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- Antakya’s Crowning Glory: Daphne
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Antakya’s Crowning Glory: Daphne
MY NAME IS DAPHNE, AND MY STORY IS OLD. I WAS A LOVELY NYMPH BEFORE I BECAME A TREE. BUT I’M VERY CONTENTED WITH MY LOT. I AM THE SOURCE OF LIVELIHOOD, THE JEWEL, THE CROWNING GLORY OF ANTIOCH, MY HOME. WHAT MORE COULD I WANT?
I grow and mature in mountainous regions, alone and self-sufficient. I’m small but extremely hardy. So hardy that my leaves are green all year round. I’m neither eaten nor drunk, but my fragrance, my leaves and my berries are miracles unto themselves. And they all promote beauty.
As for my past, as I said, I was once a water nymph. Apollo, the son of Zeus, loved me, and I loved giving chase. I ran through forests, orchards and meadows. Just when I was about to be caught, I took refuge in the earth. “Oh, Earth Mother,” I pleaded, “Cover me, hide me, protect me.” My plea was heard and my body became a tree, my feet the roots, my arms the branches, my hair the leaves. Apollo fashioned a wreath for his head from my leaves. I have been a crown on the head of many a hero down the ages. And now I am the crowning glory of my home, Antakya (ancient Antioch).
Along with olive oil, laurel oil extracted from the leaves of the laurel or bay tree (‘defne’ in Turkish) is the basic ingredient of this soap. A mixture containing no additives apart from natural foaming agents such as rock salt, muddy water and oak bark ashes, it is boiled and turned into soap, which is then poured into molds and cut in squares before being subjected to a lengthy drying process…
THE BENEFITS OF DAPHNE SOAP
Naturally abrasive, it renews the cells and rejuvenates the body as well as curing many dermatological conditions thanks to its antimicrobial properties. It also prevents hair loss and dandruff.