The use of herbs by humans dates back to 5000 BCE. Sumerian Clay Tablets written in cuneiform ( wedge-shaped characters used in the ancient writing systems of Mesopotamia, Persia, and Ugarit ) have been found with information regarding herbs being used as medicine. Clear evidence has been found to suggest by 1500 BCE the Ancient Egyptians were using coriander, fennel, thyme and possibly other herbs. The physician Galen used fairly complicated combinations of medicinal herbs containing several dozen ingredients, in Greece as early as 160 CE.
Alcuin, Emperor Charlemagne’s Teacher and Finest Scholar, refereed to herbs as “The friend of physicians and the praise of cooks.” Emperor Charlemagne was a known herbalist whose personal herb garden contained over 74 different plants.
The Forme of Cury, an extensive collection of medieval English recipes from the 14th century that promotes the use of herbs, states in its preface that herbs are “the assent and advisement of the masters of physic and philosophy in the King’s Court”.