It is National Herb Day on May 4! It is usually celebrated annually on the first Saturday of May. The HerbDay Coalition, an organization of five non-profit groups, started National Herb Day to raise awareness about the useful properties and importance of herbs in daily life. They also work towards encouraging people to learn more about the herbs and provide a better understanding of the extensive uses of herbs in daily life. Herbs are extensively used in food, medicines, and cosmetics. They also served as the first medicines ever used by humans to cure various ailments.
History of National Herb Day
Botanically, herbs are classified as the green parts of a plant used in food or medicine. Herbs are as old as human civilizations and have been used for cooking and medicine since time immemorial. There is well-preserved archaeological evidence pointing to the use of herbs 60,000 years ago. Neanderthals, ancestors of modern Homo sapiens, started using herbs for healing. In a way, we can say that herbs predate even that of recorded history and form the origin of much of modern medicine. Archeologists have discovered traces of pollen and other plant materials near burials, indicating the use of herbs.
There is hardly any civilization that didn’t take advantage of the use of herbs. The Sumerians, Egyptians, Indians, and Chinese all used herbs independently of one another. They created clay tablets that date back 5,000 years and listed hundreds of medicinal plants on them. In Egypt, texts like Papyrus Ebers describe ailments, treatments, and around 850 medicinal plants. The Indian medicinal school of Ayurveda, which uses natural remedies and herbal medicine to cure health conditions, is still prevalent in this modern age. Ayurvedic medicine has used many herbs dating back to 4000 B.C.
The study and use of herbs thrived in the Middle Ages when most cultures attributed spiritual qualities to herbs. A prominent example is the holy status of basil leaves in India. There is also a resurgence in the use of herbs in the last 40 years due to the impact of chemical drugs and the investment in pharmaceutical research and development. To address the growing popularity of herbs and to spread their importance, the HerbDay Coalition started National Herb Day.
National Herb Day timeline
The “Rig Veda” and the “Atharva Veda,” the Vedic scriptures of Hinduism, mention the prevalence of medicinal plants and Ayurveda.
Sumerians write about hundreds of medicinal herbs on clay tablets.
Peter Treveris prints “Grete Herball,” the first English herbal.
The popularity of herbal medicines declines because of their ineffectiveness against the Bubonic Plague.
National Herb Day FAQs
How many herbs are there in the United States?
There are approximately 75 to 100 herbs listed in the National Library of Medicine
What is the most popular herb in the world?
Cumin is generally considered the most popular herb in the world.
Is an herb a vegetable?
Herbs are a subset of vegetables, which are generally composed of flavorful leaves of plants such as cilantro and basil.
National Herb Day Activities
Buy herbal products
Herbal products are rich in medicinal properties and nutrient values. Purchase herbal products for your daily use.
Invite friends for an herbal-themed party
Invite friends for an herbal-themed party. Create food and decorations in the shape of various herbs available in your locality.
Create an herbal garden
Create an herbal garden in your backyard. Try herbs that are already available in your locality before expanding your horizons over time.
5 Facts About Herbs That You Should Know
Stronger flavor for dried herbs
Both dried and fresh herbs can be used, but dried herbs have a stronger flavor.
Herbalists and botanists
In the middle ages, botanists were known as herbalists.
Herbal: The book of plants
A book containing the names, legends, stories, and descriptions of plants is called a ‘herbal.’
Herbal medicine users
80% of people worldwide use herbal medicines.
Herbal medicines in Germany
Around 600 to 700 plant-based medicines are available in Germany.
Why We Love National Herb Day
Low side effects
Herbal medicines have fewer side effects compared to modern medications. It may be slow compared to modern medicine, but certain herbal medicines are effective against many lifestyle diseases.
Good for health
Herbs are good for your health. They are rich in nutrients and have medicinal value.
A second option
Herbal medicines are a second option for various lifestyle diseases. Major diseases like diabetes can be controlled with herbal remedies.
National Herb Day dates