Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Al-Kindi: pioneer of pharmacology

A few books related to pharmacy were written by Al-Kindi (800-873), known as the philosopher of the Arabs.

His name was Abu Yusuf Yaqub ibn Ishaq ibn al-Sabbah al-Kindi. He was born in Kuffah, southern Iraq. He flourished in Baghdad, then capital of the Abbasid Empire and center of its intellectual life.

He became a prominent figure in the House of Wisdom, a number of Abbasid Caliphs appointed him to oversee the translation of Greek texts into the Arabic.

This contact with ‘the philosophy of the ancients’ had a profound effect on his intellectual development thus led him to write original treatises on subjects ranging from Islamic ethics and metaphysic to Islamic mathematics and pharmacology.

In his medical works he follows traditional, mostly Galenic paradigms. In his book ‘aqrabadhin’ or Medical Formulary al-Kindi describes many pharmaceutical preparations.

The Latin version of his work on optics, De Aspectibus, was very influential among Western scientists and philosophers.

The most important of al-Kindi’s medical wirings, is De gradibus, a remarkable work in which in an original departure form traditional, he attempts to apply mathematics to pharmacology.

Pharmacology, optics, chemistry and alchemy were of particular interest to Arab scientists Islamic medicine and pharmacology drew on many sources. Al-Kindi included drugs from Mesopotamia, Egypt, Persia, Greece and India was well as traditional Arab remedies.
Al-Kindi: pioneer of pharmacology

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