Nature offers us many products for use that are often made by insects, plants, and animals, and honey is the one that is most versatile. Honey has many amazing benefits for health. Mad honey is a version of regular honey that has hallucinogenic properties, and hence the name. It is honey that is extracted by the bees from the rhododendron flower.
Rhododendrons are flowering plants that are evergreen that grows in mountainous areas of the world that have a temperate climate. These plants have flowers that contain chemicals called grayanotoxins. This honey has been around for thousands of years and has been used as a recreational drug, a medicine, and often as a biological weapon. While these substances that it contains have recreational effects at small does, it is clearly poisonous in higher doses. Every batch of the honey has different concentrations of grayanotoxins, and this makes it difficult to ensure safety while using this honey.
Mad honey poisoning can cause nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, salivation, weakness, sweating, numbing of the tongue, drowsiness, fainting, tingling, a feeling of drunkenness and sometimes lead to seizures. The chemicals in this honey involve the cardiovascular system and can lead to low heart rates and low blood pressure. As a medicine, its dosage should not exceed a tablespoon, as more can lead to any of the symptoms listed above.
This honey often is called mountain honey and is dark in color and can range from deep amber to glassy black. Its aromatic profile is bold, while its flavor is often called complex and mysterious. This sweet flavor is very unique. This honey tastes bitter when first ingested and accidental consumption is therefore not a likelihood. While it has been used largely for the intoxicating effects that it has, there are users who have used it to enhance sexual performance, while others claim it gives them relief from arthritis. It has been used as traditional medicine, though researchers have suggested that the grayanotoxins in it can also help with cold sores, high cholesterol, diabetes, and hypertension.
The mad honey is expensive as it is produced in very few parts of the world, notably, Turkey and Nepal. It is quite different from the normal commercially marketed honey that is a complex natural food that can be consumed without any need for processing. It has varying compositions which will depend on the nature of the flora in a region and the species of honeybees. It is believed that mad honey produced by bees from rhododendron is even more toxic when it is produced during the spring season.