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Baha al-Dawlah Razi

Baha al-Dawlah Razi

Baha al-Dawlah Razi ibn Sirāj al-Dīn Sh āh Qāsim ibn Muammad al- usayn ī Nūrbakhsh ī (d. 1508 AD), also known as Bah ā’ al-Dawlah Nūrbakhsh ī Razi or al-Nūrī, was an influential late mediecal Persian physician.

He was born in the village of Tursht, in the vicinity of the city of Raay (near the present city of Tehran, Iran). According to many historians, he was the last prominent Persian scholar of the Islamic world since the 7th century. He has been considered as one of the most well-known Iranian physicians in the Islamic world since the 13th century (after Rhazes, Avicenna). Baha al-Dawlah Razi was one of the most important physicians in Safavid dynasty in Iran. He worked as physician in the courts of two dynasties, Timurid and Safavid.

Kholaseh Al-Tajarob

Baha’ al-Dawlah Razi documented the medical treatise known as the Khulā at al-Taj ārib (The Summary of Experience) in about 1501.The book was written in the Persian language and contained 28 babs (chapters).

It is the only book remained from Bahā’ al-Dawlah Nūrbakhshī Razi. The first few chapters of this manuscript are principally concerned with regimen and hygiene that are the two principal aspects of medicine. Various types of fever are discussed in the sixth chapter. Seventh to twenty-fifth chapters unfold the treatment of various diseases. The twenty-sixth chapter of this book focused on poisonous bites, toxins and antidotes. In the final two chapters, compound remedies and pharmacology are described.

Highlights of Baha al-Dawlah Razi in Medicine

He had interesting innovations and findings in surgery, immunology and also in treatment. He made a great contribution to medicine by many innovations and findings such as presenting the first report of epidemic pertussis treatment methods of syphilis (Atashak) and generating ideas about the method of smallpox vaccination.

In the 13th chapter of this book, Baha al-Dawlah Razi has reported two epidemics in Harat and one in Rey (old Persia) for the fist time.This occurred during his lifetime. Explaining about his observations and experiences about this epidemic, Bahaodowle Razi has elaborated on prognosis, symptoms, etiology and predisposing factors of pertussis.

In this part of his book, Bahaodowle Razi for the first time announced that an infective agent that enters the lungs via airborne pollution causes the disease. According to him, the moisture in the air is the precipitating factor for its transfer and the disease will not be controlled as long as the air is polluted. As its symptoms, he has mentioned that in this disease the patient is afflted with dry cough without sputum; the coughs are consecutive and continual and sometimes are so severe that cause vomiting. These severe coughs usually lead to cyanosis. Moreover, the patient is wasted and listless, leading to anesthesia and death. He has also mentioned that children get involved by this illness more than adults. He called this epidemic disease Sorfe-ie-Am (meaning public cough).

Baha al-Dawlah Razi considered dissolved ginger (Zingiber Officinale Roscoe) in water as an effective medication, clearly mentioning that by administration of this drug the mortality rate reduced, using the experience gained in the first epidemics. It is proven that ginger has antibacterial activity on Gram-negative bacteria . He explains that as long as the air is polluted, the epidemic is difficult to control, but the resultant mortality can be diminished.

The review of the report in this book revealed that Bahaodowle Razi reported pertussis epidemic 100 years before the Baillou’s report in Paris and indicated the role of airborne infective agent in transferring the disease. Therefore, he can be considered as the discoverer of pertussis throughout history. It is based on current documents and can be valid until earlier document would be found. After more than 500 years since the first pertussis epidemic report by Bahaodowle Razi, pertussis is still one of the childhood causes of death in Iran and its incidence is increasing in the community.


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About the Author: Azam Khosravi

Azam Khosravi