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Journal of Integrative Medicine: Volume 13, 2015   Issue 6,  Pages: 363–367

DOI: 10.1016/S2095-4964(15)60205-9
Medical History
The use of Chinese herbal drugs in Islamic medicine
1. Mojtaba Heydari (Research Center for Traditional Medicine and History of Medicine, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran )
2. Mohammad Hashem Hashempur (Department of Traditional Medicine, Fasa University of Medical Sciences, Fasa, Iran )
3. Mohammad Hosein Ayati (Department of Traditional Medicine, School of Traditional Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran )
4. Detlev Quintern (Department of History of Science, Fatih Sultan Mehmet Vakif University, Istanbul, Turkey )
5. Majid Nimrouzi (Department of Traditional Persian Medicine, School of Medicine, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran )
6. Seyed Hamdollah Mosavat (Research Center for Traditional Medicine and History of Medicine, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran )


This paper investigates some of the ways that Chinese medicine has been transferred to the Western world and to Islamic territories. During the Golden Age of Islam (8th to 13th century CE), the herbal drug trade promoted significant commercial and scientific exchange between China and the Muslim world. Chinese herbal drugs have been described by medieval Muslim medical scholars such as Tabari (870 CE), Rhazes (925 CE), Haly Abbas (982 CE), Avicenna (1037 CE) and Jurjani (1137 CE). The term al-sin (the Arabic word for China) is used 46 times in Avicenna’s Canon of Medicine in reference to herbal drugs imported from China. Cinnamon (dar sini; “Chinese herb”), wild ginger (asaron), rhubarb (rivand-e sini), nutmeg (basbasa), incense tree wood (ood), cubeb (kababe) and sandalwood (sandal) were the most frequently mentioned Chinese herbs in Islamic medical books. There are also multiple similarities between the clinical uses of these herbs in both medical systems. It appears that Chinese herbal drugs were a major component of the exchange of goods and knowledge between China and the Islamic and later to the Western world amid this era.

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Citation: Heyadri M, Hashempur MH, Ayati MH, Quintern D, Nimrouzi M, Mosavat SH. The use of Chinese herbal drugs in Islamic medicine. J Integr Med. 2015; 13(6): 363–367.
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