High Cliff Honey Hunting
The high cliff honey hunting is the gathering of honey from giant wild bee colonies living in high cliffs nearly at an altitude of 1500- 2500 meter above sea level. The honey itself comes from the hives of the Apis laboriosa, or the Himalayan honey bee—the world’s largest honey bee, with each individual bee measuring up to three centimetre in length.
It is the traditional practice followed by brave tribe of Gurung community residing in the high hill of Lamjung district. Suirung, Dudhpokhari, Pasgaun, Ghanpokhara, Bhujung, Bhulbhule are some of the places in Lamjung district where honey hunting has been practiced since many years. High cliff honey is also known as wild honey, mad honey, psychedelic honey etc.
Process of Harvesting Wild Honey/ Mad Honey
- In the month of May-June, harvesting is done.
- The hunters climb 300 feet in a bamboo rope.
- The bundles leaves are lit to create smoke as a sign of fire in order to distract bees.
- Long bamboo ‘tangos’ are then used, one to cut the honey comb and another attached to basket for the collection of honey.
- A third of the hive is left to repopulate for next season of honey gathering.
Scientific Reason Behind Honey Hunting Practices
- The “grayanotoxin” present in honey has some healing qualities.
- Hunting is done in the month of May-June because the honey reaches its high quality during this month.
- It has psychedelic effect.
- It has high medicinal value and high demand in international market like Korea, china, Japan where they use for medicinal purpose.
Advantages of Wild/Mad Honey
If it is consumed a tea spoon a day, it has various medicinal/health advantages.
- It is great immune booster.
- It controls hypertension and diabetes.
- It works wonder for various skin ailment.
- It cures digestive problem.
- It stimulates body relaxation and feeling of lightness.
- It is also a strong aphrodisiac.
But if consumed too excessively, it makes you drunk, could be lethal causing low blood pressure and cardiac arrest.
Fig: High cliff honey hunting