Civilizations have a
long history of the utilization of mecinal plants throughout the world. Treating
illnesses of mankind with the consumption of medicinal plants is believed as
old as humankind. Archeological proofs for the use of herbal remedies go back to
more than fourty thousand years. Since immemorial time, on the track of finding
rescue for illnessess, materials including medicinal plants have been used to
treat mankind (Mahmood et al., 2005). It is believed that beginning of the use
of medicinal plant has been instinctive. Wild varieties, which have medicinal properties,
were used for therapies at first. It is evidenced that burial grounds of Neanderthal
have found to report with several plant species used up to date. Similar
tradition of valuable consumables had been buried with dead bodies or ashes of
dead bodies including jewelleries, perfumes, clothes, and medicinal plants etc.
This can be evidenced by burial grounds in Pomparippu,
and Ibbankatuwa etc (“Unearthing Sri
Lanka’s Past”, 1998). Medicinal plants (e.g. poppy) have been found with Ice
Man in the Alps in Switzerland dates back to more than 5,300 years (Bahn, 2005).
At that time, information on reasons for illnesses, suitable plant species and
its remedial formulations were insufficient mainly aware of based on practical experience.
Since life of ancient humankind so hard, Homo
sapiens balangodensis (30 000 B.P.) had been produced tools using stones,
animal skeletons etc (Daraniyagala, 1963). Stone implements had been used for
surgical needs until discovering iron.
Almost all of the earliest traditional knowledge in medicine still
dominant in the various part of the world was unrecorded as an ice-berg, where
smaller portion may has been discovered. The cuneiform writing on Nagpurean clay-slabs
in Mesopotamia reveals natural raw materials were used as medicine comprising
12 recepes referring more than 240 plants by the Sumerians circa around 5th
millanium B.C. Pen T’Sao is refered on plants, which is written by royal scholar
Shen Nung in the 3rd millanium B.C. It has mentioned more than 350 recepes,
which still have been used in traditional medicine (TM). Cinnamon, ginseng, and
camphor are some of refered plants. It is believed that mummification of dead
royal bodies in Egypt have been preserved using large amount of herbal extracts,
which is evidenced in Gaza pyramids and Cairo meusium. Moreover, evidences have
been found in the Babylonia (1770 B.C.) and the Egypt (1550 B.C.) for the
consumption of medicinal plants. The Ebers Papyrus (1550 B.C.) had mentioned more
than 500 recepes and plant species including castor oil plant, aloe, senna,
garlic, onion, coriander etc (Petrovska, 2012). Red Indians in America had used
pineapple (Ananas comosos) to reduce
inflammation and to treat for stomachache.