Thursday, January 11, 2007

Honey for Health and Happiness

By Chani Blue, Epoch Times, 1/9/2007

In ancient Greek mythology "ambrosia" meant "the food or drink of the gods". In our exploration of the connection between food and the divine, we travel back through history to lost civilisations of the world to understand the many links between food and spirituality.

Honey, made from the sweet golden nectar of flowers and trees, has always had deep connections to God and nature. Honey cannot be created by man, so we rely on the bees to do their magic for us.

Apiculture (the science of bee keeping) dates back to before 700 BC. Ancient Egypt had a particularly strong affiliation with honey, and honey pots have been found in tombs of the honoured dead, as though the honey was a gift to take to the afterlife.

According to an ancient relic in the temple of Ra in Heliopolis, Egypt: "The god Re wept and his tears fell onto the ground and were turned into bees." This verse indicates the belief that the gods had indeed created bees, which in turn make this treasured delicacy. Mention of honey in those times also appears frequently throughout Northern Africa.

Honey was so highly valued in these countries that beehives were kept in the temples, both to satisfy the gods and for the production of medicines and ointments.

Noble women of Egypt used honey for cosmetic purposes and it was also regarded as an aphrodisiac. The Egyptians carved holy figurines and inscriptions out of beeswax. Honey may also have been used in the mummification process due to its anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties.

Some understand that the mention of honey in the Old Testament was symbolic of all that is pleasant and desirable in life. Eating sliced apples drizzled with honey is a Jewish custom to symbolise wishing for a sweet new year.

In the Hindu faith, it is generally believed that honey gives good health to both the body and mind, and that it helps the body to recover more quickly from illness.

An old Buddhist fable describes how a monkey brought honey to the Buddha Shakyamuni as a gift, and this scene is often depicted in Buddhist art. Honey also has a long history in traditional medicine throughout the world and is applied directly to open wounds, ulcers and burns. Today we still know honey as a soothing treatment for a sore, dry throat and it is an ingredient in natural cough mixture.

With such a long and important history, we can assume that humans have always had a sweet tooth, and honey remains as popular now as ever.

In recent times, Manuka honey has been considered one of nature's super foods for the treatment of toxic ulcers and infections. It comes from the Tea Tree plant located mostly in New Zealand and Australia. Some doctors and scientists believe that Manuka honey's ability to heal may give it the future role of killing super bugs that often infect hospitals…

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