close up image of a golden honeycomb pattern
April 2022 Elena Frankel

Lips Like Sugar

Greek honey ~ the magical, ancient elixir

While vacationing in Wyoming several years ago, I ended up with an extremely sore throat due to a combination of a head cold, the high altitude, and smoke from distant forest fires. One morning while sitting at breakfast in a miserable state, a waiter brought over some hot tea along with a sweet little porcelain bowl filled with honey. I had never gravitated to honey before, but I was desperate to feel better. In just a few sips, the tea transformed into a soothing and comforting concoction that brought instant calm to my inflamed throat. I was hooked. 


You’re probably thinking, ‘where have you been?’  The truth is, I’ve always been late to the game because I was a very picky eater as a child and still am somewhat as an adult. Avocados and asparagus are just some other foods I’ve missed out on for so many years and ones I crave regularly today. 


Greek honey is an amazing food source with a plethora of benefits, not only for your palette, but for your overall health. With its healing, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, honey is truly a natural medicine. We can argue its effect on blood sugar levels, but in moderation the benefits of mindful consumption outweigh the cons. 

close-up image of honey comb on a white plate with wooden spoon
four jars of amber colored honey on a wooden table

Sophia’s Greek Pantry with locations in Lowell and Belmont, MA boasts entire walls full of imported honey from many parts of Greece. On the island of Crete where bees snack on thyme, pine, and conifer trees, the honey is especially high in nutritional value and with a distinct aroma. Honey from the beautiful island of Ikaria is harvested in near perfect conditions where bees feed on pollen from untouched wild flora, pines, and native flowers, away from chemical pollution and industrialization.  


“Honey from the "ancient healing island" of Ikaria is of particularly high quality and is revered by the famously long-lived Ikarians, who believe it has special healing properties and consume it daily. It has a dark amber color and is thicker and richer than most honey with a unique delicious flavor.”


In the past I had dabbled in Manuka honey when under the weather. What I have since learned is that a mixture of Greek honey and organic apple cider vinegar is a superior natural and effective gargle for a sore, irritated throat. This was actually recommended by an otolaryngologist at Mass Eye and Ear. Some doctors also suggest dabbing a bit of honey on small cuts and abrasions, because its healing and antibacterial properties benefit the skin as well. 


In my kitchen there is a spinning wooden tray on the counter that holds my favorite sea salts, pepper, and jars of honey. It doesn’t take much effort each day to keep my taste buds interested and my mind engaged with nature, all while connecting to my roots. Whether used as a simple treat, a complement to a dish or as a medicinal elixir, Greek honey is proof that nature often presents us with simple solutions that don't need to be put in a pill or manufactured in a facility. If we take better care of our environment and the bees that pollinate for our food supply, then so many cures to our ailments will continue to be accessible to us.   







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