AVICENNA

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This post is in category MEDICINE

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Avicenna (Ibn Sīnā) (980 – 1037) was a Shia Sevener (Ismaili).
He frequently drank wine, and claimed it helped him to think more clearly. A religious argument he had with a military commander resulted in an order that he be executed, so he hid at a friend’s house.
He was not the “father of modern medicine”.
Avicenna wrote a 14 volume medical book titled “Canon of Medicine” that later became a standard reference text in Europe.
Avicenna’s book probably largely copied from a medical encyclopedia written by his teacher al-Masihi (970 -1010), who was a Persian Christian physician. (Most of the Christian physicians of pre-Muslim Persia had studied the medicine of Galen of Pergamon and had ancestors who came from the Byzantine Empire.

Avicenna described many diseases, fear of heights, and aromatherapy.

He thought that tuberculosis was caused by an imbalance of the humors, and treated it with bloodletting.

He treated cancer with an herb known in ancient times.

Avicenna wrote that heavy breathing can cause humidity inside the head, which causes mood disorders. [Perhaps this is his description of what we now call sinus headaches.]

He thought that some diseases were caused by the alignment of the planets.
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Avicenna used bloodletting to treat tuberculosis.

MOSTLY COPIED FROM BYZANTINE MEDICAL BOOKS
Avicenna (Ibn Sīnā) (980 – 1037) was a Shia Sevener (Ismaili).

He frequently drank wine, and claimed it helped him to think more clearly. A religious argument he had with a military commander resulted in an order that he be executed, so he hid at a friend’s house.
He was not the “father of modern medicine”.
Avicenna wrote a 14 volume medical book titled “Canon of Medicine” that later became a standard reference text in Europe.
Avicenna’s book probably largely copied from a medical encyclopedia written by his teacher al-Masihi (970 -1010), who was a Persian Christian physician. (Most of the Christian physicians of pre-Muslim Persia had studied the medicine of Galen of Pergamon and had ancestors who had come fled the Byzantine Empire because of Byzantine Orthodox Christians persecuting Nestorian Christians.)

HUMIDITY INSIDE THE HEAD
Avicenna wrote that heavy breathing can cause humidity inside the head, which causes mood disorders. [Perhaps this is his description of what we now call sinus headaches.]

PLANETS CAUSE DISEASES
Ibn Sina wrote that eye diseases were related to the motion of the planet Jupiter. but ear diseases were related to the motion of the planet Mercury.

FEAR OF HEIGHTS
Avicenna wrote that fear of heights could cause a person to fall.

HYPNOTIC SUGGESTION
Avicenna believed in hypnotic suggestion, but the ancient Hindus also did.

UNANI HERBAL MEDICINE
Avicenna was not the founder of the unani system of medicine. It was based on the teachings of Hippocrates (460 BC – 370 BC) and Galen of Pergamon (AD 129 – 199) and added to by an apostate named al-Razi (854 – 932).
Avicenna (and later Ibn al-Baitar) used the herb hindiba to treat cancer. The herb is still used today as a “cancer treatment” in Muslim countries and in the Philippines.
A professor at the University of Istanbul has explained thathindiba breaks down in the body into components that work on the principle of hot and cold.
No double blind clinical trial of hindiba has ever been done.
Avicenna tested drugs (derived mostly from medicinal plants described in books from Greeks and Romans) on his patients.
Galen wrote that the heart has valves, but his belief that the heart played a role in emotions prevented him and Avicenna from recognizing that blood coming back from the lungs was pumped to the rest of the body.

DISSECTION
Avicenna’s book repeated what Galen of Pergamon (a 2nd century Greek physician in the Roman Empire) had written. [Most Greeks, most Christians and most Muslims disapproved of human dissections, but some performed dissections on live conscious criminals.]

TUBERCULOSIS
Avicenna copied from Galen of Pergamon writing that tuberculosis was contagious and should be treated by bloodletting, and that diseases were caused by an imbalance of the four fluids called humors.

EPILEPSY
Avicenna wrote that psychological and physical stress may trigger a convulsion in patients with epilepsy.

PULSE RATE
Avicenna copied from Galen of Pergamon (AD 129 – 199) diagnosing diseases by examining the pulse rate.

HYPERTENSION
Avicenna copied from ancient Greek writings about hypertension and hardening of the arteries.

AROMATHERAPY
Avicenna did not invent aromatherapy, which had been used in most ancient civilizations.

Image from Ioannis Sculteti, Armamentium Chirugiae, 1693, via Wikimedia Commons.

Image was cropped and contrast was adjusted by William Siepmann.
Image credit https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:4_transfusion.jpg#mw-jump-to-license

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