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Zeduar arabice zedoaria sed apud Avicennam geduar vocatur et zurumbet est species eius et est differentia inter utrasque ego vidi zurumbet Avicenna diversa facit capitula.


zedoaria ABC f | zedu- e

et zurumbet est species eius om. e

dria AC | dra e | dra eius f | diferentia B

vtrasqʒ AC e f | utriusqʒ B

zurumbet C f | zurũbet AB | zerumbet e

Auic. (Aui. C) diuersa facit ca. AC | auic diuersa facit capla f | et auic diuersa facit caa e | & auic. capl’a diuersa facit. B


Zeduar is Arabic for Latin zedoaria {"zedoary"}, but in Avicenna it is called geduar, and zurumbet is a kind of zedoaria. But there is a difference between these two, I have personally seen {only} zurumbet. Avicenna allocates different chapters to the two plants.


Siggel (1950: 25) mentions the two Arabic variants: ﺟﺪﻮﺍﺭ /ğadwār/ = ﺯﺩﻭﺍﺭ /zadwār/ Wz. v. Curcuma Zedoaria (Zingiberac.) Zitwer-Wz. {i.e. "zedoary root"}, which correspond to Simon's zeduar and Avicenna's geduar, although Avicenna uses zeduar as well, see below:

Goehl: Canon Avicennae, liber secundus, Capitulum 745 De zedoaria (annotation: gieduar} he describes the plant and states its medicinal uses; and in Capitulum 754 De zeduar, he says: Zeduar quid est? Inquit Dioscurides: est algeduar {annotation: algieduar id est zedoaria}, secundum quod existimo - "What is zeduar? Dioscorides says: it is algeduar {annotation: algieduar this is zedoaria}, it is my suspicion". This is an impossibility since Dioscorides could not have heard of the plant, The other chapter mentioned is Capitulum 747 De zurumbet {annotation: zurumbad}.

Botanical identification and history:

Zedoary, Curcuma zedoaria (Christm.) Roscoe [[1]], [[2]], is a perennial herb of the ginger family, native to India and Indonesia. The plant produces a rhizome which is used as a spice and medicinally. Zedoary was unknown in Antiquity and was introduced into Europe by the Arabs around the sixth century and is first mentioned by Benedictus Crispus (†725/35). Although the plant is nowadays almost completely replaced by ginger it seems to have played a part in the medieval medicine chest.

Simon alludes to zurumbet not being the same plant as zeduar, but he thinks they are related. It is also true that Avicenna allocates a different chapter to each plant, as shown above. But in the Arabic-writing literature a certain confusion is found between zeduar and zurumbet. Here is what Hill (1751: 566) says:

"Serapio and Rhozes use the Words Zedoaria and Zerumbeth as synonymous, and declare both to mean only the same Root. Avicenna on the contrary distinguishes the Zedoary, and Zerumbeth, and even talks of two Kinds of Zedoary. Others of them make the Zarnab they speak of, different both from the Zedoary and Zerumbeth; but Serapio, an Author as much to be depended upon for his Accuracy as any of them, declares Zedoary, Zerumbeth, and Zarnab, all to be the same Thing."

See also: Geduar, Zurumbet, Zarnab, Zereambadi

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