Thursday, September 21, 2017
Created Date : Wednesday, November 18, 2015  

Faculty of Traditional Medicine



Age of traditional medicine cannot be accurately estimated in any nation, yet it is safe to say that the creation of medicine dates back to the creation of man. Actually, when man felt pain and malady inside, he resorted to methods of alleviation; that’s when medicine was born. Traditional medicine used to be a profession in the past, which restored the lost well-being of man through science and practice, going by the names of well-being medicine, elderly medicine, or folk medicine. Any nation and civilization boasts rich traditional medicine as each has its unique method for treating illnesses. There is a long brilliant history of medicine and treatment in Iran, with numerous renowned scholars emerging in this area, whose works have been resources for teaching and research at the most prominent educational centers across the world. Traditional medicine in Iran is rooted in Zarathustra’s teaching and the Avesta, with indications in Ferdowsi’s poetry surrounding the character ‘Jamshid’. Iranian traditional medicine is a mixture of old medicine of the Persian Plateau, eastern medicine, Greek medicine, orally-transmitted medicine, and Islamic medicine, derived from sayings by Islamic religious leaders. Old medicine owed a great part of its progress to Iranians. Beside natural properties, conquests and policies made by the Achaemenid and Sassanid kings, in particular, Cyrus, Shahpour the First, and Anoushirvan, followed by Islam, among many others, can be considered as the main reasons influencing the core foundation of traditional medicine in Iran.

The most important privilege of Islam, in this regard, is the decrees of Quran and sayings of religious leaders on thought and reflection on the environment and within the human self and encouraging Muslims in acquiring knowledge, leading to the progress and refreshing of older sciences, with Iranians having a considerable share in medicine. As we know, the most prominent Islamic physicians were Iranians and traditional medicine soon spread throughout the world.

At every period of history, a number was added to the repertoire of physicians, each contributing some principles to medicine. Medicine is influenced more by personal talent, as there are many physicians who, although well-educated, have problems in diagnosis.

In the Islamic era, a group of physicians (especially among Iranians) emerged, and with brilliant talent, made themselves known throughout the time. Razi, Avicenna, Mojavezi, Movafagh Heravi, Jurjani, and Hakim Mu’min were the most distinguished. The basis for diagnosis by said physicians in the traditional medicine was considering four natures or attributes for man, namely, warm, cold, moist, and dry: the warm was induced by warmness, cold by coldness, moist by wetness, and dry by dryness. Combination of these natures gave way to additional attributes like warm/dry, warm/moist, cold/moist, and cold/dry. And since they believed the classical elements of fire, air, water, and earth, conceived the universe, they associated properties of objects and elements with those of the human natures, as fire and light was associated with warmness and dryness, air with warmness and wetness, water with coldness and wetness, and earth with coldness and dryness. The classification of natures and associating them with the four elements give rise to humors. If, for instance, a person has both warmness and coldness within him, and the dryness is dominant over the wetness, the person is considered dry-humored.

Furthermore, eating foodstuff triggers metabolisms in the body, referred to as Safra (yellow bile), Dam (blood), Balgham (phlegm), and Soda (black bile). Some of these humors are good for the body and some are harmful. Good humors are those which invigorate and nourish the body and replace the lost liquids or wetness, whereas, bad humors are those which fail to do so and necessitate drugs for the process of nourishment. According to traditional medicine practitioners, if one fails to observe balance in eating and drinking, breathing, sleeping, mental states, movement and stillness, and retention and vomiting, the body deviates from its natural course and original humor, endangering his health and making him sick. Hence, medications are required to restore the original humor. It is the medication which, with the assistance of nature and accurate observation, the humor will be restored. Accordingly, there was a series of certain medical principles, which the then physicians were required to be familiar, to be able to use in treating diseases.

Old medicine, mostly, used plants in treating diseases; accordingly, the science of medicinal plants has developed alongside traditional medicine. The earliest manuscript of traditional medicine in Babylonian cuneiform, discovered in Ur and Mesopotamia, speaks of medicine and therapeutics, especially by use of roots, stems, and leaves of plants, most likely dating back to 300 BC.

Ancient Iranians used plants like frankincense, sandalwood, camphor, and incense in the form of fumigation. Plants were used in a range of different forms from juice to tea, poultice, oil, and even raw. Body wash with the extract of different plants was very common in the past. Father of Iranian traditional medicine was Avicenna, who was a genius of aromatherapy and pharmacotherapy. Yet, the significant development of medicine in the Islamic era did not occur until the seventh century AD and it achieved great progress over a short period time, with a handful of prominent physicians pulling it out from the darkness in which it dwelled and developing it. Outstanding physicians from the Europe, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance commended and recognized the great ability of Islamic physicians. Razi, the able physician of Baghdad, Avicenna who topped all the physicians, and Zahravi, father of Arab surgery, are a few examples among many.


- Traditioanal Medicine

- Traditional Pharmacy