Bitter substances indicate medicinal herbs
The researchers around Karen Hardy from the Universitat Autònoma in Barcelona had studied fossil teeth of five Neanderthals, who once lived at the present site El Sidrón in northern Spain. Even then, tartar formed on teeth, which is caused by deposits of minerals in plaque. Numerous nutrient components have survived the millennia, as the analyzes of the scientists showed. They disclosed starch granules from a wide range of vegetable diets, some of which show signs of cooking heat. In addition, the researchers also found traces of special bitter substances that are typical of plants such as chamomile or yarrow.
According to the researchers, these plants are not suitable as food because they are low in energy and taste very bitter. Accordingly, there is only one plausible explanation for the consumption: The primitive man suffered the bitter taste, because they wanted to use the effect of these herbs. A conclusive behavior, because to this day, chamomile and yarrow are considered medicinal herbs that have disinfecting or anti-inflammatory effects. "Our results on the varied consumption of herbal products suggest that Neanderthals had a complex knowledge of the uses of vegetation around them? this applies to their nutritional value as well as apparently for the purpose of self-medication? summarizes Karen Hardy. displayKaren Hardy (Universitat Autònoma in Barcelona) Natural Sciences, doi: 10.1007 / s00114-012-0942-0 © wissenschaft.de? Martin Vieweg