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A Short History
By AmythystFire (copyright, 2000)
Coven of the Tropic Moon
(used with permission, if you would like to use this information on your site please contact AmythystFire for permission)
The word Herb is defined as a non-woody plant that dies down to the ground after flowering. The term herb, however, is more commonly applied in general to a plant or part of a plant that is used medicinally, in textiles(such as cloth, cosmetics, or dying) or in food.
Historically, herbs were known for their medicinal properties as well as for cooking. The study of herbs can be dated back some 5000 years to the Sumerians. The first dated herb was from China and was written in 2700 B.C. The book lists 365 medicinal plants and their uses. Herbs were also commonly used by “Physicians” in Egypt, Rome, & Greece.
The first European compilation of the properties & uses of medicinal plants, called De Materia Medica, was done by the Greek Physician Dioscorides in the first century A.D. This compilation of more than 500
plants remained an authoritative reference well into the 17th century. The use of plants for medicine & other purposes have changed little during the Middle Ages. The early Christian church discouraged the formal practice of Medicine, preferring faith healing. Many Greek and Roman writings were preserved by the diligent hand coping by monasteries. Therefore monasteries became the local centers of medicinal knowledge. With their gardens providing the raw materials.
Meanwhile folk medicine home and village continued uninterrupted supporting numerous wandering and settled herbalists. Among these were the “wise-women”, who prescribed ancient secret herbal remedies along with
spells and enchantments. They were the target of the witch hysteria of the Middle Ages. Medical Schools began in the 11th century.
During the Middle Ages an herb know for its healing properties might be prescribed by a peasant grandmother, sold by a wandering herbalist, charmed as an ingredient in a magic potion or charm by a wise woman a quack; or it may be compounded into some complex & vile concoction dispensed by a physician in the hopes that it would drive out whatever possessed the victim. Above all, these plants are burdened by both Pagan and Christian superstition that often was more important than their actual properties.
The 17th century also began the slow erosion of plants as the sources of therapy. The introduction of active chemical drugs such as arsenic, copper sulfate. iron, mercury, and sulfur; by the physician Paracelsus, and the
rapid development of chemistry and other physical science in the 17th, 18th, & 19th centuries led to the dominance of chemotherapy (chemical medicine) as the orthodox system of the 20th century. This change was challenged by Samuel Hahnemann in the 19th century who believed that the symptoms are the way of the body acts to eliminate the cause of disease. The German physician-priest Father Sebastian Kneipp, who combined herbs with his world-famous natural “water-healing” directed Dr. Benedict Lust to take his method of healing to America. Dr. Lust opened his first health food store in the US in 1895. Affiliated with it he had 2 Yungborn
Sanitariums, one was in Butler New Jersey and the other in Tangerine, Florida; thereby providing Naturopathy to thousands of natural health seekers.
Naturopathy relies on simple herbal remedies in conjunction with fasting, exercise, fresh air, sunshine, water and diet. Both Homeopathy and Naturopathy took hold in the US in the 19th century, however it did not stop
the triumph of chemotherapy, but has survived because it offers something that chemotherapy lacks, simplicity and a treatment that is harmonious with life, not antagonistic to it.
Magickal Herbs Preparation

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