History of Herbalism

Herbs have been around since the beginning of time. However, our knowledge of herbs is relatively newer considering how long herbs have been around. The earliest time of herbal use appear to be around the paleolithic age. Evidence has been found that the neanderthal may have used herbs and weeds to treat ailments. These would likely be things such as an upset stomach or a headache, but herbs were still used to treat these problems. Thousands of years ago, the medical advancements that many use today were not available, so the practitioners of the time used herbs to treat different ailments.
The Chinese were among the first to start medical work using herbs to treat people. With Asia and the Greeks and Romans right behind them. It seems though, that Asia was were herbalism got its start. Around 200 BC, the Chinese began keeping records of the medical qualities of different herbs and what they were used for as well as the dosages used. This is also around the time when acupuncture started. As time went on, more people started working with herbs and keeping track of what herbs did and what doses to use for different people. When willow bark was found to help with pain and fevers, practitioners starting using it more and more. The first aspirin was made from willow bark too.
Once Christianity got involved, many herbalists went underground because the monasteries took over medical treatment of the people in the area. The Church believed that the epidemics that were hitting the people were because God was angry rather than a medical ailment. The cure was laying of hands and prayer rather than herbs. Even though the Chinese knew that the herbs worked to treat these ailments, Christians believed that God was angry and sinners could repent to make the illness go away. Christians were able to do this because they provided medical treatment for free whereas others were charging for their services. When the Bubonic plague hit, it was finally determined that the rats were carrying the disease because populations where cats were abundant had lower cases of the plague. Once the Church figured this out, they started to eradicate cats saying they were the devils helpers. This was one way to keep the people coming to Church and repenting their sins believing they would be healed. The Church established medical corporations which shoved the herbalists even further underground. The herbalists were highly persecuted because they differed from the Church.
More recently, herbalists are being sought out for the information they have and the medical advice they are able to give. It seems that people are getting fed up with the traditional medical facilities and going back to the Shaman or the Wise one in the community for help with their health care. Many herbalists have been taught though what has come down for generations along with newer information that is becoming available. Schools are now available for those who want to learn to be an herbalist. These schools were shut down in years gone because the schools did not want to lose their accreditation status. These schools are coming back into fashion because people are becoming immune to the medicines that are available and finding that herbs may work better for them. Of course these herbs do not contain the chemicals that traditional medicine does contain. In my opinion, this is a getting back to basics way of thinking. Many thousands of years ago, herbs treated illness and most of our traditional medicines come from these basic synthesized medicines. To go back to this seems more natural to me.
Since herbs were the first form of medication, it seems natural to go back to it since many people are becoming immune to traditional medications. The information on herbs have been passed down for thousands of years and even though it was usually the woman providing the care, it was the men that wrote it all down. These works from Hippocrates and Culpepper are famous for the information contained, it was probably information given to them by women who have used the remedies. Regardless, herbs are used for treatment of illness and have been used for many thousands of years. This is something that will be around for a very long time and we will probably end up going back to this type of treatment as more and more people become immune to traditional medications. Herbalism works though, so it should be something that we have been doing for the long haul for our own health and well being.

References:
Christopher Hobbs History of Western Herbalism Author Christopher Hobbs https://www.christopherhobbs.com/librar ... herbalism/
The Herbal Academy Herbal History: Herbalism Through the Centuries Author The Herbal Academy https://theherbalacademy.com/herbal-history/
The Modern Herbal Primer: A Simple Guide to the Magic of Medicine of 100 Healing Herbs Nancy Burke and the Editors of The Old Farmer's Almanac (Yankee Publishing, 2000) 8-10
Rocky Mountain Herbal Institute A World History of Herbology and Medical Herbalism: Oppressed Arts Author Roger W. Wicke, PH.D https://www.rmhiherbal.org/aa/f-ahr1-hist.html
University of Virgina A Brief History of Herbalism Author Claude Moore Health Sciences Library http://exhibits.hsl.virginia.edu/herbs/brief-history/

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