A cool drink for an ardent fever

Dalrymple’s essay for this week’s British Medical Journal provides strong evidence of his broad reading habits, as he discusses Ibn al-Jazzar, “an eminent physician of the 10th century who practised in north Africa and wrote a compendium of medicine, Provisions for the Traveller and Nourishment for the Sedentary, that was famous in its day and was translated into Latin and Greek.”

Conclusion: “A commonplace of medical history is that, at the time, Arabic medicine was far in advance of that of Western Europe. Judging from Ibn al-Jazzar on fevers, it is not easy to make sense of this claim.”

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