Zeke Freeman
Written by Zeke Freeman

Ancient Honey


What do the the Greeks
, the Romans, the Egyptians and the Babylonians all have in common? Yes, they all settled and developed great cultures around rivers. The Romans settled in the Tiber River; the Egyptians, in the Nile River. But little known is that all of these cultures shared in common a love and need for raw honey.

Indeed, Honey was used to cure almost everything—and for good reason. Written histories from Greece and Rome site honey's antibacterial properties and how they were believed to be far superior for burns, abscesses, and wounds than the other two leading remedies which included dung and rust.

In war, "mad honey" produced by bees from laurels, rhododendrons, and azaleas, contained potent compounds like grayanotoxin that could injure and even kill an opponent by stopping his heart or seriously damaging his nervous system. It is said that soldiers would put mad honey in the path of the enemy, causing its mass collapses.

In smaller doses mad honey was also the get-high choice for oracle prophesying, ecstatic religious rites, adventurous drinkers, and merry maenad frenzy at women’s festivals.

Raw honey was an essential part of the funeral feast cuisine as well. In fact, honeycakes were a must-have for every newly dead person to carry into the underworld. Why? They were needed to get past Cerberus, the 3-headed dog. The savage beast guarding the gates to Hades’ realm, Cerberus had an inexplicable sweet tooth.

But wait, there's more. Urgently need to embalm a corpse? Nine out of ten aristocrats, including Alexander the Great, preferred mellification, the elite art of embalming with honey. There's a reason Alex looked Great after 538 years.—The Buzz

Topics: Facts & Philosophy