5 Medicinal Effects of Hallucinogenic Honey: Deli Bal

medicinal effects of hallucinogenic honey

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5 Surprising Effects of Hallucinogenic Honey – Deli Bal

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medicinal effects of hallucinogenic honey

Is it possible that eating wild honey created from the pollen of certain types of flowers can make a person feel a bit “under the influence”?

rhododendron honey deli bal


In this article, we look into 5 medical effects of rhododendron pollen in the medicinal honey called “deli bal” frequently found in regions of the Black Sea and in the Himalayas.

Watch as a local group quests to “hunt” mad honey with members of a tribe in Nepal to find out!

Hallucinogenic Honey


Learn more about hallucinogenic or “mad” honey by reading up on Rhododendron’s and their honey contributing properties.

Interested in trying rhododendron honey?  Although different than those produced in Turkey and Nepal, Fabrizio’s family in Italy collects honey from rhododendron flowers for those interested in a try!

Learn more about Hallucinogenic Honey

The story of “hallucinogenic honey” for us starts in Turkey. It is a dark, reddish honey collected from wild bees much larger and more aggressive than your domesticated European honeybee known as deli bal.  The process in which it is collected typically involves wooden poles and forest vines being used as a cliff-hanging ladder in which an individual uses long wooden poles to cut off pieces of honeycomb created by wild bees off of the steep rocky sides of cliffs.  It contains an ingredient from rhododendron nectar called grayanotoxin, which is a natural neurotoxin. In small quantities, it brings on light-headedness and sometimes, hallucinations.

In the 1700s, the Black Sea region traded this potent produce with Europe, where the honey was infused with drinks to give boozers a greater high than alcohol could deliver. Wow!

Remember Absinthe and its famous wormwood infused properties…

warning for mad honeyWhen over-imbibed, however, the honey can cause low blood pressure and irregularities in the heartbeat that bring on nausea, numbness, blurred vision, fainting, potent hallucinations, seizures, and even death, in rare cases.

Nowadays, cases of mad honey poisoning crop up every few years—oftentimes in inexperienced travelers who are visiting Turkey and the Himalaya regions searching for an exotic go at the matter.

Why is mad honey famously grown in Turkey’s Black Sea region?

Mad honey is most commonly found sold in the region fringing the Black Sea — the biggest honey-producing region in Turkey. Yet, it is produced from rhododendrons around the world and these plants grow differently depending on the region.  Thus, not all mad honey is the same.
Though, there are more than 700 different species of rhododendron in the world, only two or three include grayanotoxin in their nectars. (says Dr. Süleyman Turedi, who studies deli bal’s effects, doctor at the Karadeniz Technical University School of Medicine in Trabzon, Turkey.): Rhododendron ponticum and Rhododendron luteum.

The mountains around the Black Sea provide an ideal habitat for these flowers to grow in almost mono-crop swaths. Wild bees arrive in these fields, where there are no other flowers, so no other nectar gets mixed in to dilute the effects of the rhododendron pollen in the creation of such honey. This results in a much more pure, potent “mad” honey.

5 Medicinal Effects of Hallucinogenic Honey

The Turks and other indigenous tribes are producing the honey as a form of native medicine to treat 5 conditions in particular.  Although not recommended by Western doctors, these treatments have been in use for many generations.  Although adequate studies have not been performed yet to verify the validity of how effective rhododendron honey is in treating specific ailments, it is widely used by local populations in the Nepal, Turkey, and Himalaya Mountain range regions.

Hallucinogenic or “mad” honey is used in the indigenous Black Sea area to treat hypertension, diabetes mellitus, circulation issues, and some different stomach diseases. Some individuals also use deli bal to improve their sexual performance as well.

The honey is taken in small amounts, sometimes boiled in milk, and consumed just before breakfast. Besides being sometimes used as a hallucinogen, it is considered medicine by many and taken likewise, not on toast or with tea.

Is mad honey legal?

It is legal in Turkey as well as other areas of Nepal and the Himalayan Mountain range. We can also find it over the internet. Hallucinogenic honey is usually expensive for the quantity compared to more typical honey varieties and it is difficult to ensure it is the real thing when bought online. The beekeepers who produce it typically gain loyalty through reputation and sell mostly in a closed circle.

How much mad honey causes “poisoning”?

If an average adult eats more than 1 spoonful (1 Tbsp) of hallucinogenic honey including grayanotoxin, they are at risk of mad honey poisoning, especially if the mad honey was freshly harvested.  Proceed with caution!

Some scientific facts:

“Many plants of the Ericaceae family, Rhododendron, Pieris, Agarista and Kalmia, contain diterpene grayanotoxins. Consuming the honey made from these plats may result in intoxication specifically characterized by dizziness, hypotension and atrial-ventricular block.
Symptoms are caused by an inability to inactivate neural sodium ion channels resulting in continuous increased vagal tone.

Grayanotoxin containing products are currently sold online, which may pose an increasing risk. In humans, intoxication is rarely lethal, in contrast to cattle and pet poisoning cases.
Scientific evidence for the medicinal properties of grayanotoxin containing preparations, such as honey or herbal preparation in use in folk medicine, is scarce, and such use may even be harmful.” (according to www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)


Want to learn more about honey’s medicinal uses, check out Honey in Ayurveda.  For more on natural medicine and therapies and ethnic articles exploring indigenous cultures, peruse Eupterra Foundation’s homepage.

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