Prehistoric peoples, who were nomads and hunters, learnt to use the plants around them for food and in ceremonies of ritual magic linked with healing. There was no division between medicine and religion, and the person who had knowledge of healing plants would be seen as being close to Mother Earth. This sacred knowledge, which gave power and prestige first to Shamaness (the medicine woman) and then Medicine Man, would be passed down by word of mouth to initiates. Herbs would be used in one of the most significant of rituals, that of burials, and there is evidence that Neanderthal people covered their dead in flowers when they were buried.
As early races began to settle into agricultural communities, they cultivated some of the most used herbs or had special places near at hand were they could be gathered. This was a time when mot cults were based around Mother Goddess and her son and the cyclical mysteries of birth, death and re-birth as seen in the early cycle of sowing and harvesting corn. We only speculate about the plants they might have venerated, or that played part of their seasonal rituals, and it is with the civilization of Sumeria and Egypt that we first have some written evidence of early herbalism.