There is a lot of fuss around about ‘Red honey’ or ‘Mad honey’. Locals of China and Nepal risk their lives to harvest and sell it to wealthy Asian men and curious tourists. But what makes it so precious and special?
1. ‘Red honey’ is produced by the Himalayan cliff bee (Apis dorsata laboriosa), the largest bee in the world at just over 3 cm long.
2. These red flowers are Rhododendron and contain ‘Grayanotoxins’; its nectar is used by bees to make honey.
3. This provides toxicity to the honey and hence it is called ‘Mad honey.’
4. If taken in small amounts, it can help treat many diseases but consumption of large amounts can be highly toxic or fatal.
5. Its toxic nature is dangerous for humans. Strong hallucinations, vomiting, and unconsciousness can be the result of an overdose.
6. The harvesters clean the honey and take out all the impurities. Density of toxins present in the honey varies in seasons.
7. Mad honey fetches a high price – often four or five times that of normal honey. Unfortunately, the bees have not made it easy for locals to make a profit.
8. In the Himalayan mountains, above altitudes of 2,500 m, bees build enormous nests on overhanging rocks of Southwest facing cliffs. They are up to 5 ft in diameter and contain 60 kg of honey, and are extraordinarily difficult to reach.
9. Locals believes that this ‘Mad honey’ provides immunity and immortality if taken in an accurate amount.
This documentary will let you know how this ‘Mad honey’ is fetched and to which extent people go to harvest this valuable honey!