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Some amazing facts about honey and CLIFF HONEY

The When, What and How behind everything we savor is always pretty fascinating. While a lot of speculation is involved when it comes to the history of the famous cliff honey aka Himalayan mad honey, there are numerous sources that provide insight into the history of this ambrosia, so we thought why not share some of that sweet knowledge with you.


Honey: A Tale as Old as Time

Honey has been prized by different cultures for millennia. It was even referred to as the food of the gods as it never perished. It is said that as a child Zeus, the father of all gods and humanity was fed on honey in the cave of Dicte. Pan the Greek was known as the God of beekeeping while Delphi, the prestigious site of ancient Greece is believed to have been constructed by bees.


The Romans even came up with the line:'' May honey drip on you!'' to express their good wishes to another. Honey is still largely used as a sacred element during rites and rituals across the world. Once used as a funerary gift for the dead in Egyptian culture, honey has for long been considered as a sacred element in rites and rituals.

In African Pedi culture, a swarm of bees is seen as a symbol of luck and therefore, bees are never chased away or killed instead they live in harmony with the people. As for the Buddhists in Nepal, they identified three types of sacred nectar: honey, milk and water. The word 'madhu' (honey) is mentioned more than thousand times in the four Vedas.

While mad honey is known as deli bal in Turkish (paagal meh in Nepal ) due to its crazy properties that make you feel lightheaded and euphoric, too much of this sweet nectar is simply not advised. If you would like to know more about the right dosage. Click here.

The reason why Mad honey is not overtly popular is due to its rarity, it can only be bought from Nepal or Turkey. According to this source, mad honey was first mentioned in the Greek chronicle Anabasis by the historian Xenophone of Athens.


Seconds Food History also mentions some other stories regarding Mad Honey. For instance, the Greek army is believed to have discovered and feasted on mad honey along the shores of the Black Sea in 401 BCE. They experienced the effects of mad honey and were fit to go home the next day.


Another famous account of the origins of the mad honey is when the Mithridates VI, the Kind of Pontus, a kingdom by the Black Sea in 97 BCE, used local mad honey in the path of the Roman army. Once the army came upon it, they fell prey to the crazy effects of the mad honey. Since they were having a psychoactive moment, Mithridates took advantage of the situation and slaughtered them. Not cool, right?

In the 16th century, mad honey was imported and used to give the booze an extra kick, the French called it ‘miel fou’ which literally translates to mad honey.

The Gurung and their relationship with Mad Honey


The Gurung live communally and their feasts typically involve the sacred nectar, whether these ceremonies are linked to birth, death or marriage, mad honey is considered to be highly valued amongst these once wandering tribe. This small community appreciates the uniqueness of the red honey for which a sacrifice is required when the harvest takes place. They live in harmony with nature, their main source of income is sheep farming and Himalayan cliff honey hunting.


Sadly many outsiders do not respect the tradition of the Gurung and therefore seek to acquire mad honey only for profit. By disrupting the natural habitat of the giant cliff bees, they are putting the future of this 'wild' honey at stake. Many buyers do not understand why the habitat matters so much.