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Original Article

Med Arch. 2017; 71(6): 439-448

Contribution of Arabic Medicine and Pharmacy to the Development of Health Care Protection in Bosnia and Herzegovina - the Second Part

Izet Masic.

After the collapse of the Arab rule, the Arab territorial expanses and cultural heritage were taken over by the Turks. Although scientific progress in the Turkish period slowed down due to numerous unfavorable political-economic and other circumstances. Thanks to the Turks, Arabic culture and useful Islamic principles expanded to the territory of our homeland of Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H). Significant role in the transfer of Arabic pharmaceutical knowledge was also attributed to the Sephardic Jews who, with their arrival, continued to perform their attar activities, which were largely based on Arab achievements. However, insufficiently elaborated, rich funds of oriental medical and pharmaceutical handwriting testify that Oriental science has nurtured in these areas as well, and that the Arabic component in a specific way was intertwined with other cultures and traditions of B&H. The Franciscan monasteries in Bosnia and Herzegovina have museums which contain important exhibits and libraries rich in books, among which many from the field of medicine and pharmacy. Muslim mosques, also, had small libraries with Arabic books used for spreading medical knowledge. The second category was folk doctors and practitioners who were on disposition to the people of any religion. Some of them listened to lectures in medicine during the studies of theology and philosophy. However, most did not have any medical education, but by reading books and teaching experience they made their own recipe collection. Special books, called “Ljekaruše” (Books of recipes) were also born during the study when they came into contact with an even larger number of health books. However, it should not be neglected that a lot of them contained folk medicines that were used in some environments depending on the habits and available herbs. Although it has been proven that many recipes from Ljekaruše are pharmacologically and medically justified, one should not ignore the knowledge and skill behind them. The true flowering of medicine in B&H happening thanks to graduate doctors in Italy, Austria, Hungary, Turkey, etc. Through their action, in a short time, they greatly improved health in B&H, educated the population. The Franciscans were important because they opened the first open-air clinics, the first pharmacies, and wrote the first pharmacopoeia and regulations for the work of health care institutions. Numerous works preserved in monasteries have mostly brought about the study in only one or two copies. Their contribution to the development of health care and the prevention of illness and treatment of the population in B&H during that period is very significant.

Key words: medicine, pharmacy, Arabic medicine, attars.

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