Near the peaks of the Himalayan Mountains, a harsh region in which no human settlements are found, lives the world’s largest honey bee, the Himalayan Cliff Bee which can grow as large as three centimeters in length. The red honey produced by these bees is unlike any honey you’d find on a supermarket shelf as it possesses fascinating psychoactive properties that are prized by the locals of Nepal and China for its ability to help those with diabetes, poor sexual performance, hypertension, and more.
Acquiring this elusive honey is no simple task, however. In addition to the fact that you’re working with bees, an already risky task, and you must brave the peaks of the Himalayas, the hives themselves are built high into the faces of the Himalayan cliff-sides with altitudes exceding 2,500, meaning one wrong move can cost a harvester their life. A tribe of Gurungun people commonly referred to as the honey hunters are group of daring individuals that face the risks and make a living off of the rare honey.
The hives grow up to 5 feet in diameter and can contain up to 60 kg of honey each, an impressive yield. Honey is collected from the hives twice a year, once in the spring and again in the autumn. Believed to be a result of the influx in the region’s flower population during the spring time, the honey extracted in spring seems to have noticeably stronger effects and, in turn, is the most sought after batch of this mystical substance.
Presented below is a remarkable 25-minute documentary directed by Raphael Treza that investigates the healing properties of Himalayan red honey and captures the lives of the individuals that are willing to acquire it.