Introducing Herbs in History

October 5, 2022

In an effort to preserve and share the fascinating histories of medicinal plants and herbs that have been used around the world for ages, the AHPA Foundation for Education and Research on Botanicals (AHPA-ERB Foundation) is honored to partner with Alain Touwaide, Ph.D., and Emanuela Appetiti of the Institute for the Preservation of Medical Traditions to tell the stories of Herbs in History.

Devoted scholars, Dr. Touwaide and Ms. Appetiti research the history of medicine and pharmacy in the Mediterranean and travel the world to teach, lecture, perform research, and search for ancient manuscripts and medico-botanical texts previously unknown. In addition, they accompany ethnobotanists in the field to gain an understanding of contemporary traditional medicine as a key to interpret ancient traditions.

Dr. Touwaide and Ms. Appetiti founded the Institute for the Preservation of Medical Traditions in 2007 as an organization dedicated to fundamental research, with a special interest in the uses of plants as medicine and food. Further, Dr. Touwaide and Ms. Appetiti are committed to sharing their knowledge—through such projects as Herbs in History—so that their work may be built and expanded upon.

Herbs in History is made possible by funding from the AHPA-ERB Foundation, as part of the nonprofit foundation's mission promote education and research on medicinal, therapeutic, and health-promoting herbs. Tune in monthly for thoughtfully detailed historical accounts of herbs you know and love, and learn more about the origins of medicinal plants that have stood the test of time.

Our journey into history begins with crocus and aloe. Preview the entries below and visit Herbs in History online to read more.

Crocus (Crocus sativus L.)

Filaments of gold

Saffron has the rather unique privilege of being the most expensive spice with the highest demand for medicinal uses worldwide. It is the stigmas of crocus, painstakingly collected during its short flowering period (ca. two weeks) toward the end of October and the very first days of November. | Read more...

Aloe (Aloe vera)


In his Qanun (Canon), the omniscient ibn Sina (980-1037) best known in the Western World as Avicenna, identified aloe as a plant from the island of Socotra, that is, the Socotra Archipelago, east of the Horn of Africa, now Socotra Governorate of Yemen. Ever since, aloe has been considered as a plant from Socotra, with the best and most used species (Aloe perryi Bak.) coming indeed from the island. The story is much longer, however. | Read more...




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