The use of different foods, herbs and spices to treat or prevent disease has been recorded for thousands of years.  Egyptian papyrus, hieroglyphics and ancient texts from the Middle East have described the cultivation and preparations of herbs and botanicals to “cure the sick”. There are even older records from China and India. Some ancient scripts describe the use of medicinal plants which have never been seen within European cultures. Indeed, all ancient civilizations have pictorial records of different foods, herbs and spices being used for medical purposes. However, there are fundamental questions pertaining to the scientific evidence for the use of these agents or their extracts in modern medicine.

There have been considerable advances in scientific techniques over the last few decades. These have been used to examine the composition and applications of traditional cures. Modern science has also seen the investigation of herbs, spices and botanicals beyond their traditional usage. For example, plants which have been used for “digestion” or “medical ills” since time immemorial are now being investigated for anti-cancer properties or their toxicity, using high throughput screening. Techniques also include molecular biology, cellular biochemistry, physiology, endocrinology, and even medical imaging. However, much of the material relating to the scientific basis or applications of traditional foods, herbs, spices and botanicals is scattered among various sources. The widespread applicability of foods or botanicals are rarely described and cautionary notes on toxicity are often ignored. This is addressed in Ancient and Traditional Foods, Plants, Herbs and Spices Used in The Middle East.

1. Grains and Pulses in Diets of the Middle East with a Focus on Buckwheat  2. Dietary Patterns in the Middle East and Fatty Liver Disease  3. Fatty Acids in Different Foods of Middle Eastern Diets: Implications for Health  4. The Link of Lifestyle Patterns and Nutrition in Iran with Health and Traditional Diets  5. Traditional Medicinal Foods in Persian Medicine: An Overview of Current Evidence  6. Traditional Dietary Patterns in the Elderly: Iranian Aspects  7. Syrian Herbs in Health and Disease  8. Aloe Vera (Aloe Barbadensis) Usage in the Middle East: Applications for Gastroesophageal Reflux  9. Arta (Calligonum Comosum) in the Middle East and Biomedical Applications  10. Conehead Thyme/Thymus Capitatus (Thymus Capitatus) and Evidence-Based Usage in Eradicating Helicobacter Pylori  11. Cumin (Cuminum Cyminum) Usage in the Middle East and Biological Basis of its Actions  12. Frankincense (Boswellia Sacra Flueck.) and its Usage in the Middle East: Molecular, Cellular and Biomedical Aspects  13. Khella (Ammi Visnaga), Molecular and Cellular Aspects and Potential in Biomedicine  14. French Marigold (Tagetes Patula L.): Phytochemical and Bioactive Targets of Secondary Metabolites  15. Oak Gall (Quercus Infectoria G. Olivier Gall): Pharmaceutical Usage and Cellular Targets  16. Pelargonium Species and their Usage in the Middle East as Medicinal Herbs  17. Saffron (Crocus Sativus) as a Middle East Herb: Traditional and Modern Medicinal Applications  18. Sage Plants (Salvia sp.; Lamiaceae) in the Middle East: Phytochemistry, Ethnopharmacology and Traditional Use  19. Paronychia Argentea L. Usage in the Middle East (Jordan) and its Biomedical Profiles  20. Taily Weed (Ochradenus Baccatus Delile) as a Middle Eastern Herbal: Biological Activities and Profiles  21. Tomato (Lycopersicon Esculentum Miller) from Egypt and Phytochemical Usage; Phenolics and Flavonoids  22. Turmeric (Curcuma Longa L.) Usage in the Middle East: A Comprehensive Review  23. Veined Dock (Rumex Pictus Forssk.) Usage in the Middle East, Phytochemical Constituents, and Biological Effects of the Extracts  24. Recommended Resources for the Scientific Study of Foods, Plants, Herbs, and Spices Used in the Middle East