Where Did the Use of Herbs in Medicine Start?

Rosemary Bush
Rosemary Bush
Rosmary in bloom
Rosmary in bloom
Cresote in bloom
Cresote in bloom
Cresote in the Sonoran desert
Cresote in the Sonoran desert

Who Found Herbs First Do You Imagine?

 

Anyone who has read “The Clan of the Cave Bear” by Auel was quickly and wonderfully addicted to the use of herbs as medicines. It is not unknown that herbs, plants, parts of different botanicals have been studied and put to use for medicinal uses since Homosapiens and their ancestors first walked this earth.  Imagine being the ‘nurse’ of your clan or tribe and having everyone coming to you for their continued well-being! Nursing has always been a stressful vocation but goodness think of what those first women had to do to find out what worked on what illness and how much to give for it to be effective!

It is a more than probable idea that they used themselves as guinea pigs…watched the animals as they ate the plants, watched to see what could be used safely; and think of the heartbreak if a herb failed to work at all! No wonder the sacred smoke, prayers, and other mystical events surrounding the use of herbal medicines were employed and still are in the world today. Those women, shamans, wise ones needed all the help they could get! Shoot! This nurse always says a little help me Lord, whenever I have to start an IV, get blood or do a painful wound dressing. None of us is alone; all of us depend on ones living and dead to help us.

Unfortunately, it is not possible to prove beyond a doubt that herbs and women have been tied together with their family’s health since prehistory began. This is a theory only, but one which I have wondered and imagined over for many years.  I can see the women and their families as they make their way from one place to another, nomads, following the herds and the safe shelter from the weather. I can hear their cries of pain when one of their own was injured or sick. Even a common cold could have dire consequences when you have to move from one place to another every four to six months. Those women, mothers, sisters, aunts, grandmothers, and friends all had to depend on one another, work together as a team and gather all the plants they would need as the plants were at their peak. Once gathered, the nurse or wise woman of the tribe would create the tinctures, poultices, powders or allow the whole plants to dry naturally, depending on what the plant was to be used.

The part that has always fascinated this author is the research of finding a new herb. If we look again at a common cold we know it is going to make any one miserable for a few days then that person will cough for another one to three weeks and that will finally be it. Except if you are living with 20-30 other people and it begins to spread from one to another, then the nursing hours will increase exponentially!! So, in order to learn how to shorten the duration, ease the symptoms and of course, keep the well among the tribe as well as possible! I have imagined a very curious child or young woman; tasting the leaves and fruits and seeds on the many variety of plants found along their migration. I myself, cannot pass a creosote bush or a rosemary bush without pulling my hands down its branch to smell the scent these plants leave on my hands.

“Rosemary, that’s for remembrance” And oddly enough, rosemary and creosote can  BOTH be used for the common cold!

As if not all of that were enough the first wise woman had to start thinking and looking for her replacement from a very early age! In addition, all of her knowledge had to go into the head and heart and hands of the one she called to be her follower. It is possible that, just as in Jean Auel's book, "Clan of the Cave Bear” that follower was her own daughter but it is just as probable that some were chosen from the tribe itself. It would have been a great honour to be chosen for that task as well as very difficult. The child would need to have the same natural curiosity and extensive memory of the wise woman in order to succeed. If the child could not grasp all of the knowledge, not only the health and well-being of the tribe would suffer; the tribes very existence may have depended solely on the memories and abilities of the wise person with knowledge of the herbs themselves.

 

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Did You Know?

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Comments 13 comments

Helpmerhonda profile image

Helpmerhonda 6 years ago from Central Washington

Herbs have been used for medicinal purposes since the beginning of time it seems. Hippocrates had knowledge of over 400 herbs himself! The earliest proof of use of herbs dates back to 2200 BC In the region of Sumeria! Egyptians embalmed their dead with herbs. Native Indian medicine men have used herbs throughout history, the most prevalent population for use of herbs however was the Chinese!


RNMSN profile image

RNMSN 6 years ago from Tucson, Az Author

right you are helpmerhonda(one of my fav songs btw!!) but it just occurred to me I posted this a day early....dadgumit...wonder if it still counts for the contest>???? are you doing it?


Ghost Whisper 77 profile image

Ghost Whisper 77 6 years ago from The U.S. Government protects Nazi War Criminals

I rely on many herbs-instead of meds. They work!! The big secret that pharmecuetical companies don't want you to know!!! Great hub!!


RNMSN profile image

RNMSN 6 years ago from Tucson, Az Author

way to go ghost whisper 77!! I bet you harvest your own as well!! love and good health to you!


ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 6 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

This is true of so many thing Barbar. You wonder how on earth someone first decided to use it. Good Hub


RNMSN profile image

RNMSN 6 years ago from Tucson, Az Author

thank you Ethel/your words mean so much to me :) love to you...hey are you playing this month contest? I started too early and could have sworn!!!! yesterday was today haha oh well....love you


 6 years ago

I too rely on many herbs instead of meds, especially Serrapeptase which combats inflammation. Voted ya up!


Helpmerhonda profile image

Helpmerhonda 6 years ago from Central Washington

RNMSN I know I get home from work in the early AM and my posts don't count toward the contests because I'm too early! You should check out my cold and flu home remedy that I also posted 9 hours too early for the contest! Oh well :)


RNMSN profile image

RNMSN 6 years ago from Tucson, Az Author

oh helpmerhonda :) at least great minds think alke eh AND early!! well we are on track now and I will vote yours up as the kids say and you and I will keep on writing!! love to you!!


Accutane Lawsuit Settlements 5 years ago

Very interesting hub, this answers my long question on where did the use of herbs in medicine start?

Thanks!


RNMSN profile image

RNMSN 5 years ago from Tucson, Az Author

thank you!! I had a good time with this one

love to you

barbara b


travel_man1971 profile image

travel_man1971 5 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

My mother used to pound a wild herb called Moors' herb (bulong Moros in our dialect here in Bicol, Philippines) to cure cuts and open wounds when I was a child then. She's still doing it these days and she taught me to know the medical values of local herbs and its wild counterparts.


RNMSN profile image

RNMSN 5 years ago from Tucson, Az Author

isn't it wonderful to be able to use what God has given us to help us?

your Momma must be wonderful to know!! how lucky you are!

love to you and thanks for the comment

barbara b

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