HONEY

 

Since antiquity honey has been thought of as a life prolonging elixir; nectar for eternal youth and vitality and a daily diet should include milk and honey. It was the diet of the immortal Olympian Gods. Zeus was raised on nectar made from the larva of a queen bee. Hippocrates recommended honey as a therapy for many ailments, as did Aristotle who believed that the digestion of honey prolonged life. The ancient Egyptians offered their Gods honeycombs overflowing with honey as a valuable gift to show devotion and worship. No one, throughout the history of time, has been able to manufacture this natural substance.

  

One of the most important exhibits in the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, which  houses most of the secrets of the famous Minoan civilisation, is an exquisite gold piece of jewellery representing two bees flanking a round portion of honeycomb. This exhibit is the most eloquent witness of the relationship between Cretans and bees. It is the same copper-coloured bee; mentioned by ancient authors - whose delicious, velvety product befits the dinner table of Gods; the bee that nested inside the sacred cave, the birthplace of Zeus.

  

The honey of Crete is completely natural and is produced in regions of prevalent vegetation. Just a few metres from the sea, bees suck the nectar from countless aromatic herbs, and among the naked rocks on the barren land of the high mountains where brightly coloured, sweet-smelling flowers poke through the crevices, all this plant life and herbs are the favourite source of food for the bees. A visit to the bee-keeping areas of Crete is enough for any visitor to understand why Crete produces the most aromatic honey in the world; the beehives are amidst a variegated landscape scented by aromatic bushes and herbs, most of them endemic to Crete. Since snow covers only the highest mountain peaks, albeit for a few months a year, and owing to the prolonged summer season, wild vegetation is always available to bees for foraging. 

 

Crete has produced honey since pre-historic times without interruption, as if nothing had changed. Perhaps the structure of the beehive improved, but all else must have remained unchanged; the bees, the aromatic herbs, the environment. This type of precious honey kills bacteria and viruses, reinforces the circulatory system, heart and nerves. It bolsters the body's defences against infections and other illnesses, relieves stress as well as intense pressure and nervousness. 

 

It helps heal ulcers, treats constipation as well as diarrhoea, also alleged to delay ageing. Improves in contrast to processed sugar - the metabolism and enhances, thanks to the plant hormones contained in pollen, our erotic moods as well. Usually eaten with raw walnuts, a food combination that is a very effective aphrodisiac still enjoyed by Greeks today and given to the bride and groom for their wedding night!

 
 
 

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