It turns out when bees eat the pollen of rhododendron flowers, their honey becomes a super honey that carries some hallucinogenic effects. The colloquial term is mad honey, it tastes a bit bitter and is slightly redder than normally honey.
Rhododendron flowers carry a toxin call grayanotoxin which can cause drastic physiological reactions in humans and animals. In fact, if you eat enough of the stuff, your heart will slow down and you may even become temporarily paralyzed. That is how strong of a drug the mad honey is, and like any dangerous product, there is always someone who wants to buy it.
On the black market, mad honey can fetch as much as $80 per pound. Meaning this is one of the most expensive honey on the planet. This is because in many Asian countries it is seen as a medicine, one that can relieve hypertension and provide a burst of energy. It is even touted as Viagra sweet tasting alternative – yet most of these countries have strict anti-drug laws.
Most the expensive price does not come from it being outlawed in certain countries, it is because of the difficulty to cultivate the honey. As far as we know no one has died from eating too much mad honey, however, many have perished in their quest to find it. High up in the Nepal mountains, going up dangerous vertical climbs are the natural habitat of the mad honey hives. Often the bees nest on cliffs that drop off into deep drop-offs making the venture extremely dangerous. And all the time, you also are being stung by enormous bees who are not very happy about you stealing their honey!
Surprisingly It has also been used in warfare, as a bioweapon. In 69 B.C, Pompey The Great fell into want can only be described as a honey trap. The floral was placed around his army’s route and then when his soldiers became intoxicated the enemy struck. All a bit mad isn’t it?