Mad honey – what is the rare hallucinogen of antiquity known for?

“Mad” honey is an interesting name and even more interesting is the reason why that honey is named so. If you want to find out why it was given such a name, where you can find mad honey and whether there is a medical or other use for it, read this article.

What is mad honey and is it legal to use?

Mad honey” is honey, which bees produce in the mountains of Nepal and Turkey. It is named that way because bees in these areas feed mainly on the rhododendron plant, which possesses the toxin grayanatoxin. When pollen from these plants is eaten, the toxin passes into the bees’ bodies and they transfer it to the honey they produce. Its taste is bitter, compared to ordinary honey.

This bee nectar can also be found in some other countries where rhododendron also grows, such as in Spain, Japan, Brazil, Great Britain, America. But the amount of grayanotoxin that can be contained in honey in these countries is too small to have any effect on the body. 

Mad honey from antiquity

Mad Honey is illegal in South Korea, India, Mexico, Brazil, Canada, Australia, but, as far as it is clear, there are no laws prohibiting its use in other countries.

What effect does grayatoxin have on the body?

Honey can be found in some local shops in Turkey and Nepal, where it is produced by local beekeepers, but be careful if you buy from there, because they do not pass laboratory tests to ensure safe levels of toxin in the honey. In addition to these places,  mad honey can be supplied from other specialized stores that ensure that the production has passed laboratory tests and contains safe levels of grayanotoxin. It can also be found on some sites online and on the black market.

Mad honey is known for its use as a biological weapon as early as 401 BC. and several times there after [ref. 1]. The soldiers left the honey on the road as bait so that their enemies could be tempted and eat it. The honey made them incapable of fighting, and they were slaughtered by their enemies. 

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