Sunday, January 8, 2023

The Healing Powers of History -- Roots of Nature's Nectar

Honey History: An Ancient Nectar of the Gods

By Cal Orey

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(The Biblical Era) Holy Honey Hints From Long Ago

Let’s go way, way back into the past. Take a honey bee’s-eye view of why and how honey is one of the ancient world’s first—and most remarkable—natural wonders.

Indeed, honey is mentioned countless times in the Bible. The phrase “milk and honey” were used at least 21 different places to describe fertility and prosperity of the Promised Land. Honey is also one of the Bible’s good-for-you healing foods. Not only is golden honey found in the Old Testament, but it’s noted in Greek mythology, too. 

(2600 B.C.) The Egyptian Seed Of Honey

While myths and legends are mind-boggling, inscription on Sumerian tablets are more believable and hint that the Sumerians were the world’s first beekeepers. But historians say it was the ancient Egyptians who started the craft of tending to bees and reaping rewards. The ancient Egyptians were also known to include honey in cooking, especially for honey cakes, and as offerings to the gods.

(Middle Ages) Blossomed To Ancient Greece And Rome

Once Egypt paved the way for beekeeping, Greece and Rome were next in line. Aristotle, Hippocrates (a Greek physician), and Dioscorides (a master herbalist and doctor of Greek medicine) touted honey’s magic, noting its amazing remedies, including as a wound salve, a cough medicine, an aid to rid one of body lice, and a cure for earache.

The most beloved honey, from the perspective of the Greeks, was honey that came from thyme—growing on the slopes near Athens. Honey was the only sweetener available in Europe at the time, aside from syrups made from dried fruits and herbs. Thyme, an antiseptic her, was believed by its people in the Roman era to provide courage, stamina, and used in the Four Thieves Formula to guard against the bubonic plague.

(The 11th Century A.D.) Honey Sweetens Up Britain And America

So, there is a trail of evidence that hints that exactly when honey made its move from Greece and Rome to the British Isles it was wild bees that deserved credit. Clues have been found on Neolithic pottery remains around 5,000 years back—and beekeeping was likely practiced in England before the Roman invasion. By the 11th century A.D., beekeeping was noted in the Domesday Book list noting the number of hives each landholder owned—to show how important bees were to mankind.

(15th Century) Honey Enters The USA

The European honey bee was brought by man (they did not make the flight themselves) to New England in about 1638. North American natives called these honey bees the white man’s flies. Honey was used to prepare good and beverages, to make cement, to preserve fruits, and for medicinal purposes. But tending to honey bees and gathering honey was not perfected as a fine art because of the challenges of beekeeping. Simply put, the intricate extraction of honey was not an easy process for beekeepers or bees.

(19th and 20th Centuries) The Lure of Honey Grew

Attraction of honey in cooking and for medicinal purposes was a mainstay around the globe after its historical roots spread. Major producers of honey included (and still do) Argentina, China, Mexico, Turkey, and the United States, and the Ukraine. 

(21st Century) Honey Is a Mainstay Globally

These days, in the 21st century, much like yesteryear, honey with its healing powers and interest as a natural sweetener and superfood, is in demand by consumers around the world.

Honey Pioneers In The 20th Century

The Worldly Bee Lady: Eva Crane ended up being a dedicated worker bee as a researcher and author on the subjects of bees and beekeepThe Vermont Country Doctor: D.C. Jarvis, touted the nectar of the gods to his Vermont patients. It was part of his bag of folk remedies to prevent and treat illnesses.

The Manuka Honey Guru: Dr. Peter Molan, Ph.D., a New Zealand professor had been at the forefront of the importance of manuka honey and its medicinal merits. 

Adapted from The Healing Powers of Honey: A Complete Guide to Nature’s Remarkable Nectar! (Published by Kensington Publishing Corporation)

Cal Orey, M.A.,  is an accomplished author and journalist. She penned the popular Healing Powers Series. Visit her website at .

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