Hallucinogen Honey Hunters

Hunting mad honey

In Nepal, a gathering of Gurung tribesmen are setting out to gather Mad Honey. The tribesmen are master honey hunters, risking their lives to collect honeycomb in the foothills of the Himalayas.

Every autumn, giant himalayan bees – the biggest bees in the world – has a stock full of honey from foraging on certain poisonous rhododendron flowers. The rhododendron flowers produce grayanotoxins which gives the honey its special medicinal, aphrodisiac, hallucinogen properties and very special name – Mad Honey.

Consumption of the plant or any of its secondary products, including mad honey, can cause a very rare poisonous reaction called grayanotoxin poisoning, mad honey disease, honey intoxication, or rhododendron poisoning.

The Gurung take outrageous risks to collect the honey from the cliff sides where the bees have their hives. According to the hallucinogen honey hunters, they’ve developed a mystical relationship with the bees. This enables them to work without any protective clothing. The truth however, is that the risks in gathering the hallucinogen honey have resulted in accidents and death.

So why would you risk so much for the honey with risks ending in fatalities? The honey even has to be eaten with great care to avoid serious intoxication.

Raphael Treza meets up with the Gurung tribe and witness how the mad honey is collected, eaten and sold to find out more about the costly honey.

Hallucinogen Honey Hunters
  • Info
  • Release date2011
  • Full runtime
  • Director(s)Raphael Treza