the taproot of Daucus L. subspp., etc. (family Umbelliferae), traditionally called gazar (arabicized as jazar) or zardak (lit. “the little yellow one”), and later also havīj in Persian.


CARROT, the taproot of Daucus L. subspp., etc. (family Umbelliferae), traditionally called gazar (arabicized as jazar) or zardak (lit. “the little yellow one”), and later also havīj in Persian (see below).

Indigenous “carrots”—wild or cultivated. Several species and/or varieties of Daucus, etc., in Persia have been reported by modern botanists. Parsa (II, pp. 853-57) has described eight species of Daucus in addition to D.carota L., which is believed by many authors to be the wild carrot that has developed into our various cultivated ones. While wild carrots are usually referred to as havīj-e waḥšī/ṣaḥrāʾī/kūhī, etc. (lit. “wild/field/mountain carrot”), he has recorded (VIII, pp. 63-64) local names for only two of them: panīr-vāš (lit. “cheese wort”) for D. maximus Desf. (in Gīlān in Rūdbār and along the Safīdrūd); and for D. persicus Boiss., the Turkish designations āq-bāš (lit. “white-head[ed]”) in Ḵalḵāl (Azerbaijan), and ešak-zardakī (lit. “dog carrot”) in Baḵtīārī (cf. also the depreciatory tašīgazar “porcupine carrot” said of a kind of wild carrot in parts of Māzandarān). Moẓaffarīān, using a more up-to-date taxonomy and terminology for the Umbelliferae of Iran, has dealt with approximately the same species under the two genera Daucus L. and Astrodaucus Drude, identifying the cultivated native carrot as D. sativus (Hoffm.) Röhl. (pp. 141-45; cf., however, the discrepancies between his and the latest taxonomy, that of K. H. Rechinger, “Daucus,” pp. 136-40, and of M. G. Pimenov, “Astrodaucus,” in Flora Iranica, ed. K. H. Rechinger, no. 162, Umbelliferae, Graz, 1987). To these must be added another, noteworthy, “wild carrot” commonly called šaqāqol. The kinds of the šaqāqol native to the “Iranian” area have been variously identified by modern botanists. Dymock et al. reported (in 1891; II, pp. 136-37) that “in Persia [the umbelliferous] Trachydium Lehmanni Benth. & Hook. f. [in Moẓaffarīān, p. 83, = Eremodaucus lehmannii Bge] . . . produces the shekákul of Asia,” and that “[J.E.T.] Aitchison, when in the Badghis [Bādgīs] district with the Afghan Boundary Commission, observed the roots of this plant being collected for export to India as shekákul.” R. Alava (“Malabaila Hoffm.,” in Umbelliferae, pp. 508-10) has described the indigenous šaqāqol as Malabaila secacul (Miller) Boiss., with two subspecies: subsp. secacul ( = M. sekakul Boiss., Pastinaca secacul (Miller) Banks & Soland., etc.) and subsp. aucheri (Boiss.) C. C. Townsend (for the historical description of wild carrots, including the šaqāqol, see below). Moẓaffarīān (pp. 138-39, and fig. 346) reports the occurrence of Malabaila secacul Banks & Sol. [sic] in some points in Azerbaijan, Karaj, Ḵūzestān, and Māzandarān and, outside Persia, in northern Iraq, southern and eastern Anatolia, western Syria, and Palestine.


The cultivated carrots. The wide distribution and variety in Persia of the wild carrot (the original of the edible gazarsand zardaks) do not seem to corroborate Laufer’s assertion that “it was the Arabs who carried the carrot to Persia in the tenth century [A.D.]” (p. 452), nor his further contradictory statement that “the Persians then [i.e., in the Islamic period] became acquainted with the carrot under the Arabic name jazar (jezer), which, however, may have been derived from Persian gazar (gezer)” (p. 453; cf. also The New Encyclopaedia Britannica II, 15th ed., 1985, s.v. Carrot: “The carrot [Daucus carota] is native to Afghanistan and neighbouring lands”). The indigenous gazar/zardak—whether distinct species of Daucus, i.e., D. carota L. or D. sativa Hoffm., or a hybrid of the former and D. maxima L., or a variety of D. carota L., i.e., var. sativa DC. (see Zargarī, 4th ed., I, p. 522)—has long been widely grown in steppe areas in Persia, particularly in Azerbaijan, Kurdistan, Luristan, Arāk, Khorasan, and Yazd. Its names all over the country exhibit a striking similarity, e.g.: Bastaki gozrak; Behdīnan gezer, zardak; Damāvandi gazar; Farāmarzānī gezar, gozrak; Gīlakī gəzər, zərdək; Konjī/Evazi gozrak; Khorasani gezer (Sabzevār), zerdak (Qūčān); Kurdish (Mahābād) gēzar; Ḵūri gazar [?], gazarū (wild carrot); Laki gezer; Lāri gazrak; Luri zardak, bīḵ-zemīn (lit. “ground root”); Māzandarāni zarda/ek (and probably, gazər); Nāʾīni gīzer; Sarvestāni zīrzamīnī (lit. “underground”); Ṭāleši gēzēr; Tāti (northern) gazar, (southern; Sagzābād) havīja; cf. also Pashto gāzara, zardaka, the probably cognate Hindi/Urdu gājar, and western Turkish keše/īr, said to be a corruption of [dialectal] Persian gezer (H. K. Kadri, Türk lûgati IV, Istanbul, 1945, p. 85, s.v.). In Turkish-speaking areas, Turkish yer köki/ü (lit. “ground root”) or just kök (lit. “root”) is prevalent (see also hāvūj/č below).

Historically, Rašīd-al-Dīn Fażl-Allāh (d. 718/1318; pp. 195-96) provides agricultural hints about the gazar, which “varies in every province according to climate and soil (the richer the soil the larger the gazar),” and which “occurs in different colors—red, yellow, violet, and green.” In 921/1515-16, Abūnaṣrī Heravī (p. 149) describes the cultivation of the estival (tammūzī) and hibernal (zemestānī) varieties of the jazar in the Herat area.

The native gazar or zardak has (according to soil and cultivars) conical or twisted cylindrical roots up to 45 cm long, pale to bright yellow skin (occasionally, light to dark violet, or variegated yellowish and violet), and more or less tender, juicy and sweet flesh. Despite its high productivity, its marketability is low because of its shape, large size, and relatively inferior nutritious value. It is grown mainly for local consumption (Ṭabāṭabāʾī, I, pp. 691-99; see also its culinary uses below).

The current name havīj is a rather late designation. Dehḵodā (Loḡat-nāma, s.v. ḥavīj) and, repeating him, Moʿīn (Farhang-e-fārsī, s.vv. ḥavīj and ḥavīj) believe that havīj is a corrupt spelling for ḥavīj, itself originally from the Arabic phrase ḥawāʾej al-qedr (in Jalāl-al-Dīn Rūmī, quoted by Dehḵodā, ḥavīj-e dīg), lit. “the necessaries of the cooking pot” (i.e., kitchen provisions), the meaning of which has later narrowed so much as to designate one of those ḥawāʾej, namely the carrot (cf. Dozy, I, pp. 333-34, who records, from Arabic sources, ḥawāʾej as also meaning “the provisions intended for the kitchen and table of the prince,” and ḥawāʾej-ḵāna as the store where the provisions were kept). The word has also passed into Azeri and Osmanli Turkish as ḥavīj/hāwūj/hāvūč, etc., used concurrently with yer köki.

The name ḥavīj is applied principally to the modern orange-red varieties of the cultivated carrot, which originally were developed about 1830 in France from the wild type and which were introduced into Persia as ḥavīj-e farangī “European carrot” during the first forty years of the reign (1848-96) of the Qajar Nāṣer-al-Dīn (see Eʿtemād-al-Salṭana, I, p. 137). More palatable, nutritious, and shapelier than the gazar/zardak, this carrot, which is now usually referred to as ḥavīj-farangī, has supplanted the latter in nationwide consumption. It is extensively cultivated, commercialized, and consumed (see its culinary and other uses, below).

Culinary uses, etc. The earliest indication in our sources of the native gazar as a food article is in the facetious Dīvān of Bosḥāq Aṭʿema Šīrāzī (d. ca. 830/1426-27). Beside numerous cursory references to it (e.g., pp. 15, 60, 91), Bosḥāq casually mentions some of its uses, e.g., as the distinctive ingredient of galya-ye gazar (p. 24) and as an ingredient (along with sesame oil and garlic) of a pilaw featuring cooked partridge or pigeon (p. 60). Ḥalwā-ye gazar is also mentioned several times (e.g., pp. l2, 15, 90, and particularly p. 60, where it is poetically indicated as a remedy for pains in the loins). Much more information about the culinary use of the gazar is available from the Safavid period. As indicated by Ḥājī Moḥammad-ʿAlī Bāvaṛčī-e baḡdādī “the cook from Baghdad” in the Kārnāma (a cook book compiled in 927/1520-21 for a notable of the time), the gazar was used as an ingredient in a kind of āš (āš-e ḥalīm, p. 66) and in five kinds of pilaw (namely, three varieties of šīla-palāv, pp. 111-13, nargesī-palāv, p. 115, and qabūlī-palāv, p. 118). In the same period, Nūr-Allāh, a cook at the court of ʿAbbās I (r. 985-1038/1587-1628), reports the use of the jazar as an ingredient of two kinds of pilaw (nargesī-palāv, p. 216, and the “simple” šola-palāv, p. 248), and of four kinds of āš (namely, baḡrā-ye kᵛārazmī, p. 242, āš-e rešta, p. 243, qeyma-šūrbā, p. 245, and āš-e ḥalīm p. 246). From the Qajar period, Mīrzā ʿAlī-Akbar Kāšānī, chef at the court of Nāṣer-al-Dīn Shah, using exclusively the word ḥavīj (probably meaning the “European carrot”), indicates the culinary uses of the carrot as follows (in the Sofra-ye aṭʿema, a manual of Persian cookery written in 1301/1884 at the request of Dr. J. D. Tholozan, French chief physician to the shah): as the distinctive ingredient in carrot ḥalwā (p. 48), carrot pilaw (p. 13), carrot kūkū (omelet, p. 30), and carrot yaḵnī (p. 44); as one of the ingredients of kalam-palāv-e šīrāzīhā (cabbage pilaw, Shirazi-style; p. 14), and a variety of fasūjan (i.e., fesenjān; p. 21 ).

In our times, the gazar or zardak, beside being eaten raw, is used in various regional dishes, for instance, in the Gīlānī dishes gəzər-(v)āvīj/-qūrmə (a kind of omelet; Ḵāvar, p. 50), and āš-e gal(e)yə (a very elaborate āš; ibid., p. 110). Nationwide, the ḥavīj-farangī is used as the distinctive component of carrot pilaw, carrot ḵᵛoreš, ḵᵛoreš-e šešandāz-e ḥavīj/zardak, carrot ḥalwā (Emāmī, p. 111), carrot pickles, and carrot preserve. It is also used as one of the ingredients of “yogurt kūkū” (Montaẓemī, pp. 516-17), “tangerine ḵᵛoreš” (ibid., pp. 600-01 ), ṭās-kabāb (optionally), toršī-e (sabzī-e) maḵlūṭ “mixed (vegetable) pickles,” and (sabzīhā-ye) šūr (mixed vegetables in salt water), as well as in a number of popular Western-style soups, salads, etc. (e.g., sūp-e jow “barley soup,” and borš “borscht”). The consumption of freshly expressed ḥavīj juice has steadily been on the increase since the 1330s Š./1950s owing to the popularized knowledge of carotene (pro-vitamin A) and other vitamins which the carrot is rich in so that today āb-e ḥavīj is the most popular (and probably the least expensive) “fruit juice” offered in innumerable refreshment shops and sidewalk booths in large cities. In Hamadān, reportedly, drinking the zardak juice has become very popular (Ṭabāṭabāʾī, I pp. 698-99).

Carrots in classical medico-botanical sources. The information of the Islamic-period medico-pharmacological authors on carrots, their varieties, and medicinal properties derives mainly from the Greeks Dioscorides, Galen, etc. The traditional distinction of the jazar into cultivated (bostānī, lit. “garden-grown”) and wild (Ar. barrī, Pers. daštī) species has been adhered to: they correspond respectively to Dioscorides’s staphulinos (arabicized as eṣṭāfālīnūs, eṣṭafelīnūs, etc.) and staphulinos ágrios (arabicized as eṣṭāfālīnūs aḡrīūs, etc.; see, e.g., Ebn al-Bayṭār, s.v., jazar, I, pt. 1, pp. 161-63; Ebn Maymūn, Ar. text, p. 11, no. 73; Tonokābonī, p. 79, s.v. esṭāfalēs). It was generally accepted that the usable parts of the wild carrot (roots, leaves, seeds) were medicinally more potent in their numerous common properties than the counterparts of the cultivated species. Of those properties ʿAlī b. Sahl Ṭabarī, author of the oldest known konnāš (medical compendium) in the Islamic world (Ferdaws al-ḥekma, comp. 236/850) points out only the following: “The jazar is hot and moist, diuretic, and aphrodisiac” (p. 380); “preserved (morabbā) jazar is good for the back [ẓahr, as the supposed source of the sperm and virility], and for sexual potency” (p. 393). Mowaffaq Heravī (fl. ca. 370-80/980-90), author of the oldest extant pharmacological treatise in Persian, the Ketāb al-abnīa, reports the following (p. 91 ): “According to Galen, the jazar is hot (garm) and gentle/lenient [sic: narm] in the first degree, bādangīz (flatulent, inflating), aphrodisiac, diuretic, emmenagogue, deobstruent (especially its seeds), difficult to digest; a poultice of its pounded leaves on a contusion will heal this” (for Galen’s actual statements, misrepresented in Heravī, see Jālīnūs apud Ebn al-Bayṭār, op. cit., p. 162); “the wild jazar, called šašqāqol [see below], is a more potent aphrodisiac. “The same emphasis on the aphrodisiac virtue of the carrot is manifest in the Ketāb al-aḡrāż al-ṭebbīya of Esmāʿīl Jorjānī (d. 531/1136): “The gazar is hot in the second degree and [sic, probably meaning “or”] in the first. It is diuretic. Its seeds are more potent. The gazar, especially its wild kind, strengthens the venereal power” (p. 590). Ebn Sīnā (370-428/980-1037; I, bk. 2, pp. 287-88) deals with the jazar by mentioning (mistakenly?) the three kinds of daukos described by Dioscorides (see the dawqū, below). As to its properties, he adds mainly the following: “It is hot to the extreme of the second degree, and moist in the first. A poultice of its pounded seeds and leaves will cure phagedenic sores. It is good for pleurisy and chronic cough. It is indigestible, but its preserve is easier to digest, and good against dropsy. The jazar, especially the dawqū [see below] relieves colic, and is a powerful diuretic (particularly the seeds and leaves of the wild kind). The jazar and especially the seeds of the cultivated kind are more nāfeḵ (flatulent, tumefacient) and [therefore] stimulate sexuality (the seeds of the wild jazar are not potent in this regard).”

The dawqū (can also be read as dūqū) casually mentioned above by Ebn Sīnā, the qawqalīs, the badrān, etc., designate some other kinds of carrots. The word dawqū (or dawqūā, e.g., in Aḵawaynī Boḵārī, p. 383 and passim), as also indicated by Ebn al-Bayṭār (I, pt. 2, p. 120, s.v. dawqūā), is arabicized from Greek dawqos (i.e., daukos; actually, according to Meyerhof [in Ebn Maymūn, p. 50, n.], from the genitive of the latter; cf. also Latin daucus). The Greeks’ daukos, as described by Dioscorides (see Ebn al-Bayṭār, op. cit., p. 119, s.v. dawqos; French tr., II, pp. 134-35), was like the carrot (staphulinos)—not identical with it; it was of three kinds, one of which had leaves like those of the coriander, an umbel like that of the staphulinos, and pungent seeds looking like cumin seeds (see also Dymock et al., op. cit., p. 135). Ebn al-Bayṭār (loc. cit.) adds that “the seeds of this kind of dawqos are known in Syria as qomayla (diminutive of qamla [“louse”]),” and that the plant itself “is called ḥašīšat al-barāgīṯ [lit. “fleas wort”] in Jerusalem and its environs, because people smear its seeds with fragrant oil, scatter them on their beddings, and the odor of the seeds makes the fleas numb and [thus] unable to bite.” Tonakābonī (pp. 393-94, s.v. dawqos) remarks that this kind of Dioscorides’s dawqos is called keyk-e vāš (lit. “flea wort”) in the (Ṭabarī) dialect of Deylam/Ṭabarestān, because sprinkling its pounded seeds on the bedding prevents harm from fleas. As reported by Leclerc (Ebn al-Bayṭār, Fr. tr., 11, p. 135, n.), Dioscorides’ three kinds of daukos have been identified by C. Sprengel respectively as the umbelliferous Athamanta cretensis, Peucedanum cervaria, and Seseli ammoides (this one referring to the above-mentioned ḥašīšat al-barāḡīṯ).

The Islamic-period authors, however, have applied the term dawqū only to the seeds of the wild jazar whatever the identity of the plant(s) so labeled may have been, including the šaqāqol (see, e.g., Heravī, loc. cit., Majūsī, II, p. 108, Kāsānī, I, pp. 220-21, Ḥājī Zayn-e ʿAṭṭār, p. 189). Among our authors, Aḵawaynī Boḵārī has the greatest number of medicinal uses for the dawqū(ā) (see the index, op. cit.). Schlimmer, who reported many of the pharmacological and therapeutical practices of Persia in 1874, says (p. 179) that carrot seeds are called toḵm-e zardakzardak seeds” and dūqū, and are used “as a derivative diuretic in brain and chest ailments.” The term dawqū is no longer used in Iran, although the toḵm-e ḥavīj-e īrānī “Persian carrot seeds” still figures on the inventory of some old-fashioned drugstores (see Ṣalāḥ-al-Dīn Aḥmad et al., list of the simples in a Tehran drugstore, p. 2).

The qawqālīs/qūqāles is another kind of wild gazar mentioned by some authors. Dioscorides’ description (apud Ebn al-Bayṭār, s.v. qaw/ūqāles, II, pt. 4, p. 40) runs mainly as follows: “Some people call it dawqūaḡrīā [“wild daukos”] . . . Its small, pubescent leaves resemble those of the fennel; it has a white, fragrant umbel. It is eaten raw or cooked. It is diuretic. “As to its medicinal properties, Ebn al-Bayṭār (ibid.) quotes Abū Jaʿfar Aḥmad Ḡāfeqī (d. a.d. 1164), who himself reports from the author of al-Felāḥa [?]: “It is deobstruent, resolvent, diuretic, carminative . . ., laxative, and calms colic. Steady friction of the gums with its expressed juice cures gingival diseases. “Ḥājī Zayn-e ʿAṭṭār (Eḵtīārāt-e badīʿī, comp. 770/1368-69; p. 404), after summarizing the two quotations just mentioned, adds that the qawqāles = dawqūā barrī is called tara-ḵar and its mountain variety, badrān in the [Persian] dialect of Shiraz. The author of the Borhān-e qāṭeʿ explains that “the badrān is a plant looking like tor(o)b (horseradish), very fetid, and [therefore also] called, gandgīā(h) [lit. “fetid plant”]” (ed. Moʿīn, I, s.v.), and that “the tara-ḵar is a kind of badrān . . ., the seeds of which are called qord/ṭomānā in Greek” (I, s.v.). (However, from two distichs of Bosḥāq Aṭʿema Šīrāzī [p. 15, vv. 2-3] it appears that, though he did not consider the badrān on a par with “the gazar, turnip, beet, cabbage, radish, and squash/pumpkin,” he did not exclude its culinary use.) According to Ibn Maymūn (Ar. text, p. 36, no. 334), qard/ṭamānā is the wild variety of the karawīā rūmīya (“Roman/Byzantine caraway”). Meyerhof explains (in Ebn Maymūn, p. 168, n.) that the medieval Arab herbalists-translators have mistakenly applied qo/ardamānā (the Syriac form of a Greek word) to the Greeks’ kýminon ágrion “wild cumin,” now identified as Lagoecia cuminoides L. Moẓaffarīān (p. 31) has reported this umbellifer from some places in Kohgīlūya, Boiraḥmad, Ḵūzestān, Kāzerūn, etc.

The šaqāqol. Historically, there has been much confusion in classical sources about this kind of wild jazar, too. The etymology of the name is also obscure. Along with šaqāqol (current in Iran ) and the obsolete šašqāqol, the variants ešqāqol, ḥašqīqāl, mašqīqāl are reported by Ḥājī Zayn (pp. 26-27), šaqāqel, šaqīqol and hašqīqol by ʿAqīlī Ḵorāsānī (in 1183/1769-70; p. 549; haštqāl [?] in Anṭākī [I, p. 188] seems to be a misprint). The variant hašfīfol is also recorded (e.g., in Heravī, p. 342; Tonokābonī, p. 869, s.v.; Borhān-e qāṭeʿ, IV, s.v.). According to Ebn al-Kotobī (in the Mā lā yasaʿ al-ṭabīb jahlaho, reported by Leclerc [in Ebn al-Bayṭār, Fr. tr., II, p. 339 n.], šaqāqol is a Nabatean word. Kāšānī (I, p. 208, s.v. jazar) reports (supposedly from Abū Rayḥān Bīrūnī) that the jazar and the jazar-e daštī are called šaqāqol in the Roman (rūmī; Byzantine Greek?) language (the reference is probably to the above-mentioned Greek kaukālīs). Meyerhof (Ebn Maymūn, p. 181, no. 361, n.), while mentioning Syriac ḥašqīqalā, surmises that all these forms of the name bespeak a Persian origin.

Some authors have equated the ša(š)qāqol just with (the root of) the wild jazar. For instance, Heravī has the following description (pp. 91-92, s.v. jazar): “The wild variety of the jazar, called šašqāqol, is more potent as an aphrodisiac, fattens the body, relieves the cough caused by dryness. It is hot in the third degree, and narm in the second. Its seeds, called dawqū, stimulate the sexual appetite, increase [the secretion of] the sperm, but cause gouṭ . . .” (curiously enough, Heravī has also a very short entry under hašfīfel/hašqīqel [p. 42], which the editor has equated with the šaqāqol [ibid., n.], but which has different properties: “It is hot and dry in the second degree, good for gout and articular pain”). Ebn Sīnā (loc. cit.) has this brief statement: “As to the šaqāqol, it is the wild jazar (if it be reckoned as a jazar); it is more aphrodisiac than the cultivated jazar, diuretic, emmenagogue; its seeds and root are good against ʿosr al-ḥaml “difficulty in pregnancy”(?). Kāšānī has this short remark (I, pp. 420-21, s.v. šaqāqol, supposedly translated from Bīrūnī): “The root of the wild gazar is called šaqāqoḷ . . . ; it is exported from Samarqand; it is called kīr kākūl [?] in Hindi . . .” (cf. ʿAqīlī Ḵorāsānī [pp. 549, 1008] who records kākūl as one of the several Hindi names for the šaqāqol. Ḥājī Zayn, equating ešqāqol/šaqāqol with the jazar-e barrī and jazar-e eqlīṭī (lit. “Celtic carrot”? pp. 102, etc.), and partly drawing on Dioscorides and Galen, says (pp. 26-27): “The best ešqāqol is the thick Egyptian variety, yellowish, and heavy . . . . It increases the milk of nursing women, and if used in a suppository/tampon it causes abortion. The application of its pounded leaves mixed with honey cleanses phagedenic sores.” Elsewhere (p. 189, s.v. dawqū) he says: “The šaqāqol is the root of the wild jazar, which is called ḵers-gīāh (lit. “bear wort”) . . . because the bear is very fond of it.” Among lexicographers, the author of the Borhān-e qāṭeʿ (ed. Moʿīn, IV, s.v. nahšal) also considers the šaqāqol the same as the nahšal = zardak-e ṣaḥrāʾī (cf., however, Ebn Maymūn, Ar. text, p. 11, no. 73, s.v. jazar, and Tonokābonī, p. 855, s.v., who consider nahšal an Arabic name of the [wild] carrot; see also Meyerhof, in Ebn Maymūn, no. 73, pp. 39-40, n.).

Some authors of the Islamic period, however, have considered the šaqāqol to be a particular species of (wild) carrot. For instance, Ṭabarī, in addition to jazar preserve (see above), says elsewhere (p. 393) that “the preserves of the ginger and šašqāqol are hot, beneficial to the coldness of the stomach and the bladder, and increase the sperm.” Aḵawaynī Boḵārī, too, refers to the gazar and the šaqāqol as the roots of two distinct plants (e.g., pp. 157, 357, 506, 509-10). Other authors differentiating between the two plants include Ebn Wāfed, Rāzī (both apud Ebn al-Bayṭār, II, pt. 3, pp. 65-66, s.v. šaqāqol), Jorjānī (pp. 599-600, s.v. šašqāqol), Anṭākī (I, p. 188, s.v. šaqāqol), Ebn Maymūn (Ar. text, p. 39, no. 361), and Tonokābonī (pp. 544-45). The latter’s botanical description (p. 544) seems to reflect some personal information: “The šaqāqol is a knotty root, viscid, a little sweet, as thick as a finger, long. The stem of the plant is [also] knotty, with a leaf growing at each knot. Its fruit is the size of a chickpea, black, filled with a black liquid; its flower is larger than the violet. The plant usually grows under thick trees in humid places. The part used is the root, the power of which lasts up to four years.”

P. Forskål (1775) has identified the šaqāqol growing in Egypt and Arabia as the umbelliferous Eryngium campestre L. (Renaud and Colin, in Toḥfat al-aḥbāb, p. 189, no. 445, n.). Dymock et al. (loc. cit.) have indicated Trachydium lehmanni Benth. & Hook. f. for the shekákul (sic) found in Indian bāzārs (see above), and Leclerc (Ebn al-Bayṭār, Fr. tr., II, p. 338) has used Tordylium secacul Miller for it ( = Malabaila secacul subsp. secacul already mentioned).

Concerning šaqāqol preserve, in addition to its reputed aphrodisiac property, Aḵawaynī Boḵārī (p. 357) recommends šaqāqol-e parvarda as a cure for anorexia caused by dyscrasia due to “thick humors” in the stomach. Nowadays, the morabbā-ye šaqāqol (the only form in which the root is used), commercialized on a limited scale in Gīlān, is considered a palatable “hot” and (so far as men are concerned) aphrodisiac preserve (see the exclusive recipe in Ḵāvar, p. 219).


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(Hūšang Aʿlam)

(Hūšang Aʿlam)

Originally Published: December 15, 1990

Last Updated: December 15, 1990

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Vol.V, Fasc. 1, pp. 13-17