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Manna (sometimes mistakenly or archaically spelled Mana) is the name of the food miraculously produced for the Israelites in the desert in the book of Exodus. Manna ceased to appear when the Israelites first harvested their crops in their new homeland.


The mysterious substance which (according to the Bible) was provided miraculously by God to the Hebrews in the desert. It has also been used to refer to any divine or spiritual nourishment, in reference to the above. Christian use of the word "manna" in reference to this, according to some, has definite archetypal similarities.

Some modern critics believe this may have been an edible wafer or sap of a variety of cactus found in the Sinai peninsula. Others have hypothesized that it was one of the species of kosher locusts found in the region.


The term manna is also used in the modern context to refer to a secretion from various plants, including certain desert or semi-desert shrubs and especially the Ash Fraxinus ornus (manna or flowering ash) of Southern Europe. The material is produced by sap-sucking insects that secrete a honeydew like liquid, that when dried forms manna; it has a sweet taste. Eaten in large quantities, it is mildly laxative and has been used medicinally for that purpose.

See also