Who were the Mesolithic people

Stone Age Plants

Stilted plant garden in Attersee

Under the direction of Prof. Dr. Helga Oeser created a show garden in the stilt pavilion in Attersee am Attersee between 2015–2016, which clearly demonstrates with the help of which plants the people at the Attersee around 4000 BC. Nourished, treated diseases and colored textiles.

The brochure, "Prehistoric Plants and their Properties" is published in 2017 by the Friends of Archeology Association - on the shores of Lake Attersee and its hinterland [1] reissued. 45 different plants, which the pile dwelling settlers knew how to use, are shown as examples. In the following article, analogous to the brochure, these plants are described with origin, properties, special features, ingredients, applications and modes of action according to the current state of knowledge.


Let's start in our Stone Age garden with the grain that dates back 10,000 years BC. Were grown in the Near East and were the first to come to our area with the culture of linear ceramic tape almost 7,500 years ago.

According to the types of wheat Einkorn and Emmer came a little later barley to Central Europe. The Primeval wheat Einkorn and Emmer are undemanding in terms of the quality of the soil. They were the main suppliers of carbohydrates and were prepared, for example, in soups, porridge or bread.

Also grown legumes like pea and lens, enormously important sources of vegetable protein, used the Stone Age farmers for food; besides that, they also built oilseeds like Opium poppy and flax at. With their fatty oils, these also covered the need for unsaturated fatty acids.

Despite the arrival of arable farming in Central Europe with linear ceramics and the ever broader spectrum of cultivated plants, wild plants and their fruits continued to be used; they served as a source of mainly protein and fatty oils like the one Common hazel, and sugar at elder, Wild strawberry, blackberry, raspberry, Blueberry, rosehips, Bladder cherry or woodapple.

Emmer (Photo: Andreas G. Heiss)

Emmer - Triticum dicoccum

Parent plant: Triticum dicoccum (Triticum dicoccoides) is derived from wild emmer.

Properties / special features: Wilder Emmer is the forefather of the Emmer range; Durum wheat (T. durum) and kamut also belong to it. Like einkorn, emmer is one of the oldest types of grain and occurs in southeastern Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel and in eastern Iraq and Iran (fertile crescent). The plant has been grown for around 10,000 years. The emmer has two grains per spikelet that are tightly enclosed by husks. Emmer can grow up to 1.50 m high. However, the enormous height can cause problems with stability. Emmer is very hardy, can withstand temperatures down to minus 30 degrees! Harvest: early to mid-August.

Ingredients: Emmer is rich in carbohydrates and minerals, comparable to einkorn.

Einkorn (Photo: Andreas G. Heiss)

Einkorn - Triticum monococcum

Parent plant: Triticum monococcum, comes from the wild einkorn (Triticum boeoticum boiss).

Properties / special features: The area of ​​origin of Einkorn - as with Emmer - is in the so-called "fertile crescent" in the Middle East. Wild einkorn was already important as a forage plant in the Mesolithic and Epipalaeolithic. Einkorn is the most important cultivated plant of the band ceramic, followed by emmer (T. dicoccum). Remnants of einkorn were also found at the Copper Age OETZI. Relatively undemanding, resistant to many pests such as root rot, husk tan or ergot fungus. Today grown in Central Europe and Turkey. Processed products such as pasta, bread and beer made from einkorn are also increasingly being offered.

Ingredients: Contains more minerals and amino acids than hybrid wheat; high yellow pigment content of beta-carotene (yellow color); beer can be brewed from einkorn malt.

Barley (Photo: Andreas G. Heiss)

barley - Hordeum vulgaris

Parent plant: Barley (Hordeum vulgare), belongs to the genus Hordeum of the sweet grass family (Poaceae).

Properties / special features: Barley is an annual grass with awns that reaches heights of 0.7 to 1.2 m. Two-row barley varieties (mainly spring barley) are mainly used in beer production as brewing barley (malt). Four- and six-row barley types are predominantly winter barley types. Barley originates from the Middle East and the Eastern Balkans. The oldest evidence of barley use goes back to 15,000 BC. backdate. Barley is closely related to the wild barley found in the Middle East (Hordeum vulgare subsp. Spontaneum). Barley, einkorn and emmer were the first types of grain cultivated specifically by humans. From 7000 BC the systematic selection of breeding began and barley has also been grown in Central Europe since the Neolithic Age (3500 BC). With wild barley, the ripe grains fall out of the ear and have to be picked up.

Ingredients: Basically, barley contains protein, fat, carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins and amino acids.

Lens (Photo: Helga Oeser)

lens - Lens culinaris

Parent plant: Lens culinaris; Legumes (Fabaceae or Leguminosae)

Properties / special features: The lentil thrives best in marly or sandy, calcareous and loose clay soils. It can be found in the Neolithic (7000 BC) and in the Middle East as a wild lens. The legume, which is yellow when ripe between May and September, is elongated (10 to 15 mm). The round, flat, about 1 to 2 mm thick seeds have a diameter of 3 to 7 mm.

Ingredients: Red lentils contain indigestible or even poisonous ingredients (lectins and others) that are rendered harmless by cooking. If the lentils are soaked before cooking, the content of unpalatable ingredients is reduced. The following ingredients should be mentioned: protein, sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, beta-carotene and vitamins E, B1, B2, B6, folic acid, vitamin C.

Peas (Photo: Helga Oeser)

Peas - Pisum sativum

Parent plant: Peas (Pisum sativun); Legumes (Fabaceae or Leguminosae)

Properties / special features: The pea is an annual herbaceous plant. The legumes are 3 to 12 cm long, 1 to 2.5 cm thick and, depending on the species, green or brownish, rarely black. The legumes contain 4 to 10 seeds called peas. The peas originally came from Asia Minor and have been an important crop for thousands of years. The cultivation of the peas is based on archaeological finds from around 8000 BC. occupied; This makes the pea one of the oldest plants (pre-ceramic Neolithic and earlier fertile crescent moon).

Ingredients: Green ripe peas contain 18-20% dry matter, which is distributed as follows: 5-8% protein, 0.5% fat, 10-15% carbohydrates. Ripe seeds contain 20-25% protein, 1-3% fat, and 60% carbohydrates. Minerals are calcium, phosphorus, sodium, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, manganese, copper.

Bladder cherry (Photo: Andreas G. Heiss)

Bladder cherry - Physalis alkekengi

Parent plant: Bladder cherry (Physalis alkekengi), also called Jewish cherry or Cape gooseberry; Post shade family (Solanaceae)

Properties / special features: Bladder cherries - up to 90 species - are annual or (more rarely) perennial herbaceous plants that grow upright, bushy or creeping (0.2 or 0.6 m high). They form rhizomes that branch underground for several meters. Popular because of their orange calyxes as cut or dried flowers.

Ingredients: Ripe fruits (berries) are yellowish to strong orange with an unpleasant aftertaste; Ingredients are vitamin C, B1, A and iron.

Folk medicine: Against urinary tract infections.

Wild strawberry (Photo: Andreas G. Heiss)

Wild strawberry - Fragaria vesca

Parent plant: Wild strawberry (Fragaria vesca); Rose family (Rosaceae)

Properties / special features: The forest strawberry is native to all of Europe and North Asia. It grows preferentially in light deciduous and coniferous forests as well as along the forest edges. The forest strawberry prefers partially shaded locations and needs moisture, especially well-drained, nutrient-rich and humus-rich soils.

Ingredients: Strawberry leaves contain condensed tannins, ellag tannins, as well as flavonoids and leucoanthocyanins. Ascorbic acid is only present in small amounts and essential oil only in very small amounts.

Folk medicine: Due to the tannin content, strawberry leaves are used as a remedy for diarrhea. The plant's younger leaves are also used as a substitute for black tea. To make tea, one gram of finely chopped drug is poured over with boiling water and strained after five to ten minutes. If you have diarrhea, you should drink a cup several times a day.

woodapple - Malus sylvestris

Parent plant: Crab apple (Malus sylvestris); Rose family (Rosaceae)

Properties / special features: The crab apple is a deciduous tree that reaches heights of up to 10 m; However, it mainly grows as a large shrub with heights of 3 to 5 m. In April to May the pink - white flowers appear on bare flower stalks. The spherical fruits are yellow-green with red cheeks, have a diameter of only 2 to 4 cm, are tart - sour and woody. Crab apples were already used in the days of the pile dwellings. The fruits can be eaten dried or cooked. Since the spread of the cultivated apple, the crab apple no longer has any economic importance.

Ingredients: The fruit contains the anthocyanin glycoside idaein (from cyanidin and galactose). Apple seeds are slightly poisonous due to amygdalin!

Common hazel Photo: Tropics org. in: IPCN Chromosome Reports / Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis

Common hazel - Corylus avellana

Parent plant: Common hazel (Corylus avellana) - hazel or hazelnut bush; Birch family (Betulaceae)

Properties / special features: About 5 m high, deciduous shrub native to Europe and Asia Minor. He is known for the edible fruit that has been used by humans for thousands of years, the hazelnuts. The hazel has female and male inflorescences. The hazel has its flowering time in February / March before the leaves shoot and, as an early flowering plant, is an important supplier of pollen. The maximum age is around 80 to 100 years.

Ingredients: The seeds of the hazelnut contain around 60% fatty oil; 100 g correspond to around 2700 kJoules of energy. The main ingredients are: protein, carbohydrates, fats (primarily monounsaturated fatty acids), vitamins (A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B9, C and E) and minerals such as calcium, iron, sodium, phosphorus and potassium.

Elderberry (Photo: Andreas G. Heiss)

elder - Flores Sambucus nigra

Parent plant: Elderberry (Sambucus nigra); Musk herb family (Adoxaceae) or honeysuckle family (Caprifoliaceae)

Properties / special features: The genus has a little over 10 species worldwide, three of which are native to Central Europe. The best known of these three species is the black elder, which in today's parlance is simple elder is called, in Northern Germany "Fliederbeerbusch" and in Bavaria and Austria Holler.

Ingredients: The black berries - actually stone fruits - contain vitamin C. The cyanogenic glycoside sambunigrin is contained in the leaves, the bark, in unripe berries and in the seeds of ripe berries. There are different statements about the toxicity in humans. They range from non-toxic to to avoid. When heated, sambunigrin breaks down and the berries lose their toxicity.

Blackberry (Photo: Sebastian Wallroth)

blackberry - Rubus fruticosus

Parent plant: Blackberry (Rubus fruticosus); Rose family (Rosaceae)

Properties / special features: From a botanical point of view, the mostly blue-black fruits when ripe are not berries, but aggregate drupes that are formed from the individual carpels. Each of your small individual berries has the same structure as a stone fruit (for example a cherry) and, like this one, has a thin outer skin.

Ingredients: The stone fruits have a sour taste due to the fruit acids; their color is caused by anthocyanins. Leaves contain tannins, flavonoids and fruit acids such as citric acid and isocitric acid and some vitamin C. Due to the tannin content, the medicine / leaves are used as an astringent and remedy for diarrhea, for gargling for inflammation in the mouth and throat, but also externally for washing with chronic skin diseases .


The other plants in our Stone Age garden are characterized by multiple functions such as nutrition and medicinal effect The latter property was observed in practice by the Stone Age people. Today we can explain the practical application in earlier times on the basis of the proven ingredients and also assign certain indications in individual cases.

Based on the findings from everyday life, certain classes of indications can be described to which certain plants or drugs can be assigned. The standardization of the quality of herbal medicinal products takes place nowadays according to the specifications of the valid pharmacopoeias, so that information about known ingredients and instructions for use is available for consumers. In addition, it should be mentioned that the use of various plants is anchored in folk medicine, for which there is no proof of effectiveness.

Disorders in the stomach and intestines

Yarrow herb (Photo: Ilse Zündorf)

Yarrow herb - Herba Millefolii

Parent plant: Achillea millefolium (common yarrow); Asteraceae

Ingredients: Terpenes, flavonoids, chamazulene, coumarins, tannins; Luteolin and apigenin (yellow dye)

Indication: Slight spasmodic gastrointestinal biliary disorders, gastric catarrh, loss of appetite (standard approval), stomach and intestinal complaints (inflammation, diarrhea, flatulence, cramps), as an anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, cholagogue, stomachic agent Comparable to chamomile!

  • Tea preparations (standard approval)
  • Internal use: 2–4 g of finely chopped drug are poured over with boiling water (approx. 150 ml), allowed to draw covered for 10–15 min and then passed through a tea strainer.
  • External use: compresses, douches

The sesquiterpene lactones are also likely to be involved in the antiseptic and anti-inflammatory effect (see also arnica and chamomile flowers).

Caraway (Photo: Ilse Zündorf)

Caraway seed - Fructus Carvi

Parent plant: Carum carvi; Apiaceae (Umbelliferae)

Ingredients: 3–7% essential oil composed of carvone (50–80%) and other terpenes; also 10–80% fatty oil, approx. 20% protein, approx. 20% carbohydrates and flavonoids.

Indication: Stomachic, as the essential oil stimulates gastric secretion and promotes appetite. As a carminative because of its spasmolytic effect, similar to fennel, anise and coriander.

Folk medicine: Improvement of the tolerance of flatulence-inducing foods such as cabbage and fresh bread. Brandy winemaking!

Preparations (dosage): 1-2 teaspoons full of caraway seeds are squeezed, poured over 150 ml of boiling water and passed through a tea strainer after 10 to 15 minutes. A cup of freshly prepared tea infusion 2–3 times a day, drunk warm between meals (standard approval).

Odermennigkraut (Photo: Andreas G. Heiss)

Odermenigkraut - Herba Agrimoniae

Parent plant: Agrimonia eupatoria (small orchid); Rosaceae

Ingredients: 4–10% catechin tannins, tannin content: at least 2.5% terpenes, bitter substances, essential oils, flavonoids (including quercetin, apigenin) and allegedly up to 12% silica.

Indication: mildly acting astringent, internally and externally; for pharyngitis, gastroenteritis, intestinal diseases.

Folk medicine: in cholecystopathies (liverwort!) - no justification due to the ingredients.

Preparations (teas and steam baths): 1.5 g of finely chopped drug are mixed with cold water and briefly boiled or poured with boiling water and passed through a tea strainer after 5 minutes.

Finished medicinal products: Extracts of the drug can be found in cholagogues, gastrointestinal remedies.

Centaury (Photo: Ilse Zündorf)

Centaury - Herba Centaurii

Parent plant: Centaurium erythrea; there are many adulterations!

Ingredients: Small amounts of intensely tasting glycosides, up to 0.4% flavonoids, phenol carboxylic acids, triterpenes, traces of pyridine and actinidine alkaloids.

Indication: As a pure bitter agent (Amarum purum) to stimulate the appetite, to increase gastric juice secretion, especially in chronic dyspeptic conditions; less effective than comparable drugs, e.g. gentian root.

Preparations (teas and baths): Pour boiling hot water (approx. 150 ml) over 1–2 teaspoons of millennium herb and let it steep for 10 to 15 minutes, covered; then filtered through a tea strainer.

Finished Medicinal Products: About 20 finished medicinal products as cholagogues and urologics on the market.

Blueberry (Photo: Helga Oeser)

Blueberry - Fructus Myrtilli

Parent plant: Vaccinium myrtillus, also known as blueberries, blackberries, wild berries, wild berries, bickberry, gooseberry, cranberry and hayberry. Heather Family: Ericaceae

Ingredients: Up to 10% tannins, mainly catechin tannins, also anthocyanins, flavonoids, fruit acids, invert sugar and pectins.

Indication: Antidiarrheal, especially in mild cases of enteritis.

Tea preparation (dosage): 1–2 tablespoons of blueberries are boiled in approx. 150 ml of water and passed through a tea strainer while still hot. The tea can also be drunk cold by brewing it for 2 hours. If you have diarrhea, drink a cup several times a day!

Coughs and colds

Butterbur (Photo: Ilse Zündorf)

Butterbur - Folia Petasitidis

Parent plant: Petasites hybridus; Asteraceae

Ingredients: Esters of sesquiterpene alcohols, flavonoids, slimy substances, tannins.

Indication: Antispasmodic with analgesic effects; Sweat and diuretic, and because of its expectorant properties also against coughs and hoarseness. Fresh leaves are often used to treat wounds and skin conditions.

Folk medicine: Butterbur leaves were used as toilet paper by the Stone Age and Bronze Age people, especially when working in the mining industry. Detected in excrement found in mining, together with tapeworms and parasites!

Tea preparations (dosage): Boiling water is poured over 1.2-2 g of the cut drug and passed through a tea strainer after 5 to 10 minutes. 1 teaspoon (about 0.6 g) full of butterbur leaves are poured over with hot water (about 150 ml) and poured through a tea strainer after about 10 minutes.

Lungwort (Photo: Andreas G. Heiss)

Lungwort - Herba Pulmonariae

Parent plant: Pulmonaria officinalis (lungwort); Boraginaceae

Synonyms: Real lungwort, deer chard, deer cabbage, Our Lady's milk herb, blue cowslip, cowslip, consumption tea, etc.

Ingredients: Mucilage and other carbohydrates up to 15% minerals, including approx. 3% silica; Flavonoids.

Indication: Only important in folk medicine as a mildly irritant-relieving and expectorant cough suppressant, occasionally also as a mucilaginous and antidiarrheal. Early use against lung diseases, e.g. tuberculosis, hence lungwort:

Preparations: 1.5 g of finely chopped drug are mixed with cold water and briefly boiled or poured with boiling water and passed through a tea strainer after 5 to 10 minutes.

Verbena (Photo: Ilse Zündorf)

Verbena - Herba Verbenae (officinalis)

Parent plant: Verbena officinalis (verbena); Verbenaceae

Synonyms: Pigeon weed, cat blood weed, legend herb

Ingredients: 0.2-0.5% iridoid glycosides (verbenaline, hastatoside); Traces of essential oil; some slime.

Indication: Practically exclusively in folk medicine as a diuretic, as an astringent for poorly healing wounds and fever, as a galactagogue, as an expectorant for chronic bronchitis and as an anti-rheumatic agent.

Preparations (dosage): Water is poured over 1.5 g of dried verbena and strained after 5 to 10 minutes.

Tea preparations: The drug is also offered in filter bags; with very different indications, as they correspond to the folk medical application.

Coltsfoot (Photo: Ilse Zündorf)

Coltsfoot - Folia Farfarae

Parent plant: Tussilago farfara; Asteraceae

Synonyms: Burn lettuce, breast lettuce, horsefoot

Ingredients: 6–10% mucilage and inulin, also tannins (approx. 5%) and, in small amounts, flavonoids, various vegetable acids, terpenes and sterols.

Indications: In case of catarrhal inflammation, dry cough, acute and chronic irritation in the mouth and throat. The mucous substances have an enveloping effect, they cover the mucous membranes with a layer that softens chemical and physical stimuli and thus reduces the urge to cough.

Preparations: Pour boiling water over 1.5–2.5 g of the cut drug and strain after 5 to 10 minutes.

Areas of application: To relieve irritation in inflammation of the mucous membranes in the mouth and throat; to alleviate a dry cough in the case of bronchial catarrh (standard approval).

Kidney and bladder diseases

Rose hips (Photo: Ekkehard Kubasta)

rosehips - Cynosbati Fructus cum Semine

Parent plant: Rosa canina (dog rose), Rosa pendulina (alpine rose); Rosaceae

Ingredients: Vitamin C content at approx. 0.3%; Tannins, sugar, fruit acids

Indication: Support of therapy in case of vitamin C deficiency

Folk medicine: Mild laxative and diuretic effect (contains pectin and fruit acid); Kidney and bladder diseases, also with gout and rheumatism; Breakfast tea, jam.

Tea preparations (dosage): Boiling water is poured over 2–2.5 g of cut drug and passed through a tea strainer after 10 to 15 minutes. As an expectorant, drink 1 cup of freshly made tea several times a day between meals.

Tea preparations: Mixture with hibiscus flowers as a refreshing tea in tea bags.

Juniper (Photo: Ilse Zündorf)

juniper - Fructus Juniperi

Parent plant: Juniperus communis (Juniper berries: Cupressaceae)

Ingredients: 0.5–2% essential oil with monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes as main components; also 30% invert sugar, 3 - 5% catechin tannins, flavonoids and leucoanthocyanides.

Indication: As a diuretic and urinary antiseptic, especially for chronic and recurrent inflammation.

Folk medicine: As a stomachic, carminative and as a spice for dyspeptic complaints (only this indication is mentioned in the standard approval!).

Preparations (dosage): Tea preparation: 0.5–2 g of freshly squeezed fruit are poured over with boiling water and passed through a tea strainer after 10 to 15 minutes. Unless otherwise prescribed, 1 cup of tea is drunk 3-4 times a day.

Dandelion (Photo: Ilse Zündorf)

Dandelion herb - Herba Taraxaci and

Dandelion root - Radix Taraxaci

Parent plant: Taraxacum officinale (dandelion); Cichoriaceae

Ingredients: Terpenes such as Taraxasterol etc, carotenes, flavonoids, apigenin-7-glucoside, caffeic acid; Mucus, sugar (fructose), inulin, high potassium content.

Indication: Mild choleretic, diuretic, appetizing amarum and as an adjuvant in hepatopathies. Root: astringent effect due to the tannin content (gargle); in prostate cancer.

Folk medicine: Haematopoietic, mild laxative, cholagogic, diuretic and saluretic effect (similar to furosemide), for biliary tract diseases, care of the scalp, antidiabetic effect.

Preparations (dosage): 1.5 g of cut drug are mixed with cold water or poured directly with boiling water and passed through a tea strainer after 10 to 15 minutes. Also 1 cup several times a day. Finished medicinal products (standard approval): Part of diuretic tea mixtures with Folia Orthosiphonis, Herba Equiseti, Fructus Juniperi.

Bearberry leaves (Photo: Ilse Zündorf)

Bearberry leaves - Folia Uvae Ursi

Parent plant: Arctostaphylos uva ursi (bearberry); Ericaceae

Ingredients: Hydroquinone derivatives with the main component arbutin (at least 6% hydroquinone monoglucoside), furthermore 15–20% tannins, flavonoids and terpenes.

Indication: As a urine disinfectant for mild inflammatory diseases of the urinary tract and the bladder. The antibacterial effect is due to the hydroquinone released in the urine from the excretion products hydroquinone glucuronide and the hydroquinone sulfuric acid ester.

Preparations (dosage): Tea preparation: 1.5–2.5 g of cut drug are poured over with boiling water and after 10 to 15 minutes passed through a tea strainer.

Tea preparations (standard approval): Tea infusion bags are available in stores. The drug is a component of numerous bladder and kidney teas.

Nettle (Photo: Ilse Zündorf)

Nettle herb - Herba Urticae and

Stinging nettle root - Radix Urticae

Parent plant: Urtica dioica (great nettle); Urticaceae

Ingredients: Carotenoids, chlorophyll, terpenes, mineral salts, silica, formic acid, acetic acid, citric acid, stinging hairs contain amines (including histamine, serotonin, choline)

Indication: Diuretic and saluretic effects; Root: astringent effect due to the tannin content (gargle); in prostate cancer.

Folk medicine: Haematopoietic, increase in enzyme production in the pancreas, in biliary tract diseases.

Preparations (dosage): Tea mixtures with Folia Orthosiphonis, Herba Equiseti, Fructus Juniperi 1.5 g of cut drug are mixed with cold water or poured directly with boiling water and poured through a tea strainer after 10 to 15 minutes. Finished medicinal products (standard approval): Part of diuretic tea mixtures.

Quendel (Photo: Helga Oeser)

Quendel - Herba Serpylli

Parent plant: Thymus serpyllum; Quendel - wild thyme; Lamiaceae

Ingredients: 0.1-0.6% essential oil, which can vary according to origin: thymol, carvacrol, p-cymene, cineol, terpeneol, pinene and other terpenes; up to about 7% tannins, bitter substances, flavonoids.

Indication: Similar to real thyme, but weaker.

Folk medicine: As a stomachic, carminative, expektrorans, for bladder and kidney diseases as an aromatic; externally for herbal cures and baths. Alcoholic extracts for rubbing in for rheumatic pain.

Tea preparations (dosage): Boiling water is poured over 1.5–2 g of the cut drug and passed through a tea strainer after 10 to 15 minutes. As an expectorant, drink 1 cup of freshly made tea several times a day between meals.

Different indication areas

Poppy seeds (Photo: Andreas G. Heiss)

Poppy - Papaver

Parent plant: Papaver somniferum; Papaveraceae, 50 to 120 species worldwide

Ingredients: Whether sweet or spicy, the small black seeds taste great and for that reason alone are addictive. The parts of the plant have a white or yellow milky sap that contains poisonous alkaloids. The soporific and addictive opium alkaloid morphine contained in the milky sap of the poppy seeds has long been bred from the poppy seeds in our latitudes. Health concerns when consuming poppy seeds are therefore now unfounded.

Folk medicine: Calming effect

Linseed (Photo: Ilse Zündorf)

linseed - Semen Lini

Parent plant: Linum usitatissimum; Linaceae

Ingredients: about 3–6% mucus located in the epidermis of the seeds; after hydrolysis, galactose (8-12%), arabinose (9-12%), rhamnose (13-29%), xylose (25-27%) and galacturonic acid and mannuronic acid (approx. 30%) are formed; approx. 30-40% fatty oil, present as triglycerides of linolenic, linoleic and oleic acid; approx. 25% proteins, approx. 7% phosphatides, sterols, terpenes.

Indication: Bulking agents and laxatives (whole drug); due to the mucilage that sits on the seed surface, supported by the crude fiber content (cellulose) of the seed coat. Support of inflammatory stomach and intestinal diseases (standard approval).

Preparations: Take about 1 teaspoon (2–3 g) with flaxseed whole or freshly ground with plenty of liquid with meals. Inadequate fluid intake can lead to flatulence. The effect occurs after 12 to 24 hours.

Goosefingerwort (Photo: Ilse Zündorf)

Goose weed - Herba Anserinae

Parent plant: Potentilla anserinae; Rosaceae (also called varicose herb)

Ingredients: 6-10% tannins, predominantly of the ellagic acid type; Flavonoids and leucoanthocyanidins, choline.

Indication: Due to the tannin content, the drug can be used internally and externally as an astringent. There are several studies on the predicted spasmolytic effect, the results are controversial.

Folk medicine: For cramp-like complaints, including the striated muscles; Supportive treatment of diarrhea, abdominal and abdominal pain with cramps and menstrual cramps.

Preparations (dosage): 1-2 teaspoons of goosefinger with hot water (approx. 150 ml)

Comfrey root (Photo: Ilse Zündorf)

Comfrey root - Radix Symphyti

Parent plant: Symphytum officinale; Boraginaceae

Ingredients: approx. 0.6–0.8% allantoin, approx. 0.02–0.07% pyrrolizidine alkaloids; Tannins, plenty of mucilage, starch, terpenes and sterols as well as gamma - aminobutyric acid.

Indication: Externally in the form of poultices and pastes as an anti-inflammatory agent for periosteum inflammation, joint inflammation, gout nodules, to promote callus formation in bone fractures, in tendinitis, arthritis, hematomas, glandular swellings and to treat poorly healing wounds and boils. Internally: gastritis

Preparations (dosage): About 5 to 10 g of finely chopped or powdered drug pour boiling water (approx. 150 ml) over it and pass through a sieve after 10 minutes. Comfrey roots or their extracts are contained in several finished medicinal products.

Dyeing and dyeing techniques

Färber-Wau (Photo: Helga Oeser)
Dyer's madder (Photo: Helga Oeser)
Dyer's woad (Photo: Helga Oeser)
Dyer's chamomile (Photo: Helga Oeser)

Dye plants may also have played a role in the Neolithic Age (6000–4000 BC); However, we derive our current level of knowledge from the archaeological finds z. B. from the Bronze Age salt mine of Hallstatt.

The blue pigment Indigotine became from the Woad (Isatis tinctoria) obtained using a special dyeing technique (vat dyeing); a great achievement in prehistory.

Red dyes also delivered, among other things Madder (Rubia tinctorum). Rubiadin, Purpurin and Alizarin were found to be the coloring ingredients. It should be noted, however, that madder was known in Southwest and Central Asia, then was also cultivated by the Egyptians and Greeks and in the Roman Empire (Italy and Gaul).

Yellow dyes were mainly caused by yellow-coloring flavonoids (Dyer's bowels - Reseda luteola, chamomile - Antemis tinctoria), which were obtained from yellow flowers or green parts of plants. The yellow active ingredient consists of luteolin or a mixture of luteolin and apigenin (dyer's beef).

Dyer - woof - Reseda Luteola - Yellowing

Parent plant: Reseda luteola (dyers - woof); Resedaceae, also called dyer's mignonette, real woof, yellow cabbage and yellow cabbage.

Properties / special features: Deciduous, one to biennial herbaceous semi-rosette plant; Heights of 40 to 150 cm. The oldest finds come from Neolithic pile dwellings on Lake Pfäffikersee and Lake Neuchâtel and Lake Zurich; further dye plants in the Iron Age settlement of Hochdorf. The dyer's woof was one of the most important dyes in Europe, so that the cultivation was widespread.

Ingredients: The dyer's woof can be used to dye fabrics (yellowing), whereby the upper flowering branches are rich in the dyes luteolin and apigenin (2-4% dye in the dry matter). The seeds contain up to 40% oil, which can be processed into varnishes.

Dyer - madder - Rubia tinctorum

Parent plant: Rubia tinctorum, also called real Färberröte, madder; Red family (Rubiaceae)

Properties / special features: Madder madder grows as a summer green, perennial herbaceous plant at heights of 0.5 to 1 m. It can be assumed that fruits of the Rubiaceae species, e.g. madder madder, were used to dye textiles as early as the Bronze Age and during the Hallstatt Period. Dyers madder was known to the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans and was also cultivated in Gaul.

Ingredients: The most important ingredients are di- and trihydroxyanthraquinone glycosides, especially 1,2 dihydroxyanthraquinone (alizarin). For coloring, the three-year-old rhizomes are dug up, dried and crushed in spring and autumn. When fresh, the rhizome is yellow on the inside; the red pigment develops as it dries. Madder lakes are metal - aluminum or tin complexes of the dyes it contains, known as alizarin madder; still used in painting today.

Dyers - woad - Isatis tinctoria

Parent plant: Isatis tinctoria, also called Pastel or German Indigo; Cruciferous family (Brassicaceae)

Properties / special features: The leaves are blue-green in color. The dyer's woad reaches a size of 30 to 150 cm. As an indigo plant of European prehistory, only woad comes into question, the original area of ​​distribution of which is in Central Asia and Eastern Europe; already cultivated in antiquity. Blue dyeing with the insoluble pigment indigotin is only possible with the dyeing technique Vat dyeing possible, which is based on reduction and oxidation processes. The insoluble blue pigment is reduced in an alkaline vat made with urine, for example, to a soluble, greenish-yellow compound, in which the dyers immerse the textile. After removal, the blue pigment forms again through oxidation in the air.

Ingredients: The leaves contain the colorless glycoside indican, which is enzymatically split into sugar and indoxyl after harvesting and oxidized to indigo (fermentation). The complete conversion takes several hours.

Dyer - chamomile - Anthemis tinctoria

Parent plant: Anthemis tinctoria, Syn: Cota tinctoria, also called dyers - dog chamomile; Asteraceae

Properties / special features: Perennial herbaceous plant with a stature height of up to 80 cm. The dye chamomile is native to Central Europe, it is cultivated and occasionally wilds (dry soil such as wasteland, etc.). It is not known when she came to Central Europe. She loves lime. Dyer's chamomile is still grown and marketed in Germany today.

Ingredients: The dyeing chamomile is an old dye plant, its flower heads are used to dye wool and linen in a strong, warm yellow. The yellow shades are very lightfast on cotton or hemp. The main pigment of the flowers is luteolin (3, 4, 5, 7 – tetrahydroxyflavonol), others are not known.

Explanation of terms

Technical termGerman meaning
Analgesics Pain reliever drugs with a central or peripheral point of attack
Atidiarroica Agents against diarrhea (e.g. bulking agents such as pekine, mucilaginosa), adsorbents (e.g. activated charcoal), astringents (e.g. tannins)
Anti-inflammatory drugs Means with anti-inflammatory effects
Antiseptics Means against infection on the skin and mucous membrane
Antistringentia (Latin astringent: to contract) Agents which, through reaction with the protein of the uppermost tissue layers, lead to the densification of the colloidal structure with the formation of a firmly coherent superficial membrane and in some cases have a mild anti-bacterial, antihydrotic and antipruritic effect, e.g. tannins and synthetic tannins, cat Heavy metal salts.
Cholescystopathy Clinical term for diseases of the gallbladder that are not defined in detail
Dysepsia Disorders in the upper abdomen with bloating, flatulence, etc.
Diuretics Agents that by inhibiting the renal reabsorption of ions (Na, Cl, HCO3) cause an increased excretion of these ions - and indirectly of water - thereby reducing the plasma volume and improving the symptoms of congestion.
Expectorantia Expectorants; strengthen the physiological expectoration through secretolytic (liquefaction of the bronchial secretions) or secretomotor (increased removal of the bronchial mucus) effect.
Carminatives (Latin: carminare: to clean) Flatulence remedies
Laxantia Laxatives, means to facilitate emptying of the bowel
Antispasmodics Antispasmodic agents that reduce the tone of the smooth muscles (gastrointestinal tract, blood vessels, bronchi, etc.).
Stomachika Remedies for stomach upsets

Publisher: Association of Friends of Archeology on the shores of the Attersee and its hinterland, A-4864 Attersee, Mühlbach 48; Mail: [email protected]; Website: archaeofreunde.at; ZVR number: 1077082620

Responsible for the content: Prof. Dr. Helga Oeser, 4864 Attersee am Attersee, Tel. 0664 4036704; e-mail: [email protected]

See also

Web links

  1. ↑ Friends of Archeology


  • Support, advice and photographs from the Universities of Vienna and Frankfurt / Main. University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Archeobotany, Institute of Botany (Univ. Prof. Dr. Marianne Kohler-Schneider); A - 1180 Vienna; University of Vienna, Vienna Institute for Archaeological Science (Dr Andreas G. Heiss); A-Vienna; Goethe University Frankfurt, Biozentrum (Dr. Ilse Zündorf); D - 60438 Frankfurt am Main;
  • Surrender of various seeds: Noah's Ark seed archive (Florian Lüf) A-3553 Schiltern.
  • Text and design: Prof. Dr. Helga Oeser (Professor of the University of Heidelberg, em), A-4864 Attersee (with information from the literature Pharm. Eur. And M. Wichtl - Teedrogen - A handbook for pharmacists and doctors; scientific publishing company, D-70191 Stuttgart). Mag. Kerstin Wasmeyer, A-4020 Linz.
  • Financial support from the REGATTA (Leader funding project), the Attersee community, the Pfahlbauten Kuratorium, Vienna and the Guardian Angel Pharmacy, 4880 St. Georgen im Attergau.