A Brief Introduction To Herbalism’s History
Unlike many inventions and discoveries throughout time, herbalism did not seem to have any one particular person or country who invented or popularized it. Throughout different regions of the world, there have been countless pioneers in discovering herbal remedies for issues with the human body. Quite shockingly, herbalism began its journey earlier than you might expect.
As far back as 60,000 B.C. there is evidence of herbs being used deliberately by Neanderthals as part of a burial ceremony. Evidence also shows they used to chew on chamomile and other herbs as well. 30,000 years later, herbs were used in shamanistic and natural healing practices. Shamans were often the medicine keepers of each tribe.
In the years 5,000 B.C. through roughly 1,500 A.D., an explosion of herbalism took place all over the globe. Beginning with herbs being used by the Sumerians, countless other cultures also began using herbs in a variety of methods. Chinese traditional medicine began to take root, Egyptians compiled extensive herbal medicine records, and Greek scholars such as Galen delved into medicinal uses for herbs.
Trailblazing Master Herbalists
As we discuss herbalism and holistic healing in some of our upcoming blogs, it’s important to take note of some of the most influential master herbalists throughout history. We’ve narrowed down the list to two.
John Gerard, a native of England, was perhaps one of the most revolutionary figures in herbalism. He expanded the known library of herbal medicines by being the first person to include herbs discovered in the New World. Much of his work was further built upon by future master herbalists.
An esteemed herbalist and botanist, Samuel Thomson was essential in progressing modern herbalism in the 1800s. He had a profound influence upon other herbalists and traditional doctors at the time. Thomson, widely considered to be the “father of American herbalism”, used over 70 different herbs to treat a variety of conditions.
Master Herbalists Of Today
Through the work of countless predecessors, some of the greatest master herbalists of today have been able to continue pursuing the preservation and use of valuable herbs. We’ll discuss a few of the most influential modern herbalists below.
Almost as well known in the herbalism world as the herb rosemary itself, Rosemary Gladstar is widely credited as being the “mother of American herbalism.” She has extensive experience as an herbalist and has dedicated nearly 50 years of her life to the field. She founded a non-profit organization named United Plant Savers, which focuses on keeping herbalism and at-risk herbs alive in forests across the world. She is also the author of 11 books on herbalism.
Another veteran in the herbalism field, Christopher Hobbs is one of the founding members of the American Herbalists Guild. Descended from a long line of herbalists, Hobbs has over 35 years of experience in herbalism. As an avid collector of herbal medicine history books, Christopher is building a sprawling database of over 5,000 books on the subject.
Maria Noel Groves
As an influencer and educator in the field of herbalism, Maria Noel Groves is a registered professional herbalist and a member of the American Herbalist Guild. Maria has dedicated 20 years of her life to the study and use of herbs. She is also a passionate writer in regards to holistic health. Her popular book Body into Balance: An Herbal Guide to Holistic Self-Care is a must-read for those looking to gain balance in their lives.
An Enhancement of Natural Healing Practices
At Danu, we believe supporting your body’s natural healing practices is paramount to recovering and keeping healthy. While medical science has progressed rapidly in the last 100 years, there are many lessons from the past that can still benefit us today. For some individuals, herbal remedies and even CBD usage have benefited them in ways traditional medicine simply could not. Just as food is medicine, herbs are just as important to our long term health and wellness. For a great list of herbs at a glance, be sure to visit here.
Danu invites you to learn more as we continue to discuss natural healing, integrated health, and holistic healing in our blogs to come.