Herbs have been used for time uncounted for healing the sick and infirm. The earliest recorded herbs have been found to date back as far as 2500BC. It is certain that they were used widely even prior to that time. Even in prehistoric days, plants were sought and used for shelter, food and medicine. Some of the ancient cave etchings have shown glyphs of plant leaves and roots being used by the caveman.
There are records of the Sumerians using thyme and laurel 5,000 years ago. As far back as 2700 BC the Chinese people were known to use over 300 plants for medicinal purposes. Records of Egyptian culture, as far back as 1000 BC, tell of the common uses of many herbs and plants for food, medicine, and dyes. These Egyptians have written of using garlic, indigo, mint, and opium. Even the Old Testament speaks of the people using wheat , rye, and barley. The ancient Greeks and Romans used herbs and other plants for cosmetics, in magical and religious ceremonies, both symbolically and realistically, and as medicine and seasonings for cooking.
Almost every region in this world has its own indigenous herb and medicinal plants that are endowed with special herbal factors and characteristics.
Here is a brief timeline that explains the evolution of herbs and other medicinal plants:
One of the strangest things about herbal medicinal practice is that no one ever kept or maintained proper records of different recipes and formulae that were used to make the herbal drugs. In many cases the vital information was just passed onto the next generation by the way of mouth and experience.
With the advent of modern methods of food processing and chemically engineered nutrients and medicines, many natural herbal remedies have been lost and people have fallen away from their uses in food, shelter, and medicines. This is unfortunate, as herbs and other plants still contain the vitamins, essential oils, mucilage, alkaloids and other natural ingredients that are beneficial to the body, mind, and spirit of man.