Friday, July 6, 2012

Can’t Eat the Honey and the Honeycomb too



A honeycomb at home
At a time when modern medicine did not exist, humans depended directly on what was available in nature not just for food but also medicine. Ancient literature has sung glories for the medicinal and tonic virtues of honey. The Sanskrit Ayurveda has praised it and I recall a statement from the bible that went something like this, “Eat honey and the honeycomb, for it is good”

I too am a fan of natural tonics and remedies, viewing modern ones with suspicion and caution. The reason being that the period of research into modern remedies is not as long as ancient ones and more so they are tainted by the greed of commercial interests. Recently the news was full of a leading Pharmaceutical company apologizing profusely for such practices when discovered just so that they can save on possible fines and not perhaps because they were really sorry.

However, my study and experience of modern honey too is not a good one. Its beneficial properties come from its enzymes and micro-nutrients that modern honey may be deficient of. Pasteurization kills enzymes and the modern production of honey from sugar syrups and production in farms and orchards lacking bio-diversity deprives it of micro-nutrients. There is also the possibility of synthetic adulterants that simulate the look and taste but not the goodness.

The option available to a modern fan of honey is to look for wild honey and have it harvested personally. That may be possible for rural folk but is difficult for a largely urban dweller like me. Therefore most times I have done without honey. A few days ago though to my utter surprise and delight Shyamu my assistant and adopted son pointed out that a large honeycomb had come up suddenly on one of the trees in the garden. Aside from the possibility of getting some natural home grown honey the growth of a honeycomb is considered an auspicious omen too. It is a birthday gift from the Lord because both Shyamu’s and my birthday falls in the month of July. There is a photo of it with this post with text added to show where the honeycomb is.

It will be easy to harvest the honey closer to winter if we wished to but I have decided against it. The honey bee is a virtuous creature. It only attacks when attacked as every courageous and upright creature must. The honeycomb is its home and the honey its store of food that it has gathered painfully. Does not matter if the honey bee cannot speak but I have no doubt that it has feelings too, just as you and I do, and in my experience it is far less stupid than some humans I know. The stealing of honey and its home to me now is just as sinful as stealing from a human. Therefore I have decided to let the bees live in peace.Hundreds of lives cannot be disrupted for the sake of one.

I deplore the practices of a certain humans that still look for tiger bones,  rhinoceros horns, whale meat and blue fins with an utter disregard for the welfare of these marvelous creatures.

Even though I regard the ancient literature and scriptures of mankind with a high degree of reverence I believe some of the contents are dependent on time. It dates to a time that humans had to depend much more on nature than modern man. The large variety of foods available to mankind now can provide all the necessary enzymes and micro-nutrients required for good health. Therefore with utmost regard for the scriptures that have taught me to view all life just as the same as my own, I will not eat the honey and the honeycomb too.

True there is danger that someone else may disturb the bees and they may attack but that is a minor risk that I shall take for their sake. As a precaution I have purchased and kept anti histamine pills at home though so as not to be Pollyannaish as a dear friend of mine accused me of recently. It is my experience and belief that no creature attacks a human, even dangerous snakes, black scorpions and fiery ants if you do not fear them and truly love them.

10 comments:

keiko amano said...

Ashok,

I wouldn't know the difference between bees and wasp or anything looks like bees, but suzumebachi (a wasp, a yellow jacket or hornet) is pest in Japan. I don't know where it was originated, but they attack people. They create big honeycombs, and they are dangerous.
I searched the internet and found it under Vespinae. So, please be careful on bees. I think it's wise to leave most insects alone unless they are pest and attack us.

ashok said...

Keiko thanks for the info. These are probably wasps although i do not know much of the difference too. One of these days I shall read up more on them. They have made a huge honeycomb. I shall be careful and certainly I have no intention of disturbing them.

I told Ian Ruxton on facebook about you and that you share many common interests in Japanese history. He has written huge volumes on it extracted a lot from diplomatic cables as far as I recall.

keiko amano said...

Ashok,

What a coincidence! Thank you for mentioning about Ian Ruxton. Just recently, I've been reading "A Diplomat in Japan" by Ernest Satow. It's very interesting book, and I'm completely captivated by it. I see the stories behind the war ending Tokugawa Shogun.

I still have 100 pages to go, but today, I read the part that Iwaminokuni where Hamada Han resided was given to the new government as the result of the second attack by Choshu Han. In that battle, Yamamoto Hanya who was a head of the han died. My ancestor was related to him by marriage.

Satow wrote that Itoh Shunsuke told him about Iwaminokuni to be a new territory to the new government, and Satow felt it funny to hear from the man of low rank like Itoh. Itoh Shunsuke changed his name to Itoh Hirobumi later and became Prime Minister in the Meiji government, but Satow was right that Itoh was a low rank samurai then. But he was one of very few Japanese politicians who could speak English!

In that era, everything became upside down, but I'm amazed that Satow was aware of the ranks and protocols.

ashok said...

Keiko Ian would have loved to discuss that with you is my guess.

You and your family are definitely connected to important milestones of Japanese history and culture

keiko amano said...

Ashok,

In fact, I have a lot to discuss, but I just started reading only one book by Satow, so I have a lot to read before I can form an intelligent conversation! The book is dense, and it requires to read many Japanese books on historical events, and of course, his edited books on Satow's diaries. They must be fascinating. I have a lot to learn, but now it's more fun and challenging!

ashok said...

Where are you nowadays Keiko, in USA or Japan? I learnt from Ian today that both of you have become friends on Facebook. he posts regularly on facebook but somehow I have not seen any posts by you in my news feeds. perhaps you do not post there or there is something in my settings that needs fixing.

keiko amano said...

Ashok,

I'm in the dry weather California, but yesterday, it was humid. We had some rain. It rained because I watered my backyard.

ashok said...

That happens to me often too Keiko, rain after watering

It is the rainy season here and the climate has turned cool. June was very hot.

Sam said...

Do take care of the Bees or the wasps!

ashok said...

Sam and Keiko, We had much rain for some days and the bees or wasps have left for a safer location. So there is no risk now. Thanks for your concerns.