The plant of the Qist is 2 metres in length and is generally found in the northwest and northeast of the sub Himalayan regions. The roots are used for medicinal purposes. Ibn Hajr (may Allah have mercy upon him) quotes Ibn 'Arabi (may Allah have mercy upon him) as saying that there are 2 types of qist; Qist al-Bahri (Sea Incense) and 'Oud al-Hindi or Qist al-Hindi (Indian Incense). As for Qist al-Bahri (Sea Incense) then it is white and as for 'Oud al-Hindi or Qist al-Hindi (Indian Incense) then it is hotter Qist al-Bahri (Sea Incense) and darker. [vol. 10, 148 Shamila].
The Messenger r said, "Use this 'Oud al-Hindi (Indian Incense) because it contains 7 types of cures, it is sniffed by the one having throat trouble, and is put inside the mouth of one suffering from pleurisy". [Saheeh al-Bukhaaree (5692)].
The Messenger r said, " Cupping (Hijama) and Qist al-Bahri (Sea Incense) are the best of your remedies". He added, "You should not harm your children by treating tonsillitis by pressing their tonsils, rather use Qist al-Bahri (Sea Incense)". [Saheeh al-Bukhaaree (5696)].
Ibnul Qayim (may Allah have mercy upon him) said, "There are 2 kinds of Qist, the white kind which is called Qist al-Bahri (Sea Incense). The 'Oud al-Hindi or Qist al-Hindi (Indian Incense) is the hottest of them and the Qist al-Bahri (Sea Incense) is the mildest. Both types have many benefits... they dry out the phlegm and cold. When they are taken as a drink, they help a weak liver, stomach and colds associated with such cases. Qist also against victular and quartan fever (fever that comes every 4 days), the pain on the side of the body and poisons. When the face is anointed with Qist that has been ground and mixed with water and honey, it heals spots that appear on the face. Galinus said that Qist 'heals tetanus, the pain on the sides and kills spots (which he called pumpkin seeds).'
Some ignorant doctors are unaware of and deny that Qist is an effective remedy against pain in the sides of the body. If these ignorant doctors become aware of what Galinus has stated about Qist, they would quickly embrace it as if it was a divine text...we stated before that what is sent down from revelation as compared to what is proven by experimentation compares like the difference between the noble master and the commoner. In addition, if any of the ignorant doctors (who ignore the Prophetic medicine) were able to discover a remedy that the Jews, Christians and Polytheist doctors have prescribed, they would embrace it and would certainly prescribe it.
We do not deny that habits have a role in making the cure work or fail. Those who are used to certain foods and medicine would benefit from them more than those who are not used to them and who sometimes would not benefit at all from them..." [p.307 Translated Medicine of the Prophet by Ibnul Qaiyum (may Allah have mercy upon him) with slight corrections].
Modern research suggests that Qist is a blood purifier, antiseptic and increases the cutaneous circulation. Hence, it might be used to treat dandruff, freckles, and ringworm. It is a good insect repellent. Hence, might be used to keep off the insects from the clothes. Internally it is a good anti-spasmodic and neurotonic, hence, might be used to treat coughs, bronchitis, bronchial asthma, paralysis, facial palsy and neurasthenia.
As with any herb, check with a medical doctor before taking. It is not to be taken whilst pregnant. Check with doctor if taking blood thinning medication or high blood pressure medication before taking.