“Herbs have a fascinating place in the local culture, as both food and folk medicine. Sage tea with honey was “our childhood antibiotic,” as my friend Yiorgos Stenos, 84, told me. Ikarians still drink this when they feel a cold coming on, as they do oregano for stomach aches, chamomile for insomnia, and more. Most of these infusions are mild diuretics, helping relieve hypertension, perhaps one reason locals have relatively little heart disease.”
The lesson here is simple yet profound: Wholesome, seasonal food prepared with love is potent medicine, spending time connecting with mother nature’s life force can help rekindle an individual’s will to live, having a reason or purpose to continue living is essential for healing, and last but far from least sharing quality time with loved ones when sick and recuperating, can transform the depressed mind back to a state of innocence, gratitude and awe of the mystery called life. In the end, real healing is the soul’s domain.
It should be mentioned that the Greek island of Ikaria has a well deserved reputation as a Mecca for longevity. The island is renowned for its abundant, locally grown food, which is traditionally prepared according to season, its slow pace and pristine, vibrant beauty, and its long lived, mostly healthy inhabitants, many of whom are centenarians. In fact, Ikarians rarely fall prey to today’s most common killer lifestyle diseases like heart disease and cancer.