The largest and most popular of materia medicamanuals was that by Ibn alBaytar(also known as al- Mutlib- d. 1248/646), who was born in Malaga in the kingdom of Granada, Spain, towards the end of the 12th century and became `Chief of Botanists' in Cairo in the first half of the 13th century. His Arabic treatise, The Comprehensive Book on Materia Medica and Foodstuffs (Kitab al- Jami` li-mufradat al- adwiyah wa-al-aghdhiyah), was an alphabetical guide to over 1400 simples taken from his own observations as well as from 150 written sources that he names.
His manual formed the basis of many subsequent manuals on medicinal substances, including that written in the 18th-century by Muhammad Husayn ibn Muhammad Hadi al- `Aqili al- `Alavi, a practitioner in India and grandson of a well-known Indian practitioner. Ibn al- Baytar got many of his early ideas from Birundi and Ibn Sina. In pharmacy laboratories, druggists prepared medicines according to directions found in the Treatise on Medicinal Drugs by Biruni (Abu Raihan Muhammad al- Biruni - 973 - 1048 C.E.). Biruni was a contemporary of (lived at the same time as) the famous doctor Ibn Sina and they corresponded.
The Muslims made great advancements in the field of pharmacology. They experimented with various herbs and other drugs, and anesthetics used in India. The Arabs established the first drugstores and wrote the first encyclopedias of drugs and medicines. Baghdad had at one time as many as eight hundred sixtytwo registered pharmacists, all of whom had passed formal examinations.
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