A Brief History of Honey
Honey Bees Found in Prehistoric Fossils
Apis mellifera or The Honey Bee can be traced back to Prehistoric Africa through fossil records and is thought to be one of the oldest forms of animal life still in existence today. Man has been gathering honey from the honey bee for almost as long. Read on to find a brief summary of honey history.
Honey in Ancient History
India: Honey can be found in India around 2,000 – 3,000 BC. References to honey were found in several passages of ancient Indian text called the Vedas.
Let every wind that blows drop honey
Let the rivers and streams recreate honey
Let all our medicines turn honey…
China: The ancient Chinese writer, Shi Jing wrote about honey in the third century BC. Traditional Chinese medicine states that honey is governed by the Earth element and effects mainly the stomach and spleen. It also possesses characteristics of the Yang character.
Egypt: Many artifacts have indicated the importance of honey to ancient Egyptian society both as a sweetener and medicine. Its been shown to have been used in as many as 140 or more prescriptions and topical treatments such as natural wound healing. The Smith papyrus states:
Thou should’st bind [the wound] with fresh meat the first day [and] treat after wards with grease, honey [and] lint every day until he recovers.
Greece: The ancient Greeks revered honey so much that the honey bee was used on their currency for almost 6 centuries. Aristotle offered the first written account of honey production. Hippocrates told of the healing power of honey. Even royal figures such as Alexander the Great were associated with honey. He was embalmed in a coffin full of honey.
Rome: Roman writers such as Vergil, Varro and Plinius wrote about honey. Ancient gourmets used honey and focused on it as a main ingredient for recipes. The Romans even used honey as a form of currency and many people’s taxes were paid for with honey.
Honey in Modern History
More recently honey has gained renewed focus as society has become more and more interested in natural sweeteners and natural medicine. Modern science has begun to offer credence to what the ancients believed to be true: the earth has come equipped with everything needed to not only sustain life but also heal it and enrich it.
Natural Sweetener: Honey offers man a great tasting, natural solution to refined sugar. As consumers begin to realize that refined sugars and other processed foods have a direct collation to obesity which then leads to a variety of life threatening conditions, the surge for guilt-free sweets has grown by comparison.
While honey can certainly be abused, research has shown that there may be health benefits to consuming honey and further that when compared with table sugar and even many other natural sweeteners honey not only sweetens more efficiently but also more healthfully.