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



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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