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Herbalism and Herbal Medicine Throughout the Ages

Austin Vape and Smoke is proud to carry our own line of herbal alternatives to pharmaceutical solutions: Professor Whyte’s kratom, CBD oil, lotion, crumble, and edibles. Herbal medicine and herbalism have a long history, and AVS is excited to tap into this wealth of knowledge to provide you with superior products.

Ancient Roots

Many ancient cultures like the Chinese, Indians, Babylonians, Egyptians, and Native Americans practiced herbalism, or the study and use of plants as medicine. The earliest document recording herbal traditions is Chinese and dates from 3000 B.C.
Much later, surgeons traveling with the Roman army spread their knowledge of herbalism throughout the Roman empire. For a while, herbalism was practiced strictly by those trained to be physicians, with ‘physic gardens’ dedicated to growing useful, medicinal herbs.
Then, in the mid 1500’s, the introduction of the printing press meant that copies of medical texts became available outside of palaces, monasteries, and universities. Now, anyone could practice herbalism with ease by collecting plants and using methods their copies told them to.

The ‘Doctrine of Signatures’

As time went on, different theories of herbalism emerged. In the fifteen and sixteen hundreds, the ‘doctrine of signatures’ was the reigning theory. According to the ‘doctrine of signatures’, a plant’s color, scent, shape, or habitat indicated what it should be used for, so for example, yellow plants or plants with yellow flowers were used to treat jaundice, while people with heart problems would have sought out plants with heart shaped petals or leaves.


Around a hundred years later, the ‘doctrine of signatures’ was more or less abandoned in favor of a different line of reasoning: astrology. Astrological herbalism connected certain herbs and body parts to different zodiac signs, so if a specific part of the body was afflicted, its corresponding herb would be prescribed.

The Beginnings of Botany

Astrology’s days in medicine were short-lived, as medicine and science in general were shifting from a speculative art, to an experimental process more akin to the scientific process we know and use today. Traditional forms of herbalism didn’t mesh well with this shift, and botany was born from the side of herbalism that adhered to this new scientific way of thinking.

Herbalism Today

Today’s herbalism and natural remedies stem from the botanical side of this shift. The scientific method has blended with ancient experiential knowledge to produce tested, effective products like ours. Kratom and hemp plants have been used for centuries for their beneficial properties, and combined with today’s scientific advances, kratom and CBD products are more beneficial than ever.
Stop by one of our AVS locations today to browse our line of Professor Whyte’s CBD and kratom products!