With the growing trend towards Șorganicș products and Școming back to natureș worldwide, the rising interest in herbs and herbal remedies, in culinary use, health products, medicine, cosmetics and religious rituals is not surprising. A wide audience shares the fascination for Mother Earthșs generous bounty.
Herbs have a long history and find a mention in ancient texts. Do herbal products have relevance in modern medicine, such as in the treatment of cancer, Alzheimerșs disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and so on?
This book explores the historical, cultural, religious and scientific connection between the East and the West. With the authorșs exposure to forestry training and research and knowledge drawn from the Bible, perhaps one of the biggest references for herbs, Holy Herbs stands at the right spot for tracing a global history of herbs from ancient to modern times.
Today, there is an increasing trend towards organic and green living worldwide. Herbal products, derived from plants and trees are extensively found in foods, nutritional supplements, cosmetics, traditional medicines, and folk remedies.
The global herbal product industry, as per Eurostat figures, reached nearly $200 billion in sales in 2005. According to Kennedy (2005), approximately 38.2 million adults aged 45-64 in the United States used herbs and supplements in 2002. The rates were higher for women than for men (21.0 percent vs. 16.7 percent, respectively).
The Chicago-based research firm, Mintel, estimated that U.S. retail sales of homeopathic and herbal remedies reached $6.4 billion in 2012, up by almost 3 percent from 2011, and has grown 16 percent over the past five years. Mintel forecasted an increase in sales, to $7.5 billion by 2017.
Many products that are popular today have a long history. Ancient texts mention the use of herbs, plants, and trees in food, cosmetics, religious rituals, and medicine. This book investigates the scientific evidence that supports or refutes traditional uses of herbal products, particularly those described in the Old and New Testaments, the Talmud, the Quran, and the Hadiths, which continue to influence billions of people.
By investigating these texts from a historical and scientific viewpoint, I have sought to draw connections between the past and present, as well as between the various cultures and geographies discussed herein.
The Bible, for example, is one of the greatest sources of ancient human history. It describes views, thoughts, practices, and value systems of Jews and Christians from the ancient empires of Babylon, Mesopotamia, Egypt, Persia, Macedonia, Greece, and Rome.
In particular, this book strives to answer the following questions:
1. What is the origin and correct identification of plants mentioned in important religious texts, such as the Bible, and secular literature?
2. What was the value of these herbs in Biblical times?
3. How was trade in herbs conducted over the millennia, and to what extent does this trade survive?
4. What archaeological evidence supports the use of herbal products?
5. What, if any, current research supports the use of herbal products?
6. Do herbal products have relevance in modern medicine, such as in the treatment of cancer, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and so on?
Most books about herbs list various uses with no scientific explanations. They tend to promote the credentials of people who recommend these herbs, and reinforce the false view that herbal products have no side effects and are completely safe for human use.
For example, cinnamon is mentioned in the Book of Exodus in the Bible as a component of the holy anointing oil, and it continues to be a popular spice today. However, scientific analysis has revealed the presence of an alkaloid in cinnamon that can damage the liver when ingested in excess amounts.
There is also disagreement regarding the identity of many herbs mentioned in the Bible and other important religious texts. This book identifies the most probable contemporary species, and offers balanced information about the botanical origins, history, and current research.
Archaeological and documentary evidence of the use of herbs among Jews, Christians, Hindus, and Muslims from ancient Greece, Egypt, and Mesopotamia is discussed. Similarities across various cultures and regions of the Mediterranean, Northern Africa, Asia, and Europe are identified and analysed. An extensive bibliography of reference material is also provided.
The primary audience for this book includes people who are interested in herbal sciences, such as alternative medicine scholars, naturopaths, herbal product manufacturers and traders, herb growers, herbal product users, members of organic and green living communities, research scientists, and biotechnology industry professionals.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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