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Ibn Al-Baitar

AKA Abu Muhammad Dia' al-Din Abdullah ibn Ahmad ibn Al-Baitar al-Maliqial-Andalu

Born: c. 1197
Birthplace: Benalmadena, Spain
Died: c. 1248
Location of death: Damascus, Syria
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Male
Religion: Muslim
Race or Ethnicity: Middle Eastern
Occupation: Botanist

Nationality: Ancient Egypt
Executive summary: Muslim botanist and pharmacist

Botanist and pharmacist Ibn Al-Baitar (sometimes spelled Al-Baytar) is considered one of the foremost scientists of the Middle Ages. He was born in Benalmádena, then in the kingdom of Granada and now part of Spain, and he spoke two languages and read several others. Beginning in about 1219, he spent several years traveling throughout the known world of his time, to North Africa, Asia Minor, and across what is now called the Middle East, studying, analyzing, and classifying the plant life. He then settled in ancient Egypt, where he became Chief Herbalist to the Ayyubid sultan Al-Kamil.

Compiling and adding to the era's knowledge of medicine, Al-Baitar wrote two enormous texts, first a volume of medicinal drugs (Kitāb al-Mughni fī al-Adwiyah al-Mufradah, or The Ultimate in Materia Medica) and later a encyclopedia listing thousands of drugs and foodstuffs (Kitāb al-Jāmi‘ li-Mufrdat al-Adwiyah wa-al-Aghdhiyah, or Complete Book of Simple Medicaments and Nutritious Items). His works were widely translated and remained a key resource for scientists and physicians over the next several centuries, falling into disuse only in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

Author of books:
The Ultimate in Materia Medica (1238)
Complete Book of Simple Medicaments and Nutritious Items (1248)

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