Historical Cultivation And Usage

Cultural links of human societies in the use of different plants in foods, medicine, divination, cosmetics, dyeing, and textiles, as construction tools, currency, and clothing, and in literature, rituals, and social life have been documented. The study of how plants have been perceived, categorized and used by societies for food, medicine, and rituals is known as ethnobotany, and its investigation is the activity of the ethnobotanist.

The medicinal properties of garden cress were emphasized in the old Oriental and Mediterranean cultures. Its vermifugal powers were noted by Columela, and the antihistaminic properties were referred to Ibn al-Awwam. However, most information on its properties was collected by an Andalusian botanist called Ibn al-Baytar. It was mentioned that Lepidium sativum can be administered for leprosy, renal "cooling," and purification of hair. Seeds were used as an aphrodisiac in Iran and Morocco, and its application as an edible oil from the seeds was noted in Abyssinia. The reputation of garden cress among Muslims has been attributed to the direct recommendation by the Prophet. It was stated that Prophet Mohammed, "Peace be upon him," said:

jji) jJ^ollj etiHI:

cliiiiJl ¿y> (jJ^Sn ^ Ijl-o ;Jli {^xj ^ u^1 u' ^^ u'j oV- ij? "i&l-ijc- ¡j

¿va .kaUJI AjjjIj ;(jjjj 'U.ji.i :J ¿-«^1 [What's in the two of healing: Al-Thuffa and Al-Sabir.]

(Abdullah bin Abbas (2000))

Al-Thuffa here is Lepidium sativum, or garden cress.

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