Medieval Pharmacotherapy - Continuity and Change

Case Studies from Ibn Sīnā and Some of His Late Medieval Commentators


The development of medical drug therapy in medieval times can be seen as an interplay between tradition and innovation. This book follows the changes in the therapy from the Arabic medicine of Ibn Sīnā (Avicenna) to Latin medical scholasticism, aiming to trace both the continuity and the development in the theory and practice of medieval drug therapy. In this delicate balance between change and continuity a crucial role was played by the scientific community through critical rejection or acceptance of new ideas. The drug choices were in most cases rational also from the point of view of contemporary medical theory. The method used in the book for studying these choices could promote the development of a novel methodology for historical ethnopharmacology.


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Biographical Note

Helena Paavilainen, Ph.D. (2003) in History of Medicine, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, is Researcher in the Hadassah Medical School in Jerusalem. Her main research interests are ethnopharmacology and history of pharmacology, especially the Hebrew, Arabic and Latin traditions.


Readers with an interest in history (historians of medicine; historians of pharmacology; medievalists), cultural and cross-cultural studies (medical anthropologists; ethnopharmacologists) or medicine/pharmacology (medical and pharmacological researchers).


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