African Journal of
History and Culture

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Hist. Cult.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-6672
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJHC
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 171

Review

Therapeutic flora in Holy Quran

Ali Muhammad
  • Ali Muhammad
  • Islamic Research Academy, Brakpora Anantnag Jammu and Kashmir 192201, India.
  • Google Scholar


  •  Received: 30 January 2014
  •  Accepted: 03 September 2014
  •  Published: 30 November 2014

 ABSTRACT

Civilizations have a tendency to revolve around meaningful concepts of a theoretical nature which more than anything else gives them their distinctive character. Such concepts are to be found at the very beginning of a rising civilization or they may signalize, when they first make their appearance, an entirely new departure towards the eventual transformation of the environment generous to them. This signifies a fundamental change in the structure of the civilization in which it happens. They changed their structure, modified their social laws for the well being of coming human race. On scientific grounds modification and edification of old concepts according to Qur’anic teachings helped them to emerge as a true modern and civilized society. Among good number of scientific concepts, one is that related to the plants mentioned in the Holy Quran. The history of Islamic medicine started from 2nd century as applied science which provides ample information about the medicinal plants mentioned in the Quran. These medicinal plants continue to be extensively used as major source of drugs for the treatment of many ailments in medieval period. The present research work is a qualitative analysis one which helps to draw attention to the valuable contribution of divine message in the development of medicinal legacy. A comprehensive reform touches all intellectual fields and help in integration of knowledge which requires a combination of operations: the understanding of the text, the understanding of the context/reality, alongside the proper projection of the text on its relevant context.

 

Key words: Civilizations, Prophet Muhammad, Islamic medicine, Holy Quran.


 INTRODUCTION

Healing of disease with medicinal plants is as old as mankind itself. The connection between man and God and his search for drugs in nature dates from the far past of which there is ample evidence from various sources of written documents, preserved monuments even original plant medicines and divine guidance.The works written on plants were of great importance because these provide rich information about the medicines extracted and used by Prophet Muhammad for Cure (Ghaznavi, 1987).The plants mentioned in the Holy Quran are arranged in an alphabetical order. They were given proper botanical names, family, gene and species names along with local habitat to which they belong and their medicinal value is also highlighted which will prove helpful for further investigation.

The Arabic or Quranic name of Lentils is Adas which belongs to family leguminosea. Its botanical name is Lens Culinaris Medic. It is widely used as pulse having fine quantity of proteins. In the holy Quran the reference about the lentils is as;

“And remember ye said: "O Moses! We cannot endure one kind of food (always); so beseech thy Lord for us to produce for us of what the earth growth, -its pot-herbs, and cucumbers, its garlic, lentils, and onions……….” (Baqarah: 61).

The scholars like Ibn al qayyim al-Jouzi provides detailed information about the use of the plants  in his work Tibb –i- Nabavi with h special references to Hadith of Prophet (Al Jouzi, nd).

Lentils are widely cultivated in Europe and Asia but its native habitat is uncertain.  Moreover, four varieties of Lentils are cultivated in Egypt, Palestine and in the countries of Mediterranean. It is also commonly grown pulse in India called locally as MalkaMasoor meaning Queen of Lentils. Its seeds were used as food and for medicinal cure. It contains 12% of moisture, 60% carbohydrates half of which is starch and 25% good quality protein with small amount of phosphorus and Potassium. It is used to cure diseases like Maleness, measles, paralysis, common cold, parkensis, face clearance, eye infection and digestive diseases. It is also used to cure small and chicken pox.

Arak

Arak or Khmat is the Quranic name of the tooth brush tree but in Indian sub continent it is known as DarakhteMiswak. Its botanical name is SalvadoraPersica Linn and belongs to family Salvadoraceae. In the Holy Quran it is mentioned in verse 16 of Surah As-Sabah

“And we converted their two gardens into the gardens producing bitter fruit and Tamarisks and some few (Stunted) Lote-Trees.”

In hadith, as narrated by Jabir bin Abdullah, we were with Prophet (pbuh) collecting fruits of Arak trees. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said pick the black fruit, for it is the best. (Sahih, 1977).

The word Khmat is used in this verse which means Ark. In English translation it is called the tree of bitter fruits but in many Arabic Persian and Urdu translation it is also called Ark and its botanical name is SalvadoraPersica. In Arabic it is called Shajar al-Miswak. It is found in the shrub form or small tree form in rocky slopes and sandy areas. It is almost found all the deserts of the world. Its twigs and roots are used as tooth brush. Its extract is reported to contain lots of salts and resins which are responsible for cleaning and shining of the teeth Attar Z (1980). It is used in aperients and appetite promoter. It is a useful remedy for piles, affections of spleen, fever, juzam and worms. It is also used for arthritis headache, antidote and diabetes (Mushtaq, 2009).

Basal

Basal is Quranic name of onion and is used widely as aromatic flavor in different kinds of dishes. Its botanical name   is   Allium Cepa Linn and belongs to family Liliaceae. With the group of other plants it is mentioned in surah al Baqara verse 61       

“And remember ye said: O” Moses! We cannot endure one kind of food (always), so Beseech thy Nourishes for them to produce for us of what the earth grow, its pot herbs and cucumbers. Its garlic, lentils and onions……….”

More than sixty varieties of Allium are grown in Egypt and Arabia. Old Egyptian used it as food along with radish and a good amount of silver coins worth corers of rupees today were spent. In Asia and Africa eating onion is very common. In Asia mostly it is found in Pakistan, India and China. But there are good numbers of Hadith of the Prophet Muhammad in which the taste and Smell of onion is disliked but its eating is not prohibited.

The Prophet said,” Whoever has eaten garlic or onion should keep away from us or should keep away from our mosque and should stay at home. IbnWahab said once a full plate of cooked food was brought to prophet at Badr. Detecting a bad smell from it, he asked about the dish and was informed about the kinds of vegetables it contained. He then said,” Bring it near,” and so it was brought near to one of his Companion who was with him. When Prophet saw it he disliked to eat it and said to his Companion, “Eat for I talk to secret to ones whom you do not talk to”.1

Although the Prophet disliked taking it as food due to its smell but as a matter of fact it is highly useful medicinally though having very repulsive odour. Its bulb leaves and seeds are used to cure Antidote (particularly for Tobacco poisoning), stomach diseases cholera, diarrhea, throat infection, common cold, cough, fever, influenza, ear pain, and appetizer. It is highly useful to cure face and skin spots, baldness, constipation menstruation and intestinal diseases. It is also useful in sperm production, piles, and Hepatitis diseases. Onions are important ingredients in many food preparations. Though it has bad odour, it is commonly eaten for its antiseptic value for the entire alimentary canal. It is stimulant, diuretic and a good expectorant (Blacow 1972)

Hina

Henna is a plant mentioned in holy Quran for its colouring/dying nature. It is known as Mehndi but its botanical name is Lawsoniainermis L and belongs to family Lythraceae. Holy Quran provides information about the kafur which is translated as Hina. It is a kind of reward for those who do righteous deeds. Allah will not waste their efforts which they did for the propagation of righteous deeds. Allah says,

“As to the righteous, they shall drink of a cup (of wine) mixed with Kafur”. (Muaida: 5)

Almost all the commentaries contain the translation of kafur as Camphor of plant origin but some comme-morators like author of Tafseer-i Majidi say it is different from the Camphor of the earth and is without harmful effects (Daryabadi 1985).

It is a commonly grown plant of Arabia and from time immemorial the scent of Hinna obtained from the flower has been used as an important article of cosmetics. It may be that Allah in response to the cosmetic use of Hina may provide the better option to faithful or righteous one in Jannat. It is a perennial fragrant shrub which is widely cultivated. It is mostly found in Africa and most parts of the Asia. In Hadith literature it has much significance. According to Jhadhammah(RA) That I saw Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) coming out of house after taking a bath and combing his hair. There were signs of Heena on his Mubarakh head.2 Heena has cooling effect and it also used to cure headache and increase memory. It acts as stimulator and provides protection from skin rupture. It also works to soften skin, heals muscles, leuckoria, vaginal pain, baldness constipation and chicken pox.

Inab

English Name:                                       Grapes

Urdu name:                                           Munaqqa

Qur’anicc and Hadith Name:                   Inab     

Botanical name:                                    VitisVinifera L.

Family:                                                 Vitaceae

In Arabic grapes are famous with the word Inab but its botanical name is Vitisvinifera L of family Vitaceae. In the Holy Quran elevensurahs contain information about Inab. Surah, 2:266,6:100, 13:4, 16:11 and 67,17:91, 18:32, 23:19, 36:34, 78:31-32 and Surah 80:28. In Surah Nabaa Allah says

“Verily for the righteous there will be a fulfilment of desires; gardens enclosed and grape vines.” (Verse: 31-32)

Grape is the common name of an edible fruit in the vitaceae family. It is one of the delicious fruit and has been used as food by Europeans since prehistoric times. Several wild varieties of grapes have been found in different parts of the world. Distribution of seeds by birds, wind, and water carried the plant westward to the Asian shores of the Mediterranean. The European grape is now commercially cultivated in warmer regions all over the world, particularly in western Europe, the Balkans, California, Australia, South Africa, and parts of South America. It is very difficult to establish its correct nativity (Winker A, 1965). Grapes are eaten throughout the world but 80% of the total grape production is used for wine production and 7% of the production is used for making raisin (dried grapes called Zabib in Arabic and Kishmish in Urdu) and vinegar. The main producers of the grapes are Europe and America whereas Turkey, Iran Afghanistan, Greece and Australia are the main countries producing raisin. In India its history of cultivation starts from Mughal emperor Akbar (Watt George, 1896).

It has a good medicinal value and its juice is used to protect from common cold, cough, liver and lung disorder and is considered good treatment for cancer diseases. It relaxes body and brain, muscles, stomach, kidney and urinary bladder pain. Medicinally raisins are more useful and are used for the treatment of fever, catarrh, jaundice and in sub acute cases of enlarged liver and spleen (Farooqi, 1993).

Kafoor

Indeed the virtuous will drink from a cup, containing a mixture of Kafoor. The Kafoor is a spring, from which the chosen bondmen of Allah will drink, causing it to flow wherever they wish inside their palaces (Dahr: 5-6).

Camphor is a volatile, white, crystalline compound.It belongs to family Lauraceae. Its botanical name is CinnamumCamphora L.It main characteristic is its aromatic odour. Ordinary camphor is obtained from the camphor tree, Cinnamomumcamphora which grows in Asia and Brazil. The camphor is distilled by steaming chips of the root, stem, or bark. The leaves of certain plants, such as tansy and feverfew contain a second form of camphor, which is not used commercially. A raceme form is present in the oil of an Asian chrysanthemum and is also produced synthetically for most commercial uses. Camphor is used in the manufacture of celluloid and explosives and medicinally in liniments and other preparations for its mild antiseptic and anaesthetic qualities. It is poisonous if ingested in large amounts. Camphor is insoluble in water, soluble in organic solvents, and melts at 176° C (349° F) and boils at 209° C (405° F).

Um-i Atiyyah reported when Zainabthe daughter of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) passed away: He said to us, wash her odd number of times and put camphor at the end on her body and after you have washed her inform me. So we inform him and he gave us his under garment saying, put it next to his body (Holy Quran). Hadrath Umar reported that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) used it as fumigate. It is an important constituent of many ointments for the external use as an analgesic and also helps in fibro-sites neuralgia. Its two main varieties are found in China and is used for medicinally purposes It is also found in Japan, Sir Lanka and India. The Malaysian Camphor is highly pungent in smell and taste (Blacow N 1972). It is also used as tetanus, hysteria and tuberculoses. Its branches and leaves are used as oral and teeth swelling, cholera, breast pain. It is also used as stimulant and muscle relaxant.


 NAHAL

Nahal is the Arabic name of date palm; it belongs to arecaceae. Its botanical name is Phoenix dactylifera L. A good number of surahsin holy Quran contain information about Date-palm; Surah Baqara:266; An’am:99- 141; Ra’d:4; Nahl:11.67; Bani Israil:91; Kahf: 32; Maryam:23.25; Ta-Ha:71, Muminun:19; Shu’araa: 148, Yasin: 34; Qaf: 10; Qamar: 20; Rahman: 11.68; Haqqa: 7; Abasa:29

And it is He who sends down rain from the sky, and We produce thereby the growth of all things. We produce from it greenery from which We produce grains arranged in layers. And from the palm trees - of its emerging fruit are clusters hanging low. And [We produce] gardens of grapevines and olives and pomegranates, similar yet varied. Look at [each of] its fruit when it yields and [at] it’s ripening. Indeed in that are signs for a people who believe. (al-an’?m:99)

In the Holy Quran twenty times date-palm is mentioned in different surahs, eight times it has been mentioned separately and twelve times it has been mentioned with other fruits. It is said that the domestication and cultivation of date-palm started 6000 to 8000 years back in Mesopotamia. Most probably no other fruit plant was cultivated at that time in the Arab region. It is a multi advantageous plant and almost all its parts are useful in one way or other (Sabah, et al. 2007).

Date palm, common name for several related trees found in tropical regions. The common date palm is native to Middle East, northern Africa, southwest Asia, and India and is cultivated extensively in hot, dry regions throughout the world. The trunk is straight and rough and grows to a height of up to 18 m (up to 60 ft). Date palm is a dioeciously tree which means male and female occur separately. One male plant is enough for 100 female plants regarding pollination. They are reputed for the great medicinal value (Kamal Hassan 1975). It is a demulcent an emollient, a heat stimulant and helps in checking the loss of memory. It is also useful in respiratory disorders in general and asthma in particular. It is laxative, a diuretic and also acts as an aphrodisiac. It is also considered as the best health tonic In Tibb-e- Nabvi Dates have been given very important place from medicinal point of view. A good number of Hadith also bring to light importance of date palm. There are twenty ahadith in Bukhari related to date palm, its sale, agriculture, medicinal value etc.

Rehan

Sweet Basal is English name of Rehan and Naozab in Urdu. Its botanical name is Ocimumbasilicum L and belongs to family Lamiaceae. The Holy Quran provides two references about sweet Basil one in Surah Rahman and other in SurahWaqia respectively.

“Also corn, with (its) leaves and stalk for fodder and sweet smelling plants.”(55:12)

 “(There is for him) rest and a garden of delight.” (56:89)

In the above verses Allah has described the provisions of Rayhanas gift and satisfaction. It has been translated as material for food by most of the commentators of the Holy Quran. In flora Arabica (Blatter, 1919). Rayhan has been identified as OcimumBasilicum. It is found in both wild and cultivated throughout Arabia in general and more particularly in Yemen. In India it is also found widely called Tulsi. It is declared as indigenous plant of the Kirman area of Iran. It is sometimes called Habaz-e-Kirman.  Basil is the common name for any of a genus of plants of the mint family. Basil is a sweet herb used for fragrance and as a seasoning for food. Basil, or mountain mint, is also a common name for plants of a separate, North American genus of the mint family.3 The leaves contain an essential oil composed of L-Linalool, methyl cinnamon and trepinene. It is called best remedy for mild nervous or hysterical disorders. It is used to cure stomach ache and skin diseases. The seeds of the plant are useful in urinary disorders, such as gonorrhoea, scanty and scalding urine. It is also a good remedy for tuberculosis, throat infection, piles and germicide.

Rumman

English Name:               Pomegranate

Urdu name:                   Anar

Arabic Name:                Rumman

Botanical name:            Punicagranatum L.

Family:                         Punicaceae

Rumman an Arabic plant is praised in the Quran very much; a plant of family Punicaceae having botanical name Punicagranatum L. It is of very high nutritious value.In the Holy Quran Allah points out the significance of pomegranates of different kinds as;

“And pomegranates, each similar in kind yet different in variety. When they bear fruit, fast your eyes with the fruit and the ripeness thereof behold! In these things there are signs for people who believe.”  (Surah An ‘am: 99)

There are three references regarding pomegranate in the holy Quran that highlight significance and the varieties of pomegranate: Surah An’am (V.99 and 141) Surah Rahman: (V.68) 

Pomegranate is the native of Iran but its wild forms are also found in India (Himalayas), Syria and Afghanistan. It is a highly delicious and juicy fruit with great medicinal value. From time immemorial particularly from the time of Prophet Moses. High quality pomegranates were cultivated throughout Palestine Syrian and Lebanon. In this regard the City Rimmon was well known for its quality Rummon (Moldenke N and Moldenke L 1951). It is cultivated in the tropical and sub tropical climate zones. The calorific value of the pomegranate fruit is 65 and contains 15% invert Sugar. It is a rich source of sodium and also contains a good amount of riboflavin, thiamine, niacin, vitamin C, calcium and phosphorous and its juice is easily digestible. Protein and fat content is almost negligible in it (Farooqi H 2008). Some of the benefits of the fruit include that it has antioxidant, antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. In alternative medicine, it has been used to treat diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Extract of pomegranate has been shown to fight against staph, salmonellbvga and some kinds of strep bacteria. In the dental field, it has been found to inhibit the formation of the bacteria that causes plaque, aid in healing after periodontal procedures and reduce signs of chronic periodontitis.It is a very rich food and has high medicinal value. It serves as tonic for the heart patients, highly efficacious in the inflammation of the Stomach. It also helps to overcome liver, eye and dental problems. The decoction of the rot bark of pomegranate contains alkaloid pellatrierine and tannic acid and is highly useful medicine for the expulsion of worms, including the tapeworm. It is also considered an effective medicine to cure tuberculosis of children (Chopra, et.al, 1956).

Anas bin Malik (Radhiyallahuanhu) narrated that Rasulullah (sallallahualaiyhiwassallam) said, "There is not a pomegranate which does not have a pip from one of the pomegranate of the Garden (of Jannah) in it." (Abu Nu'aim). Rasulullah(sallallahualaiyhiwassallam) said, "Pomegranate and its rind strengthen digestion(stomach)." (NarratedAli (radhiyallahuanhu), Abu Nuaim, Al-Jozi)4

Soom

Garlic is wide known as Thum in Arabic language. Its botanical name is Cassia acutifolia and belongs to family Liliaceae. In the Holy Quran verse no. 61 contains information about the garlic The Arabic word Foomiha has been used in the Holy Quran. Garlic is reported for its main constituent that is its volatile oil which is present in 0.1 to 0.3 percent in it. The bulbs also contain small quantities of starch, mucilage, protein and sugar. It is well known as theriac al-Fuqara as it is available easily and as remedy for many diseases.5

Garlic is the common name for several strongly scented herbs of the lily family, and the bulbs of these plants are used as flavouring. Garlic, like the related onion, has small, six-part, whitish flowers borne on umbels. The fruit is a capsule containing kidney-shaped seeds. Common garlic has been cultivated since ancient times. The bulb, which has a strong characteristic odour and taste, is covered with a papery skin and may be broken into constituent bulb-lets, called cloves. Garlic is used as a flavouring in cooking and pickling, sometimes in the form of whole or grated cloves and sometimes in the form of a cooked extract, as in sauces and dressings. In medicine, garlic is used as a digestive stimulant, diuretic, anti-allergic and antispasmodic (Lawson L. 1998). It is used as antidote and is useful for throat infection. It is a best agent to clear face and skin spots.

The other uses of garlic are under investigation. This vegetable has been studied not only for its benefits in controlling infection by bacteria, but also infection from other microbes including yeasts and fungi. Our red blood cells use molecules from garlic called polysulfide’s to produce hydrogen sulfide gas (H2S) (Woodward P,1996). This in turn helps our blood vessels expand and keep our blood pressure in check. Other benefits from just one clove a day will top your body’s supply of Vitamin C – for tissue growth and repair, Vitamin B6 – important for metabolism and immunity and Selenium, iron, calcium and manganese minerals. It is useful to cure headache, hepatitis, piles, constipation, common cold, cough, and influenza (Beck E and Grunwald J. 1993). It is found in Pakistan, India, China, America and European countries.

Figs

Fig belongs to family Moraceae having botanical name FicusCarica L. In Arabic it is called Teen and having only one reference about in the holy Quran.

“By the fig and the olive” (Surah Teen: 01)

According to MaulanaUsmanithat, the Fig and Olive in the Holy Quran has great importance from medicinal point of view.6

Grown primarily for its fruit, the fig tree is cultivated throughout subtropical and tropical regions with fertile, well-drained soils. The leaves bark and milk are used for medicinal purposes. Most commercial figs are marketed dried, canned, or candied. Figs constitute the genus Ficus, of the family Moraceae. The common commercial fig is classified as Ficuscarica, the sycamore fig as ficussycomorus, and the pipal, or sacred fig, as Ficusreligiosa. The common rubber plant is classified as Ficuselastica, and the banyan tree, or Indian fig, as Ficusbengalensis. The two figs natives to the subtropical United States are classified as Ficusaurea and Ficuscitrifolia. FicusCarica is the native of Syria, Palestine and Egypt and is highly nutritious fruit. It is found in Mediterranean region, south west Asia: Pakistan, Afghanistan and India. Since it is free from any fibre, persons recovering from long illness are specially advised to take it. Fig is easily digestible and contains 60% of sugar. It contains good quantity of malic acid, citric acid and other inorganic salts (Wensinck A and Mensing J 1987). Ficuscarica L. has high medicinal value and helps to remove kidney, urinary bladder stone and also helps to remove the obstruction of the liver and spleen in sub acute cases. It provides relief from intestinal pain, piles anorexia and dyspepsia. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) advised patients suffering from piles to eat fig regularly.7 It reduces infectionsand is beneficial for all kinds of inflammations and infections. Famous recipe for "Safoof-e-Bars" (powder for Leprosy) contains figs as the main ingredient. The skin of fig is powdered in a mortar with Rose Water, and then applied to leprosy scars. Patients are also advised to consume orally few grams of figs daily.

Yakteen, Daba

English Name:               Squash

Urdu name:                   Kaddo

Arabic Name:                YakteenDaba

Botanical name:            LangenariasucerariaStandl.

Family:                        

The gourd or squash also called vegetable marrow, pumpkin, squash, and winter squash, alludes to the recovery of a sick person. Its Arabic name is YakteenDaba having botanical name is LangenariasucerariaStandl. It belongs to family Cucurbitaceous with full medicinal value and represents the element of progeny and procreation.

“But We threw him onto the open shore while he was ill. And We caused to grow over him a gourd kind (SuraSaffat: 145-46)

The word Yaqteen has been translated by MoulanaFatehMuhmmadJalandari as Kaddu which in English mean squash equivalent to gourd. Almost all the prominent books of Hadith contain good number of Hadith related to Yaqteen (Gourd).

Several members of the genus are also called pumpkin. Squashes have been developed in many varieties and yield fruits of widely differing forms and sizes. Summer squash, including the summer crookneck, the white or yellow scallops, and the green zucchini, is harvested early, before the rind has begun to harden. The Hubbard, Boston, marrow, turban, and butternut squashes are winter varieties gathered in the autumn with hard shells when ripe. Winter squash may be stored much longer than summer squash. The bottle gourd, or calabash, is among the oldest of cultivated plants. The bottle gourd, or calabash, is classified as Lagernaria siceraria (Farooqi, MIH, 1993). The hard shells of the fruits are used as containers. Winter squashes were staples in the diets of the pre-Columbian civilizations of the western hemisphere. It is found almost every part of the world. Its leaves and fruits are used to cure arthritis, headache, fever lung infection, kidney and liver disorders and also for heart diseases. It is a rich source of pectin, Vitmin B and C, Calcium, Phosphorus, Iron, Potassium and Iodine. It is a diuretic and is useful to cure gout (Wang DC et al. 2007).

Zaitoon

The plant of olive goes up to the height of 3 metres and its leaves are bright green. The fruits are of bright bluish or violet colour, possesses a metallic taste. The English name of zaitoon is olive but its botanical name is Oleaeuropea L and belongs to family Oleaceae. Holy Quran has outstandingly praised the significance of olive. “By the fig and by the Olive and Mount of Sinai” (Surah Teen; V: 1-2).

There are seven references directly or indirectly about olive in the HolyQuran. It is cultivated in the countries of the Mediterranean region, but the main region of its cultivation is Sinai area, Spain, Italy, Turkey and Morocco. It is historically believed that it originated in Phoenicia and later on brought to the Europe, Africa and Central Asia. The fruit extraction is used for different purposes. It has a number of medicinal benefits and is used to strengthen body muscles,clear the blood, removes the measles spots, piles, tuberculosis, baldness, kidney pain, pancreas pain. It is highly useful for maleness, stomach and respiratory diseases.8 Olive oil has great medicinal value. When taken internally, it acts as a nutrient demulcent and a mild purgative. It is also a good massage9 and is an important ingredient of many ointments and plasters. 


 ZANJIBIL

Ginger must be one of the oldest and most widely-known spices in the world, with references in the writings of Confucius. Known in Arabic as zanjibil, its botanical name is ZingiberofficinaleRosc. and belongs to family Zingiberaceae. Ginger is also mentioned in the Holy Qur’an and is said to be one of the fruits found in heaven which await the righteous importance of the ginger and the people of high esteem as;

“And they will be given to drink there of a cup (of wine) mixed with zanjabil” (Dahr: 17)

Ginger is the common name for a plant family with about 50 genera and 1300 species. It is pan-tropical in distribution, although mostly in far Eastern countries. Its complicated, irregular flowers have one fertile stamen and a usually showy labellum, formed from two or three sterile staminodes. The family is cultivated widely in the tropics for its showy flowers and useful products, derived mostly from the rhizomes. It is found in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Yemen, Oman, Sri lanka and India. It contains aromatic oil having a characteristic odour. The main ingredients of this oil are camphene, phellandrene, Zingiberine, Cineol and bornol (Thomas J, 1997). These products include the flavouring ginger; East Indian arrowroot, a food starch; and turmeric, an important ingredient in curry powder. Medically it is of high importance and is used to cure Anorexia, Intestinal Pain, headache, diarrhoea, constipations, intestinal swelling, and stomach disorder. It is highly digestive stimulant and has cooling effect on the body and is also used to increase urine production (Asako H, et al., 2003). Its medical importance is under consideration at present. Galen has recommended the use of Ginger in cases of paralysis and all complaints arising from cold humours Afzal M, et al. (2001). There are several studies on the effect of ginger on Coronary Heart Disease (CHD). A study looked at the effects of ginger (and another substance known as fenugreek) consumption on blood lipids, blood sugar, and platelet aggregation in patients with CHD. Patients recruited for this study included healthy individuals, individuals with CHD, and patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) [with or without CHD]. Researchers found: No effects on platelet aggregation, blood lipids, or blood sugars in CHD patients when ginger was given at a lose dose (4 g/day) for 3 months. However, when given a single large dose (10 g) of ginger, significant reductions in platelet aggregation were seen, indicating that large doses are necessary for the greatest benefit. A ginger preparation was administered to normal and cholesterol fed male rats in order to see if blood lipids would decrease. Ginger preparation, Trikatu, was a potent hypo - lipidic agent because of its ability to reduce triglycerides and LDL cholesterol and to increase HDL. Ginger’s effectiveness for reducing blood pressure (BP) was assessed under varied dosages (Ghayur et al. 2005). A dose dependant (0.3-3 mg/kg) decrease was noted in arterial BP, which provides support for ginger’s role in BP regulation. Ginger has been shown to possess anti-diabetic activity in a variety of animal studies. A study found that when rats were given ginger juice for 6 weeks, the risk for developing diabetes was reduced. The researchers found that treatment with ginger significantly increased insulin levels and decreased fasting glucose levels. Treatment with ginger also produced other favorable effects in diabetic rats, including decreases in serum cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure.

The introduction of Islamic paradigms and concepts, in general, is to understand Islamic knowledge and as it relevance to medicine. Islamization of medical sciences is a challenge that does not aim at producing different knowledge but at producing medical and scientific knowledge within an ethical and moral context. Medicine is not a collection of sub-specialties but an integrated whole on multidisciplinary basis. Medicine as integrated with other disciplines is a multi-disciplinary approach in solving human problems. Disease and its treatment are seen from the context of the whole eco-system. New problems emerged due to disintegration of divine and ecosystem. Humans must know and understand the issues involved from Islamic and medical perspectives and guide the patients to the most appropriate choices. Medical students must look at the patient as a whole person living in a social and spiritual milieu and not just as a collection of symptoms and signs. In the development of modern sciences, Muslims need to redefine modern scientific approach and input Islamic Values in it. With the inclusion of Islamic values a holistic philosophy and reason can be restored in medicines and also help to overcome substandard productions which are hazardous to human health.  


 CONFLICT OF INTERESTS

The author(s) have not declared any conflict of interests.



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