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Mad Honey: The Sweetest Way to get High


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Do you like the thought of getting high without actually getting high? If so then keep on reading because we’ve got news for you, it’s not only possible, it’s a hundred and one percent doable!

In case you haven’t heard of it yet, there is a sort of honey out there that’s a lot more than you’d think, most people assume that honey is just a sweet ingredient that you can add to your pancakes in the morning but this special type of honey is actually used for way different reasons altogether.

This honey is literally referred to as “Mad Honey”, and it is by far one of the most interesting delights that you’ll ever come across out there. What makes it so special though? It’s the fact that it not only causes dizziness and light-headedness, but it can even result in the user actually having hallucinations.

Yes, you read that correctly, this is most commonly referred to as the quickest way to get high without actually getting high, and the results may shock you considering the fact that this used to be one of the most widely regarded potent produces in all of Europe in the past.

But, where did it originate from, why did people start using it and why is it not any more popular than something like weed? This is what we’re here to talk about today, so without further ado, let’s jump into a little history lesson on this strange new chemical that has hit the scene around the 1700s:

A Brief History into Mad Honey

Pontische rododendron
Pontische rododendron / Rasbak / wikipedia.org

Mad Honey, or as it is more commonly referred to as in Turkey or Nepal, Deli Bal, is by far one of the most intriguing ingredients you’ll ever see. Unlike normal, ordinary honey, it actually looks a bit different, having a strange reddish – darkish tint which is very unique to it. But that’s not the crazy part about it, the craziness stems from a little-known addition to its formula which rests in its rhododendron nectar known as grayanotoxin.

This is the special ingredient that gives mad honey that special oomph that makes people’s brains go haywire. Even in the smallest of quantities, this ingredient can end up making the user light-headed and yes, it can cause them to have those dreaded hallucinations all around the place.

Back when it was first introduced on the market in the 1700s, it quickly rose to fame in the Black Sea region as people were really fond of the aftereffects that were caused by it. It instantly became one of the most widely regarded local ingredients used by the locals in Turkey to attract tourists, but it wasn’t as harmless as you’d think at first hand.

It was actually quite potent, and the problem with this is while the locals were most definitely already used to the effects of the mad honey, the foreigners that came from very far places to try out the mystery formula were nowhere near as equipped to handle it.

Mad Honey Hunting in Nepal
Mad Honey Hunting in Nepal / omgnepal.com

Because of this, a lot of people ended up getting sick after they consumed the mad honey, a lot of them even ended up passing away because they didn’t realize that consuming as much as one of the locals could end up messing them up as much as it did.

There are well over 700 species of rhododendron all around the globe, but only two or three of these actually have that special toxin we talked about above that makes the people have hallucinations. That’s why the only real way to get access to it was to go to Turkey or Nepal and try it out then and there. But again, you needed to really wait up and make sure that your body could handle the toxin because otherwise, there was always a decently high chance of losing your life over it.

At first, the locals even believed that this new toxin could actually end up being used for medicinal purposes, so they advertised it as such. They believed that it could help treat hypertension, different stomach diseases and even diabetes mellitus.

There was even an influx of people that wanted to use it in order to stimulate and even improve their sexual performance and their sexual drive. Needless to say, it didn’t really pan out well for those that consumed it for those reasons.

Regardless, that is how the myth of the mad honey was spread around, it commonly became known as the only way to get high without getting high and as a result, people would travel all across the globe to try out this fascinating ingredient.

But, how could one actually consume it? Eating raw mad honey doesn’t exactly sound appealing now does it? Well, this is what we’re going to delve into next up.

How do You Eat Mad Honey?

When it comes to actually eating mad honey, you need to remember that after all, it is just like any other honey out there, except for the obvious rhododendron ingredient that makes your head go bonkers.

But alas, because of this, you can consume it any way you want to. Amongst the locals, most actually prefer to have it boiled in milk, while others prefer to eat it raw right before breakfast on a piece of toast right next to their tea.

Some even actually end up using it to cook other meals, which is highly addictive if we can say so ourselves. Remember, it doesn’t necessarily taste any different than normal honey so it’s no wonder that most of the people that wanted to try it out were a bit disappointed by this.

Regardless, remember that if you want to try out some mad honey you need to really take your time and consume small doses of it. A doctor from the Karadeniz Technical university School of Medicine from Turkey stated in an interview that he had personally witnessed well over 200 cases of mad honey poisoning over the years and they were all foreigners looking to get high.

Why is Most Mad Honey in Turkey?

Mad Honey Harvesting
Mad Honey Harvesting / beelixir.fr

The main reason as to why most mad honey stems from Turkey is because it used to be one of the key elements that led to the mass destruction of invading armies back in the 60 BC era.

Back then, the Roman soldiers would attempt to attack the Black Sea region according to Johnny Morris, a travel journalist from the UK, but as they ventured onwards into the unknown, they were offered enticing chunks of the mad honey as an offering of peace.

Since the Romans were used to consuming a lot of honey, they absolutely loved the idea of trying out a new flavorful type of honey that they’d never have before.

They all had a piece of it, more than they could handle obviously, and as they started getting higher and higher, they couldn’t do anything against the continuous attacks from the Turkish army.

In order to celebrate their massive victory against the Roman empire, the Turkish people decided that they were to spread the toxic honeycomb all over the place, literally making it a part of their culture from that moment on.

That is also where the name Deli Bal stems from and because of their continuous attempts to harvest more and more mad honey, the ingredient has spread around like wildfire to the point where this is commonly referred to as the capital of all mad honey reserves.

Honey Bees
Honey Bees / mostafa eissa / pexels.com

As the centuries rolled on by however, the mad honey became less of a weapon of mass destruction and more so just a random addition to their meals. The secret behind this? Moderation.

As mentioned previously, consuming a lot of mad honey can be quite debilitating, to the point where you could even lose your life because of it. This is why the locals have decided to use very little mad honey and they even started to combine it with other honeys to give it that certain oomph while making sure that the consumer isn’t in any risk whatsoever eating it.

Sure, there will always be a certain level of risk when consuming the mad honey, but this is a known risk that the people that end up eating the mad honey already know all about and they still do it regardless just for the experience alone.

The only real problem with it, outside of the obvious danger factor, is definitely the egregious price tag that comes with it. Imagine having to actually spend as much as $166 per pound online, that’s way too much and that’s not even taking the shipping into consideration or the validity of the product.

Many people have been scammed over the years with fake mad honey being sent to them and since they’ve never had any real mad honey to begin with, who are they to say that the mad honey isn’t the real deal?

Is Mad Honey Dangerous to Consume?

best mad honey
mad honey hunting / bestmadhoney.com

But hey, history aside, what can we say about mad honey that we haven’t already said so many times over so far? This is why for this short segment we will answer the question that plagues most people’s minds as they look into mad honey as a viable addition to their meals.

If you even consider taking a pound of mad honey for yourself and just slathering all of that over a piece of toast in the morning then you better listen here because this could very well save your life. Eating mad honey is bad for you, unless it’s actually made by a professional chef, chances are that you won’t be feeling good after you’ve consumed some of it, even in small doses.

As we mentioned previously, it was originally used to debilitate or even kill random soldiers that came over to invade them, so if you’re not equipped with the proper knowledge to meal prep it then you’re doomed to have a bad day afterwards, if you even get a second day to begin with.

It’s gotten to the point where the locals are even wary of selling the mad honey to foreigners as a whole. Lots of people have actually protested against this bias, but what they don’t realize is the fact that the locals are actually trying to save their lives.

Buying Mad Honey

There are plenty of places in Turkey where you can buy mad honey from, but not many places will sell it to foreigners simply because they can easily get addicted to it and if they eat too much of it then they will get a case of mad honey poisoning in no time.

One of the locals even said that it’s actually more addictive than most drugs out there, simply because the effects of the drugs are what people try to garner when consuming them, but mad honey also brings in the sweetness of the honey to the mix making it all the more appealing.

Couple that with the fact that it’s completely legal and you’ve got yourself a recipe for disaster. So, if you actually want to try out mad honey despite all of the warning signs that we’ve been plastering along the way for you then we highly recommend that you go to a more expensive place that knows what they’re doing.

Remember, this could very well save your life or just make your day all the more pleasing because you won’t spend it vomiting, rushing to the toilet because of diarrhea or literally not being able to stand up right.

Using Mad Honey as Medicine?

Mad Honey as Medicine
estelheitz / pixabay.com

Depending on who you ask, mad honey can actually be used as medicine in some places around the world. It is most commonly used so in Turkey and Nepal, and although the actual medicinal purposes behind it are heavily debated to this day, it is still used a lot for those purposes on a daily basis.

For the most part however, it isn’t used to really get people through serious medical issues, it’s more so just used to calm the nerves down, maybe even provide a burst of energy.

In order to do so, the medic just has to prescribe a very small dose of it, enough to relieve the hypertension and get the blood pumping.

When used in such small doses it can also be used as a substitute for Viagra. This has been proven to work in the past, although many people have stated that it can help but it won’t completely substitute the blue pill.

Because of this multiuse, mad honey has actually skyrocketed in price over the years, to the point where if you go to an actual pharmacy, you will find it for over $100 a pound, although if you go to one of the black markets in the Asian countries you will easily get it for under $60 – $80.

Should You Consume Mad Honey?

Mad Honey
Mad Honey / interestingengineering.com

While we wouldn’t necessarily say that it is a must, we still do have to say that if consumed in proper doses and under surveillance, there isn’t any reason out there as to why you shouldn’t eat some mad honey. Because of its potency, mad honey has quickly rose to fame over the past couple of decades now to the point where it is pretty much just a staple of the local cuisine in Nepal and Turkey.

It was recently banned in South Korea after a mandate that was made public in 2005. Despite this however, people from all around the globe continue to travel thousands of kilometers just so that they can get their hands on the secret ingredient and add it to their diet.

While there are definitely people out there that have stated that they’d rather die than ever consume another drop of mad honey again, there are definitely a lot of people out there that would argue otherwise too. So, make your own decision right here and now, if you believe that the experience is worth the discomfort that you could possibly get yourself through then you are free to try out a batch of fresh mad honey.

But, if you are more on the conservative side and you believe that the life-threatening symptoms are nowhere near worth the reward then by all means, stay as far away from it as possible. It is nowhere near as deadly as it is made out to be by the media, but that doesn’t mean it’s completely safe and free of negative symptoms as well.


So, just to wrap this up, now that you know what mad honey is, where it originated from, why it is such a heated topic of debate and why so many people believe that it is worth the risk, would you ever try it out for yourself?

We personally believe that the high, while definitely enticing, is not exactly worth the side effects that you could possibly get yourself through. Sure, the chances of you getting any lasting problems from it are quite small, but just because they’re not 100% that doesn’t mean they’re nonexistent.

Keep that in mind during your next trip to Turkey or Nepal. It might even end up saving your life.

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About Leah Shelton

Involved in the “green” arena for over 20 years, Leah has worn many hats due to her diverse experience and knowledge in the field. In addition to writing for Agronomag, she’s also a sustainability consultant with a unique perspective on eco-friendly farming practices. Learn more about Agronomag's Editorial Process.

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