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Arabic Medicine

Jon Alexis Montemayor

Histo101-Dr. Bongcan

In the history of medicine, Islamic

medicine or Arabic medicine refers
to medicine developed in the Islamic Golden
Age civilization and written in Arabic,
the lingua franca of the Islamic civilization.

Islamic Golden Age

From the mid-7th century to the mid-13th
Age of


500 B.C.E 1 A.D.







"There is no disease that Allah has created,

except that He also has created its treatment.
"Make use of medical treatment,
for Allah has not made a disease without appointing a remedy for it,
with the exception of one disease, name was old age.
"Allah has sent down both the disease and the cure,
and He has appointed a cure for every disease,
so treat yourselves medically.
"The one who sent down the disease sent down the remedy."
"For every disease, Allah has given a cure."


When Did Muhammad Say to Dip

a Fly in Your Drink?
If a house fly falls in
the drink of anyone
of you, he should dip
it (in the drink), for
one of its wings has
a disease and the
other has the cure
for the disease."

Influence of Islam
The Quran said
hygiene was very
As Islam spread
Mosques,as well as
baths and hospitals
were built.
Islam encouraged

Inventors of Soap
True soaps made from vegetable
oils (such as olive oil), aromatic oils (such
as thyme oil) and Sodium Lye were first
produced by Muslim chemists in
the medieval Islamic world.
they invented the soap bar The formula for
soap used since then hasn't changed and
are identical to the current soap sold in
modern times.

Nabulsi Soap

Ancient Hellenistic
medicine such as ancient
Indian medicine such
as Ayurveda, and
the ancient Iranian
Medicine of the Academy
of Gundishapur.

Foundation of learning
Arabic doctors could use Greek
texts (Unani).
Many Arab doctors developed
these ideas in their own books.
Arab doctors were very familiar
with the work of people such as
Hippocrates,Dioscorides, Soranus
, Celsus and Galen.

Some of the greatest Arab


(or Al-Razi)
(865-925 A.D.)

Credited with the discovery of

"Truth in medicine is an
acid, alcoholand
goal, and
used inthe
art as described
books is far beneath the
to many lands serving
knowledge of an
princes and
rulers as
anda teacher.
thoughtful physician."
the first known case of
Attacked (in his writings) those who
sold quack remedies.
Wrote and described a lot of
diseases and ailments.

Rhazes book On Medicine

(or Abu al-Qasim)
Founder of modern surgical and
medical instruments
His greatest contribution to history
is the Kitab al-Tasrif, a
thirty-volume encyclopedia of
medical practices.
Modern Plaster
pioneered the preparation of
by sublimation and distillation

(or Ibn Sina)
(980-1037 A.D.)

Avicennas tomb in Hamadan, Iran

Wrote over 450 books on a

wide range of subjects.
Noted for his synthesis of
knowledge from both east
and west.
His most famous works are
The Book of Healing and
The Canon of Medicine.
Steam distillation
Continued on from the work
of Rhazes.

Canon of Medicine

From mixture of the four [humors] in different weights, [God the most high]
created different organs; one with more blood like muscle, one with more black
bile like bone, one with more phlegm like brain, and one with more yellow bile
like lung.
[God the most high] created the souls from the softness of humors; each soul
has it own weight and amalgamation. The generation and nourishment of
proper soul takes place in the heart; it resides in the heart and arteries, and is
transmitted from the heart to the organs through the arteries. At first, it [proper
soul] enters the master organs such as the brain, liver or reproductive organs;
from there it goes to other organs while the nature of the soul is being modified
in each [of them]. As long as [the soul] is in the heart, it is quite warm, with the
nature of fire, and the softness of bile is dominant. Then, that part which goes
to the brain to keep it vital and functioning, becomes colder and wetter, and in
its composition the serous softness and phlegm vapor dominate. That part,
which enters the liver to keep its vitality and functions, becomes softer, warmer
and sensibly wet, and in its composition the softness of air and vapor of blood
In general, there are four types of proper spirit: One is brutal spirit residing in
the heart and it is the origin of all spirits. Another as physicians refer to it is
sensual spirit residing in the brain. The third as physicians refer to it is
natural spirit residing in the liver. The fourth is generative i.e. procreative
spirits residing in the gonads. These four spirits go-between the soul of
absolute purity and the body of absolute impurity.

Ibn Al-Nafis
In determining the use of each
organ we shall rely necessarily on

verified examinations and

straightforward research,
of circulatory
whether our opinions
His discovery
will agree or
disagree with
year-old theory
of Galen who
our predecessors

suggested invisible pores in the

intraventricular septum
early proponent of experimental
postmortem autopsy,metabolism and
human dissection
The most voluminous of his books is AlShamil fi al-Tibb (The Comprehensive
Book on Medicine)
Commentary on Anatomy in Avicenna's

Scientific method
-Experimental method
-Peer review

Bimaristan where the ill were welcomed and
cared for by qualified staff, and which were
clearly distinguished from the ancient healing
temples, sleep temples, hospices,
and leperhouses which were more concerned
with isolating the sick and the insane from
The first public hospitals, psychiatric
hospitals and Medical schools/universities were
also introduced by medieval Muslim physicians.

Qalawun Hospital, Cairo

Could care for 8,000 patients with a
staff that included physicians,
pharmacists, and nurses
One could also access a dispensary,
and research facility that led to
advances, which included the discovery
of the contagious nature of diseases,
and research into optics and the
mechanisms of the eye
Hospitals later spread to Europe during
the Crusades, inspired by the hospitals
in the Middle East

Medical Ethics
Hospitals in the Islamic
Muslim doctors
world treated patients
and physicians
of all religions,
were expected to
ethnicities, and
have obligations
backgrounds, while the towards their
hospitals themselves
regardless of their
often employed staff
from Christian, Jewish
and other minority
Role of female staff

Encyclopedias and Books

Firdous al-Hikmah (Paradise of Wisdom) by Ali
ibn Sahl Rabban al-Tabari. Essentially started
medicine in Islam
The Diseases of Children by Rhazes. The first
book to deal with pediatrics as an independent
field of medicine
Cerrahiyyetu'l-Haniyye (Imperial Surgery) by
erafeddin Sabuncuolu. The last major medical
encyclopedia from the Islamic world
was surgical atlas

Wide Contributions to medicine

Allergology,anatomy, bacteriology,
botany,dentistry, embryology, environmental
ism,etiology, immunology, microbiology, obs
ophthalmology, pathology, pediatrics,perinat
ology, physiology,psychiatry, psychology, pu
lsology and
sphygmology, surgery, therapy, urology, zoo
logy, and the pharmaceutical sciences such
as pharmacy and pharmacology.

Cataract surgery
Ammar ibn Ali al-Mawsili
notable for inventing
the injection syringe and
hypodermic needle for the
extraction of cataracts in
the first
successful cataract


Animal Testing/Dissection
Animal Dissections

Human Dissection
and Autopsy

The first drugstores were opened by
Muslim pharmacists in Baghdad in 754

Laboratory Apparatus
Aerometer: Ab Rayhn al-Brn in the 11th century
Conical measure: Ab Rayhn al-Brn in the 11th
Laboratory flask and pycnometer: Ab Rayhn alBrn.
Refrigerated coil and refrigerated tubing: In the 11th
century, Avicenna invented the refrigerated coil, which
condenses aromatic vapours. This was a breakthrough
in distillation technology and he made use of it in his
steam distillation process, which requires refrigerated
tubing, to produce essential oils.

Islamic Laboratory

Medieval Muslim chemists discovered over 2,000

medicinal substances



Alchohol as antiseptic: The application of pure alcohol to
wounds as an antiseptic agent, and the use of alcohol as
a solvent and antiseptic, was introduced by Muslim
physicians and surgeons in the 10th century
Medicinal-grade alcohol: Produced through distillation.
These distillation devices for use in chemistry and
medicine were manufactured on a large scale in the 10th

Cough medicine and syrup

Cough medicine and
syrup: The use of
syrups for
treating coughs origin
ates from medieval
Arabic physicians.

Drugs, foods, herbs, plants and chemical substances: In

antiquity, Dioscorides listed about 500 plants in the 1st century. Muslim
botanists, chemists and pharmacists discovered many more during the
Middle Ages. For example, Al-Dinawari described more than 637
plant drugs in the 9th century,[and Ibn al-Baitar described at least 1,400
different plants, foods and drugs, 300 of which were his own original
discoveries, in the 13th century
Parasitology: Parasites were first discovered by Ibn Zuhr (Avenzoar), when
he discovered the cause of scabies. He recommended specific substances
to destroy microbes, and the application of sulfur topically specifically to kill
the scabies mite
Phytotherapy, Taxus baccata, and calcium channel blocker:
Avicenna's The Canon of Medicine introduced the medicinal use of Taxus
baccata L. He named this herbal drug "Zarnab" and used it as a cardiac
remedy. This was the first known use of a calcium channel blocker drug,
which were not used in the Western world until the 1960s.
Sexual Health : Developed Drugs for Sexual Dysfunction as well as
recreational drugs use to improve male sexuality

How did Islam have a positive impact on

the development of medicine?
The Koran tells people to care for the sick - better ways
were found to do so.
One of the Five Pillars of Islam was the giving of alms
to the poor. Many Islamic rulers built hospitals and
provided free medical treatment.
Muhammad ordered Muslims to wash before prayer.
Muslims pray five time a day, so this was an important
factor in cleanliness.
All of the major Islamic cities, such as Baghdad,
Damascus, Cairo and Cordoba, contained many
Muslims collected the medical writings of the Greeks
and Romans, and (unlike the monasteries in Europe)
they used them and improved them.