Deriving from the jungles of Southeast Asia, the rare wild species tualang honey and its benefits are uniquely different compared to traditionally harvested honey types.
In this post, we’ll explore this incredible Malaysian honey along with its fascinating production process and powerful health benefits.
Let’s take a closer look.
What Is Tualang Honey?
Tualang is a multi-floral honey produced by the Asian Giant Bee, or Apis dorsata, which primarily lives in Southeast Asia’s tropical rainforests.
The bee, which measures roughly 0.8 inches (2cm) in length, around 15 times bigger than a regular honey bee, is recognized as the largest bee species on Earth.
Not only that, they are naturally defensive, strong, and aggressive and have thus, never been domesticated.
They prefer to build their beehives away from disturbances and usually go for tualang trees, which can reach 250 feet in height (76 meters, or a 25 story building).
The tualang tree, known botanically as “Koompassia excelsa,” is one of the world’s tallest tropical tree species. Tualangs have a large buttress that reinforces their weight and branches that create a 100-feet wide canopy.
The smooth, slippery bark of the tualang also makes it difficult for predators, or more specifically, honey-predators, like the sun bear, to climb the trunk, which is one more reason why the giant bees love building their nests here.
Tualang honey is a “multi-floral” honey because the Apis dorsata produce the nectar by gathering and pollinating hundreds of rainforest plants and flowers.
This diversity creates an aroma, texture, and nutrients that are unique to tualang honey.
How Is Tualang Honey Harvested?
The combination of incredibly high, slippery trees and large, defensive bees makes harvesting tualang honey a dangerous and challenging feat. Apis dorsata’s honeycombs can stretch up to 6 feet wide, and one hive can contain 30,000 bees.
Not something you’d want to face.
A single tualang tree can often have more than 100 nests, which means hundreds of thousands of strong, aggressive, and defensive bees.
This wild honey is harvested every 3-4 months by experienced harvesters who climb 40-50 meters up the tree to cut down the full honeycombs. The climbers will hammer supportive nails into the tree as they scale to provide foot and handholds.
Tualang Honey Benefits
This Malaysian multi-floral jungle honey has been revered for its potential health benefits. Studies show that tualang honey is anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial, as well as contains antioxidants and anti-cancer properties.
In Malaysia, locals regularly use the honey as a health and anti-aging supplement.
Antibacterial & Antimicrobial
Malaysian tualang honey has long been studied for its antibacterial and antimicrobial properties.
One study comparing the antibacterial and antimicrobial properties of tualang against manuka honey found that tualang honey exhibited various unique defenses against microorganisms such as A. baumannii and S. maltophilia. Both can cause severe infections to the blood, lungs, and urinary tract.
Due to its acidity, high sugar content, and low water content, and its ability to inhibit the growth of various bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and viruses, tualang honey is great for skin and makes an excellent topical treatment for wounds, acne, blackheads, damaged hair, and much more.
In addition to its antibacterial properties, tualang honey can also ward off infections and boost the immune system through its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
A scientific study comparing the antioxidant properties of different Malaysian kinds of honey found that tualang honey was the richest source of phenolic acids and flavonoids. These antioxidants have potent free radical-scavenging abilities.
In scavenging free radicals, flavonoids and phenolic acids play an essential role in anti-aging and reducing cancer risk. Furthermore, these powerful antioxidants can protect against oxidative stress that causes DNA damage and diseases.
Oxidative stress has been proven to play a role in initiating or developing conditions such as cancer, Parkinson’s disease, heart disease, cataract, autoimmune diseases, and aging.
Enjoying a spoon full of tualang honey before bed might just help you relax and sleep better. You see, tualang honey contains over a hundred substances and micronutrients, including vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and gut-healing enzymes.
Tualang’s composition of glucose, magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium reduces stress, promotes sleep, relieves nerve tension, and regulates the nervous system.
Due to urbanization and deforestation, the populations of Apis dorsata and tualang trees are declining and can now be found only in the deepest parts of the Southeast Asian rainforests.
To uphold sustainability in the tualang honey industry, emphasis on traditional and eco-friendly harvesting, ethical treatment of workers and local honey farmers, and protection of the wild areas needs to be of utmost importance.
So as you can see, tualang honey is no joke. It requires climbing 40-50 meters up a tree and taking honey from tens of thousands of strong, aggressive, and defensive bees.
Tualang honey also has benefits that not every honey has, and a unique taste as well.
What is the price of all of that? Well, tualang honey usually costs 7.5-10$ per ounce (28 grams). Not a bad deal considering everything that goes into it.
So, are you going to try it? Let us know in the comments below, and if you’re looking for another unique honey, check out our article about fireweed honey.