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Last Updated: 2014/04/20
Summary of question
Is there a tradition of Imam Ali (a.s) in which He says that a mixture of saffron, honey and So’d Kufi has a wonderful effect on memory?
Is this tradition that is mentioned in Bihar al-anwar in which Imam Ali (a.s) said: “if one mixtures saffron and So’d Kufi and honey together and have it each day, the one will get a memory that all people think he/she is a magician” authentic? Can you please tell me the quantity of that combination?
Concise answer
However, such a tradition (hadith) which is distributed to Imam Ali (a.s) has been mentioned in Bihar al-Anwar and Misbah Kaf’ami, but since the tradition has not any Sanad[i] and it is not mentioned in other traditional book we cannot certainly give our opinion about it. In this regard, it is deserved to inquire the traditional medicine expertise' point of view.

[i] . Sanad, the chain of narration that is the primary elements of a hadith. The sanad is the information provided regarding the route by which the matn has been reached.
Detailed Answer
To answer this question it should be said that this tradition is mentioned in Bihar al-Anwar.[1] In which it is quoted from the book of Misbah Kaf’ami.[2] But, according to our investigations, this Hadith has not any appropriate authentication throughout the other traditional resources. This Hadith is also distributed to Imam Ali (a.s) in the same book, but it is completely mursal (“hurried”) and hasn’t any reliable references too.
Therefore, however we ought not to reject it completely but it has not much value to be relied on according to the principle of Shia narrative theory.
This tradition is as follows:
"عَنْ عَلِیٍّ ع مَنْ أَخَذَ مِنَ الزَّعْفَرَانِ الْخَالِصِ جُزْءاً وَ مِنَ السُّعْدِ جُزْءاً وَ یُضَافُ إِلَیْهِمَا عَسَلًا وَ یُشْرَبُ مِنْهُ مِثْقَالَیْنِ فِی کُلِّ یَوْمٍ فَإِنَّهُ یُتَخَوَّفُ عَلَیْهِ مِنْ شِدَّةِ الْحِفْظِ أَنْ یَکُونَ سَاحِرا"
If one prepares a mixture in which the half of it is provided by the pure saffron, and added some honey to it, and then drinks two Mesghal (unit of weight equal to five grams) of it per day, the one will get a strong memory that all people may think he/she is a magician"
In this tradition, the word "So'd" has been mentioned generally. However, there has been mentioned another mixtures which contains "So'd Kufi", "currants", "fennel", "ginger" and etc. in other part of the book Misbah Kaf’ami, but seemingly it is not a Hadith and the author experientially mentioned it.[3]
Thus, since the tradition is mursal (meaning "hurried". i.e. if some narrators or all of them are omitted from a given isnād. By this definition the hadith includes all categories of discontinuity.) it can neither be proven nor be rejected completely. As a result, we certainly ought not to distribute such a property of this mixture to Imam Ali (a.s). However, the traditional medicine expertises are able to give their opinion regarding the effect of that mixture on memory.

[1] . Majlesi, Muhammad Baqir, Bihar al-Anwar, vol 59, p 272, hadith 73, Al-Wafa institution, Beirut, 1404 AH.
[2] . A'meli Kafa'mi, Ibrahim Ibn Ali, al-Misbah, p 200, Rzi publication, Qom 1405 AH.
[3] . Ibid.
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