INVENTORY OF MEDICINAL PLANTS USED
IN THE TRADITIONAL ARABIC MEDICINE
C. Pana Munoz and J.L. Valverde,
We propose with this work to make a catalogue of the medicinal plants which appear in Arabic text paring the therapeutic indications of each one of them mentioned by the various authors, classifying the drugs according to their characteristics and medicinal use.
Afterwards there will be made a study on the permanence and transmission of the mentioned drugs and its survival throughout the time in the various European pharmacopoeias.
With this work we propose to make a catalogue of the medicinal plants which appear in Arabic texts of different a thors, classifying the drugs according to its properties and medicinal use; afterwards we will verify its urvival in European pharmacopoeias.
There exist many writings on the subject of traditional Arabic drugs, however, to make a study which would verify the most employed drugs, it would be necessary to publish and translate all pharmacopoeias nd treatises on lateria medica preserved at the present time. Until now only a small part of these works ave been published and translated, although the immense majority are at present in manuscripts, thus unedited.
This is a work which has been carried through by the Department of History of Pharmacy of Granada, an at the moment they are translating works such as: the Minhay al-dukkan of Kuhin al-Attar; Kitab al-Dukkan of Ibn Abd I-Rab bi-hi ; Glossary on the MansDri of Razi of Ibn al-Hassa2 ; Index of medi inal substances mentioned in Kitab al-Kuliyyat of Averooes3, etc.
For our labour we have used five writings: al-Dust Dr al-bimaristani fil-adwiya al-murakkaba of Ibn Abi al-Bayan; Kitab al-yami fil-asriba wa-I-ma ayin of Avenzoar; Sarh asma al-Uqqar of Maimonides; Tuhfat al-ahbab and Kitab al-agdiya al-mufrada of Ibn al-Baytar.
Al-Dustu al-bimBristani or Formulary of the Hospitals4, is a work of Ibn Abi I-Bayan, a Jewish physician born at Cairo in 1161 and died in 1240
This trea ise contains twelve chapters, and referring to its contents we can say that it is a very complete for ulary, in which appear great number of recipes for many diseases. It is a practical formulary , exclusively designed for general hospitals. The number of included diseases is two hundred and thirty, an the number of drugs and adjuvant products is six hundred and seven.
The writing is basically meant to cure diseases, by means of using remedies mostly original from the vege al kingdom, al-though from the mineral and animal kingdoms, too.
It in ludes one hundred and seventy-five recipes, being most of them confected under the forms of syrups, lectuaries, ointments, pills, powders, etc.
n the employment of the medicinal plants, in many occasions he has mentioned all its parts. He frequentl has mentioned its root, and in other occasions, its seed, fruits, leaves, etc. Sometimes he also mention its juice or its pulp.
The followed arrangement for the description of each compound is as follows: In the first place he indicates the usefulness and virtues of the medicine; afterwards he enumerates the several components and qua tities to be used; and finally, the appropiate dose for each case and the way of administration.
Kita al-yami fil-asriba wa-I-maayin 6, a work which was written up by way of complement to the Kitab al- Taysir7 of Avenzoar8, Sevillian physician born between 1091 and 1094 and died in the same city between 1161 and 1162.
Kitab al-yamic is a theorical-practical medical pharmacopoeia; it contains a total of two hundred different medicaments. Eleven of them proceed from the mineral Kingdom, five are of animal the rest are vegetal materials.
author arranges the different Simples which are going to form part of
each Compound, according to the quantities to be used of each one of them.
In the first place appear those simples of which there ar to be used three
iiqiyyas, afterwards all of which there are to be used two of them, etc.,
always f lIowing a decreasing order .
The medicinal forms employed by the author are the following ones: syrups, electuaries, pills, theriacas plasters, pomades, ointments, etc.
Sarh asma' al-Uqqar or Explanation of the Names of Drugs10, a work of Maimonides, physician from Coroba, born in 1135 and died at Cairo in 1204 .
It is an alphabetically arranged glossary of Synonyms of medicinal drugs. The purpose of the author when he wrote this book, was not to describe the simple remedies, nor to discuss its employment, but to give the synonyms. For this reason he excluded from his list the better-known drugs and of course, those which only had one name.
Just like in other works on Synonyms, the four hundred and five items of Maimonides glossary of drugs, are of changeable length; some of them only include three lines, whereas others occupy fifteen. The author generally gives as title of the item, the best-known name of a drug and the synonyms in Arabic, old Greek, Syriac, Persian, Berber and Spanish.
Tuhfat al- hbab or Glossary of Moroccan materia medical 11, an anonymous work of unknown date. Referring to the contents of this work, it is an alphabetical glossary of synonyms of medicinal plants and it consists of our hundred and sixty-two items of unequal length. It offers the synonyms in Berber and Spanish. The followed order in the alphabet is the Maghrebi. Generally it is a synonymous vocabulary probably extr cted from a general treatise of Medicine; most of the mentioned plants, according to Renaud, are till sold to-day in many Moroccan bazars. He often quotes Dioscorides, but he does not mention the th rapeutical usefulness of the drugs.
Kitab al- yamic fi-mufradat al-adwiya wa-l-agdiya or Compendium of Medicine and simple food-stuffs 12, a work of Ibn al-Baytar, physician from Malaga, born in 1197 and died at Damascus in 1248.
It is the best-known work of the Arabic Pharmacology, it offers an enormous collection of extracts, in which Ibn al- aytar described more than 260 sources, and only in some occasions he uses his own words.
His approach is generally based on the fact that he indicates the synonyms of the several drugs and that he rectifies mistakes of his predecessors. Sometimes, Ibn al-Baytar was called a non-original compiler, alth ugh this judgement is not completely justified. The Kitab al-yamic fi-mufradat al adwiya at least has bee realised with excellent professional knowledge. Among the mentioned works, the one which occupie the first place is Dioscorides Materia medica; it seems that he entirely transmits this i work, although with some variations, as Ibn al-Baytar mentions the drugs by alphabetical order.
The collation of these five works has lead us to select in a first approximation, fifty drugs of vegetal origin which c ncur in these consulted glossaries and which we will offer at the end of our work. Of these drugs w will mention the common name, the scientific and the Arabic name. Although the number of coincident lants is superior to the one we offer, we have had to limit us to a determined number of them, due to the extent of our work. This fact has permitted us to know all drugs used by the Arabs and to know which ere the best known in the Orient, Spain and North-Africa.
A very interesting point to study is to verify the frequency of repetition of the drugs, in order to see which are the ost used ones. Of these five consulted repertories, we only have been able to do it in two of them, the Kitab al-yamic of Avenzoar and al-Dustur al-bimaristani of Ibn Abi I-Bayan, since the others are glos aries as we have been able to see when we discussed them.
Having verified this section, we have come to the conclusion that Occident as much as Orient nearly always coincid in the number of frequency of repetition of each drug.
have hecked the used form of the several parts of each plant which appeared
in the studied 1 works, although the study has been exhaustive for each
one of them, and we are obliged to offer some examples, only
FinalIy we have checked the survival of these drugs in Spanish pharmacopoeia, such as "Phar- macopei Matritensis"13, Pharmacopoea Hispana l4 and the "Farmacopea Espanola" 15, as reflected in the o tline we offer. We are also preparing the review of other European pharmacopoeias.
The work we offer here logically is an advance of our further investigation.
This study has been oriented according to the accepted basis at the 31 world Assembly of Health, held in May 1 978, tendentious to make an inventory of medicinal plants used in the traditional Medicin s. Likewise there exists a hope to cover in a second phase, the available scientific data about the effici ncy of the medicinal plats used in the classical Arabic Medicine and its derived products in the treatmen of affections and concrete diseases