Farid Alakbarli. Medical Manuscripts of Azerbaijan. Page 5.

<<< *** >>>




In the Age of scientific and technical progress, the human tries to be closer to Nature. During the last decades, various systems of health protection by means of healthy lifestyle, correct nutrition and natural medicines have come into existence. Mankind which until recently completely relied on chemical medicines and modern medical technologies, now is in the search for "health food" and new medicinal herbs. In this respect, the rich heritage of traditional Oriental Medicine attracts great interest of the world public. What is the Oriental medicine? It consists of a number of scientific-philosophic systems which include not only information on healing of various diseases, but also teachings about prevention of ailments, healthy lifestyle and correct nutrition.

There are three methods of collecting information on traditional medicines. First of them is studying folk medicinal traditions by gathering related information among native peoples. The second way is based on investigation of ancient medical books in the field of medicine and pharmacy. It is a very effective but, at the same time, very difficult method due to problems related with ancient languages, scripts, terminology, etc. Nevertheless, the author of this book has chosen the second method that allowed him to obtain interesting facts and valuable results.

A few words about the subject of this book: it is not the history of medicine in Azerbaijan. The subject of this study is quite different. The theory of health protection created by medieval Azerbaijani scientists is neither only scientific concept, nor the collection of medical recommendations. This is the scientific-philosophic system which determined the culture of approach of a human to himself, other persons and environment. The Azerbaijani scholars of the Middle Ages believed that for harmonious existence in the world humans had to take care of the environment, to look after cleanliness of air, water, soil, effectively use animal and plant resources, to create around themselves healthy artificial environment (correct planning, construction and cleaning of settlements and dwellings), to take care of human's physical health (physical training, correct nourishment, rational regime of labor and rest) and spiritual harmony (regulation of emotions), as well as be able to heal various diseases (medicine and pharmacology).

Seven hundred years ago, Azeri physician Yusif bin Ismail Khoyi proposed the theory of rational nourishment (more fruits and vegetables, less salt and animal fats!) which is similar to modern recommendations of the American Health Foundation and other dietologocal and medical organizations. Mahmud bin Ilyas (13th century) wrote about principles of psychotherapy, treatment by music, color and smell. Hasan bin Rza Shirvani (17th century) composed recipes of more than 800 medicines with complex composition. Haji Suleyman Kajar Iravani (17th century) described about 600 species of medicinal plants, and Muhammad Yusif Shirvani (17th century) believed that humans' health depends on the correct construction of dwellings where they live.

All mentioned recommendations are not only separate proposals of different authors - they are compounds of the whole scientific conception represented in medieval books on medicine, pharmacy and other natural sciences.

Until quite recently, the complex conception of health protection existing in medieval Azerbaijan had not been properly investigated. Most of modern works were devoted to studying only one item of the medieval conception - medicine, whereas most of other important aspects (protection of environment, dietology, sports, etc.) had not been sufficiently studied. Such scientists as I.K.Efendiyev (1964), A.Rustamov (1961), F.U.Alakbarli (1992), N.J.Geyushov (1994) were engaged in the work related with studying history of medicine in Azerbaijan. The mentioned researchers contributed certain deal to investigation of separate items of this problem. For example, the book of M.S.Abdullayev is devoted to the relations between ancient Greek and medieval Azeri anatomical views (Абдуллаев, 1988). For the first time, the history of phytotherapy in our country has been investigated by F.U. Alakbarli in his book "Comparative Analysis of Medicinal Plants of Medieval (13-18 centuries) and Modern
Azerbaijan" (Алекперов, 1992).

Besides, there are a number of translations of the medieval works from Oriental into European languages. For example, at the end of the 19th century, the Azerbaijani scientist Abdul Halig Achundov investigated and translated the pharmaceutical book of Abu Mansur al-Harawi (10th century) from Arabic into German (Achundov, 1899). A famous Azerbaijani historian Ziya Buniyatov translated the treatise on surgery by Abu al-Kasim az-Zahrawi (11th century) from Arabic into Russian and published it in Moscow. M.Sultanov, A.Farzaliyev, F.Alakbarli and A.Ramazanov translated "Tibbname" (1712 AD) by Muhammad Yusif Shirvani from old into contemporary Azeri (Şirvani, 1990). Two years afterwards this book was translated into Russian by F.Alakbarli (Ширвани, 1998).

Alakbarli has also written three other books: "The book of Wines" (1993), "Oriental Medicine and National Cuisine" (1994), "The Gift of Hakim Mu'min" (Алекперов, 1998) which contain numerous quotations from more than 15 medieval works in the field of medicine and pharmacy. Nevertheless, the theory of health protection developed by medieval Azeri scholars has not been satisfactorily investigated as a complete system of scientific concepts. Most of the existing works are devoted to separate problems, such as medicine, pharmacology, prophylactic of diseases.

However, they could not draw an entire picture of the scientific and philosophic system which existed in medieval Azerbaijan. Not only the whole teaching, but also its separate items have not been sufficiently investigated. For instance, there are small scientific re s e a rches devoted to natural medicines of medieval Azerbaijan. Until quite recently, we had no information about general quantity and composition of different species of plants, animals and minerals used in traditional Azerbaijani medicine. Mentioned species have not been classified to taxonomic and medical groups. Nobody analyses the complex medicines (which include more than one compound) of medieval Azerbaijan. The teaching about healthy lifestyle and prevention of ailments is comparatively little known. The mentioned facts convincingly prove the necessity of this book.

The main objective of this study is to clear up the concept of health protection, which existed in the medieval Azerbaijan and was reflected in old manuscripts on medicine and pharmacy. What new has this book brought in our knowledge of traditional Azerbaijan medicine? The novelty of the study is primarily in the following facts:

1. From this book, you can learn about the health protection concept which existed in Azerbaijan during the Middle Ages. All facts listed in this book have been obtained frommedieval manuscripts which date back to 10-18th centuries and are written in Old Azeri, Turkish, Persian, Arabic and some other languages. As it turned out, the main principles of this concept can be characterized as follows: protection of the environment (protection of the atmosphere, soil and water resources), healthy way of life (correct nutrition, physical training, regime of labor and rest, regulation of emotions, decontamination from hazardous substances, appropriate selection of habitat and rational construction of dwellings), treatment of diseases (medicine and pharmacology).

2. How did our ancestors treat various diseases? It appears that, medieval physicians healed different ailments by such methods as natural medicines, surgery, treatment by smells, sounds, music, suggestion, and influence on the active points of the body and so on. All these methods are briefly characterized in the present book.

3. In this book, you can find certain information on natural medicines (herbs, minerals and animals) used in Azerbaijan during the Middle Ages. For the first time, the general amount of the plant, animal and mineral species described in medieval sources have been established. It is found that the main fund of the medieval Azeri pharmacology includes 724 plant, 150 animal and 115 mineral species. The results of botanical and zoological researches and systematic analysis of mentioned plant and animal species also are represented in this book. The identified species of plants and animals have for the first time been analyzed within the modern classification system. Information about their medicinal properties contained in the medieval manuscripts has been systematized and generalized.

4. You can get to know about recipes of traditional complex medicines (ma'juns, iyarajs, tiryaks, etc.), 866 types of wich are identified and studied by the author of this book. Some of these medicines are listed in the present edition. For the first time, the classification of medicines has been carried out according to medical forms and therapeutic groups.

Detailed research of the history of science in Azerbaijan enriches our knowledge about the scientific-cultural heritage, history and traditions of the Azerbaijan people. Results of the research create grounds for such an idea that recommendations of the medieval authors on health protection and arrangement of healthy mode of life can be broadly applied in the modern medicine once they have been experimentally and clinically tested.


Generally, medieval medicine focuses on three areas - (1) prevention, (2) treatment and (3) pharmacology. Building the scientific concept of health protection in Azerbaijan began after the spread of Islam in the country (after 7th century) and reached its peak in 13th-16th centuries. Thus, Yusif bin Muhammad, one of the most honored physicians in Iran and Azerbaijan had developed 6 rules of health protection. In his book named "Tibbi-Yusify" (1511) he wrote: "The medicine has two purposes: first - protection of health, second - healing of diseases... As it is obvious, health protection is more easy and important task than treatment of ailments... Everyone can protect his health, if he follows to 6 main rules:

• The first rule - correct use of environment, particularly of air which is necessary for maintenance of life and functions of organism...

• The second rule - regime of nutrition and drinking...

• The third rule - regime of motion and rest...

• The fourth rule - psychical activity and psychical rest...

• The fifth rule - sleep and awakening...

• The sixth rule - purification of organism from useless and harmful waste substances.” [88]

Therefore, study of medieval manuscripts in the field of medicine and pharmacy allow us to restore the concept of healthy lifestyle spread in the medieval Azerbaijan and neighboring Muslim counties. The key issues of this concept are expanded not only in the book of Yusif bin Muhammad, but also in numerous other books created between the 10th-18th centuries. The main elements of the idea are as follows.

- Protection of environment;

- Rational construction of dwellings;

- Regime of labor and rest;

- Regulation of emotions;

- Correct nourishment;

- Physical exercises;

- Regular purification of organism;

- Treatment of diseases (medicine and pharmacy)

Some medieval works deal with only individual items of the conception, while others contain more complete description (with some diff e rences in various works, of course). A number of scholars undertook attempted to integrate individual elements of the conception into a single theory, while according to some other authors it should divided into much more parts.

Nevertheless, the essential points of their concepts are similar to each other. The specific variant of the concept was developed by Abu Ali Ibn Sina (980-1037 AD). This scientist for a long time lived in the neighboring to Azerbaijan town of Hamadan and repeatedly visited our country. His interpretation includes seven elements: steadiness of temperament, choice of meal and drinks, purification of organism from waste substances, maintenance of correct constitution of the body, improvement of environmental conditions (particularly, air condition), adaptation of clothes, regime of sleep and awakening.

The key issues that differ from the concept of Yusif bin Muhammad from the concept of Ibn Sina are represented in the 1st and 7th points. "Tibbi-Yusify" gives priority to the protection of environment [88], while according to "al-Kanun fi-t-Tibb" the maintenance of internal environment or temperament (i.e., steadiness of main humors and elements of the organism) is a more important goal. Along with it, Ibn Sina added to the idea a new point that he calls "adapting of clothes." [1]

Sultan Ali in "Dastur al-Alaj" (1527 AD) listed the followingconditions of health protection: cleanliness of body, cleanliness of water, regime of sleep and awakening, regulation of emotions, adapting of life stile to climatic conditions, rational design of dwellings and planning of settlements. [75]

One of the most famous pharmacists of Azerbaijan and the whole East Yusif bin Ismail Khoyi (Ibn Kabir) agreeing with all mentioned above requirements, stressed the importance of correct nutrition. In his book "Jam al-Baghdadi" (1311 AD) he asserts that it is necessary that meat dishes are combined with vegetables, fruits, barberry, juice of lemon, pomegranate and unripe grape. Besides, he recommended that we restrict our diet and avoid very oily, salty and overrousted dishes. [89]

Abu Ibrahim Ismail al-Jurjani (1045-1137 AD) attached a great importance in health protection to the correct choice of habitat, rational arranging of dwellings, keeping to sanitary regulations and healthy nutrition. Mansur bin Muhammad in his book "Kifayati-mansuri" (1423 AD) keep to the same interpretation which was lately accepted by Yusif bin Muhammad. He listed the same 6 points that are also mentioned in "Tibbi-Yusify". [88]

There are some differences in the interpretations of other authors, but, nevertheless, the key points of the concept are similar. The main components of this theory are characterized below.


As to the prehistory of scientific grounding of protection of environment in medieval Azerbaijan, the prerequisites for it appeared not in the Middle Ages, but in the earlier times. In the middle of the 2nd millennium BC, ancient Azeris believed that all four elements of nature (fire, water, soil and air) are holy. Usually, a person who contaminated soil or water was severely punished, including the death penalty. Such reverence of environment confirmed by relevant laws constituted the basis of the ancient Azeri religion.

During the Middle Ages, the problems of protection of nature, careful use of animal and botanical resources attracted attention of not only scientists, but also literary men and poets. For instance, the great Azerbaijani poet Nizami Ganjavi (1114-1203 AD) in his famous poem Iskandarnama ("The Story of Alexander the Great") characterizing the humane, an "ideal" society wrote (word for word translation):

Sometimes we catch in the steppe,
Deer, wild horses and gazelles.
But if too much game are caught,
We strictly choose only necessary part of them.
And set free the remaining animals,
Thus, gazelles return to the veldt again
To live free and undisturbed.... [62]

As it is evident from this quotation, the poet makes a call for the restriction of excessive hunt and avoidance of killing animals without particular necessity. Therefore, the care of environment is founded on both the religion and traditions of the Azerbaijani people.

Later, these ideas were put into the rational and scientific shape. The poet and scientist Yusif bin Muhammad tried to ground scientifically the necessity of nature's protection from contamination.

Yusif bin Muhammad writes in his book "Tibbi-Yusify" (1511 AD): "The first condition of health protection is a correct use of environment, particularly air, which is necessary for permanent maintaining the vital functions of organism and removing harmful substances with the help of breathing. Only if the air will be clean and moderate in temperature, it will save human's health. For air not to change its properties and not to cause harm, it should be protected from harmful vapors, smoke, soot, dust, etc. If air is contaminated with these substances, it will cause different ailments and often create insuperable obstacles in the path of their healing." [88]

Therefore, medieval authors considered that cleanliness of environment is the main condition of healthy lifestyle. They asserted that the deterioration of air's quality may take place due to common (climatic, seasonal) and extraordinary causes which include natural cataclysms (eruption of volcanoes, forest fires) as well as results of the human activities (burning of wood, oil, mazut (black oil), exploration and processing of minerals, etc.)

As is generally known, Azerbaijan is a country with rich deposits of oil. According to the ancient authors, exploration of onshore oil fields in this region had been carried out since the Age of Median kingdom (7th century BC). It is interesting that the problem of contamination of environment with oil appeared as far back as the Middle Ages. The Azerbaijani author Abd ar-Rashid Bakuvi (14th-15th centuries) noted that up to 200 camel bales of oil were extracted in Baku everyyear. [69]

Oil extraction was associated with contamination (at that time yet insignificant) of soil and water. It was partially fraught with the applied way of oil extraction. Thus, Hamdullah Kazvini (14th century) wrote that workers filled wells with water to push out oil from the bottom to the surface of the well. [69] Pollution of environment took place also while extracting other minerals, including sulfur. Muhammad Yusif Shirvani in his "Tibbnama" (1712 AD) wrote that as a result of oil and sulfur extraction soil and water were contaminated. [72]

As to water, exclusively great importance was attached to its cleanliness. In the Middle Ages there were already waterpipes and water-supply systems in Azerbaijan. While constructing these objects the problems of ecology were usually taken into account. The great Oriental scientist Abu Ali Ibn Sina was specially sent to Azerbaijan town of Saburkhast to survey quality of water. In "Kanun fi at-Tibb" Ibn Sina asserts that the worst is the water which flows inside leaden pipes, because it takes harmful properties of lead and often may cause intestinal ulcers. [3]

Here the scholar mentions one of symptoms of lead poisoning. To protect potable water from pollution, it was recommended that clay or iron pipes (as a last resort) were laid, because it was considered that iron enriches water with its healing properties.


Our ancestors made sure that human's health and longevity depend on where he lives and how his home is constructed. Medieval authors stress importance of the correct choice of habitation. The following conditions were taken into account during the choice of land to construct a dwelling:

1. Climate and relief of the land

2. Cleanliness of environment (air, soil and water)

3. Sanitary conditions of the land

WHERE SHOULD ONE CONSTRUCT A HOUSE? Thus, According to “Tibbname”: "In mountainous districts with stony relief, the air usually is less harmful and climate is more healthy. If the settlement is situated in mountains and its houses are oriented to the east, the air of this district is excellent and humans inhabiting this land usually are strong centenarians with fine voices." [72]

When appraising climatic conditions, a great importance was attached to such factors as temperature, humidity of air, water resources, etc. Medieval Azeri authors often refer in their books to Ibn Sina who expanded following criteria for choice of habitation: “The man who looks for a habitation for himself has to inquire about condition of the soil, as well as how this land is high or low, open or close, what the quality and composition of water is ... He has to inquire about health condition of natives as well... ". [1]

According to medieval authors, dwellings must meet the following requirements:

1. Houses must be constructed in the places which are open for sunlight and wind. It is desirable that houses are constructed on the rising ground that is on hills or mountains.

2. House should be high-ceilinged.

3. Dwellings must have numerous windows, mainly in their northern and eastern sides.

Muhammad Yusif Shirvani wrote in 1712:

HOW SHOULD ONE CONSTRUCT A HOUSE? A person who wants to construct habitation for himself, has to build high-ceilinged house, the windows and doors of which should be placed in its eastern and northern sides so that sunlight could fall into the habitation”. [81]

Other medieval authors also observed that good illumination and ventilation of the habitat are the main conditions of prevention of diseases. It was considered, that the settlement should also be planned taking into account problems of health protection of its residents and meet the following requirements:

1. Settlement should be situated in the place that is appropriate in terms of climate, ecology, sanitary and hygiene.

2. It must have proper structure which promotes access of fresh air and sunlight to the settlement. There must be founded a sufficient number of sanitary and medical institutions in the settlement as well.

3. Maintenance of cleanliness and hygiene in the settlement.

The large towns of medieval Azerbaijan often were built according to previously compiled plan. For example, at the beginning of 14th century, the streets and squares of the town of Tabriz were built according to the general plan designed by Rashidaddin, The Great Vizier of Mahmud Gazan Khan (1295-1304). For the purposes of health protection, there were built many hospitals, apothecaries, bath-houses and water supply systems in the towns of Medieval Azerbaijan.


The inhabitants of medieval Azerbaijan well realized the significance of physical training to maintain of health. Ancient Azerbaijanis did not give name to a child, if he does nor prove his strength and courage in the special sportive competitions. One of the most popular of the medieval Azerbaijani poetic medical books, "Tibbi-Yusifi" (1511 AD) said:

By physical training who his body trains,
His health and digestion well maintains. [88]

The most usual types of physical training of Azeris were: the stretching of rope, boxing, shooting by bow jogging, javelin throwing, jumping on the foot, fencing by sword and lance, horse ridding. Among physical training there are also sports widely spread in medieval Azerbaijan. The most popular sports contests were: horse ridding, the national wrestling (gulesh), weightlifting, shooting by bow, javelin throwing, etc.

For each organ the physicians of medieval Azerbaijan recommended special physical exercises.

For instance, eyes were trained by steering at close and far things, throat by gradual raise of voice. For the improvement of lungs and circulation of blood special respiratory exercises were applied. They looked like that of yogi. Among them are breath, expiration and holding of breath.

Different exercises were prescribed also for women, children and elderly people. It was noticed that hard physical work doesn't substitute the physical training and too much intensive sport causes the premature physical exhaustion. Ibn Sina (980-1037 AD), who is very popular in the medieval Azerbaijan, wrote: "Before physical exercises, it is necessary to evacuate the wastes from bowels and urinary bladder. Then, you must rub yourself with a rough towel to improve circulation of blood. It is required to massage the body with sweet liniments. The massage should be slight or medium, but not strong. Then, you must begin physical
exercises". [1]

Some respiratory and eye exercises penetrated in the medieval Azerbaijani medicine from the Indian Yoga. Some of them are as follows:

EXERCISE FOR EYES. This exercise is good for persons with week sight, particularly against the near sight (myopia). You should steer in turns at close and far things. Then, you have to look at things situated in height and low places. Therefore, your eyes are in the permanent motion and their muscles are trained.

EXERCISE FOR VOCAL CORDS. To train vocal cords, one should give in turns high, medium and low voice. Along with vocal cords, it is good for such organs as mouth, tongue, uvula and neck. Besides, this exercise refreshes the color of the face and is good for lungs.

RESPIRATORY EXERCISE. Take a deep breath during 4 seconds, hold it for 16 seconds and breathe out during 8 seconds. This exercise is good for all organism, widen its vessels, improve circulation of blood. Besides, it improves the bad spirit, removes melancholia and tiredness.


The physician of medieval Azerbaijan recommended planning a day carefully so that one could productively work and at the same time not be tired. The Azeri authors considered that a man should forestall tiredness. To work the whole day till exhaustion and then sleep very long is harmful. It's better to arrange for frequent and brief breaks in work. Early to bed and early to raise.

According to “Tibbname”: "The human organism needs care. A man shouldn't eat, sleep, copulate, walk and speak much. He should know his nature, work and rest in time, be able to treat himself in order not to be exposed to serious diseases". [72]

Emphasis was placed on a balanced harmony between work and rest. Other citation from Tibbname:

Doctors say that sleeping
too long weakens the body,
weighs upon stomach,
increases mucus,
lies heavy upon body.

The physicians of medieval Azerbaijan considered that the main thing in the regime of maintaining health is harmony between labor and rest, daily physical loading, the training of brain and sound, sleep for rehabilitation of physical and spiritual strength.

The book of 18th century "Tibbnama" writes that the place for the rest should be pleasant, desired that it is decorated by flowers. The walls should be painted in pale-blue, green or white tones. Singing birds, purl of a fountain or stream, melodious singing and performance on the musical instruments take off the psychical and physical tiredness.

Mahmud bin Ilyas (14th century), who is very popular in medieval Azerbaijan also wrote, that healthy people should pay proper attention to sleep. Their sleep should be moderate but not extreme. They also should beware of harm of insomnia for brain and for all its strength.

PREVENTION OF TIREDNESS. According to “Tibbname”: "If you are tired, you may try to use some herbs. To maintain a good spirit, it is recommended to regularly eat citron or smell its skin. Besides, you may drink up to 4 g of the saffron water. The juice of sea bugloss (Anchusa italica) also makes the spirit better and removes tiredness..." [72]

PREVENTION OF INSOMNIA. To prevent insomnia, it is recommended to spread violet oil on the body before sleeping. Along with it, the diseased should drop in the nose the oils of chamomile, iris or saffron. He also has to apply the chamomile ointment on his head.

PHYSICAL OVERWORK. To prevent this condition, you must every day after work take a bath with decoction of thyme, then you should dub your skin with liniments consisted of willow oil, and oils of chamomile, fennel, and so on. This procedure will help you bear physical overwork.


Regulation of psychical activity and emotions was considered as the necessary condition of healthy lifestyle. Bakhva bin Havaskhan (16th century) in "Ma'dan ash-Shifa" wrote: "Each human consists of body and soul, the complex of which is the object of diseases, because only separate soul and only separate body can't be diseased." [23]

Medieval sources observed that each emotion may cause certain changes in human's organism:

ANGER puts the bile in motion, gives yellow color to human's face, harms the health of persons with hot temperament. However, it is useful to humans with humid and cold temperaments.

JOY improves color of the face and promotes the increasing of the body weight.

GREAT SORROW, DEPRESSION, FEAR may be cause of stroke, heart damages and death.

HOPE acts as a moderate joy.

DESPAIR has the same harm as sorrow and depression. Yusif bin Muhammad (1511) wrote: "Prolonged psychical rest is useful, whereas prolonged excitement and psychical activity, such as great sorrow, depression, anger or even sudden great joy are harmful to human's health."[88]

Along with it, medieval authors didn't recommend restraining negative emotions, but made a call for eliminating their causes.

DON'T BE RANCOROUS. Muhammad Nasiraddin Tusi (1201-1274) wrote: "Sometimes, a human restrains his anger and long time hides it in his heart. As a result he becomes liable to serious diseases which can results in death. Treatment of anger is connected with the elimination of its causes, because with the increasing of preconditions, their consequences increase as well." [83]

According to medieval sources the mentioned below activities help to protect himself from negative emotions and psychical overstrain:

1. Physical exercises

2. Regulation of emotions

3. Having of hobbies

4. Timely rest

Sultan Ali (16th century) wrote: "An interesting work, voyages to various towns and lands, discoveries of new and unknown things raise the vitality of organism and prevent it from diseases." [75]


Regular purification of organism from waste substances was considered the main condition of healthy lifestyle.

THE HARM OF WASTE ACCUMULATION. Yusif bin Muhammad wrote: "Excessive accumulation of waste substances in an organism may cause loss of appetite, tiredness and embolism (sadda). Therefore, an organism should be regularly purified from harmful waste substances". [88]

Purification of an organism was executed through "evacuations" which can be divided into several categories:

1. Evacuation of bowel and intestine

2. Evacuation of urinary bladder

3. Evacuation of veins (blood-letting)

4. Evacuation of gall-bladder

Evacuations were executed by various ways: vomiting, use of purgatives, diuretics, enemas, clysters and blood-letting. Medieval authors considered that evacuations should be executed not only for treatment of diseases, but also for their prophylaxis. Therefore, they regularly carried out purification of internal organs (bowel, intestine, urinary and gall bladders, blood vessels) taking into account climatic, seasonal factors as well as health status and age of patient. Muhammad Yusif Shirvani wrote: "In spring, such treatment methods as blood-letting and use of purgative and emetic medicines are recommended... In cold seasons, blood-letting is forbidden for persons with "cold temperament"... Similar to other treatment methods, blood-letting should be executed in accordance with individual characteristics." [72]

Medieval manuscripts describe specific manifestations of the following substances prevalence in an organism [56]:

Accumulation of bile. Yellow color of skin, higher temperature, aversion for bitter food.

Accumulation of mucus. Body heaviness, poor appetite, aversion for any food, apathy.

Accumulation of wind. Rigidity of stomach, body heaviness, aversion for food created flatulence.

Accumulation of blood. Red color of face, warm body, normal pulse, reddish color of urine, the patient is strong...

Accumulation of black bile. Black color of face, melancholy... Usually, an examination of the patient enabled the physician to identify excessive substances in the organism and prescribe adequate purification procedures.

The quotations from the medieval manuscript with the recipes and recommendations are given below (the mediaeval weight units are converted into grams):

BLOOD-LETTING. Muhammad Yusif Shirvani wrote: "A person, who has no necessary skills, should not let blood... A physician letting blood from the head vessels will heal diseases of superior part of the body. Blood-letting from vessels of feet is good against all the ailments of the body's inferior parts. For example, there is the vein named cephal in the head. Blood-letting from this vessel is good against headaches and may prevent apoplectic stroke..." [72]

REMOVING OF BILE. It is required to mix and drink juices of sour and sweet pomegranates. If you mix 8-12 g of scammony plant's pitch with 3.5 g of pitch of wild pistachiotree and dissolve this mixture in some water and drink, it will strongly reduce the amount of bile in the organism. This medicine should be taken 4-6 times per day. The agaric mushroom also reduces the level of black bile in the organism. You should take 12 g of the well-known convolvulus (dodder) and add some water with vinegar and drink. This medicine will remove the mucus and superfluous black bile from the organism and will make the person with surplus of the bile to vomit. [72]

THE PURGATIVE ENEMA. If somebody wants to clean his bowels, he should take 370 g of the beetroot leaves, boil them in some water, add 60 g of senne, repeatedly boil, add 60 g of sugar, 18 g of sweet almond's oil and give an enema. Besides, you may take 76 g of the jujube fruits, a few leaves of althea, mallow and violet, boil and filter them. Then, it is recommended to mix this medicine with 3 g of borax, 32 grams of sugar and give an enema. [72]


Among the basic methods of protection of health Ibn Sina named «the adaptation of clothes.» Our ancestors dressed natural tissues from cotton, linen, silk, wool and leather. For example, ancient Assyrian sources inform, what in the 9th century D in Southern Azerbaijan (reign of Mannai) people made: «multi-colored linen clothes from sheep and goat wool». [48]

In the beginning of Christian Age in Azerbaijan were widely distributed also the cotton clothes. In 6th AD, the Chinese merchants have introduced silkworm here. In 15th century AD, the Shirvan silk was considered as best and qualitative, it was exported to all next countries, was bought by the Venetian and Genoa merchants.

In 20th century, the scientific and technical progress has entered into use new synthetic clothes - nylon, Capronum etc. They are cheap, light and convenient, but many scientists consider, that the natural tissues are much more healthy.

The synthetic clothes does not absorb sweat and air. As a result, the skin does not breathe, the organism overcools, and the joints are exposed to dangerous influence of dampness. Gradually it can result in a lot of diseases: from dermal and fungal illnesses to rheumatic diseases, cystitis, diseases of kidneys, etc. How to prevent this danger? The answer is simple: it is necessary correctly to put on and select suitable garments and bed-clothes.

According to “Tibbname” «Clothes from a thick fabric make a body of the man poor and weak, and make his skin rasping… If one wears a shirt from a thin tissue, his skin becomes thin and soft.» [72] Muhammad Mu'min (d. 1697) writes: “wool holds the man in heat and dryness” [60]


Since antiquity, it was noticed, that the color can influence mood of the man. For example, the red color tones, light-blue - calms the nervous system, green - improves mood, etc.

However, color can not only improve mood, but also treat many diseases. The inhabitants of Ancient China and Egypt treated the patients painting them with multi-colored magic paints or dressing them in the clothes of various colors. Many tribes of modern Africa and Southern America acts in the same way.

Scholars of medieval Azerbaijan also knew about the medical effects of colors. To calm the nerves and eliminate melancholia “Tibbnama” recommends to admire the flowers (roses, jasmine, violets, etc.) of various colors. The flower gardens existing at courts of Oriental governors and aristocracy served a place of rest and relaxation of nervous system. Some elements of color-therapy are applied also by modern scientists. For example, the dark blue lamp is used by physiatrists for treatment of many inflammatory diseases.

Why do the color treats? In opinion of the scientists, it occurs because each color radiates the energy influencing our mental, emotional and physical state. Each man from birth, up to the death is surrounded with a specific energetic aura.

The scientists name it “biofield”, and psychics - “aura”. The illness breaks a biofield and causes loss of energy by organism. Color-therapy can help to restore the damaged aura. You see the color is a flow of wave energy rendering specific influence on an alive organism.

For treatment of the patients it is possible to use all colors and shades of a solar spectrum. But usually three primary colors are applied - red, yellow and dark blue, and also mixed tones - orange, violet and green. White and black are not used as white reflects all fascicle of beams, and black absorbs all light beams.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

<<< *** >>> *** CONTENTS *** HOMEPAGE

© Farid Alakbarli, 2006. // "Elm" History & Heritage Website // Each quotation should be provided with full reference to the author.