Hallucinogenic Honey From The Himalayan Bees

A tribe of Nepal hunt a wild honey with natural psychoactive properties (“mad honey”), they use it as a medicine and a soft drug. 

With over 3.5 Million Gurungs living in Nepal, the Gurung people are found all over the country and beyond. However, near the peaks of Himalayas, beyond which no human settlements are found, lives a secretive Gurung tribe called the honey hunters, in the secret villages that are surrounded by thick forests.



In these high forests live a certain kind of bee, the world’s largest honey bee – Apis dorsata laboriosa, The Giant Bee of Himalayas (single adults can measure up to 3 cm length) – are found in a very large nests built under overhangs on the south-western faces of vertical cliffs. It mostly nests at altitudes between 2,500 and 3,000 m and can reach up to 5 feet in diameter and each of these nests can contain about 60 kg of honey!

But that is not even the most interesting part about them yet…


The honey made by these bees is a product that comes from the nectar of kinds of poisonous flowers. That is probably what makes this honey – Red Honey – medicinal, intoxicating and hallucinogenic, which are attributed to the grayanotoxin present in the nectar collected from white rhododendrons.

Since it is difficult to harvest and has special properties, this kind of honey is expensive and sells for about 4 times the price of normal honey in the foreign market. So, the honey hunters take absurd risks to get the honey from overhanging nests up in the cliffs.

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