The Arabs of the Twentieth Century, or Crowding in the Playpen

Paul U. Unschuld

in What Is Medicine?

Published by University of California Press

Published in print September 2009 | ISBN: 9780520257658
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520944701 | DOI:
The Arabs of the Twentieth Century, or Crowding in the Playpen

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The plausibility of old Greek medicine had paled following the end of the Roman Empire in the Early Middle Ages. The Arabs emerged from the desert and were introduced to what the Christian West no longer wanted. This knowledge was foreign to the Arabs and seemed incomprehensibly superior to their own healing practices. The European and American Arabs had arrived. With incredible astonishment, they learned about needle treatments, herbal knowledge, and summaries of the doctrines. Soon, the “Abus” and “Ibns” of Europe and North America emerged. From the thin booklets, books of many hundred pages were written and key words were flourished like banners before the eyes of the surprised masses. A similar process is now being witnessed. In China, traditional medicine is now officially only valid in playpen format. It was intended for temporary use and what the Chinese had not expected was crowding in the playpen.

Keywords: Arabs; middle ages; crowding; playpen; traditional medicine

Chapter.  786 words. 

Subjects: Medical Anthropology

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