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Thursday, December 29, 2011


Photo by: fayyadhmetusin.blogspot.com
Abā Marwā Abd Al-Malik ben Sur or Ibn Zuhr, 1091-1162, physician of the Almoravide and Almohad Emirs of Cordova. He was born in Seville. He came from a long line of scholars and physicians living in Spain, including two females who worked for the emirs in Al-Andalus, and he was considered one of the best. Averrores praised him as the greatest physician after Galen. He graduated in medicine from the University of Cordova and returned to Seville where studied under his father and practiced medicine.

 He carried on Galen’s theories based on the four elements. Between 1121-1161 he wrote some 10 books on medicine mostly dealing with liver, spleen and abdominal diseases. Not only was Kitab al-Taysir one of his most important works, it was one of the most outstanding Arabic works on medicine. During the following eras, Christian physicians kept copies of it.

Avenzoar was especially remembered for his observation. At one point Caliph Abd-al-Mumin needed to drink purgative drugs, which he detested. Avenzoar put the drug into 10 grapes. When the laxative content of the grapes was strong enough, he gave them to the caliph to eat, which cured him. Another man complained of a large stomach tumor. Avenzoar, to the patient’s horror, broke his water jug. Inside was a frog. Avenzoar then told the man that that was the cause of his illness and that now the man would recover. He did.

Avenzoar remained in Seville until he fell out of grace during the end of the Abu Yusuf Ya’qub’s reign. In 1131 Avenzoar was exiled and then imprisoned in Maraakesh. It is not known for how long but thought that he was set free between 1142-1143. Following the Almohad dynasty conquest of Seville at the end of the decade, Avenzoar returned to teach and practice medicine until his death in 1162. [Ibn Zuhr/García Sánchez. 1992:13; and ES: Pena. Aug 14, 01]

for 4 persons

Of spinach, Avenzoar indicated that it is cold and dry. It was cultivated in the Middle Ages and the leaves were cooked in the winter. He claimed almonds are hot, humid and have an agreeable taste. If eaten with the skin, it will not produce nausea, for it has astringent powers that prevent it. If eaten [alone], it produces tranquil sleep and hydration. If included in dishes, it gives them humidity that is not excessive and if prepared in soup, the result is very useful for the breast and lungs, calms burning in urine, cleans the ducts, discharges and, finally, is good for the underweight and those suffering from consumption.Milk should be drunk that has just been milked, but if drunk when thick, honey or salt should be added. He found goats milk the most satisfactory of all.. [Ibn Zuhr/ García Sánchez. 1992:78:83:97:142]

Cream of Spinach Soup
Photo by: jugglerpm

¼ c or 20-25 almonds
3 c water
1 tbsp oil
½ chopped onion
1 garlic clove chopped
1 tsp ground ginger
salt and pepper to taste
2 c spinach
1 c whole milk
1 cinnamon stick
1 c liquid cream


Boil 1 c water. Add almonds and blanch for a few seconds. Remove from heat, remove almonds from water, remove skins and set aside.

Heat oil. Add onions and sauté. Add garlic, ginger, salt and pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add spinach. Sauté until spinach leaves are tender. Add 2 c water and boil for 5 minutes.

Put almonds and the mixture in a blender and puree. Pour this back into the pan. Add milk and cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in the cream.


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