Food preparation with the aim of revitalization of the human organism and therapy assistance from illnesses or wounds was known to Greeks from the very ancient times. Τhe foodstuff serving these purposes was named Kykeon. The word is derived from the Greek verb kykao, which means to stir, to mix and the root of the words is related to cooking in most European languages
Homer gives the best example of kykeon preparation to us. In the eleventh rhapsody of Iliad the beautiful Hecamede who was handmaiden to the king of Pylos, the wise old Nestor, put in a drinking vessel (depas) barley flour. Then she added salty goat cheese and finally put to the mix red extra dry wine. This wine was brought by Nestor himself from home and was known as Pramnian Wine. This combination is followed to our days with the red dry wines being served with bread and mature salty cheeses rich in proteins. In this case kykeon was offered to people who were extremely tired from their involvement in continues hand-to-hand combat. (ILIAD 11 ver. 635 – 641). The poet underlines the potency of the foodstuff mentioning that it was good even for the wounded Machaon son of Asclepius – the god of healing.
In Odyssey again Homer expressed his disapproval for the alteration of the kykeon recipe considering it potentially dangerous. The which Kirke offered to Odysseus comraids kykeon mades as in the Iliad but she added herbs and honey in order to disguise their taste. The influence of this mixture makes these men to degrade themselves in animal behaviour as the poet suggest with their transformation to pigs (Odyssey, 10 ver. 230-240) The Ancient Greeks agreed with Homer, as Plato reports in his “Dialogs” where Socrates mentions to Ion that Hecamede offers kykeon at Nestor table (chycheon in the Attic dialect text)
Matthaeus Devarius Index in Eustathii commentarios in Homeri «Iliadem» et «Odysseam» Lipzig 1828
Frederick Ast Platonis quae exstant opera Lipzig 1828