We all love food, not because it just because it fuels our bodies, but also because it excites our taste buds and gives a dopamine rush that makes us want to dance with happiness. No wonder it is considered one of the best ways to bring someone closer to you.
But food has also served medicinal purposes throughout history. It has been used to treat ailments, even considered some sort of a miracle from God in some parts of the world, and worshipped by the earliest civilizations.
Here are some of the most common foods we consume today that were once believed to be magic that could bring the dead back to life, provide protection against the evil and heal one’s soul.
Artichokes are best known for their creamy texture which works well in cheese sauces and dips. But this vegetable was once revered for its powerful medicinal properties. According to Greek mythology, Zeus once came across a beautiful girl on his way to see his brother Poseidon. He decided to take the girl with him to Olympus and make her a goddess. Her luck was short-lived and one day Zeus caught her sneaking out of the palace to see her mother. He became livid and turned her into an artichoke. Since then, Romans have used this vegetable to cure many ailments.
Chives are more than just a flavorful herb used in soups and sauces. There is plenty of evidence in European and American history which proves that chives were considered a magical food in the earlier centuries. This herb was first introduced in Europe in the 13th century after a traveler brought it with him from China. Since then it became a tradition to hang chives on doorways to keep the evil spirits out. In another conflicting account, chives were first discovered by ancient Romans who often used them in dishes to boost immunity and strength.
A cold cucumber salad sounds so refreshing in the sweltering summer heat. But your favorite low-calorie snack has an interesting history. Surprisingly, the ‘English’ cucumber was first found in India many centuries ago where it served a rather unexpected purpose. According to some stories, the fruit was used to promote fertility, and women usually made necklaces from them and wore them around their necks until they gave birth to a child.
We use onions in almost everything from soups to stir-fry to curries, but there’s more to this vegetable than its ability to make us cry. Onions were actually used in various ancient Egyptian artifacts and were even considered an object of worship because of its unique shape and layers. The vegetable was painted on alters, pyramids and other kinds of religious monuments which shows their sacredness. Some historical accounts reveal earlier Egyptian beliefs that onions could make one immortal because of their concentric layers.
As the old adage goes, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” – or at least that’s what they say. The truth is that eating an apple might give you fiber, vitamin C and other essential nutrients, but we doubt that it’ll cure all diseases. But that’s not the narrative that appears in Greek mythology.
According to centuries-old folklore, apples were believed to be the secret to eternal youth. And in some cultures, it was even gifted as a sign of love and peace. Apple was also common in Italian culture where men gifted apples to show their affection towards women. If a man presented an apple to a woman and she accepted it, it meant that she had agreed to be his wife.
Most of us can’t even imagine watching a movie without a bucket of popcorn, but back in the day, corn was considered more than just a food source. The growth and harvest of this vegetable was considered a sacred process which represented the cycle of human life. The Aztecs worshiped the corn and prayed heavily throughout the crop’s regeneration cycle. The harvest of the first crop of the summer was even celebrated with a huge festival where men and women would dance, eat and be merry.