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
Name Origin & Early History, Origins, & Early Uses
General History, Medicinal Uses, & Anise and The Animal World
Name Origin & Royal References, Once Thought to Be Harmful, Migration, & Modern History
Name Origins, Early History, Folklore, The Shakespearean and Victorian Connection, Medicinal Uses, and Modern Uses of Caraway
Names Origins and General History
Names Origins, Early Uses & Folklore, and Medicinal Uses of Coriander
Early History & Folklore, and Medicinal Uses of Cumin
History & Folklore, Medicine Uses, World War II, and Alternative Energy
General History, Historical Medicinal Uses, Fennel As An Antidote, and Modern Medicinal Uses
General History, Folklore, Early Medicinal Uses, and Modern Medicinal Uses
Folklore, Historical Medicinal Uses, and Modern Medicinal Uses
General History and Spearmint Uses
Folklore and General History
General History and Peppermint Uses
General History, Rosemary & Weddings, Thievery Cure, Early Medical Uses,
Early Folklore & Non-Medicinal Uses of Rosemary, and Hungary Water
Name Origins, Folklore, & General History
Name Origins, Folklore, & Natural and Medicinal Uses