It’s no exaggeration to say that plants have changed the course of human history, for better or for worse. Human civilization would not have been possible without plants They are used for food, medicine, for making paper and for making clothes. Some plants are even worshiped. Here are three plants that have had a major impact on Western society:
This majestic, slow growing tree, which can live for hundreds of years, was worshiped by the Druids more than 2000 years ago. It is revered even today. There may still be oaks that have been around since the Middle Ages. The tree has long been a symbol of strength and sturdiness.
Humans have used the timber of oak trees for thousands of years. Oak wood is prized for its warm beauty and durability. It is unlikely that humans would have ranged as far and wide as they did without ships built out of oak wood. Trees for Life explains that the wood is also used to make eating utensils, furniture, flooring, artwork, toys and a host of other needful things.
Oak trees are the state trees of Connecticut, Washington D.C., Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland and New Jersey.
The two main species of chamomile are Roman, or common chamomile and German chamomile. Common chamomile was often called “the plant’s physician” because it revived fading plants when it was planted near them. In ancient Egypt, chamomile was used as a health solution and Pliny the Elder recommended chamomile to help issues of the kidneys, bladder and liver. There are places in England that have entire lawns covered in chamomile, and the fragrance when it is walked upon is delicious. The fragrance made it a favorite stewing herb in Medieval times, when it was used to drown out the smells of less pleasant things.
doTERRA explains that plants have always been used as solutions in the past, which is why we look to different ways to incorporate natural plant-based methods of healing in our lives today. Today it is often used in teas and brings calmness. Chamomile tea also relieves stomach upsets and can be added to the bath to soothe children with tantrums.
History of Clothing explains that cotton is one of the most important fibers that humans use to make clothing and a variety of other items. It can even be made into explosives. It belongs to the Gossypium genus and is botanically unusual in that it grows in a boll that opens to reveal a soft white puff. Cotton has been used since prehistoric times and is native to the tropics, though it has been domesticated in many places around the world. Before the Civil War, cotton became so important in the south that it was called “King Cotton.” One of the reasons for the war was the belief of white plantation owners that they could not survive without African slaves to pick cotton, so cotton’s impact on the history of the United States is nearly inestimable.
These are only three of the plants that have made an impact on human history. Even in these modern times, plants are a crucial and storied tool for human survival.
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