Welcome to the twelfth enlightening post of Medicine Through Islamic History series By The Desert Rose
Following Ibn Dinawari, numerous physicians acknowledged the medicinal properties of plants and their geographical locations, amongst these where Ibn Juljul and Ibn Baytar. Ibn Juljul Al-Andalusi was born in Cordoba in 943 AD and studied medicine under a Jewish physician called Hasday ibn Shaprut who was also a vizier to Caliph Abdul Rahman III. Ibn Juljul was the personal doctor of Caliph Hisham II and during his reign, he utilized historical sources from Hippocrates, Galen, Orosius, Dioscorides and Isidore to gain an understanding of herbs and pharmacological aspects of plants. This led him to author several books such as ‘Generations of Physicians and Wise Men’ and even developed a supplement called a maqalah that comprised of 60 constituents from different parts of the world predominantly: Yemen, India, Egypt, Andalucia, Cordova, Ceylan, Cadiz and other areas that were not discovered by Dioscorides. This emphasises how physicians of the past were respected for their discovers and how historical sources can spread knowledge in order to make advancements in our understanding of medicine and develop novel therapeutic approaches. Later physicians such as Al-Baytar who was born in Malaga utilized Ibn Juljul’s work and other sources to assist and make further progress in medicine with his research and experiments on new medicinal plants he collected. He also authored several books such as ‘Al-Kitab Al-jameei fi Al-Aghdiya wa Al-Adawiyah Al-Mufradah’, ‘The Comprehensive book of foods and simple remedies’. It entails encyclopaedic information on simple drugs and is divided into two section: experiments that determines the medicinal effects and the other section entails physical and chemical properties of the drug, its effectiveness based upon heat/cold and dryness/humility, effect on different parts of the body, dosage, how to utilize, side-effects and what to do to overcome side effects. Another book he wrote was called Al-Mughni fi al-Adwiyah (the Sufficient) that entails herbal medicine for diseases of the head, ear, fevers and how herbs can be used for cosmetics and counter poisons. Ultimately, Muslim physicians have made a significant contribution to the knowledge and understanding of plants and how they can be utilized in therapies and as earlier highlighted how record-keeping and communication is key in order for progression to take place. References Johnstone, P. (1999) "Ibn Juljul, Physician and Herbalist", Islamic Culture, 73, pp. 37-43. Philippe Provençal, A. (2019). Ibn al-Baytâr - The Royal Library. [online] Kb.dk. Available at: http://www.kb.dk/en/nb/samling/os/naeroest/ibnalbaytar.html [Accessed 19 Apr. 2019].
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