Mad Honey: The Bizarre Hallucinogenic Red Honey

Mad Honey: The Bizarre Hallucinogenic Red Honey

It’s thick. It’s red-golden. It’s delightfully sweet. And it might just kill you if you consume more than one teaspoon. We’re talking about mad honey – a psychedelic liquid that will have you tripping with just one spoonful.

It’s hard to believe something as harmless as honey could pack so much power within. Don’t fall for its innocuous appearance – this is not the honey you squeeze out of a bear shaped bottle.

This potent liquid has led to deaths, and even been used as a weapon of war. Intrigued to find out more? Let’s get into it!

In this article, we break down everything you need to know about Mad Honey.

What Is The History Of Mad Honey?

Mad honey has a long history attached to it, as with other traditional medicines.

It begins with mad honey being harvested in the province of Trabzon in Turkey, and continues alongside Turkey’s 18th Century trading tradition.

There’s also a millennia-old story about the army of a Persian King defeating their Roman enemies by littering the streets with honeycombs. As the Roman troops began to consume mad honey, they were immediately debilitated under the influence of its intoxicating effects, and hence defeated easily!

Whether these stories are mere myths or reality, what we do know for sure is that mad honey has existed for centuries and stems from the depths of Trabzon’s mountains. 

Where Does Mad Honey Originate From?

Mad honey originates from a few different places like the Pacific Northwest and the United States, but mainly mad honey is produced in Nepal and Turkey (in areas close to the Black Sea).

How is Mad honey Produced?

Mad honey hive

This happens when honey bees feed on rhododendron flowers. Rhododendrons are evergreen flowering plants that grow in mountainous, temperate parts of the world.

They contain a specific type of chemical, grayanotoxins, that give the honey a psychoactive effect. This chemical makes its way unchanged through bees into the honey.

In fact, some beekeepers in Nepal and Turkey deliberately place bee hives near rhododendrons to make the bees forage there. And then end up with what we call mad honey. 

What Happens When You Consume Mad Honey?

Most people consume mad honey for its strong intoxicating effect. You might feel a burning sensation in the throat immediately after consumption.

Low dosage results in subdued consciousness, but can also result in nausea, low blood pressure, weakness, dizziness etc. 

“I feel pretty f*cked up, but honestly it is a good feeling. It’s a cold and warm feeling. It is kind of being stoned but it’s kind of being on mushrooms as well. Like you eat just like a gram and a half or two grams mushrooms” – A VICE producer narrates his experience

Some people also believe that mad honey is a kind of medicine. It has been used to treat diabetes, hypertension, and numerous stomach diseases. It is also believed to improve sexual performance and used as an alternative to Viagra. 

It’s important to note that mad honey must be taken in small amounts. You won’t be slathering it on toast or adding it generously into tea like normal honey. High dosage can lead to complications, and even be fatal. Which brings us to our next point…

What Are The Risks Of Consuming Mad Honey?

If you consume more than the recommended amount (which is close to one teaspoon), you can end up with mad honey poisoning which can cause:

  • Nausea
  • Low blood pressure
  • Numbness
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Seizures
  • Extreme hallucinations
  • Blurred vision
  • and in the worst case scenario, death

Whether you’re looking for the next high or just want to reap its (alleged) health benefits – Mad Honey is certainly an enticing choice for food adventures. Just make sure you’re being safe with the dosage! 

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