To reference the earliest mention of Herbs let’s to go to the Bible. Genesis 1:11 says “ Then God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself , on the earth’ and it was so.” Genesis 1:29-30 goes on to say, “ And God said, ‘See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.’ And it was so."

Herbs are food, often used as medicine.

Food is defined as plant or animal material that contains essential body nutrients such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, essential minerals and vitamins, which (when ingested and assimilated through digestion) sustains life, generates energy, and provides growth, maintenance, and health of the body.

Medicine is defined as a drug or herb used to maintain health or treat health issue.

The Shennong Ben Cao Jing (The Divine Farmer’s Materia Medica) was written around 2,000 BC by the Chinese Emperor Shen Nong. It is known as the first recorded herbal study. It is still considered an important reference book for the study of Chinese Medicine.

The Egyptians wrote one of the two oldest known recorded medical documents dating back to 1550 BC called Papyrus Ebers or Ebers Papyrus. The 20 meter long scroll documents over 700 plant-based remedies.

In the early 1900’s chemical analysis became available, which allowed scientists to extract and modify the active ingredients from plants. And then chemists began making their own version of plant compounds and over time the use of herbal medicines declined in favor of drugs. More than 40% of all pharmaceutical drugs are derived from plant botanicals. Including everything from common aspirin, to powerful cancer-fighting medications such as tamoxifen.

The WHO estimates 80% of people rely on herbal medicines for at least part of their primary health care. In Germany there are roughly 600- 700 plant-based medicines available, and are prescribed by 70% of the German physicians.

In regard to herbs and herbal products we often read or hear “Not evaluated by the FDA”, yet people have been using herbs for hundreds of years. Herbal Medicines 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.
It should also be noted to always use caution when combining herbs and supplements with prescription medications. Herbs can often counter or enhance the effectiveness of a prescribed medication. Always let your Doctor and pharmacist know what you are using.

Timeout for Massage, Therapeutic/Medical Massage
Lorelei Vaughan, MMT, CIMI

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