This interesting film takes place in the heart of Nepal where there is an unusual tribe of honey hunters called Gurung. These people are reserved and discreet and they live almost cut off from the rest of the world, on top of one of the highest peaks. There are only about 150 inhabitants in this village including many elderly but healthy people. They are almost entirely self sufficient as they grow vegetables, corn, and rice. They also raise cows, goats, and sheep whose wool is used to make clothes.
The honey these tribesmen seek is special because it contains natural psychoactive substances that the locals use as medicine or as a recreational drug. Before they gather the precious liquid, there are some preparations that the hunters have to undergo. This includes a few religious rituals and the sacrifice of a cock. These hunters approach the task confidently, yet there have been a few tragedies. Each cliff bears the name of a dead hunter inscribed on the rock. The Gurung literally risk their lives to collect the honey from the cliff-side hives and they do so without any protective clothing or gear.
What is it that makes this honey so special? Once a year giant Himalayan bees
gather nectar from poisonous flowers, including a variety of red rhododendron. This causes the honey they produce to have certain medicinal, aphrodisiac, and hallucinogenic properties. However the bees themselves are not affected. The liquid they gather has to be eaten with great care in order to avoid intoxication and the effects can be felt immediately. A honey overdose can cause nausea, weakness, convulsions and even cardiac and respiratory irregularities. No wonder it’s called ‘mad honey’.
Join Raphael Treza as he trecks all the way up the cliff to spend time with these amazing honey hunters.