Ibn Sina - Among the Great Physicians from the Islamic Golden Age


Ibn Sina, also known as Avicenna, was a Persian polymath born over 1000 years ago in Bukhara (in present day Uzbekistan) and is known as one of the greatest philosophers, astronomers and physicians of what is known as the Islamic Golden Age. 

A pioneer of holistic medicine, he was attentive to the role of the patient’s nutrition, spirit, emotional state, and environment in healing. By the age of 16, Ibn Sina was already considered a master of theology, philosophy, mathematics, and astronomy, but he then turned his attention to medicine and qualified as a physician at age 18. He quickly earned a reputation as an exceptional healer after treating the sultan of Bukhara for a serious illness and became the court physician. 

He has written over 450 books on a wide range of topics and is the principle influence behind many practices of modern medicine. His Qanun Fi Al Tibb (Canon of Medicine) was a 5 volume manual that served as the standard medical reference for 600 years across Asia, Africa and Europe.

Ibn Sina was ahead of his time and there are many examples of his pioneering views and medical solutions. For example, he recognized that nerves and tendons are separate structures that needed to be repaired separately. He was amongst the first to describe thyroid-related orbitopathy and esophageal cancer. He came up with the method of using a flexible catheter to relieve urinary retention and irrigate the bladder. He hypothesized that arterial repair might one day be possible 1000 years before it was actually done for the first time.

In the year 1035, Ibn Sina passed away while travelling from Isfahan to Hamedan and is buried in Hamedan, Iran. Known as the “Prince of Physicians” at one time by European physicians, Ibn Sina is still regarded as the father of modern medicine by many around the world.

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