Friday, March 13, 2015

A00057 - Ibn al-Thahabi, Author of First Known Alphabetical Medical Encyclopedia

Ibn al-Thahabi
Ibn al-Thahabi (Abu Mohammed Abdellah Ibn Mohammed Al-Azdi) (Arabic: ابو محمد عبدالله بن محمد الأزدي‎) (ca. ? - 1033, in Valencia, Al-Andalus [Islamic Spain]), known also as Ibn Al-Thahabi, was an Arab physician, famous for writing the first known alphabetical encyclopedia of medicine.

He was born in Suhar, Oman.  He moved then into Basra,  then to Persia where he studied under Al-Biruni and Ibn Sina.  Later he migrated to Jerusalem and finally settled in Valencia, in Al-Andalus (Islamic Spain).

He is famous for his book Kitab al-Ma'a (The Book of Water), which is a 900 page medical encyclopedia that lists the names of diseases, its medicine and a physiological process or a treatment. It is the first known alphabetical classification of medical terms. In this encyclopedia, Ibn Al-Thahabi not only lists the names but adds numerous original ideas about the function of the human organs. It also contains a course for the treatment psychological symptoms. The main thesis of his medication is that cure must start from controlled food and exercise and if it persists then use specific individual medicines.  If it still persists, then use medical compounds. If the disease continued, surgery was performed.

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