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Phytother Res. 2007 Jul;21(7):701-2.

The medieval physician Avicenna used an herbal calcium channel blocker, Taxus baccata L.


Calcium channel blockers are drugs which are important for current medical therapy. The first examples of synthetic congeners of this class of drugs appear around at the beginning of the 1960s. Review of the current and historical literature shows that Avicenna (Ibn Sina) (980-1037) had used the herbal drug 'Zarnab' (Taxus baccata L.) as a cardiac remedy. The leaves of T. baccata contain an alkaloid mixture (taxines). It was recently demonstrated that this drug possessed calcium channel blocking activity. So, it is evident that Avicenna used a drug with calcium channel blocking activity much earlier than the arrival of synthetic drugs belonging to the same pharmacological group.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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