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A history of honey

Uncovering the rich cultural and medical history of the world's oldest sweet.

It takes twelve honey bees their entire lifetimes to make one spoonful of honey. From sweetening and preserving food, to treating wounds and sore throats, this sweet, viscous substance has played an important role in nearly every society around the world. In the ancient world, it held religious significance while in the 21st century, scientists are researching how honey could combat lethal diseases and finding ways to identify so-called fake honey.

Joining Rajan Datar to discuss the history of honey are Dr Lucy Long - author of Honey: A Global History and director of the nonprofit Center for Food and Culture in Ohio, USA; Sarah Wyndham-Lewis - writer, Honey Sommelier and co-founder of Bermondsey Street Bees in London, UK; and the Australian microbiologist Dr Shona Blair from Imperial College London who has conducted detailed research into the antimicrobial activity and wound healing properties of honey.

Photo: A Yemeni beekeeper checks a honeycomb from a beehive at his apiary in the country's northern Hajjah province in 2019.
Credit: ESSA AHMED / AFP

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