Long before records were kept, man was using wild herbs for medicine. Over many years he learned that some plants were safe to eat, while others caused poisoning and death. Discovering which plants were useful must have been a matter of trial and error, sometimes no doubt with disastrous results. From remote times myths and legends grew up about the power of herbs.
In early biblical days the Hebrews used herbs as healthy flavoursome foods. The only plant put to medicinal use was the mandrake root, which was widely used as a painkiller. Although they were well aware of the healing properties of many herbs, the Hebrews held that man should not interfere with the purpose of God, the great healer, by trying to heal himself. Gradually this tradition changed. The later Prophets decreed that the power to heal diseases had been granted by God to physicians in return for their prayers. Most of the herbs used were native to the Middle East. The thymes, sages, mints and marjorams grew in the Bible lands as did rosemary and hyssop. Coriander and cumin can from Egypt.