Medical herbs are a type of natural remedy that uses plants or plant extracts to treat illness or promote health. For centuries, humans have used medicinal herbs to cure various ailments. However, with the advent of modern medicine, many of these herbs have fallen out of use. Here are seven extinct medical herbs you need to know about.
1. Balm of Gilead
The balm of Gilead was a popular medicinal herb used in the Middle Ages to treat various ailments such as colds, headaches, and infections. The herb gets its name from the biblical city of Gilead, which was located in present-day Jordan. The balm was made from the resin of the balsam tree, which was native to the region.
Bloodwort was an herb used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat a variety of conditions including high blood pressure and hemorrhoids. The herb gets its name from its reddish-brown color, which is due to the presence of iron in the plant. Bloodwort was also used as a dye for fabrics and as an insecticide.
Boneset was an herb native to North America that was used by Native Americans to treat broken bones and fever. The herb gets its name from its purported ability to set broken bones. Boneset was also used to make a tea that was thought to relieve cold and flu symptoms.
Horehound is an herb native to Europe and Asia that has been used for centuries to treat respiratory problems such as bronchitis, coughs, and colds. The herb gets its name from the Greek word for “chewing,” as the leaves of the plant were traditionally chewed to release the medicinal properties. Horehound tea is still a popular remedy for cold and flu symptoms.
Mandrake is a flowering plant native to the Mediterranean region that was used in ancient times as a general anesthetic. The herb gets its name from the Greek word for “sleep-inducing,” as it was thought to induce sleep. Mandrake was also used in potions and magical rituals.
6. Unicorn Root
Unicorn root is an herb native to North America that was used by Native Americans to treat a variety of conditions including fever, stomach problems, and headaches. The herb gets its name from the horn-like shape of its roots. Unicorn root was also used in love potions and as a talisman against evil spirits.
7. Viper’s Bugloss
Viper’s bugloss is a flowering plant native to Europe and Asia that was used in ancient times to treat snake bites and scorpion stings. The herb gets its name from the Greek word for “snake,” as it was thought to be a cure for snake bites. Viper’s bugloss was also used in potions and magical rituals.
In the End
While many of these herbs are no longer used in modern medicine, they still have a place in history. These seven extinct medical herbs offer a glimpse into the past and a reminder of the many ways humans have used plants to treat illness and promote health.