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Am J Med Sci. 2017 Sep;354(3):223-229. doi: 10.1016/j.amjms.2017.03.021. Epub 2017 Mar 18.

Islamic Medicine in the Middle Ages.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock, Texas.
Museum of Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas.
Department of Internal Medicine, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock, Texas. Electronic address:


The Islamic culture flourished between the 9th and 13th centuries. Scholars from this era made significant contributions in mathematics, science and medicine. Caliphs and physicians built hospitals that provided universal care and the foundation for medical education. Physician-scientists made significant advances in medical care, surgery and pharmacology. Notable authorities include al-Razi (865-925 CE) who wrote the Kitab al-Hawi fi al-tibb (The Comprehensive Book on Medicine), a 23-volume textbook that provided the main medical curriculum for European schools into the 14th century. Ibn Sina (980-1037 CE), an extraordinary Persian polymath, wrote al Qanun fi al-Tibb (The Canon of Medicine), an encyclopedic treatment of medicine that combined his own observations with medical information from Galen and philosophy from Aristotle. Mansur (1380-1422 CE) wrote the first color illustrated book on anatomy. Other important physicians compiled information on the use of medication from plants, advanced surgical techniques, including cataract extraction and studied physiology, including the pulmonary circulation. These books and ideas provided the basis for medical care in Europe during its recovery from the Dark Ages.


Al-Razi; Arabic and Islamic scholars; Ibn Sina; Medical education; Medieval heritage

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