hema’s sphere

alternative medicine

Posted by hema on March 2, 2008

so, here’s a worrying fact i heard the other day: 1 in 6 people in the UK are depressed.even more worrying is the amount of people that are being prescribed anti depressant drugs, despite the evidence that they don’t work for everyone. i’m not just blaming doctors or the medical profession here. the public in general want a quick fix to their problems and believe doctors can solve everything through giving them a “magic” pill. how may of these people have tried to sit down and work out the cause of their problems instead of relying on pills.

it worries me that people take pills for headaches and the common cold, instead of simply slowing down and taking a rest. i can’t remember the last time i took paracetamol. i just genuinely believe that you should let your body rest and try to get to the cause of the problem instead of covering up the symptoms.

how many admissions in accident and emergency are alcohol related? wouldn’t it make more sense to deal with the problem of how it’s it socially acceptable to get drunk regularly in this country? even amongst underage drinkers?

conventional medicine has come far, and of course people should seek treatment when needed, particularly for life threatening illnesses. what i’d love to see is more doctors willing to accept alternative medical treatments like massage, reflexology, blood letting etc as valid alternatives alongside traditional routes.

anyway, i’m drifting off topic. as you can see this is something i feel quite strongly about! what i wanted to write about was an interesting course* i attended recently looking at Islamic health and medicine, focusing on how eating certain foods can benefit your health.

here is a very basic summary of the notes.


you should drink it lukewarm/ partially boiled whenever possible, as it is better for your body temperature. zam zam water is the best kind, if you can get hold of it. you should drink 2 litres of water every day, and for every 1% that you don’t drink, your body loses 10% of its functionality, leading to fatigue, irritability and stress. it is said that water, salt, iron and one other thing(?) are from the heavens.


Sodium chloride, or common table salt, takes out minerals and that’s why it isn’t good for you. but eating the right salt can actually benefit your health. the best kind to have is Himalayan salt, as it has the most trace minerals. if you can’t get hold of that, then you should try sea salt or rock salt. the prophet pbuh used to begin and end every meal with a pinch of salt.


the first plant that ever grew in the earth is a date palm. a single date contains nearly all the minerals we need. in fact it is possible to survive on just dates and water.the prophet pbuh used to soak dates in water overnight and then drink the contents. there are different types of dates, and the darker the date, the more nutritious it is. ajua dates (available only in Medina) are the best kind.

(is anybody else thinking it would be worth moving to SA just for the dates and water)


can be eaten alone or with lukewarm/ partly boiled water.

bee hives are cleaner then a surgical room and no bacteria can survive in honey.

bee keepers live longer then any other group of people.

you can put it into your eyes (like eye drops) to help freshen your eyes. (this stings a bit but is strangely addictive)

a whole surah in the Qura’n (surah 16) is dedicated to the honey bee, you can read it all here.

Your Lord revealed to the bees: “Build dwellings in the mountains and the trees, and also in the structures which men erect.
Then eat from every kind of fruit and travel the paths of your Lord, which have been made easy for you to follow.”
From inside them comes a drinkof varying colors, containing healing for humanity.
There is certainly a sign in that for people who reflect.

(Surat an-Nahl: 68-69)


can be eater fresh(which i’m glad about because i get through a jar a day!), as pickles or as oil.

it eliminates free radicals and helps to reduce the bad cholesterol in your body, as well as combating tiredness.

Olives are referred to in the Qur’an in surah An-Nur (24:35)

God is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The parable of His light is as if there were a niche and within it a lamp: The lamp enclosed in glass: The glass as it were a brilliant star: Lit from a blessed tree, an olive, neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil is well-nigh luminous, though fire scarce touched it: Light upon Light! God doth guide whom He will to His light: God doth set forth parables for men: and God doth know all things.”


is also very good for you

sorry, i was either not paying attention, colouring in the pretty pictures or he didn’t say a lot about it (to redeem myself a little bit, i think it was the latter)

black seed

is not the same as onion seeds, which is a common misconception. It should be eaten to help combat allergies, asthma and immune disorders. in fact, the prophet Pbuh said that black seed can cure every illness except old age and death. you should chew it after meals.


can be eaten for breakfast as oats. or you can drink barely water to improve your complexion, pr barely powder.
a dish called talbina was given to sick people at the time of the Prophet pbuh, which was made with barely.


not sure what this is, and he forgot to pass the packet round like he did with everything else:( but it is used as a medicine and doesn’t damage your heart like some medicines can.

other points include the fact that we should have our main meal at breakfast and then reduce the amount we eat as the day goes on. the main food type at breakfast should be protein, preferably meat, fish or egg. we all looked a bit horrified at this, and he said it was because we had been brainwashed by he western way of living, which is rushed during the day and then the main meal is eaten at night, which is the cause of a lot of obesity. he also said we should try not to drink water with meals (which is proving to be quite difficult) as it leads to digestion problems. ideally, you should drink water half an hour before meals and then 2 hours after.

he also talked about food combinations and the time of day you should eat different types of food, including the combinations of hot and cold food, which i don’t feel confident enough to write about, but he recommended this book which you can buy an English translation of as well.

*all notes taken from a course delivered by Dr Salim Khan of the Muhsin instititute, in conjunction with the Utrujj foundation at Salford University, February 2008.


13 Responses to “alternative medicine”

  1. Sumera said

    Well if I have a heavy breakfast I feel either sleepy or sick by mid-day – so cereal is ok for me!

  2. Maryam said

    I do firmy believe in what you say about heavy breakfast.I usually eat a heavy breakfast …. 🙂
    I can survive without lunch and dinner but just cannot without Breakfast …. 😉

    P.S: I love olives too, I can also eat a jar of them in a single sit.

  3. hema said

    sumera-i understand what you mean. It’s like if i have a heavy meal at midday,i can’t function properly in the afternoon. But someone did ask about cereal and he said it was ok. But to try to have porridge or at least have normal cereal with warm milk. I.ve been doing that or having a boiled egg. There’s no way i could stomach fish or meat in the morning. My uncles do it and even being near it makes me feel sick. Maryam-your lucky,i’m not actually a breakfast person,but i usually have to force it down so i don’t have unhealthy snacks during the day.

  4. 'liya said

    This is great. I’m also a huge believer in alternative medicine – which really shouldn’t be called “alternative” as it should really be the first step anyone tries.

  5. Amatullah said

    just wondered about the black seed – if it isn’t onion seeds then what is it, and where do we get it from?

    jazakAllah khair for an informative post

  6. I love the post…you know I’m all about the natural. I’m glad to see you’ve matured since the days you’d wrinkle up your nose at my organic cereal bars:-)

    I’ve been doing several of these things for years. The thing about protein for breakfast is EXCELLENT. Everyday we eat eggs or ful medames
    and its great during Ramadan to keep you going strong. If I could eat steak for breakfast I would. We also don’t eat after 6pm or so.
    I NEVER drink at meals and when I do, I feel so bloated and overfull.
    I’ve tried to combine as many things as I can so I get as much benefit as possible. For example, I have plain yogurt twice a day, with one tsp. ground flax-seeds and ground black seeds mixed in and smothered in honey. You should grind black seeds for maximum benefit. Only problem with black seeds is that you’ll burp “essence of black seeds” for the rest of the day and if you eat too much, it taints the way ALL your food tastes because it is excreted in your saliva.

    oh, and one of the best investments you can make is organic cold pressed olive oil. Organic is a must and so is the cold pressed to make sure you get maximum benefits from it. It’s an anti-inflammatory and I’ve notice it helps me get over sore muscles faster as well as my skin looking less dried-out.

    I could go on all day…

  7. […] trend of people taking dangerous medications for even the most common of colds, and prescribes some natural alternatives encouraged from Quran and Sunnah. So, here’s a worrying fact I heard the other day: 1 in 6 people in the UK are depressed. Even […]

  8. Shawna said

    This is really interesting. I find that eating a good breakfast keeps me from overeating throughout the day. And if I get up on time, it’s a great meal for the family to have together as our toddler will actually sit down for the first meal of the day.

    Overuse of antidepressants worries me too. I know people who genuinely need them after years of therapy and several diet overhauls, but there are others who don’t. I wish there were more resources for people who can’t afford necessary help to overcome depression. I think many fewer people would use medications if counseling was covered under more insurance plans, both psychological and dietary.

    Thanks for an informative post.

  9. hema said

    liya- i was actually thinking the exact same thing when i was writing the title!

    amatullah- wasalaam. it’s fro a plant that i dont know the name of in English, sorry. i went to a local Islamic shop for it, but could only find the oil. and then i came home and found my mum already had it in the cuboard! so id check with some elders maybe.

    ssw- my parents have been doing most of these things too. they hate us drinking during meals and use honey as eye drops etc! they’re quite happy about the changes im making, but are convinced it’s jsut a phase. ive not changed completey though, i still need my chocolate fix. im hoping these things will just balance it out though!
    those ful medames look like the perfect nutritional breakfast!i tried to look for cold pressed olive oil in Asda the other day and i couldn’t find it. where did you buy it from when you were here? my neck’s been hurting all week so i could do with some.

    shawna- i defintely think counseling should be available under the NHS. i tried to look for a Muslim counselor for someone recently, or at least one who was aware of Muslim needs and it’s an area that needs to be focusing on.

  10. Reflexology worked really so well for me for depression i decided to do a reflexology course
    I did a great reflexology course
    in london that taught me about reflexology including aspects of how reflexology can be used to manage depression

  11. saabirah said

    I can guess you have “interesting” conversations at home with your sisters who are studying conventional medicine! I’m studying complementary medicine and there is obvious hostilities on both sides at an academic level.

  12. hema said

    the course sounds great. i would love to do something like that. someone showed me a chart once, it was very fascinating.

    saabirah- it’s a shame about the hostilities. i wish more doctors would only consider using drugs as a last resort, but in my experience, most don’t. it also worries me how subjective it all is. you go to one GP and they can give you a completely different prescription to another one. i just don’t trust them. my sisters just think i’m jealous because teachers don’t get paid as much!
    i know there are exceptions and i defintiely think doctors in hospitals, especially A and E are doing a fantastic job, but i don’t see why they get paid a lot less than GPs!

  13. Umm Yusuf said

    Mash’Allah thanks for posting sis!

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