Historical Perspective of Alcoholism

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Introduction Alcohol is the oldest and still probably the most widely used drug today. Some consider alcohol as an opponent but many consider it as an ally. Moderate amounts stimulate the mind and relax the muscles, but larger amounts impair coordination and judgment, finally producing coma and death. It is an addictive drug leading to alcoholism. Alcohol is known since antiquity to have some therapeutic value. Opium and alcohol had long been used as analgesics. Greek medicine had employed wine and vinegar in wound care. Now we know that alcohol is a good antiseptic. Alcohol has other values in modern medicine such as pain relief, delay labor, raising HDL level, etc. Pure ethanol is a colorless, flammable liquid (boiling point 78.5º C).…show more content…
They were the most important scientists in the history of chemistry and chemical technology in Islam. Their works exerted a dominating influence on later generations of Muslims and Europeans. The most important of the great chemical discoveries in the Middle Ages were alcohol and mineral acids, and the key to finding them was through the process of distillation, which the Arabs developed and mastered. Distillation was one of the most important processes in Islamic chemical technology and was employed for both medicinal preparations and a variety of other technological and industrial uses, including the preparation of acids and the distillation of perfumes, rosewater and essential oils. Several great Muslim chemists clearly described the distillation of wine using specialized distillation equipment. Al-Rahzi, in his book Kitab al-Asrar (The Book of Secrets) described the process of distillation and the apparatus used. He used distillation to concentrate alcohol, which was then taken as an anesthetic. Al-Kindi (9th century AD), describes distillation and the apparatus in his book, Kitab Kimya’ al-‘itr wa al-Tas-idat (Book of Perfume Chemistry and Distillation). Al-Kindi says: “In the same way, one can distill wine using a water-bath, and it comes out the same color as rosewater.” In Spain, the Arab surgeon Aub al-Qasim al-Zahrawi, (d.1013 AD), known to the West as
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