Azerbaijan International

Spring 2002 (10.1)
Page 9


Readers' Forum
Medical Manuscripts

Recently I did a search for the keyword "medical manuscript" on Yahoo! on the Internet and discovered Dr. Farid Alakbarov's article "The Medical Manuscripts of Azerbaijan: Unlocking Their Secrets" (Summer 1997, AI 5:2).

That article was so good that it made me feel that our interests are related - Hungary's and Azerbaijan's. The roots of the Hungarian nation are in the East and we have a close relationship with Turkic nations, although officially the Hungarian Academy denies this. Unfortunately, these academicians are a sad collection of old communists, part of the Russian legacy that oppressed us for 40 years.

Hungary was not part of the former USSR but yet the Soviet army occupied our country since 1989, when we really became an independent country. More then 4 million Hungarians live outside our borders in the neighboring countries - as the result of the two world wars. (You, too, have millions of your brothers and sisters living in Iran, as I understand.)

Even the Hungarian language has many Turkish words and grammatical structures. Hungarians have lived in our present geographical location only since the ninth to tenth centuries. Before that, we lived in Central Asia and prior to that in the Gafgaz (Caucasus) Khanate.

I am a physician, 30, with two children and work as a family doctor near Budapest. As child I decided to learn Eastern languages and study the roots of my nation. My father, a jurist, learned Turkish and suggested that I learn it, too. I have been studying Arabic on and off for ten years (with interruptions) as well as English, German and Russian. I plan to start learning Turkish next year.

As a doctor, I'm interested in what I consider to be the most successful aspect of classical Eastern medicine: dietetics - how food affects health. I often refer to Avicenna's Canon of Medicine and other Arabic sources and his interesting use of herbs as drugs.

In addition, here in Hungary we have numerous plants that are important for medicinal purposes. That's why Dr. Alakbarov's work is very important for me. Hungarian ethnography and cuisine may contain many elements of Eastern medicine that perhaps we could investigate together.

Last year, a professor of Diabetology asked me to write an article about the cures for diabetes as described in Medieval Manuscripts. I translated Avicenna's articles on diabetes into our national language, and the National Society of Diabetology received it with a great interest. We were all surprised how medieval doctors could identify such perfect dietary plans in the 10th century.

Richárd Nagy
Budapest, Hungary

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