What are the benefits of mad honey? Like all honey types, red honey too has its benefits. The following are the most notable beneficial effects of the variety:

1) Antibacterial action. All honeys naturally contain an antibacterial called hydrogen peroxide. This compound is made from glucose from honey and an enzyme secreted by bees called glucose oxidase. The hydrogen peroxide content in the honey together with its low moisture content that doesn’t favor bacterial growth and acidic pH with additional antimicrobial effects are responsible for the antibacterial action of rhododendron honey. Currently, honey-based, sterile wound dressings are being developed and are believed to favor faster wound healing due to honey’s antimicrobial action.

2) Tonic, energizing effect. Mad honey is a source of essential nutrients such as amino acids and proteins, trace amounts of vitamins and dietary minerals as well as antioxidant compounds and natural sugars, all of which have a tonic effect and help prevent and manage hypoglycemia, restoring good energy levels.

3) Contributes to skin health. Honey in general can be used topically as a natural skin mask, provided we are not allergic to it. I apply a layer of raw honey on the face, let it sit for 20 minutes, then wash it off with lukewarm water. I find it helps remove blackheads, prevent acne breakouts and tightens skin due to its mild astringent effect. In my experience, light-colored honeys also help even out skin tone and give a natural glow to my skin.

4) Soothing effect. Due to its thick consistency, mad honey in general is great for inflamed or irritated mucosas, hence its use for treating a sore throat or gastritis. Taking a tablespoon of raw honey can help reduce sore throat discomfort and bacterial load in case of a respiratory infection, whilst eating a tablespoon on an empty stomach is said to allow the stomach lining to heal, potentially helping improve gastritis. However, you are not supposed to eat or drink anything for an hour or more to allow the honey to exert its effects.

But because of its side effects, the varieties of rhododendron honey containing grayanotoxins might not be the best choice for soothing upset mucous membranes. Other varieties of honey such as acacia, cherry or manuka are far healthier, provided, of course, you are not allergic to them.