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Arabian Drugs in Early Medieval Mediterranean Medicine

Zohar Amar, Efraim Lev

Paperback (Forthcoming)
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Explores the impact of drugs introduced by the Arabs on medieval Mediterranean medicine

For more than one thousand years Arab medicine held sway in the ancient world, from the shores of Spain in the West to China, India and Sri Lanka (Ceylon) in the East. This book explores the impact of Greek (as well as Indian and Persian) medical heritage on the evolution of Arab medicine and pharmacology, investigating it from the perspective of materia medica – a reliable indication of the contribution of this medical legacy.

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List of Plates
List of Tables
Map: The Origin of the Main Medieval Arabian Drugs
1. Introduction
2. Agricultural and Pharmaceutical Innovations: Milestones in Research and Case Studies
3. ‘Arabian’ Substances
4. Discussion and Conclusions

About the Author

Professor Zohar Amar is Director of the Unit on the History of Medicine at Bar-Ilan University in Israel. He is member of the editorial board of several scientific journals and author of many monographs and books. His fields of research and teaching especially include: history of the nature in ancient and pre-modern times (particularly in Jewish sources); material culture and everyday life in the Middle Ages; the history of medicine and Ethnopharmacology.

Efraim Lev is a Professor at the Department of Israel Studies, University of Haifa. He had a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the Wellcome Centre for the History of Medicine at University College London and spent research periods as Overseas Visiting Scholar at St. John's College, Cambridge. His main fields of interest and research are medieval Arabic pharmacology and medicine, and ethno-pharmacology. He won various prizes including the George Urdang Medal for pharmaco-historical writings 2012.


‘Arabic culture provided the melting pot for the medical substances from the West and the East which became the staple ingredients of pre-modern medicine. Amar and Lev are to be congratulated for tracing the origins of natural medicaments and the routes that they followed from South East Asia and India to the Middle East, and from one end of the Mediterranean to the other.’

- Charles Burnett, Warburg Institute, University of London

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