This absorbing history of medicine takes the reader on a sweeping journey from the Stone Age to modern times, showing that Western medicine has its origins not only in the academic tradition of doctors and pharmacists, but in the healing lore of Paleolithic hunters and gatherers, herding nomads, and the early sedentary farmers. Anthropologist and ethnobotanist Wolf D. Storl vividly describes the many ways that ancient peoples have used the plants in their immediate environment, along with handed-down knowledge and traditions, to treat the variety of ailments they encountered in daily life.

 

In an accessible and comprehensive narrative, Storl explains how the words that accompanied the healing methods were as important as the plants themselves, and how appeals to the plant spirit constituted a powerful element of the tradition. The current interest in herbalism, he demonstrates, is not an anomaly or a trend but a continuation of the medicine-seeking that has always been part of being human.

The Untold History of Healing: Plant Lore and Medicinal Magic from the Stone Age

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