Blog
About

  • Record: found
  • Abstract: found
  • Article: found
Is Open Access

Healing with animals in the Levant from the 10th to the 18th century

, 1

Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine

BioMed Central

Read this article at

Bookmark
      There is no author summary for this article yet. Authors can add summaries to their articles on ScienceOpen to make them more accessible to a non-specialist audience.

      Abstract

      Animals and products derived from different organs of their bodies have constituted part of the inventory of medicinal substances used in various cultures since ancient times. The article reviews the history of healing with animals in the Levant (The Land of Israel and parts of present-day Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan, defined by the Muslims in the Middle Ages as Bilad al-Sham) in the medieval and early Ottoman periods.

      Intensive research into the phenomenon of zootherapy in the medieval and early Ottoman Levant has yielded forty-eight substances of animal origin that were used medicinally. The vast majority of these substances were local and relatively easy to obtain. Most of the substances were domestic (honey, wax, silkworm, etc.), others were part of the local wildlife (adder, cuttle fish, flycatcher, firefly, frog, triton, scorpion, etc.), part of the usual medieval household (milk, egg, cheese, lamb, etc.), or parasites (louse, mouse, stinkbug, etc.). Fewer substances were not local but exotic, and therefore rare and expensive (beaver testicles, musk oil, coral, ambergris, etc.).

      The range of symptoms that the substances of animal origin were used to treat was extensive and included most of the known diseases and maladies of that era: mainly hemorrhoids, burns, impotence, wounds, and skin, eye, and stomach diseases.

      Changes in the moral outlook of modern societies caused the use of several substances of animal origin to cease in the course of history. These include mummy, silkworm, stinkbug, scarabees, snail, scorpion, and triton.

      Related collections

      Most cited references 88

      • Record: found
      • Abstract: found
      • Article: not found

      Traditional healing with animals (zootherapy): medieval to present-day Levantine practice.

       Efraim Lev (2003)
      Animals and products derived from different organs of their bodies have constituted part of the inventory of medicinal substances used in various cultures since ancient times. This article reviews the history of healing with animals in the Levant (the Land of Israel and parts of present-day Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan, defined by the Muslims in the Middle Ages as Bilad al-Sham) throughout history. Intensive research into the phenomenon of zootherapy in the Levant from early medieval to present-day traditional medicine yielded 99 substances of animal origin which were used medicinally during that long period. Fifty-two animal extracts and products were documented as being used from the early Muslim period (10th century) to the late Ottoman period (19th century). Seventy-seven were recorded as being used in the 20th century. Seven main animal sources have been exploited for medical uses throughout history: honey, wax, adder, beaver testicles, musk oil, coral, and ambergris. The first three are local and relatively easy to obtain; the last four are exotic, therefore, rare and expensive. The use of other materials of animal origin came to an end in the course of history because of change in the moral outlook of modern societies. Among the latter we note mummy, silkworm, stinkbug, scarabees, snail, scorpion, and triton.
        Bookmark
        • Record: found
        • Abstract: found
        • Article: not found

        Ethnopharmacological survey of traditional drugs sold in Israel at the end of the 20th century.

        This report deals with the results of a study of present day uses of traditional medicinal materials in Israel. The survey covered selected markets in medicinal materials, belonging to various religious and ethnic communities, and also included questioning of the sellers and buyers about the healing characteristics of the various materials. The survey yielded information on many and varied medicinal materials, of which 310 are identified according to the following classifications, 264 species of plants (85.1%); 20 species of animals (6.5%); 19 kinds of minerals (6.5%); and seven materials of other or mixed origin (2.3%). Analysis of the data showed that a significant proportion of the materials were of local origin (51.5%) and some were imported from other countries. These data demonstrate that there is still a flourishing and well developed trade in these materials - a trade which is the remnant of a rich and ancient medical culture, which is disappearing from the modern world.
          Bookmark
          • Record: found
          • Abstract: found
          • Article: not found

          Ethnopharmacological survey of traditional drugs sold in the Kingdom of Jordan.

          The results of a survey of present-day traditional medicinal materials conducted in 1998-1999 in the Kingdom of Jordan are reported. The study covered selected markets of medicinal substances of ethnic communities throughout the kingdom, and also included questioning of the sellers about the healing characteristics of the various materials. The survey yielded information on many and varied medicinal substances, of which 304 are identified according to the following classifications: 236 species of plants (77.6%); 30 species of animals (9.8%); 29 kinds of inorganic substances (9.6%); and 9 materials of other or mixed origin (3%). Analysis of the data showed that some substances were of local origin (41.8%), but the majority of the substances (45.4%) were imported from other countries. 12.8% of the substances were both local and imported. These data demonstrate that there is still a flourishing and well-developed trade in these materials--a trade that is the remnant of a rich and ancient medical culture, which is disappearing from the modern world.
            Bookmark

            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            [1 ]Dep. of Erets Israel Studies and School of Public Health, University of Haifa, Haifa, 31905, Israel
            Contributors
            Journal
            J Ethnobiol Ethnomed
            Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine
            BioMed Central (London )
            1746-4269
            2006
            21 February 2006
            : 2
            : 11
            1402264
            1746-4269-2-11
            16504024
            10.1186/1746-4269-2-11
            Copyright © 2006 Lev; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

            This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

            Categories
            Research

            Health & Social care

            Comments

            Comment on this article