Herbal Medicine in Yemen Traditional Knowledge and Practice, and Their Value for Today’s World By Ingrid Hehmeyer and Hanne Schönig, eds. (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2012. 249 pages.)

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John Andrew Morrow

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Abstract

Herbal Medicine in Yemen contains eleven studies on a wide range of virtually


unrelated subjects. In their introduction, the editors mention that “religious


and magical rituals are employed side by side with material medica


(p. 1) in Yemen. This should serve as warning for what is to come and send


practitioners of phytotherapy into flight. They assert that Yemenites employ


an enormous variety of plant-based medicines and allege that “[t]this is different


in other Islamic countries, e.g. Morocco, where animal drugs are


widely used” (p. 1). As an herbalist who has lived for extended periods in


Morocco, who has also travelled widely therein and met many of its herbalists


and healers, their latter assertion is not accurate. In all of the stalls and stores


I visited in markets in cities nationwide, the only animal drugs I ever saw


were small quantities of dried lizards and other such creatures; I found more


animal drugs in the shops of sorcerers and witches who dabbled in the dark


arts ...


 

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