Mad Honey with VICE
The Nepalese Honey That Makes People Hallucinate
Each year, an increasing number of Nepalis leave rural villages to work abroad, and honey hunting has become a way for the villagers to maintain a connection with their ancestors.
Nepal’s Gurung people live mostly in small villages in the vast Annapurna mountain ranges. In this remote region, they practice an ancient tradition of honey hunting where they descend towering cliffs on handmade ladders, to harvest honey nestled under jagged overhangs. In spring, the Gurung’s honey contains a rare substance called grayanotoxin from rhododendron flowers that’s known for its intoxicating effects. While some accounts say it’s a deadly poison, others refer to it as an aphrodisiac, powerful medicine, and a hallucinogenic drug. VICE travelled deep into the Annapurna mountains to join a Gurung village on their spring hunt and understand Mad Honey's effects.