Originally from Mexico and Peru, evidence suggests, the wild sunflower has been used as food and medicine by Native Americans for at least 8000 years. Cultivation of the sunflower began as early as 2300 BC possibly pre dating the earliest cultivated food in the Americas known as the 'Three sisters', corn, beans and squash. A fine meal for baking and thickening was made from the roasted seeds and balls of sunflower butter, much like peanut butter were a convenient food for travel. The roasted hulls steeped in boiling water produced a coffee like beverage. Dye was extracted from hulls and petals while face paint was made from a mix of dried petals and pollen. The ground seeds also provided oil for cooking and hair treatment. Medicinally the sunflower was used extensively for many maladies including lung issues, wart removal and as a treatment for snake bite and sunstroke. When the sunflower reached Europe it was mainly treated as a curiosity and garden flower. It wasn't considered an edible crop until it made it's way to Russia where it was enthusiastically accepted as an oil source that could be eaten during Lent and Advent without breaking Orthodox Church laws. Hybrid sunflowers now dominate commercial production and unfortunately many of the early open pollinated varieties have been lost and are likely extinct.