The history of juicing may take us back over 2000 years! So, what’s the controversy? Well, there’s this little quote is being paraded around the internet (quoting verbatim): “Some of the first documented evidence of humans “juicing” for health benefits are from the dead sea scrolls from 150 B.C. to 70 A.D. Described in the scrolls as ‘a pounded mash of pomegranate and fig’ resulting in ‘profound strength and subtle form.”’ But no one, and I mean no one is giving the codex number from the Dead Sea Scrolls where such a passage is found. Nor do they counter the fact that a mash is not an extract or necessarily juice at all. But I digress; it’s just being copied and pasted everywhere. Not the kind of research that does us any favors, I mean: you can trace it back to a Washington Post article, but they don’t list their source either, (tsk-tsk) but: the quote itself seems to be from Steven Bailey’s Juice Alive (2006).
Even so, we learn that juice comes from the Latin jus – meaning the liquid part of a fruit or vegetable. And it is true that when looking for some of the first instances discussing the use of jus for health, we stumble into medical treatments thousands of years old ever since the dawn of such records, in fact, in Asia and India and the Classical West. Interestingly, they weren’t juicing fruits and vegetables alone as many of us do today; they were making specific compounds, often with herbs and mendicant honey. So, in some ways the history of juicing is in some ways the history of medicine itself!
The history of jucing also takes us back to ancient Greece, where the works of the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates are also said to discuss both juicing and fasting as ways to purify the body.
Citrus, herbs, succulents, all manner of extracted fruits, roots, and greens have been employed to rejuvenate and purify the body, from Polynesia, to Peru, to India, where it was specifically known as svarash, but were mixed with raw or cultured milk. In Ayurveda, we read bout mixing a pinch of rock salt with orange juice or lime to chase away fatigue; how beets, pomegranates, grapes all helped to rebuild the blood or treat anemia; pumpkin juice is key for expelling parasites and worms (Bailey, 24). Even juice of onions and honey has highly touted medical properties! But you don’t see that combo at your local juice presseries much now do ya?
Hippocrates also writes of mixed compounds, such as: barley, herbs, the second pressings of grapes, wheat, thistles, myrtle and pomegranates, and then the patient was sent to rest. Galen of Rome counted Marcus Aurelius, Commodus and Septimus among his patients and sites the juices extracted from apples, grapes, pears, citron, cabbage, celery and beet as treatments in his writings. Paracelsus was a fan during the Renaissance, as was John Hall – Shakespeare’s son in law. Lemonade became popular in 16ht century Italy as a trendy import from the Levant.
The history of juicing takes us all the way into modern times, where we find juicing proponents, such as Sylvester Graham in the late 19th century, and Norman Walker who died 118 years old quietly in his sleep, illness free (others say he died at age 99, but still). He’s considered the 20th century’s master health-longevity guru, was a raw food proponent, natural hygienist, and juicer, who helped Jay “The Juiceman” Kordich beat cancer (link).
Along those lines, we also get Max Gerson (1940’s) and later, Jack LaLanne (1950’s). LaLanne was responsible for showcasing the newly invented Champion machine, the first centrifugal masticating juicer. Suddenly, folks could have access to this machine in their homes, and make it part of their daily routine. Over time it was found that this construction of the centrifugal juice and its high rpm’s (around 4000) heated the juice and destroyed the live enzymes and nutrients. So, in 1993, we are introduced to the world’s first twin-gear juice extractor, based on the mortar-and-pestle method to press out the maximum benefit of those fresh, raw living nutrients without losing them to heat.
The 1990’s and 2000’s saw a huge jump in both alkaline, raw food and juicing consumption, thanks to Joe Cross, Gary Null, Dan McDonald, Jason Vale, Drew Canole, Dr. Sebi, and David Rainoshek, among many others. The biggest commonality between them all is this: deep, green nutrients and the vitality of fruits, herbs and vegetables seem to have this unique ability to deeply scrub through the bloodstream, and reset the digestive tract, even heal metabolic issues. So, while the history of juicing may be interesting, the results of juicing can be life-changing. Maybe it’s time for you to dive into juicing so you can be fit again?
Juice Alive: The Ultimate Guide to Juicing Remedies By Steven Bailey, Larry Trivieri, pgs. 19-33.