- The Plate
Dying Bees Spell Trouble for U.S. Agriculture
To make this creepy concoction, described in Mary Roach’s 2003 book Stiff, an elderly man essentially donates his body to medicine: for a month or more, he eats nothing but honey and bathes only in honey; then, upon his death, he is sealed in a stone coffin filled to the brim with honey. One hundred years later—mellification is a slow process—the coffin is opened and the contents decanted. A mere tablespoonful or two, according to the Chinese Materia Medica of 1597, will cure broken or wounded limbs.
Actually honey—minus the man—has a long history as a therapeutic, used since ancient times to treat everything from bedsores and burns to amputations and stab wounds. As medicine, it’s not a bad choice; honey