Herbal Medicine in Yemen

Traditional Knowledge and Practice, and Their Value for Today's World


Traditional medical lore along with its practitioners – druggists and healers – survives in Yemen today. Owing to the country's rich biodiversity, the main body of the medicines is plant-based. This book features fourteen scholars from Europe, North America and the Middle East (three of them from Yemen) who represent both humanities and natural sciences. They address the topic of herbal medicines and their multifaceted applications within traditional Yemeni society across boundaries of disciplines, such as Islamic studies, history, social anthropology, pharmacy and agriculture. The approaches are based on textual analysis, empirical research and laboratory experiment. Both historical and contemporary issues are covered.

Contributors include: Mohammed Al-Duais, Jacques Fleurentin, Amin Al-Hakimi, Ingrid Hehmeyer, Gottfried Jetschke, Efraim Lev, Ulrike Lindequist, Miranda Morris, Ester Muchawsky-Schnapper, Frédéric Pelat, Mikhail Rodionov, Petra Schmidl, Daniel Martin Varisco and Anhar Ya’ni.

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Biographical Note
Dr. Ingrid Hehmeyer, an Associate Professor of History of Science and Technology at Ryerson University, Toronto (Canada), received her Doctorate in Agriculture in 1988 and a Master of Science (equiv.) in Pharmacy in 1990, both from the University of Bonn.

Anne Regourd, Ph.D. in Philosophy (1987), teaches at the University of Paris 4-Sorbonne, and is Associee at the CNRS. She published on Divinatory and Magic practices in Mediaeval Islam and contemporary Yemen (Religious Anthropology, History of Sciences) and in Arabic Philology.

Dr. Hanne Schönig, Ph.D. (1984) in Oriental Languages and Islamic Studies, is a researcher at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Area Studies, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg. She has published on Yemeni material culture including Schminken, Düfte und Räucherwerk der Jemenitinnen (Ergon, 2002).
Review Quotes
“…an important contribution to the study of traditional plant-based medicine, broadly embedded in its fascinating cultural, religious, and historical contexts.”
Jillian M. De Gezelle in Economic Botany XX(X) 2013.

“Bringing together almost every scholar who has worked on traditional herbal medicine in Yemen, this book is a summation of decades of research and will be the one comprehensive treatment of the subject for years to come.”
Werner Daum in Bulletin of the British Foundation for the Study of Arabia (BFSA) 18 (2013).

"... die Lektüre dieser interdisziplinären Beiträge ist ein Gewinn."
Dr. Armin Schopen in Jemen-Report 45.1-2 (2014).
Table of contents
Foreword, Sheikh A. Bawazir
A note on transliteration convention
List of illustrations and maps

Introduction: Hanne Schönig and Ingrid Hehmeyer
Chapter One: The validity of traditional medicine as an effective tool in issues of human health, Ingrid Hehmeyer
Chapter Two: Eastern Mediterranean pharmacology and India trade as a background for Yemeni medieval medicinal plants, Efraim Lev
Chapter Three: Magic and medicine in a thirteenth-century treatise on the science of the stars, Petra G. Schmidl
Chapter Four: Qāt and traditional healing in Yemen, Daniel Martin Varisco
Chapter Five: The aloe and the frankincense tree in southern Arabia: Different approaches to their use, Miranda Morris
Chapter Six: Healing through medicinal plants: Old Yemenite therapeutic traditions and their application in Jerusalem today, Ester Muchawsky-Schnapper
Chapter Seven : Honey, coffee, and tea in cultural practices of Ḥaḍramawt, Mikhail Rodionov
Chapter Eight: From medicinal plants of Yemen to therapeutic herbal drugs, Jacques Fleurentin
Chapter Nine: The miraculous plant ḥalqa ( Cyphostemma digitatum): From grandmother’s kitchen in Yemen’s south-western highlands to modern medicinal and culinary applications, Mohammed Al-Duais and Gottfried Jetschke
Chapter Ten: A pharmacist’s view of the potential value to modern medicine of plants and fungi used by traditional medicine in Yemen, Ulrike Lindequist
Chapter Eleven: Health issues in the mountains of Yemen: Healing practices as part of farmers’ traditional knowledge, Amin Al-Hakimi, Anhar Ya’ni, and Frédéric Pelat

About the authors
Index of plants and fungi
Index of names
Index of topics and keywords
Academic readers from various disciplinary fields, such as philology, history of medicine, Middle Eastern Studies, area studies (Yemen: medieval and contemporary, Jewish Yemen), anthropology, ethnography, agronomy, botany, pharmacy, pharmacology and ecology.
Index Card
Collection Information