The most notable discoveries in biology, medicine and pharmacy during the Golden Age - Essay Example

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The most notable discoveries in biology, medicine and pharmacy during the Golden Age May 19, The Islamic Golden Age or the Islamic Renaissance emerged during the 8th-13th centuries in Baghdad, Cairo and Cordoba. This period saw the Muslim world transformed into an intellectual centre where a number of Islamic scholars contributed to science, philosophy and medicine (Falagas, et al, 2006, p. 1581). Some of the outstanding achievements made by Muslim scholars are discussed in this document.
Medicine: Medicine was an important part of the Islamic culture and built on extensive translation of texts from Rome, India, Greece, Persia, and Islamic scholars developed their own scientific analysis system based on these works. Some of the well-known physicians and thinkers are Al-Razi and Ibn Sina and they developed a healthcare system with hospitals running for 24 hours and treatment based in Ayurveda and Unani (Allsen, 1984, p, 67-69). Another renowned Islamic scholar Ibn Sina authored Canon of Medicine a seminal work that was printed many times and read in Europe. The scholar Ibn Al-Haitham wrote extensively on the subject of ophthalmology while Ishaq Ibn, another scholar wrote a treatise Practical Medical Deontology. Al-Tabari wrote, another scholar wrote the Paradise of Wisdom that linked diverse subjects namely, psychotherapy, counselling, psychology and medicine (Atiyeh & Hayes, 1992, p. 45-61).
The scholar Zakariya Raziwas who served as the chief surgeon in the hospitals of Baghdad and Cairo, wrote the well-received Ahlaq al-Tabeeb. This was a book on medical ethics in which he discussed the model role of the physician and specified the methods to distinguish between measles and small pox and the method of treating these diseases (Lombard, 1975, p. 123-128). Raziwas also wrote the kitab-al Hawi fi al-tibb also called as the Comprehensive book of medicine with 23 volumes where each volume discussed specific parts of the body and their related diseases (Sonn, 2011, p. 81-89). This book was used as a textbook in several European universities until the seventeenth century. Another book he wrote was the Kitab Tibb al-Muluki where he discussed dieting and moderation and the manner in which diseases can be controlled through dieting (Meri, 2005, p. 63).
Pharmacy: Medieval Islam produced many scholars who wrote about medicines obtained from plants and body parts of various animals. The Islamic scholar Yuhanna b. Masawayh wrote a treatise on the medicinal effects of Cannabis sativa Linnaeus or hemp and Papaver somniferum Linnaeus, poppy. He suggested using the drug to relieve pain from fevers, eye and toothaches and pain from gallbladder stones (Hill, 1993, p. 82). However, Ali al-Tabari, another scholar wrote about the poisonous and corrupting nature of poppy and indicated that it should be used only as a medicine and in small doses. Another Islamic scholar, Al-Biruni wrote the first book on pharmacy (OMalley, 1978, p. 60-61).
Biology: While contributions of Islamic writers in Biology are limited, one of the earliest scholars Al-Jāḥiẓ made observation in his book that described evolution. These observations predate the finding of Charles Darwin by several centuries (Badeau & Hayes, 1983, p. 104-107). Al-Jāḥiẓ noted that animals struggle for survival and existence and for resources to escape death by starvation or from being eaten by other animals. He also noted that environmental factors help animals to survive and transform into new species and that they pass successful characteristics to their offsprings (Coffey, 2006).
The paper has explained only a few of the contributions from the Golden Age. History notes that the Islamic world moved to renaissance long before the movement occurred in Europe.
Allsen, T. T. (2004). Culture and Conquest in Mongol Eurasia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Atiyeh, G. N. & Hayes, R. H., (1992). The Genius of Arab Civilization. NY: New York University Press
Badeau, J. A. & Hayes, J. R., 1983. The Genius of Arab civilization: source of Renaissance. London: Taylor & Francis.
Coffey, M., (2006). Intelligent Design. Retrieved 19 May 2014 from
Falagas, E. M., Zarkadoulia, E. A. & Samonis, G., (2006). Arab science in the golden age (750–1258 C.E) and today. The FASEB Journal, 20, pp. 1581–1586
Hill, D. R. (1993). Islamic Science and Engineering. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press
Lombard, M., 1975. The Golden Age of Islam. NY: American Elsevier
Loudon, I., (2002). Western Medicine: An Illustrated History. Oxford: Oxford University Press
Meri, J. W., (2005). Medieval Islamic Civilization: An Encyclopedia. London: Routledge
OMalley, C. D., (1970). The History of Medical Education. An International Symposium Held February 5-9, 1968, Volume 673. Berkeley, University of California. Press: University of California Press
Sonn, T., 2011. Islam: A Brief History. London: Wiley Read More
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