A Specialized Conference at Dhamar University Discusses: Yemen’s Medical Herbs [Archives:1999/20/Last Page]

May 17 1999

Today, Monday, May 17th, a 3-day scientific conference comes to a close in Dhamar, some 100 kilometers south of the capital, Sanaa. Organized by Dhamar University, the conference discussed the fauna and flora of Yemen, notably herbs, plants and brushes of all sorts that have medical properties.
“The Republic of Yemen, given the diversity of its terrain, boasts a wide range of herbs which have been known since ancient times. “After all,the frankincense and myrrh caravans used to criss-cross Yemen in various directions carrying the valued goods to the Mediterranean cities, and onwards to Europe.
Besides frankincense and myrrh, other famous herbs include lavandula, mentha, melissa, chamomilla, myrtus, salvia, styrax liquidus, juniperus, rosmarinus, and many others. The roots, stems, leaves, and flowers of these herbs, brushes and plants have long been used in Attib-Asha’abi (local medicine, sometimes known as Arab medicine) to create concoctions which have proven to work wonders on patients. “They relieve pain, heel wounds, treat ailments, and even address mental and psychological disorders,” according to the conference papers.
Professors at medical colleges in Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Sudan, the Gulf States, as well as Yemen, who participated in the conference, gave presentations on the various kinds of medical herbs and their use in the Arab World.
“Here in Yemen, the possibilities for a strong drug industry is enhanced by this wealth of herbs,” explained Dr. Abdullah Al-Mujahid, Rector of Dhamar University, himself an agriculture specialist.
Dhamar University decided, at the end of the conference, to undertake a nation-wide survey of all plant-life which could have medical applications. Already, effort is underway in different parts of the country to collect and document data on fauna and flora. But, a more focussed endeavor will be launched later this year, according to the statement of the conference.
“This direction of events falls nicely with the university’s plans,” the rector stated. He was referring to the decision last year to start a medical college at Dhamar University.
According to sources at the Ministry of Agriculture, there are more than 3,000 herb varieties in Yemen which can be classified within the category of plants which have medicinal properties. These will be the focus of Dhamar University’s coming research efforts.
Hatem Bamehriz,
Yemen Times – Dhamar.