Herb History

Join us as we explore the history of a number of culinary herbs. Herb history includes many traditional, medicinal, historical and downright shocking uses of herbs - everything from magic potions and snakes on the brain to tasty treats for sweeter breath.
Historical Uses of Herbs

Historical Uses of Herbs

Herb history is full of contradictions, superstition and downright dangerous mistakes. The history of herbs, their folklore and legends often read like something from a horror movie – scorpions in the brain, worms in the brain, and all sorts of uninvited guests making their way into the bodies of their victims. And through it all, physicians tried their best to use what information was available to them to treat and cure their patients. Herbs were often part of the cure and unfortunately, in some cases, the cause of the problem.

Much herb history contains a religious significance and herbs were credited with providing protection from evil spirits, ghosts, and even the devil. Many are mentioned in the Bible and some have become controversial or mis-identified due to differences in translations.

We have included the thoughts and theories of many of the doctors and experts of their time in including Pliny, Culpepper and a host of other medical, botanical and horticultural scholars. Their theories run from the absurd to the brilliant and vary from herb to herb. History has proven many of their theories as the mistakes of well-meaning but ill-informed practitioners. However, it has also been showing more and more of their applications of herbs for medical problems are effective.

We hope you enjoy exploring each herb history article that we’ve included and in time we hope to include a history of every herb covered on Our Herb Garden. In the meantime, we invite you to journey back through time and see the clever and downright ridiculous uses that mankind has found for herbs. Some will leave you wondering how mankind has survived at all.

A list of the reference materials and sources we have used can be found on our About Us page.

Herb History & Folklore

Many of the culinary herbs we discuss on Our Herb Garden have long and varied histories. The following list identifies those herbs that we have researched and included on this site

History of Angelica

Name Origin & Early History, Origins, & Early Uses

History of Anise

General History, Medicinal Uses, & Anise and The Animal World

History of Basil

Name Origin & Royal References, Once Thought to Be Harmful, Migration, & Modern History

History of Caraway

Name Origins, Early History, Folklore, The Shakespearean and Victorian Connection, Medicinal Uses, and Modern Uses of Caraway

History of Catnip

Names Origins and General History

History of Coriander

Names Origins, Early Uses & Folklore, and Medicinal Uses of Coriander

History of Cumin

Early History & Folklore, and Medicinal Uses of Cumin

History of Dandelions

History & Folklore, Medicine Uses, World War II, and Alternative Energy

History of Fennel

General History, Historical Medicinal Uses, Fennel As An Antidote, and Modern Medicinal Uses

History of Hyssop

General History, Folklore, Early Medicinal Uses, and Modern Medicinal Uses

History of Lavender

General History

History of Lavender – Folklore & Medicinal Uses

Folklore, Historical Medicinal Uses, and Modern Medicinal Uses

History of Mint

General History and Spearmint Uses

History of Parsley

Folklore and General History

History of Peppermint

General History and Peppermint Uses

History of Rosemary

General History, Rosemary & Weddings, Thievery Cure, Early Medical Uses,
Early Folklore & Non-Medicinal Uses of Rosemary, and Hungary Water

History of Tarragon

Name Origins, Folklore, & General History

History of Thyme

Name Origins, Folklore, & Natural and Medicinal Uses