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50 Shades of Grayanotoxin

Much more than simple compounds, grayanotoxin is a natural compound that makes the Nepalese cliff honey one of a kind. This powerful neurotoxin is present in our Mad Honey and thus in the rhododendron flowers from which they are collected.

If you don’t know much about mad honey, then you’re most probably unaware of the variety of grayanotoxin that exists. Let’s dive right into it and explore the 50 shades of grayanotoxin. Grayanotoxins are also referred to as andromedotoxin, acetylandromedol or rhodotoxin.

Grayanotoxins are present in the Ericaceae family and most specifically in these plants:

  • Rhododendron

  • Pieris

  • Agarista

  • Kalmia

While the rhododendron is present in Europe or Japan and other parts of the world, with over 750 species. Only the ponticum, flavum and luteum have large amounts of grayanotoxin that can have some effect on the human body.

Grayanotoxin is present in all parts of these rhododendrons, from the stem to the nectar. It is often used in cigarettes and herbal medicines. According to this article ,there are up to 25 varieties of grayanotoxin but not all of them have psychoactive properties. The only three most potent grayanotoxin identified are the following:

  • GTX-I

  • GTX-II

  • GTX-III.

Not Your Ordinary Rhodendron Species

The Nepalese rhododendron species that grow on the majestic Annapurna carry varying concentrations of neurotoxic compounds that are cyclic diterpenes. The concentration varies according to seasons and rhododendron species.

The fact that these flowers are part of the natural habitat of the Apis Laboriosa makes it non-toxic for the foraging bees. On the other hand, bees that are force-fed do not survive after ingesting grayanotoxin.

So, how do Grayanotoxins work?

According to Inverse, grayanotoxin works by binding to voltage-gated sodium ion channels in cells.

Grayanotoxins, whether consumed in mad honey or in any part of the rhododendron, work in the human body by binding to voltage-gated sodium ion channels in cells.

The chemical makeup of grayanotoxin has been identified as a diterpene-a polyhydroxylated cyclic hydrocarbon that does not contain nitrogen. As we mentioned earlier, grayanotoxins bind to voltage-dependent channels of sodium and alter their functions by breaking up the usual pattern of transmission. By blocking sodium channels, calcium ions convert into sensitive cells such as nerve, heart, and muscle cells.

Grayanotoxin II is present in the Mad Honey since the bees forage on rhododendrons which are present along with Annapurna. Since their tiny bodies are in perfect harmony with the ingestion of this compound, Nepalese honey possesses potent properties which are safe for humans to consume.

This is the most basic explanation behind the potency of the Nepalese nectar yet, we kept it simple for readers to get an insight into the making of mad honey. After all, knowledge is power!


To this day, there are many myths and legends surrounding the mad honey due to its composition. The Persian King Mithridates had apparently defeated his Roman foes by utilizing mad honey combs as bait. Since the troop was having a bit of psychoactive experience, they were easily defeated.

Moral of the story: Mad honey is intended for relaxation and not for waging wars. Like any other food with psychoactive properties, mad honey is consumed as means for relaxation and for enjoyable ‘highs’.

What to know about the grayanotoxin in Mad Honey?

The amazing thing about grayanotoxin is that once it gets into your metabolism it is excreted within 24 hours. So, if you feel slightly nauseous, remember that it will not last for more than a day.

As we emphasized in our FAQs, the best dosage for your first tasting is one teaspoon for medicinal benefits and 2 to more for psychoactive benefits. A gradual increase in intake is your safest bet. Since mad honey takes some time to be ingested, it is best not to be gluttonous in case you don't experience the effects quickly.

The level of euphoria is directly linked to the ingestion of mad honey. The aim when consuming mad honey is either medicinal or recreational. Yet, individuals particularly first-timers should be more careful as the distribution of grayanotoxin is never homogenous within honey. The effects of mad honey depend on several factors such as lifestyle and other psychoactive experiences.

Note: A teaspoon a day will not cause any psychoactive effects but simply boost up your immunity. It is commonly used among the Gurung tribesmen as a sort of health supplement.

Psychoactive users are more likely to know that a small amount of mad honey is sufficient.

As we mentioned in our blog article, Better Than a Pot of Gold, mad honey is not loved only for its psychoactive benefits. It is also used for its health benefits, our customers use it as means to combat anxiety, insomnia and as a booster. Evidence shows that products that contain grayanotoxin can help with hypertension and diabetes.

Love the fast delivery!! Taking since +2 weeks now and it definitely improved my sleep quality and day mood :)))) As I am on other medication, I only take 1 spoon. Taste is stronger than other honeys. I really love it. Thank you.

So are you curious and bold enough to taste this sweet and crazy nectar straight from the Himalayas?

If you're skeptical about its benefits, take a look at our reviews.

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