Book of Effects of Drugs


This work is a lithographic print of a manuscript containing a treatise on pharmacology. It was produced in Kabul, in the Royal Printing House, by Ṣāliḥ ibn Ṣāliḥ Muḥammad and Sardār Gul Muḥammad Khān. Ṣāliḥ ibn Ṣāliḥ Muḥammad was an officer and commander from the Muhammadzai clan in the Pashtun tribal confederacy that ruled Afghanistan in the Barakzai period (1826–1973) after the fall of the Durrani Dynasty in 1842. Sardār Gul Muḥammad Khān served as the chief editor of the printing press in Kabul, where his activities included publishing works on behalf of Emir ʻAbd al-Raḥmān Khān. This book is the earliest printed work in the field of medicine in Afghanistan. It contains a list of various substances, herbs, flowers, minerals, and potions used in traditional medicine. The introductory section gives an account of how the author learned to mix drugs and experimented with how different drugs affect states of mind. This is followed by a list of the technical terminology related to pharmacology, such as the terms pertaining to weights and measures used by the pharmacists’ guild. The bulk of the work is a listing of different drugs (simple and compound) arranged alphabetically, with a brief description provided for each entry. Lithographic printing was invented in Europe in the late 18th century and spread widely on the Indian subcontinent from the early 19th century onward, its popularity stemming from the relative ease with which it could be used to reproduce different scripts not based on the Latin alphabet. By the 1860s, lithographic printing had spread to Afghanistan, including Kabul, Kandahar, and Herat.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Dar Maṭbaʻ-i Dār al-Salṭanah-i Kābul, Kabul


Title in Original Language

كتاب عمل الصالحين

Type of Item

Physical Description

801 pages ; 34 centimeters

Last updated: September 30, 2016