Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research (2004): Supplement 2:
2nd International Congress on Traditional Medicine and Materia Medica
Unani system of medicine and development of its materia medica
Department of Indian Systems of Medicine & Homeopathy, Ministry of Health and FW, Department of Ayush, India
Pharmacy which is an art and science of preparing and dispensing drugs and Materia Medica gives the names, sources physical characters and chemical properties of herbs or substances used in medicine and their doses have been interwoven connected with medicine from the time immorial. This can be traced back to the findings of ancient Egyptian and Unani Physician like Hippocrates (460-377 B.C) Dioscorides (100 AD) Galen (1310210 AD) Geber (702-765 AD) and Al-Razi (850-925 AD) ibn Sina (980-1037) and others.
In the writing of Hippocrates nearly 400 are names as medicinal substances. He made and used fomentations, poultices, gargles, pills, lozenges, ointments, collyria and inhalations. Shortly after him Cornelius Celsus (100 A.D.) write on Pharmaceutical topics. He mentioned a preparation for tooth decay called ‘sory’ consisting the poppy seed, peeper and copper sulphate made into a paste with galbanum. Another early Greek physician of Rome was Dioscorides (100 AD) who was an authority on Materia Medica and Pharmacy. His work “De Materia Medica” remained the resource book on Materia Medica for centuries, but the Pharma cy was mixed with medicine in his period.
It was Galen (131-210) a product of Alexandria School and Unani Physician of Roman period, given the distinct identity to the art of pharmacy. He originated so many preparations which are known as “galenicals”. He also written a book “De Composition medicamentorum” which! is a first organized medical formulary in the history of Pharmacy. Galens ideas about the drugs influenced the Europe for about 1300 century.
From fifth century onward Arbas started to develop Unani System of medicine and specially of pharmacy. It was Baghdad where the first pharmacy was opened, the owner of the drug stores were under the watchful eye of the drug inspectors to inspect the drugs and the methods of its preparations to avoid adulteration and substandard preparations. The Alqarabadin Kabir (Great Pharmacopoeia) of Sabur-bin-Sahl (d. 869 AD), the Director of the Hospital at Jandishapur was given the official status. Later on another formulary “ Al-Dustur al-Bimaristan fal adviya al Murrakkaba” of Ibn Al-Bayan and that of “Ibn-al-Tilmiz” were given the official status. Serapion senior or Mesu senior (777-857) was physician to the Caliph Haroon he wrote “ Qarabadin “Medicianarum Particularium” in Arabic, translated into Latin served as model for the first London Pharmacopoeia. Jabir Ibn Hayyan or Geber (702-765 AD) is the first to describe the methods of distillation, sublimation and calcinations. He is reputed for the discovery of ‘oil of vitriol” (Sulphuric acid), nitric acid “aqua fortis” and of “aqua regia” Nitrohydrochloric acid etc.
Zakria Al-Razi (850-925 AD) contributed many books on pharmaceuticals subjects and introduced mercury ointment and was having well equipped laboratory.
Zuhravi or Albucasis (b 936) physician to Caliph Abdul Rahman at Cordova, was the author of the “Liber Servitoris” a book on Pharmaceuticals.
Ibn Sina or Avicenna (980-1037) a genius physician, author of the famous book “Al-Qanoon fil Tib” canon of medicine. Indeed Avicenna works considered authoritative and used by the university of Europe till 1650.
Ibn Zuhar or Avenzoar (b. 1113) he opposed the mysticism and astrology and contributed to the pharmacy and Alchemy the days of rule of Safavids in Persia were the golden age of pharmacologists. The first pharmacological monographs in Persian is “Kitabul Abnia un Hadiaqul-Advia” written by Abu Mansur Muwaffiq Herati (975 AD) dedicated to Sultan Mansur bin Nooh Samani!. This book contains 585 drugs of Greek, Syria, Arabic, Iranian and Indian origin.
Ibn Al-Baytar (d.1248) great Botanist and Pharmacologist, main work on single drug “Kitab al Jami li Mufridat al Adviya waL Aghdhiya very methodical and critical complication of about 1400 drugs out of which about 300 (including 200 plants) are novelties. A latin translation by Andrew Alpagus was published in Venice (1593), Paris (1602) and Cremona (1758). A German translation of his writings was published at Stuttgart in 1840.
The greatest pharmacist of Shiraz (Iran) is al-ansari Haji Zainuddin al- Attar (b. 1329. He was personal physician of Shah Shuja. His significant contributions to Pharmacy are “Miftahul Khazain” and “Ikhtiarate-Badiee”.
Another pharmacist Shah Abhas Saf period is Muzaffar Bui Mohmmad Al Hussain Al Shifai. He composed a pharmacopoeia called Tibb-e-Shifai (written in 1565). This has provided the foundation of pharmacopoeia Pessica of Augelus during Mogul period.
Another renowned physician of Safaui period is Hakim Imad Al-Din Mahmud Shirazi (1515-1592). He wrote number of treatise on medicine like Risalah Itrilal Bikh-i-chini etc. In India many standard Qaarabadin’s were written by eminent Indian physicians like Qarabadin Zakai (Hm. Zakaullah Khan) Qarahadin-e-Qadric (Hm. M. Akbar Arzani Ilajul Amraz (Hm. Shaarif Khan) Qarabadine-e-Samarqandi Najmuddin Samargandi). Qarahadin Darashikohi Najmaddin Mohnnud bin Abdullah) Qarabadin Najmul Ghani (Hm. Najmal Ghani) Qarabadin Azam (Hm. M. Azam Khan) Qarabadin Azam wa Akmal (Hm. Akmal Khan) Qarabadi Firangi (Hm. Jurji Disalna). The Govt. of India, Ministry of Health and FW has also published the Unani Pharmacopoeia of India Part-I Vol.I consisting the 45 monographs of single drugs and published 03 National Formulary of Unani Medicine Part I, II & III, consisting 745 formulations based on various Qarabadins written by Indian Unani physicians