Cannabis Sativa: A Translation from the Garden of Blossoms

Essential Description: Belonging to the Kfūf family of plants, its leaf resembles that of potentilla reptins, grown in gardens and near water, and is divided into two types: masculine and feminine. 

The masculine does not produce fruit, but the feminine does. They are known by the names Shahdānij and Shahdānī respectively (meaning Sultan of Love). It is soaked and macerated much like flax, to produce ropes and cloth. Known to the general population of the Maghreb as Qinab. It is grown in great quantities in the region of Meknes. 

Its Nature: Hot and dry in the second degree.

Its Uses and Characteristics: Useful in treating ear ache; wash the head in its decoction to treat dandruff; and when eaten it cleanses the stomach from intestinal worms (the worms will come out in the faeces, and the treatment should be repeated until it is completely done away with). Excessive consumption can lead to headaches, loss of libido which can lead to impotence, as well as intoxication.

The leaf is referred to amongst those who consume it for intoxication as Hashish, and in these times there has been an increase in its misuse amongst both men, women and youths. Indeed some do use it in excess, following their desires to such an extent as to anger God. 

Alternatives: The leaf of radish (raphanus saltivus), and some say the leaf of beta vulgaris.


Kfūf refers to the shape of the leaf like the palm of a human hand. It appears in the description for plants of various families, mostly in the Rosales order.

The nature of plants in the Garden of Blossoms is based on the Avicennan degrees (see the Canon of Medicine).

Translation from The Garden of Blossoms, by al-Wazir al-Ghassani. A 16th century pharmacopeia written in Fes. Translated by Miriam Hicklin.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s