Hippocrates, the ancient Hellene (Greek) philosopher also known as “Father of Medicine”, knew what he was talking about when he coined that wise phrase. The ancient Hellenes took close care to the food they consumed, well aware of the fact that the food you eat can either be a medicine or a poison to your body.

The ancient Hellenic diet was frugal but diverse, consisting of cereal, legumes, olives, fruits, nuts, and wine. They rarely consumed meat, outside of religious ceremonies, and kept goats for milk and cheese. 

To this day, this diet (traditionally referred to as “Mediterranean diet”) is considered the healthiest diet in the world. Rich in antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and healthy fats it can prevent and protect against numerous diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.

But it doesn’t stop there. 

The ancient Hellenes included a variety of nutritional gems in their daily diet, most of them cultivated exclusively in Greece, that our modern society would now categorize as superfoods.

The health benefits of these ancient Greek superfoods are so magnificent, it is worth taking a closer look.

Mastic gum,often referred to as the "teardrops of Chios", is a resin sourced from the mastic tree which grows exclusively on the island of Chios. The ancient Hellenes used it to freshen their breath and improve digestion and oral health. 

To this day, mastic gum (whether in the form of gum, oil or dietary supplement) is considered a powerful natural remedy for indigestion, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), cholesterol, gum disease, and various bacterial or fungal infections. 

Mastic gum also has strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and can prevent ulcers and several types of cancer such as lung and colon cancer

Rich in antioxidants, mono-saturated fats, and Vitamin E, olive oil has jaw-dropping benefits for the human body. Studies have shown that consuming extra virgin olive oil can aid heart health, prevent Alzheimer’s disease and even fight cancer cells.

The ancient Hellenes, well aware of the miraculous benefits of olive oil, used it for both nutritional and medicinal purposes and considered it a valuable currency. 

At the end of the ancient Olympic games, they awarded the winners with the “Panathenaic amphorae”, a large ceramic vessel containing olive oil. Depending on the sport, the first winner could be awarded up to 5 tons.

Oregano, though an herb used in many cuisines around the world, was originally grown in ancient Hellas. The ancient Hellenes believed it was created by the Goddess Aphrodite, who wanted it to be a symbol of joy growing in her garden. Indeed, the word “oregano”  means “joy of the mountains” ( from the Hellenic words oros, for “mountain”, and ganos, for “joy”).

Fresh or dried, oregano has significant health benefits. Packed with antioxidants, oregano can help prevent cell damage and aid in cancer prevention

Oregano also has powerful antibacterial properties and can help fight viral infections. When consumed as a tea, it can soothe throat irritation, reduce the build-up of mucus and phlegm and suppress coughing fits.

Krokos Kozanis is a variety of red saffron grown in the village of Krokos in Western Macedonia. Like oregano, saffron is a spice with variations cultivated in regions worldwide but was first produced in Greece, specifically in Crete during the Late Bronze Age by the Minoans.

Krokos Kozanis is considered one of the best varieties in the world both in quality and aroma. Rich in vitamin B12, lycopene, zeaxanthin, alpha-beta carotene, vitamin C, iron, potassium and magnesium it has a wide range of benefits for the body. 

Krokos can enhance brain function and memory and it has a beneficial effect on people who suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s. Krokos is also considered a natural antidepressant and has a powerful set of anti-aging properties.

Otherwise known as “Nectar of the Gods”, thyme honey was originally sourced from the slopes of Mount Hymettus in the Attica region, near Athens. Both Hippocrates and the Greek philosopher Aristotle praised thyme honey for its nutritional and medicinal properties.

What makes thyme honey so special is the active ingredients thymol and carvacrol, extracted from the oil of thyme. It has excellent antibacterial and antifungal properties and can be used to heal wounds and prevent infection. 

On top of that, regular consumption of thyme honey is found to prevent the progression of cancer in endometrial cells, prostate cells, and breast cells. 

Hellenic mountain tea is a naturally caffeine-free herbal tea infusion made from the dried flowers, leaves and stems of the Sideritis plant, which flourishes in the mountains of Hellas. The word “sideritis” can be translated as “he who is made of iron”, a name that serves it justice as it was used by the ancient Hellenes to heal wounds caused by iron weapons during battles. 

Sideritis was also used as a toning drink and both the ancient Hellene botanist Dioscurides and the philosopher Theophrastus hailed its benefits for the immune and respiratory systems.

Recent studies have found that Hellenic mountain tea has very potent antioxidant properties and can help prevent the growth of cancer cells. Sideritis can also help lower blood sugar and protect against Alzheimer's disease and osteoporosis

Figs were a significant part of the ancient Hellenes’ diet and were also used as a symbol of peace and prosperity. So much, in fact, that it was considered an honor to bestow upon the winner of various competitions both the foliage and fruit of a fig tree.

Hellas is still one of the largest producers of figs worldwide and, thanks to its great climate and unlimited summer sun, the nutritional value of Hellenic figs is incomparable. 

Hellenic figs are rich in natural fiber and a great source of potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Consuming Hellenic figs, fresh or dried, can help regulate blood pressure, enhance the function of the nervous system, balance the pH levels of the body and increase bone health.

The ancient Hellenes led their lives based on the ideals “Νους Υγιείς Εν Σώματι Υγιεί” (Healthy Mind in Healthy Body) and “Ευ Ζην” (Living Well). Orpheus Luxury Collection fully embraces this philosophy and uses it as a compass for all our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives. 

Do you wish to experience all these nutritional gems first hand? Go straight to the source! 

Take a look at our Orpheus Luxury Collection Signature Journeys, choose the one that awakens your Hellenic spirit and surrender in the breathtaking beauty of Hellas.  



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By Michaela Zannou

   “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”.