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Research Article
Vegetables Mentioned in the Holy Qura’n and Ahadith and Their Ethnomedicinal Studies in Dera Ismail Khan, N.W.F.P., Pakistan

Sarfaraz Khan Marwat, Mir Ajab Khan, Muhammad Aslam Khan, Mushtaq Ahmad, Muhammad Zafar, Fazal- ur-Rehman and Shazia Sultana
 
ABSTRACT
The present research work is based on nine herbaceous plant species: Agaricus campestris L., Allium cepa L., Allium sativum L., Beta vulgaris L. Citrulus lanatus (Thunb.) Mats. & Nakai, Cucumis sativus L., Lagenaria siceraria (Molina) Standley, Trigonella foenum-graecum L. and Zingiber officinale Roscoe. mentioned in Holy Quran and Ahadith. These plants were collected from Dera Ismail Khan District, NWFP, Pakistan, during 2007. This is a part of check list of medicinal flora and their uses enlisted in Holy Quran, Ahadith and Islamic literature. The main aim of this study is to document the knowledge of ethnobotanical importance of vegetables in the light of Islam. In view of the importance of this study related comprehensive and detailed data was collected. Complete macro and microscopic detailed morphological features of these species were discussed. Results were systematically arranged by alphabetic order of botanical names, family followed by Quranic name, Arabic name, English name, Local/vernicular name, habit and habitat, parts used, medicinal uses and references cited from Holy Quran and Ahadith. It is concluded that herbal medicines are being widely used in the world because of better cultural acceptability, least injurious with none or much reduced side effects.
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  How to cite this article:

Sarfaraz Khan Marwat, Mir Ajab Khan, Muhammad Aslam Khan, Mushtaq Ahmad, Muhammad Zafar, Fazal- ur-Rehman and Shazia Sultana, 2009. Vegetables Mentioned in the Holy Qura’n and Ahadith and Their Ethnomedicinal Studies in Dera Ismail Khan, N.W.F.P., Pakistan. Pakistan Journal of Nutrition, 8: 530-538.

DOI: 10.3923/pjn.2009.530.538

URL: http://scialert.net/abstract/?doi=pjn.2009.530.538

INTRODUCTION

Vegetables are those herbaceous plants whose part or parts are eaten as supporting food or main dishes and they may be aromatic, bitter or tasteless. The nutrient contents of different types of vegetables vary considerably and they are not major source of carbohydrates compared to starchy foods which form the bulk of food eaten, but contain vitamins, essential amino acids as well as minerals and antioxidants. Vegetables are included in meals mainly for their nutritional values; however some are reserved for sick and convalescence because of their medicinal properties (Mensah et al., 2008).

Pakistan is among those countries where traditional unani medicine is popularly practiced among a large fragment of its population. Traditional unani medicine originated in Greece, founded by ancient Greek philosophers and was used/documented by Muslims during the glorious period of Islamic civilization. It was brought to the Indo-Pak Subcontinent by Muslim scholars and practiced here for centuries (Hassan, 2001).

Life and diseases go together where there is life, diseases are bound to exist. Dependency and sustainability of man and animal life has been revolving around plants through their uses as food, fibers and shelter, but also plants have been used to control and ease diseases, therefore, the use of plants as medicines is an ancient and reliable practice (Arshad and Rao, 2001).

Cure of diseases through medicinal plants is always a salient feature of Islamic teaching and preaching. Islamic medicine started from Hazrat Adam (A.S.) and was completed at Hazrat Muhammad (SAW) but search and compiling of these medicines is still continued through out the world (Nasr, 1976).

The Holy Quran is the eternal and everlasting basis of Islam. It contains signs and verses which have been leading people of different ages and of different academics and intellectual background to believe in Islam. The Holy Quran from the very start has a claim that it covers every aspect of life and is full of wisdom. It speaks “We have neglected nothing in the Book” (Khan, et al., 1994).

History of Islamic medicine in its true context can thus be defined as a body of knowledge of medicine that was inherited by the Muslim in the early phase of Islamic history (40-247 AH/661-861 AD) from mostly Greek sources but to which became added medical knowledge from, Persia, Syria, India and Byzantine.

Ahadith [the sayings of Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (Sallallaho Alayhi Wassallam)] have also described the importance of many plant species. Farooqi (1998) in his book “Ahadith Mein Mazkoor Nabatat, Adwiyah Aur Ghizaen” in English “Plants, Medicines and Food Mentioned in Ahadith” has reported about 70 plants and plant products.

Keeping in view the importance of diverse medicinal flora and rich medicinal culture of Islam, research work was conducted to investigate ethnobotanical uses and create awareness about the plant species enlisted in Holy Quran, Ahadith for the welfare of human communities throughout the world.

MATERIALS AND METHODS

The research work was conducted by reviewing the Holy Quran, Ahadith and Islamic books. Comprehensive and detailed information about 9 herbaceous vegetable plants of ethnobotanical importance mentioned in the Holy Quran and Ahadith were collected from these sources. Plants species were arranged in systematic order of botanical names in alphabetic order followed by family, Quranic name, Arabic name, English name, habit and habitat, part used, medicinal uses and references cited from Holy Quran, Ahadith and Islamic books. Correct botanical names, their families and identification of plants were done by using flora of Pakistan.

RESULTS

Present findings were confined to 9 herbaceous vegetable plant species belonging to 8 genera of 7 families enlisted in Holy Quran, Ahadith and Islamic literature. These plants are Agaricus campestris L., Allium cepa L., Allium sativum L., Beta vulgaris L. Citrulus lanatus (Thunb.) Mats. and Nakai, Cucumis sativus L., Lagenaria siceraria, Trigonella foenum-graecum L. and Zingiber officinale Roscoe. which are used throughout Pakistan for various aspects such as vegetable, medicinal and industrial products. Data inventory constitutes botanical name, family, Quranic name, English name, local names, Arabic name, habit and habitat, distribution; parts used, medicinal uses and references cited from Holy Quran and books of Ahadith.

Agaricus campestris

English Name : Mushroom
Local Name : Khumbi
Arabic Name :

Esh El-Ghorab

Family : Agaricaceae
Habit and Habitat : Fleshy fungus, terrestrial and moist places
Part used : Whole part
Medicinal uses : Eye diseases, clear eyes, physical strength, germicide, arthritis, paralysis, parknesis, muscle pain, headache and Dizziness

References from Ahadith:

Saeed bin Zaid (R.A.) narrates that I heard the Prophet (Sallallaho Alaihi Wassallum) saying, "Truffles are like Manna (i.e. they grow naturally without man's care) and their water heals eye diseases."(Farooqi, 1998)
Sa'id bin Zaid (R.A.) reported: I heard Allah's Apostle (Sallallaho Alaihi Wassallum) as saying: Truffles are a kind of 'Manna' and their juice is a medicine for the eyes
Sa'id bin Zaid (R.A.) reported Allah's Messenger (Sallallaho Alaihi Wassallum) as saying: Truffles are a kind of 'Manna' which Allah the Glorious and Exalted, sent down upon the people of Israil, and its juice is a medicine for the eyes (Farooqi, 1998)

Hazrat Suhaib (R.A.) reported Rasulallah (may peace be upon Him) as saying: Truffles are a kind of 'Manna' which Allah sent down upon Bani Israil and their juice is a medicine for the eyes (Farooqi, 1998).

Abu Huraira (R.A.) narrates: one day the companions of Rasulullah (SAW) said to Him (SAW), “Truffles are the small pox of the earth”. Upon this Rasulullah (SAW) said, “Truffles are 'Manna' and their juice is the medicine for the eyes (Farooqi, 1998).

Allium cepa L.

English Name : Onion
Local Name : Piaz
Arabic Name : Basal
Family : Alliaceae
Habit and Habitat : Herbacous, cultivated in the field
Part used : Rhizome, leaves and seeds

Medicinal uses: Antidote, Stomach diseases, cholera, Diarrhoea, throat infection, common cold, cough, fever, influenza, ear pain, improve sperm production, clear face and skin spots, appetizer, headache, hepatitis, piles, eye diseases, baldness, constipation, menstruation and intestinal diseases.

References from Holy Qurn (Verse #. 61, Chapter #.1- Surah Al Baqarah): And (remember) when you said, “O Mûsâ (Musa)! we cannot endure one kind of food. So invoke your Lord for us to bring forth for us of what the earth grows, its herbs, its cucumbers, its Fûm (wheat or garlic), its lentils and its onions.” He said, “Would you exchange that which is better for that which is lower? (Al-Hilali and Khan, 1985).

References from Ahadith

Narrated Jabir bin 'Abdullah: (R.A.) the Prophet said, "Whoever has eaten garlic or onion should keep away from us or should keep away from our mosque (Farooqi, 1998)
Narrated Mu'awiyah ibn Qurrah (R.A.): the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) forbade these two plants (i.e. garlic and onions) and he said: He who eats them should not come near our mosque. If it is necessary to eat them, make them dead by cooking, that is, onions and garlic (Ahmad, 1988)
Narrated Aisha, Ummul Mu'minin (R.A.): Khalid (R.A.) said: Abu Ziyad Khiyar ibn Salamah (R.A.) asked Aisha (R.A.) about onions. She replied: The last food which the Apostle of Allah (Sallallaho Alayhi Wassallam) ate was some which contained onions (Ahmad, 1988)

Mahdan Bin Abu Talah narrates: Rasulullah (Sallallaho Alayhi Wassallam) said, those who eat onion and garlic should eat them in cooked form (Khan, 2001)

Note: He who eats onion should make its odour die by cooking it well.

Allium sativum L.

English Name : Garlic
Local Name : Lahson
Arabic Name : Soom
Family : Alliaceae
Habit and Habitat : Annual cultivated erect herb
Part used : Rhizome
Medicinal uses : Antidote, wound healer, dog bite, paralysis, digestive problems, asthma, parkensis, intestinal pain worms, cough, histerea, headache, tuber closes

References from Holy Quran (Verse #. 61, Chapter # 1 - Surah Al Baqarah): “And when you said O’ Moses We will not have patience or We will not endure on food (of) one (kind) so you pray for us (to) your Lord he brings out for us whatever sprouts or germinates (in) the earth of its vegetables or herbs and its cucumbers and its garlic and its lentils and its onions” (Rafai, 1990).

References from Ahadith:

Hazrat Anas bin Malik (R.A.) narrated: the Prophet (Sallallaho Alayhi Wassallam) said, "Whoever has eaten garlic should not come to our mosque (Farooqi, 1998)

Khalid (R.A.) said: Abu Ziyad Khiyar ibn Salamah (R.A.) asked Aisha (R.A.) about onions. She replied: The last food which the Apostle of Allah (Sallallaho Alayhi Wassallam) ate was some which contained onions (Ahmad, 1988).

Beta vulgaris L.

English Name : Beet roots
Local Name : Chakandar
Arabic Name : Banjar
Family : Chenopodiaceae
Habit and Habitat : Cultivated vegetable, Terrestrial
Part used : Roots and leaves
Medicinal uses : Eczema, baldness, liver infection, muscle weakness, skin disease, hepatitis, arthritis, kidney pain, headache, womb diseases and vaginal pain

References from Ahadith:

Narrated Sahl bin Sad (R.A.): there was a woman amongst us who had a farm and she used to sow Silq (a kind of vegetable) on the edges of streams in her farm. On Fridays she used to pull out the Silq from its roots and put the roots in a utensil. Then she would put a handful of powdered barley over it and cook it. The roots of the Silq were a substitute for meat. After finishing the Jumua prayer we used to greet her and she would give us that food which we would eat with our hands and because of that meal, we used to look forward to Friday (Abdullah, 2005)
Narrated Umm al-Mundhar bint Qays al-Ansariyyah: the Apostle of Allah (Sallallaho Alayhi Wassallam) came to visit me, accompanied by Ali who was convalescing. We had some ripe dates hung up. The Apostle of Allah (Sallallaho Alayhi Wassallam) got up and began to eat from them. Ali also got up to eat, but the Apostle of Allah (Sallallaho Alayhi Wassallam) said repeatedly to Ali: Stop, Ali, for you are convalescing and Ali stopped. She said: I then prepared some barley and beet-root and brought it. The Apostle of Allah (Sallallaho Alayhi Wassallam) then said: Take some of this, Ali, for it will be more beneficial for you (Ahmad, 1988)

Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsumura

English Name : Water melon
Local Name : Tarbooz
Arabic Name : Al Bataigh
Family : Cucurbitaceae
Habit and Habitat : Shrub, Terrestrial
Part used : Fruit and seeds
Medicinal uses : Kidney pain clears the urine and stomach, facial beauty, increase immunity, jaundice and have cold effects

References from Ahadith:

Narrated Sahl bin Sad Al-Sadi (R.A.): Rasulullah (Sallallaho Alayhi Wassallam) used to eat ripe date with water melon (Ghaznavi, 1991)

Hazrat Abdullah Bin Abbas (R.A.) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallaho Alayhi Wassallam) said, “Water melon is diet as well as drink. It washes and purifies the urinary bladder. It increases the sexual power (Farooqi, 1998)

Hazrat Aisha (R.A.) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallaho Alayhi Wassallam) used to eat water melon with fresh dates (Farooqi, 1998)

Cucumis sativus L.

English name : Cucumber
Local name : Khira
Arabic name : Qissa, Khiarun
Family Name : Cucurbitaceae
Habit and Habitat : Trailing annual, terrestrial herb
Distribution : Cultivated throughout the tropical and subtropical counties of the world
Parts used : Fruit
Medicinal uses :

Cooling, diuretic, tonic and vermifuge, diuretic, purgative

References from Ahadith:

Narrated 'Abdullah (R.A.) bin Ja'far bin Abi Talib (R.A.): I saw Allah's Apostle (Sallallaho Alayhi Wassallam) eating fresh dates with cucumber (Abdullah, 2005)

'Abdullah (R.A.) bin Ja'far reported: I saw Allah's Messenger (Sallallaho Alayhi Wassallam) eating cucumber with fresh dates (Farooqi, 1998).

Narrated Aisha, Ummul Mu'minin (R.A.): my mother intended to make me fat to send me to the (house of) the Apostle of Allah (Sallallaho Alayhi Wassallam). But nothing which she desired benefited me till she gave me cucumber with fresh dates to eat. Then I became very fat (Ghaznavi, 2000).

Lagenaria siceraria L.

English Name : Squash
Local Name : Kaddo
Arabic Name : Yakteen, Daba
Family : Cucurbitaceae
Habit and Habitat : Prostrate with tendrils herb
Part used : Fruit and leaves
Medicinal uses : Arthritis, Maleness, Headache, fever, Madness, Piles, lungs infection, common cold, kidney and liver disorder and heart diseases

References from Holy Quran: (As-Saaffat, Chapter # 37, Verse # 146): And We caused a plant of gourd to grow over him (Al-Hilali and Khan, 1985)

References from Ahadith:

Narrated Ishaq bin 'Abdullah (R.A.) bin Abu Talha (R.A.): I heard Anas bin Malik (R.A.) saying, "A tailor invited Allah's Apostle (Sallallaho Alayhi Wassallam) to a meal which he had prepared.” Anas bin Malik (R.A.) said, "I accompanied Allah's Apostle (Sallallaho Alayhi Wassallam0 to that meal. He served the Prophet with bread and soup made with gourd and dried meat. I saw the Prophet (Sallallaho Alayhi Wassallam) taking the pieces of gourd from the dish." Anas (R.A.) added, "Since that day I have continued to like gourd" (Abdullah, 2005)
Narrated Anas (R.A.): I was a young boy when I once was walking with Allah's Apostle (Sallallaho Alayhi Wassallam). Allah's Apostle entered the house of his slave tailor and the latter brought a dish filled with food covered with pieces of gourd. Allah's Apostle (Sallallaho Alayhi Wassallam) started picking and eating the gourd. When I saw that, I started collecting and placing the gourd before him. Then the slave returned to his work. Anas (R.A.) added: I have kept on loving gourd since I saw Allah's Apostle (Sallallaho Alayhi Wassallam) doing what he was doing (Abdullah, 2005)
Narrated Anas bin Malik (R.A.): a tailor invited the Prophet (Sallallaho Alayhi Wassallam) to a meal which he had prepared and I went along with the Prophet (Sallallaho Alayhi Wassallam). The tailor presented barley bread and soup containing gourd and cured meat. I saw the Prophet (Sallallaho Alayhi Wassallam) picking the pieces of gourd from around the dish and since then I have kept on liking gourd (Ghaznavi, 2000)
Anas bin Malik (R.A.) reported: a tailor invited Allah's Messenger (Sallallaho Alayhi Wassallam) to a meal which he had prepared. Anas bin Malik (R.A.) said: I went along with Allah's Messenger (Sallallaho Alayhi Wassallam) to that feast. He presented to Allah's Messenger (Sallallaho Alayhi Wassallam) barley bread and soup containing pumpkin and sliced pieces of meat. Anas (R.A.) said: I saw Allah's Messenger (Sallallaho Alayhi Wassallam) going after the pumpkin round the dish, so I have always liked the pumpkin since that day (A’zami and Nadvi, 1985)

Trigonella foenum-graecum L.

English Name : Fenugreek
Local Name : Maithi
Arabic Name : Helba
Family : Papilionaceae
Habit : Cultivated leafy vegetable
Part used : Seeds and leaves
Medicinal uses : Throat infection, swelling, body pain, cough, stomach pain, piles, dandruff, baldness, breast pain, lungs infection, diabetes, ulcer, diarrhea and gas trouble. Powerful tonic, back pain, seeds in powder form used for diabetes, lactogogue i.e., to stimulate milk production in mammary glands

References from Ahadith:

Qasim Bin Abdul Rehman (R.A.) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallaho Alayhi Wassallam) said, “Seek cure by (using) fenugreek” (Ghaznavi, 1991)

In another hadith Rasulullah (Sallallaho Alayhi Wassallam) said, “If my followers (Ummat) knew the importance of the fenugreek then they will buy it by gold of equal weight” (Ghaznavi, 1991).

Zingiber officinale Roscoe

English Name : Ginger
Local Name : Adrak or onth
Arabic Name : Zangbeal
Family : Zingiberaceae
Habit : Cultivated herb with underground perennial stem
Habitat and distribution : Terrestial and Bangladesh, Yaman, Oman, Seralone, India and Pakistan
Part used : Fruit
Medicinal uses : Intestinal pain, anorexia, dyspepsia, headache, diarrhea, constipation, intestinal swelling, dog bite, stomach disorders, sexual weakness, digestive stimulant, cooling effect on body, increase urine production

References from Quran: (Surah Ad-Dahr Chapter # 76, Verse # 17): “And they will be given to drink there of a cup (of wine) mixed with Zanjabil (ginger)” (Al-Hilali and Khan, 1985).

References from Ahadith:

Abu Saeed Khudri (R.A.) narrated: The rular of Rome presented a basket of gingers in the honour of Rasulullah (Sallallaho Alayhi Wassallam) as a gift. He gave every one a piece of ginger. He also gave one piece of it to me (Farooqi, 1998)

DISCUSSION

Vegetables are important protective food and highly beneficial for the maintenance of health and prevention of disease. They contain valuable food ingredients which are essential for the proper functioning of the body. Vegetables contain various medicinal and therapeutic agents and are valued mainly for their high vitamin and mineral content. Faulty cooking and prolonged careless storage can however destroy these valuable elements. To drive maximum benefits of their nutrients, vegetables should be consumed fresh as far as possible. Most vegetables are best consumed in their natural raw state in the form of salads (Husain, 2002).

From time immemorial humans have used plants to alleviate their sufferings from diseases. Approximately 70% of the homeopathic drugs are prepared from the fresh plants. Similarly more than 90% of tibbi medicines are prepared from herbs. Pakistan is very rich in plants of medicinal value (Nasreen and Khan, 2001).

In Islam diseases are cured in 2 ways, first the cure of soul through prayers and second the cure of ailments through medicines. The Holy Quran is one of the reference books describing the importance of plants used for different ailments in various Surahs. Our Holy Prophet (Sallallaho Alayhi Wassallam) used certain herbs and recommended various medicinal plants for cure of common diseases. He recommended Agaricus campestris L (Mushroom-truffle) for eye diseases. Saeed bin Zaid (R.A.) Narrates that I heard the Prophet (Sallallaho Alayhi Wassallam) saying, "Truffles are like Manna (i.e., they grow naturally without man's care) and their water heals eye diseases "(Farooqi, 1998). Hazrat Abu Huraira (R.A.) collected the water of 3, 5 or 7 mushrooms and put it in a small bottle. He then gave it to a bleared eye maid servant (laundi) to use it for the said eye disease. She cured after using the water of mushrooms (Chughtai, 2005). Allium cepa although rarely used specifically as a medicinal herb, the onion has a wide range of beneficial actions on the body and when eaten (especially raw) on a regular basis will promote the general health of the body. It is extensively used as spice, condiment and vegetable in kitchen. The bulbs are stimulant, digestive expectorant and aphrodisiac. Baked onions can be used as a poultice to remove pus from sores. Fresh onion juice is a very useful first aid treatment for bee and wasp stings, bites, grazes (Shahidullah, 2000). When warmed the juice can be dropped into the ear to treat earache. The bulb are anthelmintic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispas-modic, carminative, diuretic, expectorant, febrifuge, hypoglycaemic, hypotensive, lithontriptic, stomachic and tonic. When used regularly in the diet it offsets tendencies towards angina, arteriosclerosis and heart attack. It is also useful in preventing oral infection and tooth decay (Plants for a Future, 2008).

Allium sativum L. has been held in high esteem for its health building qualities for centuries. It contains high percentage of minerals and vitamins. It also contains traces of iodine, sulphur and chlorine. It is regarded as a rejuvenator. It is found to remove toxins and revitalize blood. The ethers in garlic juice is so potent and penetrating that they help to dissolve accumulated mucous in the sinus cavities, in bronchial tubes and lungs. It has been found effective in Asthma. It has an antiseptic effect (Husain, 2002).

Its bulbs are used as flavouring agent, spice, carminative, aromatic and condiment. It is effective in heart diseases and blood pressure. It dissolve fats. It is used in folklore and veterinary medicines locally. Its juice is mixed with milk to cure T.B., asthma and whooping cough (Shahidullah, 2000).

Garlic contains a wealth of sulfur compounds; most important for the taste is allicin (diallyl disulphide oxide), which is produced enzymatically from alliin (S-2-propenyl-L-cysteine sulfoxide) if cells are damaged; its biological function is to repel herbivorous animals. Allicin is deactivated to diallyl disulphide; therefore, minced garlic changes its aroma if not used immediately.


Table 1:

Phytogeography and Key to the Identification of vegetables

In the essential oil from steam distillation, diallyl disulphide (60%) is found besides diallyl trisulphide (20%), diallyl sulfide, ajoene and minor amounts of other di- and polysulphides. Sulfur compounds of this kind are typical for the onion family (Katzer, 2008). Beta vulgaris (Beet Root) Beet root is a very useful vegetable. Beet juice is considered as one of the best vegetable juice. It contains phosphorus, calcium, iron, Vitamin B and C. Beet root possesses anti-cancer properties and is thus useful in the prevention of cancer (Chughtai, 2005).

Roots contain leucine, tryptophane, valine, alanine, phenylalanine, tyrosine, glutamine, glutamic acid, ornithine, 5 other amino acide, 0.01% essential oil with farnesol. Leaves contain quercitin glucoside, a vitexin combination with glucose, xylose and 3-hydroxytyramine, β-sitosterol and a suite of organic acids, oxalic-, tricarballyl-, aconitic-, ferulic-. Roots, herbage and seeds contain raphanol and coniferin (C16H22O8), Vit. A, B and C and betaine. Roots contain a crude oil with palmitic, oleic, erucic and gamma-aminobutyric acids, free and bound invertase and pectolytic enzymes (James, 1983). Due to its high iron content it regenerates and reactivates Red Blood Cells (RBC) and supplies fresh oxygen to the body. Hence extremely useful in the treatment of Anaemia Beet gets rid of dandruff. By boiling the top and root of the beet in water and later the water used on your head. After half an hour the head is washed with simple water. This process is practiced twice a week (Kevin, 2007). This is very useful phytotherapy for removal dandruff.

To fight appendicitis one should use the combination of beet and cucumber juice 100 ml, mixed with 300 ml of carrot juice. If this is consumed twice daily, it may just do the needful (Kevin, 2007).

Citrullus lanatus, the seed is demulcent, diuretic, pectoral and tonic. It is sometimes used in the treatment of the urinary passages and has been used to treat bed wetting. It is a good vermifuge and has a hypotensive action. A fatty oil in the seed, as well as aqueous or alcoholic extracts, paralyze tapeworms and roundworms. The fruit, eaten when fully ripe or even when almost putrid, is used as a febrifuge. It is diuretic, being effective in the treatment of dropsy and renal stones. It contains the substance lycopine (which is also found in the skins of tomatoes). This substance has been shown to protect the body from heart attacks and, in the case of the tomato at least, is more effective when it is cooked.

The rind of the fruit is prescribed in cases of alcoholic poisoning and diabetes.

The root is purgative and in large dose is said to be a certain emetic (Plants for a Future, 2008). Cucumis sativus (Cucumber) is another plant that has many references in Holy Quran and Ahadith. Narrated Aisha, Ummul Mu'minin (R.A.): My mother intended to make me fat to send me to the (house of) the Apostle of Allah (Sallallaho Alayhi Wassallam). But nothing which she desired benefited me till she gave me cucumber with fresh dates to eat. Then I became fat as she desired (Ghaznavi, 2000). The seed is cooling, diuretic, tonic and vermifuge. A 25-50 g of the thoroughly ground seeds (including the seed coat) is a standard dose as a vermifuge and usually needs to be followed by a purgative to expel the worms from the body.

A decoction of the root is diuretic (Plants for a Future, 2008). It is believed that cucumber helps in reducing swelling around the eyes or the big dark circles under your eyes. This is world-wide treatment which is being used to its maximum extent.

A close look at checklist of medicinal flora tell us that these plants are not of Arabic origin but The Holy Prophet (Sallallaho Alayhi Wassallam), gave the references of such plants that are not only grown in Arab countries but exist through out the world. This shows that the Holy Prophet was light for the entire world.

Lagenaria siceraria (gourd) was liked very much by The Holy Prophet (Sallallaho Alayhi Wassallam).

Narrated Anas bin Malik (R.A.): a tailor invited the Prophet to a meal which he had prepared and I went along with the Prophet. The tailor presented barley bread and soup containing gourd and cured meat. I saw the Prophet picking the pieces of gourd from around the dish and since then I have kept on liking gourd (Saboor, 1999).

Narrated Aisha (R.A.): rasullulah (Sallallaho Alayhi Wassallam) said to me, “O Aishah when you are going to cooke (prepare) a meal from cure meat add to it gourd, because the gourd strengthens the sad hearts” (Chughtai, 2005).

The gourd has special importance according to Ahadith. It is eaten eagerly. The experienced hakims have been advising the use of gourd oil (Roghan-e-Kaddu) for the treatment of diseases of brain and blood pressure for years.

The pulp around the seed is purgative. A poultice of the crushed leaves has been applied to the head to treat headaches. The flowers are an antidote to poison. The stem bark and the rind of the fruit are diuretic. The fruit is antilithic, diuretic, emetic and refrigerant.

The seed is vermifuge. A poultice of the boiled seeds has been used in the treatment of boils. Taken with Achyranthes spp the seed is used to treat aching teeth and gums, boils etc. Extracts of the plant have shown antibiotic activity. In many parts of China 3 grams per day of this species (the report does not say what part of the plant) has been used as a single treatment for diabetes mellitus (Plants for a Future, 2008).

Trigonella foenum-graecum has got great importance in Ahadith. Qasim Bin Abdul Rehman (R.A.) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallaho Alayhi Wassallam) said, “Seek cure by (using) fenugreek” (Ghaznavi, 1991). In another hadith Rasulullah (Sallallaho Alayhi Wassallam) said, “If my followers (Ummat) know the importance of the fenugreek then they will buy it by gold of equal weight” (Ghaznavi, 1991).

Fenugreek is much used in herbal medicine. It has a wide range of medicinal applications. It is a powerful tonic. It is useful for Back pain (backache). Seeds in powder form are used for diabetes (Ahmad, 2004).

Use of one teaspoonful of the powder of its seeds daily is recommended locally for the treatment of gout and diabetes. A paste of seeds and leaves is applied to reduce swellings and inflammation. Seeds are soaked in water to get mucilage, which is locally used to keep the skin soft (Shah, 2007). The powder of seeds can be used externally as a poultice for abscesses, boils, burns etc.

Compounds extracted from the plant have shown cardiotonic, hypoglycaemic, diuretic, antiphlogistic and hypotensive activity. One of its constituent alkaloids, called 'trigonelline', has shown potential for use in cancer therapy. The seed contains the saponin diosgenin, an important substance in the synthesis of oral contraceptives and sex hormones, whilst saponins in the plant have been extracted for use in various other pharmaceutical products (Plants for a Future, 2008).

Note: The seeds should not be prescribed medicinally for pregnant women since they can induce uterine contractions (Plants for a Future, 2008).

Zingiber officinale Rosc. It is another herbaceous plant which has a reference in Holy Qura’n. “And they will be given to drink there of a cup mixed with Zanjabil”. Verse: 17, Surah Ad-Dahr. According to Yousaf Ali the word Zanjabil literally means Ginger. In eastern medicine ginger is administered to give warmth to the body and zest to the taste. Now a days there is much interest in medicinal plants through out the world including developed countries like China, Germany, France, Japan, USA and UK. Similarly in developing countries like Pakistan and India, the benefits of modern medicines and health care reach only to small percentage of population. These could hardly reach the large mosses living in the rural areas. Moreover in remote areas of the world where per capita income of people is very low, it becomes more difficult to buy complicated and expensive prescriptions. Hence there is a need for the inclusion of herbal medicines at primary health care level, since there long standing use is plant drug reasonably guarantee their medicinal efficacy and safety (Ahmad et al., 2004).

The necessity for exploration for such useful data from Holy Quran, Ahadith and Islamic books has long been felt with the increasing need of drugs, medicines and other useful products. In this way present approach of this study can be adopted to record the medicinal uses of plants for welfare of human beings. This study is the logical and applicable step in directions towards the ultimate goal of development of natural plant based industry in the light of Islamic history through out the world for prosperity and safety of the human beings.

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