A Brief History of Herbs

One of the oldest herbs in history is the popular Ginkgo biloba. Fossil records show that Ginkgo has been on earth at least since the Paleozoic period.

Egyptians wrote one of the earliest known recorded medical documents around the 1500 BC called Papyrus Ebers. This 20-meter long scroll documents 700 plant-based remedies.

The first recorded herbal study, called the Shennong Bencaojing, was written around 2,000 BC by the Chinese Emperor Shen Nong (The Divine Farmer). He is known for a multitude of innovations such as seed preservation, dietary revolution (he advocated a vegetable-focused diet) and tasted hundreds of herbs. The document contains descriptions and information for 300 plants.

During the Middle Ages, monks grew medicinal herbs. The liquor Bénédictine was made at the Benedictine Abbey of Fecamp in Normandy with 27 different plants and spices.

Native Americans introduced the colonists to plants and herbs such as Black Cohosh, which is still used today for relieving menstrual cramps and menopause symptoms.* In fact, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recognizes the value of Black Cohosh.

In the early 1900s, innovations in chemical analysis allowed scientists to extract and modify active ingredients from plants. In America, clashes within the medical community and a growing infatuation with isolated chemicals led to the decline of herbal remedies. However, even today 40% of all pharmaceutical drugs are based on botanicals.

Today, the World Health Organization estimates that 80% of people rely on herbal medicines for some part of their primary healthcare. In fact, 70% of German physicians prescribe plant-based medicines.

Herbal medicine’s effectiveness and safety have stood the test of time. The popularity and longevity of herb use throughout the world are undeniable evidence of the healing power of plants.

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