Herbal Medicine – Part I – Historical and Philosophical Background

History

Herbal medicine has been around since before recorded history. Cave paintings in France, radiocarbon-dated to before 13,000 BC, show the use of plants as healing agents. Herbalism was intimately connected to religious practices, and was frequently the jealously-guarded preserve of shamans, or “witch doctors”. The use of herbs as medicine pervades all cultures.

The earliest written records date back over 5000 years in Western culture to the Sumerian civilization. In the East, the Siddha, Unani and Ayurvedic systems from India arose long before the Christian era, and are still practiced today. And traditional Chinese herbology is still thriving as well.

Africa has a long history of herbal remedies, strongly influenced by its links with trading partners from both East and West. Native Americans hold to the belief that illness is caused by a disturbance in one’s balance with nature, and can be cured by rituals that often include the … Read More