Kytherian Thyme Honey
ORIGIN AND TRAITS
In the “Unique Foods of Greece” series, we have been given the chance to feature products which are representative instances of the Greek culture, such as olive oil or landmark cultivars of various regions, such as Laconian oranges or Corinthian currants; however, never have we presented a product of such limited availability in the market yet premium quality on a worldwide level, the Kytherian thyme honey.
The island of Kythera, which is situated opposite the south-eastern tip of the Peloponnese, is a land where agricultural activity takes place in a pure and untouched manner even to this day. Away from mass production, industrialization and use of chemicals, whatever comes from this island is a healthful gift of nature.
The Kytherian thyme honey is an outstanding example, a quality of honey known worldwide for its unique taste and aroma. Distinguished since ancient times, it has been noted in the work of Heraclides of Pontus, “About States”, in the quote “The island produces many and honey and wine”. Moreover, rumor has it that the Russian Tsar, Alexius, had a particular preference for honey from Kythera.
Today, you can purchase honey from the Beekeepers Association of Kythera or from separate producers. With prices ranging from 17 to 19 euros per kilo, it is relatively costlier than other honey products yet of premium quality which is well worth a try.
BENEFITS AND HEALING PROPERTIES
The unique flora of Kythera, full of aromatic plants and herbs offers fertile ground for top quality thyme honey to be produced. Frequent use of thyme honey is a source of energy and overall wellness for the body. As a matter of fact, in antiquity, Hippocrates recommended it as a healing remedy in various occasions.
Thyme honey is rich in antioxidants, such as polyphenols and flavonoids which protect cells against oxidative damage and help prevent cardiovascular disease by regulating blood pressure levels.
It has also got anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, which is why it is commonly used for the treatment of ulcers and other skin infections resulting from burns and wounds, as it promotes faster growth of new tissue to heal a wound.
Honey can also function as a cough suppressant as it coats the throat and alleviates the nerve endings that trigger coughing.
USE AND DOSAGE
Although honey is a highly nutritious alimentary product, it is also a natural sweetener, which means that it contains a considerable number of sugars and calories. In order to benefit from its health benefits, remember to consume it in moderation.
A spoonful of thyme honey can be consumed raw or spread on bread as a healthier alternative of a sweet snack. Also, on top of yogurt with nuts, as a dessert.
Thyme honey is an ideal addition to a cup of warm tea, making a relaxing beverage for when the weather gets colder.
RESEARCH AND INTERNATIONAL INTEREST
According to information provided by the Agricultural Beekeepers Association of Kythera, the overall annual thyme honey production is at 10 tons, with 1-2 tons exported to the US.
The Kytherian thyme honey has received various distinctions and awards, while the Beekeepers Association has filed a PDO application (Protected Designation of Origin).