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Kawthar
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PostSubject: PHARMACOLOGY   Sun May 04, 2008 11:08 am

PHARMACOLOGY
Pharmacology took roots in Islam during the 9th century. Yuhanna bin Masawayh (777-857 A.D.) started scientific and systematic applications of therapeutics at the Abbasids capital. His students Hunayn bin Ishaq al-lbadi (809-874 A.D.) and his associates established solid foundations of Arabic medicine and therapeutics in the ninth century. In his book al-Masail Hunayn outlined methods for confirming the pharmacological effectiveness of drugs by experimenting with them on humans. He also explained the importance of prognosis and diagnosis of diseases for better and more effective treatment.

Pharmacy became an independent and separate profession from medicine and alchemy. With the wild sprouting of apothecary shops, regulations became necessary and imposed to maintain quality control." The Arabian apothecary shops were regularly inspected by a syndic (Muhtasib) who threatened the merchants with humiliating corporal punishments if they adulterated drugs." As early as the days of al-Mamun and al-Mutasim pharmacists had to pass examinations to become licensed professionals and were pledged to follow the physician's prescriptions. Also by this decree, restrictive measures were legally placed upon doctors, preventing them from owning or holding stock in a pharmacy.

Methods of extracting and preparing medicines were brought to a high art, and their techniques of distillation, crystallization, solution, sublimation, reduction and calcination became the essential processes of pharmacy and chemistry. With the help of these techniques, the Saydalanis (pharmacists) introduced new drugs such as camphor, senna, sandalwood, rhubarb, musk, myrrh, cassia, tamarind, nutmeg, alum, aloes, cloves, coconut, nuxvomica, cubebs, aconite, ambergris and mercury. The important role of the Muslims in developing modern pharmacy and chemistry is memorialized in the significant number of current pharmaceutical and chemical terms derived from Arabic: drug, alkali, alcohol, aldehydes, alembic, and elixir among others, not to mention syrups and juleps. They invented flavorings extracts made of rose water, orange blossom water, orange and lemon peel, tragacanth and other attractive ingredients. Space does not permit me to list the contributions to pharmacology and therapeutics, made by Razi, Zahrawi, Biruni, Ibn Butlan, and Tamimi.

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