One of our great trees, it comes in many varieties, it is sometimes called ‘al-Arez’ and this refers to both the masculine and feminine of these trees, all of which have a frilled leaf, some of which bare fruit and others don’t. Amongst those that bare fruit, there are big fruit and smaller ones, and amongst those with bigger fruit there are those like the ceder. And in this variety can be made a black paste because of its fatty nature, which is suitable to use in a lamp to bring soft light to the beginning of the day, just like beeswax or oil. It has many names, including ‘Baqam al-Quraysh’ and in Shaam, ‘Qantuandas’, and of this variety there is also the ‘Regina’. The cypress tree is also related to the pine.
Hot and damp in the second degree, its bark is dry.
Uses and Characteristics
Its seeds are useful for long-term coughing, its leaves in an infusion help the liver, and its inner bark remedies painful ulcers, and is generally very healing. Its inner bark can be used on wounds as a poultice, and a decoction of the bark can be used on water burns. Its leaf can be used on open wounds and the bark can be used after violence and shock as an decoction. A gargle made from the bark can remedy excess phlegm, and can be used as a mouthwash with vinegar for teeth. Its smoke is good for the health of the eyes, and useful for the lungs and chest when cold.
From Hadiqat al-Azhar (The Garden of Blossoms) by al-Wazeer al-Ghassani, a 16th Century pharmacopoeia. Translated by Miriam Hicklin.