The Canon of Medicine

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The Canon of Medicine (Arabic: القانون في الطب Al-Qanun fi al-Tibb "The Law of Medicine"; Persian: قانون پزشکی Qanun "Law"; Latin: Canon Medicinae "Canon of Medicine"; Chinese: 回回藥方 / 回回药方 Huíhui Yàofāng "Prescriptions of the Hui Nationality")[1][2] is a 14-volume medical encyclopedia compiled by Ibn Sīnā (Avicenna) and completed in 1025.[3] It presents a clear and organized summary of all the medical knowledge of the time.[4] Originally written in the Arabic language, the book was later translated into a number of other languages, including Persian, Latin, Chinese, Hebrew, German, French, and English.[5] The Canon is considered one of the most famous books in the history of medicine.[6]

Also known as the Qanun, which means "law" in both Arabic and Persian, the Canon of Medicine remained a medical authority up until the 18th century[7] and early 19th century.[8] It set the standards for medicine in Europe and the Islamic world, and is Avicenna's most renowned written work alongside The Book of Healing. Qanun was used at many medical schools—at University of Montpellier, France, as late as 1650.[9] Much of the book was also translated into Chinese as the Huihui Yaofang (Prescriptions of the Hui Nationality) by the Hui people in Yuan China.[10] The Canon also formed the basis of Unani medicine, a form of traditional medicine practiced in India. The principles of medicine described by the Canon ten centuries ago are still taught at UCLA and Yale University, among others, as part of the history of medicine.

George Sarton, the father of the history of science, wrote in the Introduction to the History of Science:


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