A Short Herbal History

Herbal History

Ancient Greek herbal medicine is actually the foundation of our modern western medicine. The Ancient Greeks had amazing extensive knowledge of herbs and their healing properties. We have a lot to thank the Ancient Greeks for, and there was a scholar from Classical Greek called Hippocrates (460 - 370 BC) who was a complete intellect when it came to herbs and medicine he was also known as the father of herbs.


Hippocrates most likely knew about the spirit of the plant, the energy in the hintergrund, the mind of the plant, the plants astral double, whatever one wants to call it, each plant has a life energy, plants have a consciousness which can certainly do more than feed us or look nice in the garden, herbs can transform and completely heal us!. 


The Hippocratic theory is interesting, Hippocrates was the first person to believe that diseases were caused naturally (not from superstitions, gods or demonic energy afflicted upon humans as some kind of penance). The medicine of Hippocrates was humble and passive, based upon the healing power of nature, herbs!. Hippocratic medicine was kind to the patient as if the spirit of the plant was doing its good work. Hippocrates once said that "to eat when you are sick is to feed your illness". His treatments as well as herbs also included fasting and apple cider vinegar.


There were also other great well known herbalists worth mentioning, Theophrastus (371 - 287 BC) Pedanius Dioscorides (40 - 90 AD) Nicholas Culpeper (1616-1654) Robert Hooke (1635 - 1703) Carl Linnaeus (1707 - 1778 AD) Joseph Banks (1743 - 1820)


We live in a world of consumerism and have been conditioned to look for the quick fix. Don't bother doing any meditation or spending time sitting under the oak tree, or taking a nap under the sky in the countryside or anything else that opens our heart and makes us feel whole - simply take these pills. Taking the pills may alleviate the symptoms but will not banish the root of the problem.



Its no wonder Hippocrates was so keyed up with herb lore considering the herb friendly environment in greece, we can see it smell it and feel it for ourselves if we travel to any of the Greek Islands especially the Islands in the South of Greece, the fragrance in the air will never be forgotten, the rich aromas of sage, oregano, rosemary, thyme and basil gives us lasting impressions. If healing is what one seeks, travel to Kos, Rodos or Crete, take time away from the tourist areas and get to know the land. Leave the well beaten paths and head for the hills. For any information on local sites and places in Greece worth checking please don't hesitate to contact me.


Of course we can enjoy, grow and use herbs in most places on earth and if we don't have a garden, no problem, get some propagated on the window ledges.



  •  Herbs as medicines
  •  Herbs for spiritual cleaning, purifying the air (incense, oils, resins).
  •  To ward off unwanted spirits.
  •  In rituals.
  •  In cooking to flavour food.
  •  As a source of food.
  •  As a perfume.
  •  For bathing (ritual baths).
  •  As a source of unique subtle energy.
  •  Steeped in freshly boiled water for tea (few leaves per cup needed). 

10 all time favourites:



There are two distinct main types of sage that occur, in Europe, usual garden sage, and Greek mountain sage. The Greek variety has strong camphor or sometimes musky smelling over-tones. In Greece many of these plants smell just slightly different from each other, just as if each plant has its own individual character!. For thousands of years it's been burned in temples to purify and cleanse the space. The Greeks and Romans both documented that the smoke from this plant imparted wisdom and mental acuity, and at the least a long and healthy life! (no need for any of them expensive plastic wrapped eastern incense sticks or imported American smudge bundles, simply pick and dry your own). Makes a great all round healthy tea.



Although oregano is heavily associated with Italian cuisine it is likely that it originated in Greece. The word oregano comes from the Greek, meaning “joy of the mountain”.  Oregano is also believed to calm nerves and is sometimes used to cure sea sickness. The ancient Greeks made creams derived from oregano leaves and used them to treat sores and aching muscles. Traditional Chinese doctors have used oregano for centuries to relieve fever, vomiting, diarrhea, jaundice and itchy skin. In Europe, the herb is still used to improve digestion and soothe coughs. Keep a few plants in the garden to dispell any negative energy.



Basil actually belongs to the mint family of herbs. In Europe the Genovese variety is all to common its also called (sweet basil) and is originally from from Genoa (Italy), it is very easy to grow and it's great in the kitchen, but certainly has a different consistency in comparison to its older Greek cousins. In Greece there are many different varieties still in there native form, be sure to collect some seeds from some dry flower heads next time visiting Greece. Basil is great for keeping mosquitos and flies away from its growing area. Not only do the Greek people believe it keeps away mosquitos, they also believe that if a basil plant is growing outside there house it will keep away evil spirits.

Basil really enjoys being grown in pots, making it a great herb for growing on the kitchen window ledge or on the balcony. Please contact me if you need any basil seeds or young plants.



There are more than 24 different types of upright rosemary and 12 types of creeping varieties. This plant increases one`s memory and has a long history of use in all manner of spiritual and religious rites. Rosemary tea is said to act as a stimulant for study and concentration, and is great for many dishes in the kitchen.



Chives are a great powerhouse of health, such a small thin plant can give us such a big boost. Chives contain thio sufinites which convert to allicin when its leaves are crushed. Lab studies show that allicin reduces cholesterol production by inhibiting the HMG-CoA reductase enzyme in the liver cells. It also has anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties. Chives also contain much more vitamin A than any other allium(onion) family member, protecting the body from lung and mouth cancers. Chives also contain large amounts of vitamin C and vitamin K  for bone health - strengthening and formation. The thin magic leaves are also packed with other B-complex vitamins as well as essential minerals such as copper, iron, manganese, zinc and calcium.


Lemon Balm

Lemon balm is usually used in the healing of people with nervous disorders. A tea made with the leaves brings stability and calmness of the mind, making it a great tea of anyone studying. Lemon Balm leaves may also be scattered into the bath water to create a tranquil calming bath. It is said that the usage and respect of lemon balm opens one up to the divine love of the goddess, and is also brings much positive energy. Also great for musicians and students for focusing on their art or studies.



These often neglected wonderful plants are associated with the ability to dispel unconsciousness. The young leaves taken as a tea are not only good for the body but also good for the spirit. Nettle leaves are full of iron and help with formation of red blood cells. The leaves drunk as tea or boiled and eaten decrease the risk of skin disorders and are also great for healing asthma. Nettles are still to this day used as spell breakers,

a simple spell breaker can be made by crushing up dried nettles into a powder and putting the powder into some linen and hanging it around ones neck. The dried leaves can also be burned incense style in the corners of the room or a doorway to chase out any unwanted spirits. Nettle tee is a great tonic, perfect for anyone with low energy or lack of iron. Nettle tea is also a great internal cleanser getting to work in the kidneys, liver and urinary tract.



Thyme tee can help with headaches and inflammatory pain, but it's best use is for relieving flu symptoms and colds, even some intestinal problems can be overcome by drinking a cup of thyme tee in the morning and evening. Its also said that growing thyme in the garden will encourage the garden spirits to be more lively. There is much spiritual energy to be found in the gardens where thyme thrives.



Lavender has always been a herb associated with bringing calmness and serenity to the inner self, it reduces stress, banishes depression, purifies the air, gives an altogether good feeling all around. This herb grown below roses can guarantee parasite and lice free roses!.  It is also possible to take the old dried lavender flowers, sprinkle them on the carpet or rug jump around on them a bit, leave them for an hour letting them impart there aroma into the carpet, then vacuum them or shake the rug out, the carpet or rug is left with a wonderful natural lavender aroma!



There are 3 main varieties of mint: peppermint, spearmint, and water mint. Care should be taken when propagating, as the different mint plants can cross pollinate and quickly produce plants that look like mint but don't have any aroma, or essential energy anymore, so its best to stick with one variety in the garden, another word of notice is that mint is rather an aggressive plant which produces tuber shooting roots that can take over a small veg patch or herb garden if left unchecked. The way around this problem is to plant mint in pots and then embed the pot into the herb garden creating a barrier to stop the running roots!  Peppermint makes a great tea for digestive purposes also drink the tea at bedtime to enhance the mystical nature of our dreams.


Tea Time

Simply take some fresh or dried, put them in a ceramic bowl or cup, pour over boiling water according to taste, and drink, so simple to absorb and realise the energy of the herbs.


Last Word, What makes a herb a herb?

Many say a herb is a herbaceous plant (a plant which dies back to the ground each year). My definition of a herb is any plant that has been recognised to have either a medicinal or spiritual value, that can include anything from garlic to a mighty oak tree! Herbs have an ability to heal and better our lives when used with respect and thankfulness, and remember `prevention is better than cure´.


Thank you very much for being there and reading this, all the very best to you this summer time.


Peter C.  


First circulated by earth-spirit.net  April 2016.

Edited & Updated May 2019.