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Cinnabar, Calomel and the Art of kushtasāzī: Mercurial preparations in Unani medicine


Preckel, Claudia (2015). Cinnabar, Calomel and the Art of kushtasāzī: Mercurial preparations in Unani medicine. Asiatische Studien / Études Asiatiques, 69(4):901-932.

Abstract

This paper examines the role of mercury in “Graeco-Islamic” medicine, which is referred to as Ṭibb-e yūnānī or unani medicine in South Asia. Having its origin in Ancient Greece, unani medicine spread to the Arabic countries and from the fifteenth century onwards to India. With its main roots in the Greek and Latin sources, the most influential works of ‘ilm al-adviya (pharmacology) were translated into Arabic, Persian and Urdu. Mercury (Arabic: zībaq; Persian: sīmāb; Urdu: sīmāb and pāra) played an important role in all Indian traditions of medicine, and had a prominent place in unani medicine. This paper highlights the historical use of mercury in Indian, Persian and Urdu medical literature, the discourses on its efficacy and some of the important mercurial preparations presented in a selection of unani works. Further, the use of mercury as a single and compound drug and its role in the treatment of different diseases will be analysed.

Abstract

This paper examines the role of mercury in “Graeco-Islamic” medicine, which is referred to as Ṭibb-e yūnānī or unani medicine in South Asia. Having its origin in Ancient Greece, unani medicine spread to the Arabic countries and from the fifteenth century onwards to India. With its main roots in the Greek and Latin sources, the most influential works of ‘ilm al-adviya (pharmacology) were translated into Arabic, Persian and Urdu. Mercury (Arabic: zībaq; Persian: sīmāb; Urdu: sīmāb and pāra) played an important role in all Indian traditions of medicine, and had a prominent place in unani medicine. This paper highlights the historical use of mercury in Indian, Persian and Urdu medical literature, the discourses on its efficacy and some of the important mercurial preparations presented in a selection of unani works. Further, the use of mercury as a single and compound drug and its role in the treatment of different diseases will be analysed.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:Journals > Asiatische Studien / Études Asiatiques > Archive > 69 (2015) > 4
Dewey Decimal Classification:Unspecified
Language:English
Date:2015
Deposited On:23 Jan 2017 10:31
Last Modified:23 Jan 2017 10:31
Publisher:De Gruyter
ISSN:0004-4717
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1515/asia-2015-1042

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