Mad honey is honey made from the rhododendron; a flower produced by a woody flowering bush from the Heath Family. When bees eat the nectar from the rhododendron and make honey, the honey they produce is toxic. The main reason it is referred to in this manner is its effect on the consumer of the rhododendron nectar-based honey. This honey is laden with the toxins in the rhododendron nectar: grayanotoxane or grayanotoxin also known as andromedotoxin, acetylandromedol, or rhodotoxin.

The honey does not kill, but it does have a hallucinogenic effect. The intoxication goes from mild to more severe. Mild cases result in vomiting, salivation, and strange sensations around the mouth and in the extremities. Severe cases lead to progressive muscle, loss of co0rdination, heartbeat irregularities, and convulsions.

Ingesting even a small amount of the toxic honey (.17 ounces to 1.058 ounces) can affect you negatively. The treatment for the toxicity is a combination of a saline infusion and atropine. Without treatment, the toxic person may suffer up to 24 hours from the effects of the toxin and symptoms could last for several days.