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Figs to shed fat and black cumin for cholesterol

Young Rubina eats figs and dates to shed the extra fat in her body while middle-aged Abdul Kareem takes black cumin seeds to keep his cholesterol under check.

  • The Asian Age
  • Published: 00:00 September 18, 2005
  • Gulf News

Young Rubina eats figs and dates to shed the extra fat in her body while middle-aged Abdul Kareem takes black cumin seeds to keep his cholesterol under check.

Septuagenarian Zaheeruddin takes a syrup made of pure honey to control his abdominal problems while his daughter-in-law Fathima treats her son's throat infection using vapours of incense.

All these medicines have been prescribed by practitioners of traditional Islamic medicine, which is fast becoming a rage in Hyderabad.

Sensing growing demand, many pharmaceutical companies are marketing beauty creams, hair oil and ointments based on the 1,500-year-old system of medicine.

At least a dozen Tibbe Nabawi clinics are functioning in the city and books on the Islamic medicine are selling like hot cakes in the city's bookshops.

"The efficacy of the Tibbe Nabawi pharmacopoeia has been proved scientifically by dozens of research organisations including the Food and Drugs Administration," says eminent physician Dr Fakhruddin Muhammad.

Most of the prescriptions are based on natural herbs and food products. "It is a lifestyle management system," says Dr Muhammad.

Practitioners of the system prescribe commonly available herbs and fruits (raw or extracts) such as grapes, pomegranates, citrus, honey, henna, dates (specially of the ajwa variety), olive, methi (fenugreek), aloe vera, rosewater, hibiscus, miswak, black cumin (kalonji), sweet basil (myrtle), ginger, Indian incense (Ud-al-Hind), truffles, watercress, squash, melons and figs to cure various ailments.

They are used to treat ailments ranging from cardiac problems to pleurisy, obesity to malnourishment, respiratory troubles to anaemia and even for healing wounds.

People who have survived heart attacks are prescribed a combination of honey, sana maki and ajwa dates to speed recovery.

Dr Fatemeh Mojtahedi, with an MBBS degree, uses preparations from Islamic medicine in her Avicenna Clinic to treat obesity.

"Moderation is the key," says she. "Treatment of obesity is quite simple in the medicine. It involves eating simple and wholesome natural foods and herbs and drinking plenty of water."

Dr Fatemeh has treated about 8,000 patients using the system and and one of them reportedly lost 58.5kg in nine months and 15 days. She thinks it is a world record of sorts.

Interest in the system increased after the International Institute of Islamic Medicine and the Islamic Medical Association of North America jointly held a conference a few years ago on Tibbe Nabawi.

Many enthusiasts of the system have abandoned toothbrushes in favour of the Miswak stick, which not only cleans teeth but also improves digestion.

Hakeem Muhammad Zaheer Ahmad prescribes black cumin (kalonji or Nigella sativa) to treat asthma, control of sugar in blood and urine, psoriasis, hypertension and skin diseases.

He is now studying the effect of black cumin seeds in the treatment of cancer. It also has other benefits.

"Kalonji oil has spurred my hair growth and has improved my skin texture," says Rafique Ahmad, a resident of Charminar.

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