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How War Erases History of Sacred Plant Medicines and Artifacts:

Updated: May 19, 2023


Throughout history, wars have been a constant source of destruction and devastation. They have led to the loss of countless lives, the displacement of entire populations, and the destruction of cities and civilizations. However, one of the lesser-known consequences of war is the erasure of history, particularly the history of sacred medicines and artifacts. Sacred medicines and artifacts are an integral part of many cultures and religions. They are often used in religious ceremonies and rituals and are considered to be imbued with spiritual power and significance. However, during times of war, these sacred objects are often targeted and destroyed, leading to the loss of important cultural and religious heritage. One example of this is the destruction of the Library of Alexandria during the Roman conquest of Egypt in 30 BC. The library was home to thousands of ancient texts, including many works on medicine and pharmacology. The loss of these texts had a significant impact on the development of medicine and science in the ancient world.

Above, The Remains: The Destruction of Palmyra in Syria


Similarly, during the Spanish conquest of the Americas in the 16th century, many sacred medicines and artifacts were destroyed or confiscated by the conquistadors. The Aztecs, for example, used a variety of medicinal plants in their healing practices, many of which were lost during the conquest. The same is true for: Native American cultures: During the colonization of the Americas, many Native American tribes were forced to abandon their traditional practices and sacred medicines. The U.S. government also banned the use of peyote, a sacred plant used in Native American religious ceremonies. African cultures: During the transatlantic slave trade, many African cultures lost their sacred artifacts and medicines as they were forcibly taken from their homes and brought to the Americas. Middle Eastern cultures: The ongoing conflicts in the Middle East have led to the destruction of many ancient artifacts and sacred sites, including the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria. Asian cultures: The Japanese invasion of China during World War II led to the destruction of many ancient temples and artifacts, including the famous Shaolin Temple. The loss and destruction of historical plant medicines, artifacts, and sacred history through war is a global issue that has affected many cultures and religions and needs to be brought to the forefront of our attention to prevent more catastrophic trauma in the future, as it’s still an ongoing occurrence.



-Sean Despain


New Earth Integration and Plant Medicine

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