can be hazardous to health in the short run and long run. On the other hand, mad honey is the sweetest and healthiest way of getting psychoactive. If consumed in excess amount then it leads to diarrhea, perspiration, hypotension, dizziness, and vomiting due to excess flow of grayanotoxin in the body. However, after some time a person gets back to normal.
4. Increases sexual performance
Mad honey is popular for its ability to increase sexual performance. The consumption of mad honey as a medium of increasing sexual performance has been continuously rising. An experiment was conducted to examine the effect of mad honey on sexual performance. In the experiment, 18 Sprague Dawley male rats were taken. One group was fed normal honey and others were given mad honey for 30 days with a dosage of 80 mg/kg. The results revealed that the total testosterone level among the groups and free testosterone levels in individuals both were higher in the mad honey group than the normal honey group. Also, our regular clients have claimed first hand experience.
5. Reduce ulcers and gastrointestinal problem
Mad honey is often consumed to cure peptic ulcers, abdominal or gastric pain, bowel disorders, indigestion, dyspepsia, and other related issues. In a study conducted in the eastern part of Turkey, a questionnaire was formed regarding the use of mad honey as an alternative treatment to collect data. The data revealed that 77% of participants consumed mad honey as an alternative to medicine out of which 12.1% of participants consumed it specifically for gastrointestinal problems. The result was indeed positive. Mad honey is rich in antioxidants which helps to prevent and repair the damage cells in the digestive tract hence, helps to heal gastrointestinal problems.
6. Reduces cough and throat irritation
Research has suggested that raw honey is as effective as dextromethorphan, a common ingredient in over-the-counter cough medication. Many consumers have claimed that mad honey has helped in curing common cold and sore throat.
7. Strengthen the immune system
As per the research by Michigan State University, raw honey consists of antibacterial, antioxidant, and antiviral properties which facilitate in boosting the immune system. Since it is scientifically proven that mad honey is rich in antioxidant properties, it aids in strengthening the immune system.
8. Energizing effect:
Mad honey consists of about 26 amino acids (mainly lysine, arginine, and aspartic acid) with nutrient compounds such as vitamin (namely B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, C), calcium, and mineral which enables the benefit of metabolism. This doesn’t let the fat accumulate in the body and helps in digesting food properly. Hence, the fat is converted into useful energy.
9. Helps to prevent cancer and heart disease
In an article published by Hindawi, it is stated that honey has a high phenolic compound that contributes to high antioxidant properties which helps to prevent cancer as oxidants and free radicals are responsible for cancer development. Mad honey itself is one of the highest phenolic compounds containing honey.
Other additional benefits
Many researchers have claimed that mad honey is a remedy for hypertension and diabetes, helps in increasing athletic performance, and is useful for an active lifestyle.