July 22, 2016
Have you ever heard of Tualang honey? It’s a kind of honey that surpasses any honey you’d find in the grocery store, offering a plethora of health benefits. Tualang honey is like delectable medicine.
I don’t know about you, but I never met a honey I didn’t love. Now, I know you’re supposed to limit your sugar intake, but honey is a deliciously sticky sweetener that actually comes with some health perks. But some honeys have more health benefits than others, of course. Not all honeys are created equal.
Tualang Honey is Risky Business
A highly prized healing potion in Malaysia, Tualang honey is a rare honey named for the trees in the rainforest from which it comes. It must be good, because people put their lives on the line to harvest it.
The bee that makes this type of honey builds its nests in the branches of tall Tualang trees measuring as high as 289 feet tall.
When the Malaysian rainforest blooms in spring, Asian honey bees, or Rock bees – Apis dorsata – make large, parabolic-shaped honey combs which hang from the high limbs of the Tualang trees. These bees are the largest honey bees in the world, and are about twice the size of the European honey bees you see in the United States.
During spring, a single Tualang tree can hold up to 100 hives, containing a combined weight of up to 992 pounds of honey.
When it’s time to harvest the honey, brave honey-hunters fashion smoke torches made out of dried coconut husk fiber wrapped in wide, green leaves. Then, they climb the trees using ropes and hand-holds. Usually, 1 hunter will climb while a ground crew of 2 or more collects the buckets of honey that are sent down to the ground attached to ropes.
Once up in the tree, the honey-hunter smokes the bees and takes much of the hive. Tualang honey hunters are typically pock-marked with bee sting scars. 
These giant honey bees are known to be quite aggressive. 
Since honey-hunters go deep into the rainforest and risk life and limb warding off massive bees at treetop level, Tualang honey ain’t cheap. The least inexpensive jar I could find online was $17.51 for 424 grams. One site was selling a jar of it for $90!
Why on Earth Would you Spend that Kind of Money on Honey?
Did I mention Tualang honey comes from the rainforest? That means it comes from the nectars of many rainforest plants. Enormous medical breakthroughs have had their roots in the rainforest, no pun intended.
An extensive analysis of the honey found that it contains a concentration of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory agents, antibacterial compounds, and other phytochemicals known to fight tumor growth and support cardiovascular health. 
In fact, research published in the journal Toxicological & Environmental Chemistry found that Tualang honey can be “used as a supplement among those who are exposed to free radicals in cigarette smoke either as active or passive smokers in order to protect or reduce the risk of having cardiovascular disease.” 
Tualang honey has also found to be comparable to the chemotherapy drug Tamoxifen for treating breast cancer.
In Malaysia, people use Tualang honey as a daily health tonic by mixing a teaspoon of it in a couple ounces of water. 
It is also used as a topical aid used by native people to heal wounds, and to kill bacteria in skin infections.
Tualang honey is great for relieving a sore throat and soothing cold symptoms. A modest amount has even been shown to stabilize blood sugar and lower blood pressure.
Where to Find it
Tualang honey is best found online; however, some stores specializing in Southeast Asian food products may also carry it.