Islam and Psychosis, Part 2: Islamic traditions of mental health care and treatment

"The different sorts of madness are innumerable." ~ Avicenna (Ibn Sina)

All of what is now-adays called modern medicine would not exist without the ground-work of Islamic scholars and scientists. This also true for mental health assessments, treatments and ongoing care. Beyond the common stereotype that Muslims are superstitious and believe that mental health problems are caused by Jinn (spirits made of smokeless fire), stands a well documented history of Islamic scholars and medical practisioners assessing illnesses, diagnosing them through identifying common symptoms and finding individual treatments and cures for patients.

Continue reading

Islam and Psychosis, Part 1: The Psychiatric Dystopia

“I once read about a Muslim man who was locked up in a Psychiatric hospital by his family. He begged a young Psychiatrist for help and repeated the Fatihah over and over again. What really got to me was the response of the Psychiatrist. He brushed the man off and could not see how that the man was calling for spiritual help. The most disturbing part for me was that the Psychiatrist himself was a Muslim.”

Continue reading

Leech Therapy (Taleeq): History and Overview

“The colour should be greenish (like duckweed), and there should be two longitudinal lines having the colour of orpiment and ruddy; they should be rounded and liver-coloured. One may accept leeches which look like little locusts, or like mousetails, with very small heads. But do not accept those with red bellies and green backs, especially if they were collected from running waters.” ~ Avicenna on Leeches, from “The Canon of Medicine”

Leeches have been used for therapeutic purposes for millennia.  The earliest traces of the use of leeches appear to date back to 1600-1300 BC to a Greek named Nicander of Colophon.  The medical use of leeches is discussed by Avicenna ( Ibn Sina in The Canon of Medicine (follow this link for the Online Edition of The Canon of Medicine and the section on leeches), as well as by Abd-el-latif al-Baghdadi in the 12th century.

Continue reading

Portraits of Plants as Healers: The Red Clover

There are two kinds of knowledge: knowledge of religion and knowledge of the body.” ~ Prophet Mohammed (a.s.)

Trifolium pratense (“3 leaf plant”, from Latin), red clover, is a herbaceous flowering plant in the family Fabaceae, native to Europe, the Levant, the Middle East (Western Asia) and northwest Africa, but planted and naturalised in many other regions of the world.

Due to it’s natural hormone and calcium content the Red Clover increases bone density, smoothes the skin, increases circulation and  helps to have a restful sleep. It is also very useful for the treatment of Asthma and Bronchities. I have also heard of people who drank Red Clover tea against mental health issues such as depression and they reported an easing of their symptoms. Red Clover is also known to be a blood purifier, expelling toxins form the blood and inner organs (liver).

Continue reading

God’s Attributes and the Dhikr in Iatro-Theology and Theurgian Medicine

"Knowledge gives life to the soul." ~ Ali Ibn Talib (a.s)

It is interesting how words are made and how words are lost. It is through the lecture of German science historians such as Arthur Imhof and Robert Jütte that I un-earthed the words Iatro-Science, Iatro-Theology, Iatro-Magic and Theurgian Medicine. They give semantic criteria to various practises that were also part of European healing cultures and traditions but got lost over time.

Continue reading

Spiritual Healing in the Sufi, Shi’i and Isa (Jesus) Tradition

“It is He who is revealed in every face, sought in every sign, gazed upon by every eye, worshipped in every object of worship, and pursued in the unseen and the visible. Not a single one of His creatures can fail to find Him in its primordial and original nature.” ~ Ibn Arabi

I have started this blog in August 2014 and populated it with varying subjects, ranging from herbal recipes to standard health advise, to historical anecdotes, and complex matters such as the works of Henry Corbin and Shi’i Illumination, and further to mental health issues and questions of natural healing.  I have seen through the statistics provided by WordPress that the most popular subjects on this blog are those relating to the occult, and mental health in general and specifically in Islam.

Continue reading

Oxymel, an ancient vinegar and honey therapy from Iran

"Finely cut herbs and plants  such as fresh tips of pine tree, mint, rosemary etc and add to apple cider vinegar for about 6 weeks. Filter vinegar and mix 1:3 with honey (1 part vinegar, 3 parts honey). Boil down to one quarter of former volume. Fill into bottles (no metal lid please) and keep in cool dark place."

Oxymel, is a medicinal drink or syrup compounded of vinegar and honey and other ingredients. About 1200 types of oxymel were also described and their considerations and contraindications were presented in Medieval Persian pharmaceutical manuscripts and Avicenna's Canon of Medicine.

Continue reading

Recipe for (Halal) Herbal Apple Cider Vinegar

Allah has put blessings in vinegar (…)” ~ Muhammed (a.s)

The issue of Halal is often raised in relation to vinegar due to the process of making vinegar from ciders and wine. The website “My Halal Kitchen” has looked at the issues closer and has written about the different varities of vinegar and what they mean in a Halal context.  http://myhalalkitchen.com/the-vinegar-page/

Continue reading

Rescue remedies against mental distress, Part 3: Smudging

“The ḥarmal does not grow, whether as a tree, a leaf or a fruit, without there being an angelic guardian spirit attached to it.” ~ Muhammed (a.s)

Throughout history, the burning of natural substances has been used for cleansing, healing and spiritual purposes. The Babylonians used smudge extensively while offering prayers or divining oracles, and so did the old Germans and Norsk tribes, as well as as the First Nations of the Americas and Austral-Asia. Whereever people make their habitat, smuding is part of everyday culture. In the regions of the Himalaya and the Indian sub-continent the incense trade started and via the Spice Route various religious ideas and incense came via Iran to Arabia and Mecca during the days of the prophet (a.s).

Continue reading

Rescue remedies against mental distress, Part 2: Aromatic water

“There are olive and orange groves, hills of pine, lavender and sage, and the valleys of wild orchids, cyclamens and anemones. Children snacked straight from the trees on green almonds,figs, apricots, sweet carob pods, pine kernels and many more natural ‘fast foods’. When they were thirsty, they simply drank from the streams of mountain spring water.”

Lebanon is situated in an area of the world that is distinguished for its outstanding natural beauty and abundant and diverse flora. Naturally it has brought forward many herbal and plant remedies and outstanding healers working with the spectacular diverse nature in their homeland. This post can be understood also as a follow up to my post on “Wise Muslim Women Medicine” and my quest for finding and promoting female herbalists and healers in the Muslim world. The inspirations given in here are insh’allah inspiring for Muslims who seek alternatives to such popular alcohol based “quick remedies” as the popular Bach Bluten Therapy (Rescue Remedy) which are essences of flowers in a alcohol solution. The alcohol content in these Bach tinctures is so high it has to be considered a liquor, and it is diluting in my experience the healing properties of the plants.

Continue reading