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      Use of Natural Substances in the Treatment of Renal Stones and Other Urinary Disorders in the Medieval Levant

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          Urinary disorders were common in the ancient world, especially in the Mediterranean region. In semi-arid zones and countries with unreliable water sources, renal stones and other urinary problems occur with greater frequency. A lack of water and correspondingly high levels of calcium saturation are among the main reasons for the formation of calcium sediments in the urinary tract, and it is hardly surprising, therefore, that many generations of physicians and healers have been called upon to treat these disorders, or at least alleviate the pain associated with them. Down the ages, many natural substances have been used for this purpose. This article focuses on 62 plants, 9 animal-based remedies, 1 mineral preparation and 4 medicinal substances of different or uncertain origin, traced in a recent survey of relevant historical literature (both medical and non-medical). Many of these materials, used to treat urinary disorders in the Levant between the 8th and the 18th centuries, had already been in use since the classical period, and several are still used today in traditional medicine.

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          Treatment of Renal Stones in Bulgaria in Ancient Times (‘Hissarya’ Baths)

          Well-known mineral baths in Bulgaria, ‘Hissarya’, are described. Their existence dates back more than 25 centuries. ‘Hissarya’ is an Arabic word meaning ‘siege of a castle’. Remains of castle walls are the symbol of ‘Hissarya’ today. Every year more than 100,000 patients from Bulgaria and other countries visit ‘Hissarya’. From the time of the Thracians and the Roman Empire until now renal stones have been successfully treated by drinking the mineral water and by taking baths. The Roman Emperor Septimius Severus (193–211) visited ‘Hissarya’ every spring to treat his renal disease.

            Author and article information

            Am J Nephrol
            American Journal of Nephrology
            S. Karger AG
            July 2002
            27 June 2002
            : 22
            : 2-3
            : 172-179
            aDepartment of Eretz Israel Studies, University of Haifa, and bSchool of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel
            63757 Am J Nephrol 2002;22:172–179
            © 2002 S. Karger AG, Basel

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            Page count
            Tables: 3, References: 28, Pages: 8
            Self URI (application/pdf): https://www.karger.com/Article/Pdf/63757
            Origins of Nephrology –Middle Ages, Renaissance, Byzantium


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