Friday, September 15, 2006

Honey Used as Folk Medicine in Russia

At a Moscow Fair, Selling the Healing Powers of Honey
By Alexander Osipovich, International Herald Tribune, 9/13/2006

MOSCOW - The homemade poster hanging next to Yana Shikhlyarova's honey stand doesn't just list the half-dozen varieties of honey she has on sale. It also lists the various ailments they cure. Clover honey, it says, is good for the heart. Forest honey, rich in vitamins from the blackberries and wild strawberries of the woods, is good for the eyes.

And coriander honey, the poster announces in extra-large print, increases male potency.

"Well, that's what it says in the literature," Shikhlyarova said with a smile. "Whether it's really true, I don't know."

For centuries, Russians have practiced the art of honey healing - a local take on homeopathy, where the nutrients of wild herbs and flowers rub off on bees, and eventually find their way into the honey that Russians put in their tea. It's a form of folk medicine that has spawned numerous books and lasted through wars and revolutions.

This autumn, there is no better place to learn about the phenomenon than the 16th All-Russian Honey Fair, where more than 1,000 beekeepers from throughout the former Soviet Union are selling their sweet, sticky wares to health-conscious Muscovites…

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