How were our products used in Ancient Greece

January 30, 2018

Herbs and Spices

 

According to an old Greek myth, Aphrodite healed her wounded son Aeneas with dittany that she picked up from the Cretan mountain Ida.

Hippocrates (460 – 370 BC) ‘’the father of Herbal Medicine’’, recorded about 400 species of herbs and spices by making extensive reference to their therapeutic properties.

 

Hippocrates quotes:

  • "If people lived and ate properly there would be no disease"

  • "Our food should be our medicine and our medicine should be our food"

Dioscorides (40 – 90 AD), a Greek physician, pharmacologist, botanist, and author, wrote his 5-volume encyclopedia about herbal medicine, titled 'De Materia Medica' which became a medical reference guide till the late middle ages.

 

Bees and Honey

 

Greece is where the art of beekeeping (apiculture) started in the early prehistoric times.

 

The 'Queen Bee' was the symbol of the Minoan-Mycenaean goddess Potnia, meaning 'mistress', who was also referred to as 'The Pure Mother Bee'. Her priestesses, were given the name Melissa, meaning 'bee'. Bees were also called “Birds of the Muses” because of their believed connection to the Muses, the nymphs of spring and goddesses of poetry, arts and science.

 

Honey is the first natural sweetener that people ever used. It was added to their foods and beverages, in the same way as nowadays. It is often referred to as the "nectar of the Gods", or alternatively known as "Ambrosia". Also, a Greek myth tells us that Zeus, was raised on honey.

 

Olive tree and Olive Oil

 

The ancient Greeks owe a lot to olive tree as it played a fundamental role in the development of their civilization and wealth.

 

Olive oil, as an element of ancient Greeks’ diet, was the choice of the richest people since its nutritional value was highly reputed. In addition, it was used as a natural cosmetic to smear their bodies due to its cosmetic and therapeutic properties in relation to skin diseases.

 

Hippocrates, the famous Greek physician of the classic ancient times (460 B.C. – 370 B.C.) makes an extensive reference to olive oil as a multi-purpose medicine.

 

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