Meet Ibn Sina - the great Persian Polymath
By Faisal Amjad

His 'Canon' - a medical encyclopaedia was studied across Europe for over 500 years!

Published in: History, Health, Science
Date: 01 / 04 / 17

The Sheikh al-Ra'is Sharaf al-Mulk Abu ‘Ali al-Husayn b. ‘Abd Allah b. al-Hasan b. ‘Ali Ibn Sina, in Latin he is known as Avicenna and his most famous works are those on philosophy and medicine.

His philosophical views have engaged the attention of Western thinkers over several centuries, and his books have been among the most important sources in philosophy.

In medicine, his encyclpedic book, al-Qanun (The Canon) - Al Qanun Fi Al-Tibb (The Canon of Medicine) - was translated into Latin towards the end of the twelfth century CE, and became a reference source for medical studies in the universities of Europe until the end of the seventeenth century.

Ibn Sina, or Avicenna, lived in Hamadan and Jurjan from 980 to 1037 CE, and acquired great fame in mediaeval European medicine.

According to Desnos, most of the disesaes of the kidneys and bladder can be recognized in the systemic classification of renal diseases and the accounts of bladder diseases given by Ibn Sina in al-Qanun. He was also the first to point out the fact that haematuria may be due to causes outside the urinary system, for example, blood diseases.

Apart from the methodical classification and precise descriptions of aetiological factors and signs in his chapter on urinary disturbances, Ibn Sina pointed out the role of psychological factors in the treatment of certain cases of nocturnal nuresis.

Both Ibn Sina and al-Razi warned against catheterization in the presence of inflammation, as it increases the swelling and pain. To ensure gentle catheterisation, Ibn Sina designed catheters with rounded, firm tips and many side holes from the skin of certain marine and other animals.

The al-Hawi, at-Tasrif and al-Qanun were translated into Latin as early as 1150 CE by Gerard of Cremona and greatly influenced the European Mediaeval schools of medicine well into the eighteenth century. 

Faisal Amjad

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I am a history buff and love all things business!

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