Tracing Honey’s Roots in Ancient Cultures


Tracing Honey’s Roots in Ancient Cultures


Honey, nature’s oldest sweetener, has been around for thousands of years. Its long and interesting history spans myriads of cultures and periods. It is tough to say exactly how long honey and honey products have existed as we are still discovering accounts of their use from millions of years ago and in multiple locations.

There are cave paintings in Spain from 7000 BC showing records of beekeeping. Researchers, however, have also discovered honey bee fossils that date back a staggering 150 million years.

The CEO of BA Barry Group and the founder of GEOHONEY, Mr. Basem Barry says

“I find it quite fascinating how honey has been a popular food and medicinal item in most of human history. It really highlights its importance in collective human history and culture through the ages.” 

Honey is really a wonder of nature owing to its delicious and sweet flavor, medicinal properties, and most importantly its long shelf life. For its countless amazing features, honey has played a huge role in various ancient cultures and civilizations.

This blog explores the history of honey in different ancient cultures. After reading this you will surely come to realize why this amazing marvel of nature has persisted even after millennia so stay with us till the end.

  • Honey in Ancient Egypt
  • Ancient Spain
  • Greeks and Romans
  • Ancient Indians and Honey
  • Honey Meets Christianity
  • Buddhism and Honey 
  • Honey: A Valuable Ingredient in Islamic Medicine  


Honey in Ancient Egypt

The first ever record of organized beekeeping is found in the ancient hieroglyphics in Egypt. This practice was common in ancient Egypt back in 3,5000 BCE.

They used it as a sweetener in food and for making salves for healing wounds. The Egyptians believed strongly in the healing power of organic honey.

The process of mummification involved the use of wax which was collected from honey-producing hives. Egyptians also offered honey-based food items to their deities as a sign of respect and obedience.


Ancient Spain  

Though Egyptians mastered honey production on a larger scale they still were not the first ones to obtain honey from the beehives. It was ancient Spanish people who were reportedly seen collecting honey directly from beehives almost 5,000 years before the Egyptians.

A cave painting was discovered in Cuevas De La Arana of Valencia back in 1920 that depicted something similar. In this figure, a man can be seen climbing vines and fighting off bees to collect honey.

Though the Spanish natives did not do it on a very large scale still it can be considered a significant step in the history of apiculture (the science of raising colonies of bees).


Greeks and Romans

Greeks and Romans also viewed honey as an important healing medicine. Ancient Greek records are filled with recipes based on sweetmeats and cakes that contain honey as an essential ingredient. These civilizations also offered honey to their gods like the Egyptians. 

The ancient Greek scientist Hippocrates wrote about a simple diet that involves honey used as oxymel or a mixture of honey, water, and some other medicinal substances for pains and acute fever.

Greeks also used a beverage containing honey and unfermented grape juice for treating nervous disorders and gout. They also used it as a cure for seasonal allergies.


Ancient Indians and Honey

According to the ancient scriptures, the Vedic civilization thought very highly of honey. The ancient Ayurveda texts report it to have amazing benefits for coughing and digestion symptoms.

Traditional Ayurvedics also claim that honey has healing powers for skin disorders and cardiac pains. This goes to show how much ancient Indians revered honey for its healing prowess and rejuvenating features. 


Honey Meets Christianity

Honey holds a special place in Christian cultures and traditions mainly due to its several mentions in the holy Bible. Many Christians like bees to a symbol of Jesus Christ. They believe the sting of the honey represents justice while the honey shows the gentle, loving, and sweet nature of their lord and savior.

As Christianity grew across continents, so did the production of beeswax to make candles for Churches and that also put honey more on the map. The use of honey in Christianity both as a healing medicine and food item is still very common and the credit goes to the emphasis the holy scriptures of this religion give to it.


Buddhism and Honey

Buddhism also has various scriptures and traditions surrounding honey. There is a festival titled Honey Full Moon that Buddhists celebrate in memory of an old legend. 

This legend relates the story of a monkey that gives a honeycomb as a gift to Budha and then falls in excitement. This leads to the monkey’s death but soon after he is reborn in account of his generosity.

Buddhists all over the world give honey to monasteries even to this day during this festival. So, in Buddhism, honey is much more than a simple sweetener. Instead, it is a root that connects them to their glorified past and to the real essence of Buddhism. 


Honey: A Valuable Ingredient in Islamic Medicine 

Similar to the Bible, the Muslim holy book Quran also mentions honey and its therapeutic value at different points. Both the Quran and the teachings of Prophet Muhammad emphasize the use of honey for its various healing features.

The Great Iranian Scientist Avicenna who lived about 1000 years ago recommended the use of honey in the treatment of tuberculosis. 


Honey has a rich history with influences from myriads of cultures, religions, and eras. From ancient Egypt to Greece, and from India to China, honey has traveled all parts of the world spreading its healing powers and sweetness everywhere.

Looking at the vibrant history of honey makes one awe-struck with wonder. Its significance in various cultures and civilizations can never be overstated and its ubiquitous popularity is proof of that.

Honey is among the very few things that have been common in all cultures and civilizations, so it would be fair to say that it connects us humans in an inexplicable way. So, the next time you use honey for any purpose, keep its rich history in mind to enjoy it even better.

Geohoney is the leading honey brand based in Dubai with over 130 farms equipped with the latest new-tech monofloral initiatives. Our 100% pure, raw, and natural monofloral honey is carefully prepared using single nectar sources which ensures both the high concentration of nutrients and enzymes.

Working with worldwide beekeepers from more than 53 countries Goehoney strives to produce monofloral honey that meets the highest global quality control standards while using environmentally sustainable resources and adhering to socially responsible policies.

Visit GEOHONEY today to order our 100% raw and pure honey and honey-based products from all over the world.           



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