Do you know the same old dispute of “mine is better?” Honey couldn’t be missing from here…
Anzer honey is the most famous of all Turkish honeys, said to be, of course, the best honey in the world.
Of course, New Zealanders say manuka honey is the best, Australians say it’s berringa honey, Indians say it’s Maharishi honey, Russians say it’s Bashkir honey, Arabs say it’s sidr honey, Malaysians say it’s gelam honey or tualang honey and the list can continue. Basically each country can pretend it produces the best honey in the world.
The funny thing is that there is also a competition of prices, though a very high price doesn’t always mean a very high quality. But the fact that some people are willing to spend a lot to get what they want, make the sellers raise the price to unbelievable heights. It is exactly the situation here, with Anzer honey. Also known as Anzer Bali, or Anzer Bal.
In 2016 there was a production of 1000 kg of honey coming from 3000 hives, and the price started from $300 per kilogram honey and $350 for one kilogram of pollen. Needless to say that re-sellers and lets say, greedy people, even sold it to a little less than $1000.
Yet, you should know that the most expensive honey in the world is Elvish honey. Also coming from Turkey, but from the walls of a 1,800 metre deep cave in the Saricayir valley of Artvin city. Its price? $5,200 per kilogram.
What is Anzer honey?
A polifloral honey harvested on the Anzer Plateau, Turkey.
Anzer means “Fertile zone, place with full of meadow” in Mingrelian language.
The Anzer Plateau, aka Ballıköy Plateau, is located 35 km south-west of the İkizdere district of Rize, one of the major cities in the Black Sea region of Turkey. It divides into lower Anzer(Çiçekliköy) and upper Anzer (Ballıköy). Its altitude varies between 2100-3000 meters from the sea level. The weather is rainy throughout the year, the temperature is usually low and there are very few sunny days per year. The whole summer season looks just like spring in the Mediterranean climate.
What gives this honey its value is the flora found in this plateau. Here we can find around 500 types of common flowers but also around 80 species of endemic types of flowers (specific to this area). Many of them are used as ornamental plants, especially the gophytes (Crocus vallicola, Colchicum speciosum, Fritillaria latifolia, Muscari armeniacum).
The Anzer Plateau, aka Ballıköy Plateau, in Turkey
However, the Anzer is not a wealthy region and the younger generations migrate to Turkey’s larger cities in search of jobs. There are only a few villages here with a couple of houses. Thus the region has a flavor of wildness, and pureness. No factories here, no heavy traffic which means no pollution. The honey harvested from here is indeed organic.
But the tourism is quite flourishing there, flora and fauna as well as the spectacular landscapes attract them every year. If you travel there, be sure you have also visited the thermal springs of Ayder, the 16th century İslam Paşa Mosque and the ruins of the Genoese castle and watched the traditional Sparrowhawk hunting from Ardeşen district. And of course, you have tasted Anzer honey.
The beekeepers who harvest this honey live in Çiçekli village and Ballıköy. If you want to buy some genuine honey, go there. It’s the safest way.
The analyses made in Turkey to asses the veracity of Anzer honey are usually done at Hacettepe University of Ankara. If you want to buy Anzer honey from their shops, make sure you see this authenticity mark on the label. An example of people selling real stuff is the cooperative S.S. Çiçekli village (ANZER ) Agriculture Progress Cooperative Çiçekli village İKİZDERE/RİZE.
Here is a documentary about Anzer honey. Unfortunatelly it has no English subtitle, but you can get an idea from the pictures alone.
Anzer honey has a high content of vitamin C, 25.44 mg/g, while other honeys range from 0.5 to 6.5 mg / 100 g honey. But this is not the highest content ov Vit C found in a honey . For example Chesnut (Castanea sativa) honey has 31 to 89 mg per 10 g. (more about the Vitamin content of honey).
Anzer honey is also known as very high in iron, as it was tested in this study. It showed that the mineral content in Anzer honey, like in all the other 29 studied honey, was highly variable and depended on the geographical and botanical origin. The detected minerals were: Na, K, Ca, Fe, Cu, Zn and Mn.
Health benefits of Anzer honey:
Turks say the Anzer honey is an incredible honey, claim to be able to do the following:
· Treats farangitis, tonsilitis, ulceration
· Disappears stomach ache and pain
· Closes operation wound earlier
· Destroy arteriosclerosis and vein hardness
· Treats cancer illness in early diagnosis
· Improves mouth wound
· Disappears broken skins
· Increases sexual power
· Improves lungs illness
· Destroys tonsil infection
· Disappears intestine infection
· Support growing
· Improves brain illness and paralysis
· Becomes easy digestion
· Gives power to memory
· Stops diarrhea
· Whets the appetite
· Disappears constipation
· Improves cardiac insufficiency
· Gives power to bones
· Disappears barren
· Treats indigestions
· Treats head cold and flu
· Prevents loss of hair
· Treats hepatit b,c
· Disappears weakness
· Treats coughing
· Prevents prostate gland
· Treats psoriasis
While there are no medical studies to confirm these claims, Anzer honey has caught the medical research’ attention and we can now prove that at least some of these claims do confirm.
• Treats and prevents liver damage.
The 2009 study Anzer honey prevents N-ethylmaleimide-induced liver damage in rats., by Korkmaz A et al. from the Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Hacettepe University, Beytepe Campus, Ankara, Turkey, proved exactly what the title of the study states.
In the study Anzer honey treatment reversed all the changes in glutathione level, as well as histopathological alterations, normally induced by N-ethylmaleimide-induced liver injury in rats.
• Protects the stomach against increased vascular permeability due to alcohol ingestion.
Another study, Protective effect of Anzer honey against ethanol-induced increased vascular permeability in the rat stomach, used Anzer honey and gave it to rats before administration of ethanol. “The incidence and severity of gastric mucosal congestion were significantly reduced in the honey+ethanol group when compared to the ethanol group. These results indicate that Anzer honey is able to protect the stomach of the rat against ethanol-induced increased vascular permeability, which may be correlated with the ascorbic acid content.”
Where can we find Anzer honey?
• The city of Rize, a port on the Black Sea, is often included on turists’ schedule. In August, usually in the forth week, there are Anzer Honey Festivities here. The festival presents a wide range of activities from dance shows to a poesy competition, along with selecting the best beauties and honeys of Anzer. You can find honey at a good price.
But there are also chances of finding this honey sold on the main street in Rize. Not fake honey, but real one, certified by the Hacettepe university of Ankara. Some tourists reported seeing it there, sold at nearly 1500 Turkish lira per kilo, which is $428 (380€).
• There is this site I found, stamboulbazaar.com/.
Other honeys available in Turkey:
Rhododendron, chestnut, honeydew, eucalyptus, gossypium, citrus, sunflower, and multifloral (such as Bayburt honey produced in the Bayburt plateau). And the rare Elvish honey, incredibly hard to find because it is so rare.
There is one legal drug produced in Turkey, that acts as a regular hallucinogenic. The so-called Mad Honey made from Rhododendron nectar. It contains a natural neurotoxin, which is a toxin producing side effects.
In small doses it’s safe, it gives lots of fun, but in larger doses it gives sickness, seizures and even death.
Because of its potential danger, locals would rarely sell it, keeping it for their own consume. It is said to treat hypertension, diabetes mellitus, some different stomach diseases and to improve sexual performance. Read more about the medicinal properties of mad honey, aka deli bali.
A similar type of honey, also coming from the rhododendron nectar, Himalayan Red Honey – aka mad, toxic, hallucinogenic honey from Nepal.
And also coming from Turkey, Elvish honey – the most expensive honey in the world. There are people saying that the first kilogram of this honey ever to be sold, was €45,000. We don’t know for sure, I suspect this is only a joke. It is a wild honey extracted from a cave, with walls of 1,800 meter deep, in the Saricayir valley of Artvin city. There are incredibly small quantities harvested and it requires a team of professional climbers to do it. This may explain the high price.
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