The use of plant medicines predates written human history, with archaeological evidence suggesting that humans were using them in the Paleolithic era some 60,000 years ago. Around 3,000 BC the Sumerians began documenting hundreds of herbs in Mesopotamia, detailing their health benefits on stone tablets.
The Ancient Egyptians listed ailments and their subsequent herbal remedies on papyrus, whilst in India the practice of Ayurvedic medicine dates back to around 4,000 BC, and in the 6th century BC an ancient sanskrit text called the Sushruta Samhita detailed some 700 medicinal plants. China too has a rich history of using plant medicines to treat an endless list of ailments, and closer to home in Europe and Britain we share a rich history in the same ilk.
Unfortunately, whilst the rise of pharmaceutical medicine and pharmacology in the late 19th and 20th century has meant huge leaps forward in the treatment of certain diseases and ailments, it has also bred a collective disdain for herbalism in the medical community which has filtered down into society. Even today in many circles if you expressed a desire to opt for “alternative medicine”, you might get some funny looks as people perceived you as a wafty hippy, or perhaps a little woo woo.
Thankfully with a more conscious generation of human beings, people are increasingly doing their own research into herbalism and the treatment of the conditions they may have. Rather than simply taking the first prescription their doctor gives them, irrespective of the potentially negative side effects.
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