Honey Throughout History

January 8, 2015

They honey bee is a sophisticated insect that has evolved over millions of years. The oldest bee found was in Myanmar enclosed in an amber resin and has been dated as 100 million years old and most likely originated in the Far East. In those early days, the bees were more like wasps, eating other insects rather than nectar and pollen. It’s unclear exactly when bees decided to become vegetarian but considering the choice between eating a fly and some delicious, sweet tasting nectar from a orange blossom in full bloom, it seems like a good decision.

When it comes to history people commonly think about things that are no longer in use. After all, if something is still in use then it wouldn’t be historical. Just because something is in use today doesn’t mean it wasn’t around years ago. This is especially true when it comes to food. Many foods had special meaning or significance throughout history, with honey being a prime example. Honey was so special, for example, that it has been found in the tombs of ancient pharaohs and still edible!

One major reason that honey has such a historical significance comes from the sweetness. Nowadays whenever we crave something sweet we have a number of different options to choose from, namely from candies and other desserts. In ancient times though, this just wasn’t an option. Anything that was naturally sweet was considered a rare, and thus an expensive, treat. This naturally made it more special, and elevated it from being seen as just a food, but also a symbol. Because of the taste, it also had significance to many religious groups, with the sweetness representing a type of purity. Another reason that it was seen as pure is because of certain medical practices. Honey has properties that make it an antibacterial, so when placed over a wound it cleans and disinfects the injury.

Still others consider honey historically sacred due to their belief in sacred geometry. And, in fact, many of the structures observed in nature follow this geometry. For example, the chambered nautilus grows in a logarithmic spiral, and honey bee constructs their combs in perfect hexagonal cells, that are itself one large hexagonal shell. Whether you are a believer or not, it is certain that having honey in your life will be, not only a blessing, but will continue to be a securely intertwined with the history of man.