The New York Times discovered Ikaria’s magic world and the secrets of longevity as many people living on Ikaria live to be more than 100 years old. The article dedicated to Ikaria is headlined The Island Where People Forget to Die.
Seeking to learn more about the island’s reputation for long-lived residents, the Times called on Dr. Ilias Leriadis, one of Ikaria’s few physicians in 2009. On an outdoor patio at his weekend house, he set a table with Kalamata olives, hummus, heavy Ikarian bread and wine.
“People stay up late here,” Leriadis said. “We wake up late and always take naps. I don’t even open my office until 11 a.m. because no one comes before then. Have you noticed that no one wears a watch here? No clock is working correctly. When you invite someone to lunch, they might come at 10 a.m. or 6 p.m. We simply don’t care about the clock here.”
Leriadis also talked about local “mountain tea,” made from dried herbs endemic to the island, which is enjoyed as an end-of-the-day cocktail. He mentioned wild marjoram, sage (faskomilia), a type of mint tea (fliskouni), rosemary and a drink made from boiling dandelion leaves and adding a little lemon.
“People here think they’re drinking a comforting beverage, but they all double as medicine,” Leriadis said. “Honey, too, is treated as a panacea. They have types of honey here you won’t see anyplace else in the world,” he said. “They use it for everything from treating wounds to curing hangovers, or for treating influenza. Old people here will start their day with a spoonful of honey. They take it like medicine.”
Pointing across the Aegean toward the neighboring island of Samos, he said: “Just 15 kilometers over there is a completely different world. There they are much more developed. There are high-rises and resorts and homes worth a million euros. In Samos, they care about money. Here, we don’t. For the many religious and cultural holidays, people pool their money and buy food and wine. If there is money left over, they give it to the poor. It’s not a ‘me’ place. It’s an ‘us’ place.”
(SOURCE: NEW YORK TIMES)