Learning from “Kitab Tib” manuscripts on plague and medicine in the past

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UNAIR NEWS – To celebrate 75th Heroes Day and UNAIR 66th Anniversary on Tuesday, November 10, 2020, UNAIR Indonesian Language and Literature Department held an online webinar on “Plague and Medicine in Oral and Written Traditions of Archipelago”.

Dr. Junaini Kasdan, one of the speakers in the webinar discussed the use of herbs in Malay medicine. He talked about the effectiveness and creativity of ancestors in using spices available in the kitchen for treatment.

“From time to time, there must be people who are sick, but there is always a solution. In fact, in the hadith narrated by Tarrmidzi, it is stated that Allah always provides an antidote for disease, except death, “he said.

Before there was modern medicine, treatments were done in a traditional and simple way. As the era went on, traditional medicinal recipes in the oral tradition were passed on to selected people, and over time came to the written tradition.

According to Junaini, there is an old Javanese manuscript that discusses traditional medicine, called Kitab Tib. In general, the manuscript discusses the treasures of traditional Malay medicine, types of diseases, ingredients, and procedures for production and consumption.

“With philology, we can read and translate the types of traditional medicines in Kitab Tib,” said Junaini who is an alumnus of Sasindo UNAIR.

From the results of Junaini’s research on Kitab Tib, it was found that six main things were explained, starting from how to determine disease, avoid disease, Arabic circular numbers, Siamese science, medicine, and things like that.

Furthermore, 34 types of diseases are described in detail, such as eye pain described into 12 types with different drugs. According to him, the medical rules used by doctors today are also similar to the advice in Kitab Tib.

“When we have a fever, we will be given generic drugs, but long ago parents would give medicines from herbs with no side effects,” he said.

“In Kitab Tib, parts of plants that are used for medicine include roots, leaves, stems, flowers, fruits, seeds, skins, and contents. Meanwhile, method of use varies, by drinking, eating, bathing, chewing, swallowing, rubbing, sticking, spraying, and gargling, “added the lecturer of Universitas Kebangsaan Malaysia.

Junaini continued, some plants are poisonous but they can be used without eating them such as by sticking or rubbing because the poison can fight disease from outside.

Junaini also explained that in the past, the use of turmeric as medicine was sized according to the thumb of the sufferer. According to him, it is a limit or dose.

“The traditional ingredients in Kitab Tib have been studied scientifically and systematically by pharmacists and have proven their benefits. Malay medicine is still relevant to modern life because it comes from natural sources, “he concluded. (*)

Author: Muhammad Wildan Suyuti

Editor: Feri Fenoria

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