Rhododendron flower- The flower that gives Mad honey its 'crazy' attributes.
To behold the Himalayan Apis Laboriosa foraging on the Rhododendron flowers and convert the collected nectar into Mad Honey is a one-of-a-kind experience. These highland bees possess genes that are perfectly compatible with the ‘invasive’ flowers which carry grayanotoxin.
The honey produced with grayanotoxin components is a precious nectar that is usually hard to find. And unless you are getting it from here, there is no guarantee that commercial mad honey is not over-processed or simply altered with cheaper kinds of honey.
According to the golden rule of sweetness, the value of honey can be deciphered by the following:
The overall quality ( raw, pure, or altered).
The region and climate in which the bees operate.
And the flora and fauna.
Lali Guransh, an Atypical National Flower
The story behind the production of mad honey is fascinating and unusual. Mad honey is not only about the bees, the honey hunters, but also much about the magic of the cosmos. The Rhododendron flower aka Lali Guransh, the national flower of Nepal largely contributes to the 'mad' properties of mad honey.
Rhododendrons are known for being noxious to humans, however, honey produced from the latter has psychoactive attributes and is largely used for its medicinal and recreational properties in Nepal.
Rhododendron stems are even used in dishes as the plant is believed to possess curative properties. The honey produced from the lali guransh is said to be effective in treating anxiety, insomnia, diabetes, and much more.
Grayanotoxins are toxins produced by rhododendrons and plants of the Ericaceae family. Ericaceaes consist of flowering plants that flourish in infertile growing conditions. This type of plant can be recognized by its leaves which are generally arranged along the stems; flowers usually grow in solitary or clusters with 5 petals, 5 sepals, and 10 stamens.
The Mad Honey Bees that Consume Grayanotoxin
Some types of rhododendron can contain up to 25 different types of grayanotoxin. The giant bees have become accustomed to the existing potent neurotoxin of the Lali Guransh and to them, it is merely a food source; the nectar is carried to the hive where potent mad honey is produced in oblivion.