The Comprehensive Book of Medicinal and Alimentary Simples


Presented here is an incomplete copy of al-Jāmiʻ li-mufradāt al-adwīya wa al-aghdhīya (The comprehensive [book] of medicinal and alimentary simples) by the Andalusian author Abu Muhammad ʻAbd Allah ibn Ahmad Diaʼ al-Din ibn al-Baytar al-Malaqi, known as Ibn al-Baytar (died 1248). It is an encyclopedic work containing the names and properties of more than 1,000 species of plants and substances of medicinal value, organized alphabetically. The author quotes a host of earlier scientists, such as Dioscorides, Galen, and Ibn Sina (980‒1037, commonly known as Avicenna). The author’s birthplace in Malaga is reflected by the attribution al-Malaqi appearing in his name. Ibn al-Baytar’s text contains, in addition, numerous references to Andalusia and Andalusian place-names, such as Ronda. The present manuscript contains less than a quarter of the original work. It starts in the middle of the section on the letter dal with Ibn al-Baytar’s discussion of difla (oleander), and ends amidst the discussion of siraj al-qutrub (mandrake), in the section on the letter sin. Ibn al-Baytar’s work has been produced in several modern editions.

Last updated: August 15, 2017