So grateful to have completed this historic work! I pray that one day The Canon of Medicine will be recognized as an integrative medicine, similar to Aryuvedic and Chinese Medicines.

Laleh Bakhtiar




Abu Ali al-Husayn ibn Sina is better known in Europe by the Latinized name Avicenna. He was born in Afshana near Bukhara in Central Asia in about 973 CE. This part of Central Asia at that time was part of the Persian Empire. Avicenna is best known as a physician whose major work, the Canon (al-Qanun fi'l-Tibb), continued to be taught as a medical textbook in Europe and in the Islamic world until the early modern period.

The Canon of Medicine, this massive general medical encyclopaedia, was composed over a lengthy period of time as its author moved westward from Gurgan in northern Iran, where it was begun, to Rayy near modern Teheran and then to Hamadan even further southwest, where it was completed. The sheer size of the encyclopaedia tended to reinforce its authoritative nature, and even its title Qānūn, meaning "canon" or "codes of law", contributed to this view. The Canon of Medicine was widely read by Europeans in the Latin translation of Gerard of Cremona made in the 12th century. . . .Between 1500 and 1674 some sixty editions of part or all of the Canon were published in Europe, mostly intended for use in university medical training. 


Who knows what discoveries may be hidden in this great work?

There are many examples to choose from such as cancer therapy: In cancer therapy, the Canon recognized cancer as a tumor. He noted that a "cancerous tumor progressively increases in size, is destructive and spreads roots which insinuate themselves amongst the tissue elements." He also attempted the earliest known treatments for cancer. One method he discovered was the "Hindiba", a herbal compound drug which Ibn al-Baytar later identified as having "anticancer" properties and which could also treat other tumors and neoplastic disorders. After recognizing its usefulness in treating neoplastic disorders, Hindiba was patented in 1997. The preferred medication the Canon recommended for skin cancer and skin conditions in general was zinc oxide. Another method for treating cancer first described in the Canon was a surgical treatment. It stated that the excision should be radical and that all diseased tissue should be removed, which included the use of amputation or the removal of veins running in the direction of the tumor. He also recommended the use of cauterization for the area being treated if necessary. However, the Canon notes that surgery should only be used as a last resort and that caution should be taken, pointing out that "most of the time, excision increases the cancer." The Canon was also the first to describe the symptoms of esophageal cancer and the first to refer to it as "cancer of the esophagus" as well as having been the first time how cancer metastasizes was understood.

 “We can draw three main conclusions from a short overview of Avicenna’s medical writings. First, these works, and especially the Canon, offer rich pickings . . . . The role of experience in gaining medical knowledge is one such question; another is the function of the soul and how it interfaces with the brain. Second, it is clearly wrong to characterize Avicenna’s Canon merely as a well-arranged collection of previous medical knowledge with some Aristotelian philosophy thrown in for good measure. In the Canon, Avicenna’s contribution is not limited to organizing information. We have seen that he is innovative in three ways: he further developed Galen’s concept of qualified experience; he draws at least occasionally on his own experience as a clinician; and he incorporates his own innovative philosophical ideas about the inner sense into his medical discourse. Third, one can only marvel at the relative neglect with which medical historians and philosophers alike have treated Avicenna’s medical writings. We now have a somewhat  critical Arabic edition and English translation of the Canon, although it is barely known in the West. It can only be hoped that future historians of medicine will close this conspicuous gap, and investigate Avicenna’s medical oeuvre much more fully.” (Portmann, Interpreting Avicenna: Critical Essays, p 108) 

Because the Canon constituted a monumental unity which maintained its authority until modern times it served as a basis for 600 years of medical teaching and practice and is a proven alternative medicine technique.


Canon of Medicine, General Medicine, Volume 1

Ibn Sina's famous Canon of Medicine (Qanun fi al-tibb) comes to life in English with this translation, adapted by Laleh Bakhtiar. It is a clear and ordered Summa of all the medical knowledge of Ibn Sina's time augmented from his own observations. The first volume contains generalities concerning the human body, sickness, health and general treatment and therapeutics. 

According to the Avicennian Theory of Medicine we are born with an innate heat. We should strive throughout our lifetime to maintain that original balance and equilibrium in regard to its three aspects of the self: body, mind (soul) and energy (spirit). The holistic approach of Avicennian medicine is adhered to whether it be theory, practice, diagnosis or treatment. Contains an index.


Volume 1 Reviews on

The remarks of O. Cameron Gruner are wonderfully astute as to the history and meaning behind Avicenna's Canon. He compares traditional medicines with modern medicine and its lack of philosophy. In addition, the Notes section of about 150 pages adds considerable understanding to the text of Avicenna. Notes helps the reader to experience the historical context of the Canon as well as its importance in modern medicine. I bought this book in order to understand alternative medicines regarding my own health and well-being. I received that and much more.


Canon of Medicine: Natural Pharmaceuticals, Volume 2

UNESCO declared 2013 as the millennium year of the writing of the Qanun fi’l-tibb (Canon of Medicine) by Ibn Sina (Avicenna). Ibn Sina began his monumental work, the Canon of Medicine, in 1013 CE. Published for the first time in English alphabetical order, Volume 2 of Canon of Medicine (Law of Natural Healing), adapted by Laleh Bakhtiar, is an essential addition to the history of medicine as it holds a treasure of information on what was known as the “Simples,” or Materia Medica, natural pharmaceuticals used for over 1000 years to heal various diseases and disorders. Fully color illustrated with a 150 page, 7000 word index of the healing properties of each of the entries, the text itself is an alphabetical listing of the natural pharmaceuticals of the simple compounds. By simple compounds, Avicenna includes the individual plants, herbs, animals and minerals that have healing properties. Avicenna lists 800 tested natural pharmaceuticals including plant, animal and mineral substances. Contains an index of the contents indexed by healing properties.


Volume 2 Reviews on

The compiler has included the Latin, Persian and Arabic names of the drugs along with artistic renderings of the drugs as illustrations as well as Avicenna s Tables or Grid for each entry that describes the individual, specific qualities of simple drugs: Nature: Names of the simple drugs and their properties; Choice: Selection of the best drug; Temperament: Temperament of drugs; Healing Properties: General description and healing properties of drugs: their dissolution, boiling down, adhesiveness, sleep-inducing properties, and so forth that are described with any other properties they may have; Cosmetics: Drugs that are helpful in beautifying the skin and hair, the drugs that remove skin rashes, vitiligo, warts, and those that are used in cosmetics and so forth; Swellings and Pimples: Drugs useful in treating inflammations and pimples; Wounds and Ulcers: Drugs for treating ulcers, cancer, abscesses, fractures; Joints: Drugs for treating arthritis and other diseases of the joints and nerves; Organs of the Head: Drugs for treating psychological disorders and diseases of the head; Visual Organs: Drugs for treating the visual organs; Respiratory Organs and the Chest: Drugs for treating diseases of the respiratory organs; Food and Alimentary Organs: Drugs for treating the alimentary organs; Excretory Organs: Drugs used as aphrodisiacs as well as for treating the other excretory organs; Fevers: Drugs for treating fevers and diseases related to fevers; Poisons: Drugs for treating poisons; Substitutes: Drugs to be used when the desired drug is unavailable.


Canon of Medicine: Special Pathologies, Volume 3

Translated for the first time in English or in any European language, Avicenna in Volume 3 presents various diseases systematically from the brain to the toes, with their etiology, symptoms, diagnosis, prognosis and treatment with simple and compound drugs. Special mention may be made of the following sections: Head: brain, (intemperaments, headache in all its aspects, organic diseases of the brain, epilepsy, paralysis, etc.) eye, ear, nose, mouth, throat, and teeth. Chest: lungs, heart, breasts. Alimentary tract: stomach, intestines, liver, gall bladder and spleen. Intestines and the anus, disorders of the rectum. Urinary tract: the kidneys, bladder and urine. The male reproductive system; the female reproductive system, conception, pregnancy, and diseases of women. Muscles: joints, and feet. Contains an index of the contents indexed by healing properties.


Reviews of Volume 3 on

The influence of Avicenna on the History of Medicine is immeasurable. Just to mention some of the areas where he made outstanding contributions: Experimental medicine: Clinical pharmacology; Inductive logic; Pharmaceutical sciences. Anatomy and physiology: Blood pressure, Dissection, Neuroanatomy and neurophysiology and Opthalmology. Cardiovascular system: Cardiology, Pulsology and Sphygmology. Etiology and pathology: Bacteriology and microbiology, Cancer therapy, Hepatology, Quarantine. Humours and temperaments: Four Humours, Four Temperaments. Neurosciences and psychology: Clinical psychology and psychotherapy, Neurology and neuropathology, Neuropsychiatry and neuropsychology, Psychoanalysis, Psychophysiology and psychosomatic medicine, Sleep medicine. Surgery: Anesthesia, Cancer therapy, Hirudotherapy. Other Contributions: Chromotherapy, Dermatology, Endocrinology, Gerontology and Geriatrics, Phytotherapy. enotes Study Guides

Volume 3 was translated by Peyman Sardo Adeli.


Canon of Medicine: Systemic Diseases, Volume 4

Volume 4, translated for the first time in English, contains seven parts. Part 22: On Dysfunctions in Various Parts of the Body, Avicenna gives a detailed analysis of the pain that comes from various physical dysfunctions. Part 23: On Fevers is a famous section of his Canon, often published on its own in the Latin translation. Part 24: On Diagnosis Based on Symptoms includes a discussion on what a medical crisis is and how to deal with it. Part 25: On Swellings and Pimples includes these illnesses as part of Systemic Diseases along with Part 26: On the Loss of Continuity. Part 26 essentially deals with the importance of energy in Avicennian medicine and the resulting illnesses when the movement of energy is disrupted causing a loss of continuity in its flow. Part 27 describes Poisons and Part 28 the Cosmetic Art. Contains an index of the contents indexed by healing properties.

Volume 4 was translated by Hamidreza Doostdar.


Review of Volume 4 on

In fact, everyone should read this book for health and well-being. This series — including Volume 4 is a monumental masterpiece of great scientific and philosophical value. You will be awakened from the dream of the inefficiency of conventional medicine with enhanced understanding of other methods of healing. It is amazing to realize that so much knowledge was available a thousand years ago and yet we are hardly doing much better today. Read this series and be healthy, and stay healthy.

Canon of Medicine: Pharmacopia, Volume 5

Composing a Pharmacopia is a creative endeavor. Avicenna structured his Pharmacopia. compiled by Laleh Bakhtiar, beginning with the formulas for compound medications arranged according to the various types of preparations that he found in the previous medical books translated into Arabic from Greek and Syriac and then the compound medications arranged according to treating diseases from head to toe that were based on his own experience and usage with patients. 

Volume 5 lists more than 800 pharmacologically tested simple and complex drugs, including plant and mineral substances, with a thorough description of their application and effectiveness. For each one, he described their pharmaceutical actions from a range of twenty-two to thirty possibilities, including resolution, astringency and softening, and their specific properties according to a grid of eleven types of pathological conditions, diseases. 

This volume not only contains an index of the contents based on healing properties of the 800 natural pharmaceuticals, but in addition a comprehensive 400 page index of all five volumes based on the names of the natural healers and what they heal.


Laleh Bakhtiar, PhD, Biography

Laleh Bakhtiar holds a BA in History from Chatham College, Masters degrees in Philosophy and Counseling Psychology and a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of New Mexico. Bakhtiar is a Licensed Professional Psychotherapist in the State of Illinois. She also taught courses on Islam at the University of Chicago. She is co-author of A Sense of Unity: The Sufi Tradition in Persian Architecture (University of Chicago Press) and author of SUFI Expressions of the Mystic Quest (Thames and Hudson), as well as a three volume work, God's Will Be Done, on Moral Healing and some fifteen other books on various aspects of Islam. She has also translated over 30 books on Islam and the Islamic movement into English. 

Bakhtiar is presently Director of the Institute of Traditional Psychology and Resident Scholar at Kazi Publications.

The Complete Five-Volume Series of the Canon of Medicine is available through 

Kazi Publications
3023 West Belmont Avenue
Chicago IL 60618

(T) 773-267-7001; (F) 773-267-7002

Cost for the Cloth Bound 5 Volumes $500.00 

Vol. 1 Cloth ISBN 10: 1-871031-67-2; ISBN 13: 978-1-871031-67-6

Vol. 2 Cloth ISBN 10: 1-56744-812-7; ISBN 13: 978-1-56744-812-2

Vol. 3 Cloth ISBN 10: 1-56744-215-3; ISBN 13: 978-1-56744-215-1

Vol. 4 Cloth ISBN 10: 1-56744-834-8; ISBN 13: 978-1-56744-834-4

Vol. 5 Cloth ISBN 10: 1-56744-858-5; ISBN 13: 978-1-56744-858-0

Complete Set (5 volumes)