Deep down in Nepal, just before the Himalayan eight thousand meter peak, lives a tribe called Gurungs. On first glance, there is nothing special about the tribe.
But they are known to be one of the few tribes in the world that hunt “mad honey”, a flower that is infused with honey from bees that gives the bearer hallucinogen effects.
The mad honey is used as a medicine for thousands of years in Nepal, but it can also be used as a soft drug. One month in the year, the giant Himalayan bees infuse the flower rhododendron with the nectar called “grayanotoxin”, a natural neurotoxin that can bring hallucinations.
There are only few places on Earth where the rhododendron flower can be used for hunting mad honey. It is important to know that there are 700 different species of the flower, and only two or three include grayanotoxin.
The honey is usually taken in small amounts, and sometimes people boil it into milk and consume it before breakfast. That is when you want to take it for medical effects.
The Gurungs in Nepal take enormous risks to gather the “mad honey”, but they’ve developed a system to make it safe. The most important aspect is to consume the precious nectar with care, as it can cause intoxication.
Take a look at the journey one man made in Nepal, his encounter with the Gurungs and how they gather “mad honey”.
Professor Ramanan Laxminarayan graduated at Princeton, and for the past several years he has worked as Vice-President for Research and Policy at the Public Health Foundation of I...