Caper: A Translation from The Garden of Blossoms

General Information

A type of shrub that propagates itself a lot and extends branches from all sides, and it has white blossom like that of the dog rose or quince, and it has thorns like blackberry.

Mostly found in the white dust of mountainous areas and between rocks, and grows alongside meadows and thicket. Known amongst some doctors as mountain rhubarb, and is called AsafLasaf, ‘The Turbid’ and ‘Black Mercy’, all alternative words for Caper, and it is also a famous spice for cooking.

Its Nature

Hot and dry in the second degree.

Uses and Characteristics

Relieves headache, purifies the brain, does general good, clears and evacuates, its root generally purifies and heals, its fruit is an enriching food especially with salt and vinegar. Its root clears scrofulous and callouses, and its bark is a remedy for pain in the hip, hemiplegia, and numbness, tearing at the top or middle of a muscle, and if chewed it heals dampness in the head and calms coldness in it, and its juice if put in the ear gets rid of pus. And if one bites upon the bark of the root with the teeth it reduces any pain. It is one of the best remedies for splenitis, callouses and heavy periods, killing worms and infestation of the gut. Increases general wellbeing, remedies haemorrhoids and an antidote to some poisons. 


Half its weight in rhapontic rhubarb

From Hadiqat al-Azhar (The Garden of Blossoms) by al-Wazeer al-Ghassani, a 16th Century pharmacopoeia. Translated by Miriam Hicklin.

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