Seminar sharpens focus on how to safeguard traditional medicine

March 7, 2021 - 18:41

TEHRAN – Tens of health and cultural heritage experts, academia, researchers, and students have begun discussing ways to safeguard traditional medicine as intangible cultural heritage during an online seminar, which began in Tehran on Sunday.

Strategies to protect traditional medicine as intangible cultural heritage are top on agenda for the three-day webinar that is organized by Tehran Intangible Cultural Heritage Center in close collaboration with the Research Institute of Cultural Heritage & Tourism.

Furthermore, participants are scheduled to attend specialized sessions on the subject of folk medicine, which has been practiced for a long in the villages around Ziviyeh and Karaftu, according to organizers.

An approach to traditional medicine, indigenous knowledge of orthopedics, etc., as well as remedies used by local women therapists in Kermanshah, are amongst topics being scrutinized during the webinar.

In 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) representative in Iran, Christoph Hamelmann, announced that Iranian traditional medicine has the potential to gain international recognition and WHO must support its globalization.

Hamelmann made the remarks in a conference entitled “Iranian traditional medicine; a decade of academic work, exploring the past activities and prospects”.

Hamelmann added that every country’s traditional medicine is part of its cultural heritage and should be preserved; especially Iranian traditional medicine that dates back to very old times, even before the rise of Greek physicians such as Hippocrates.

According to Hossein Rezaeezadeh, there are currently eight schools of Iranian traditional medicine in different universities across the country.

Iranian traditional medicine is one of the most ancient forms of traditional medicine. It is grounded in the concept of four humors: phlegm (Balgham), blood (Dam), yellow bile (Safra'), and black bile (Sauda'). The four humors concept is based on the teachings of Rhazes and Avicenna into an elaborate medical system.

Some scholars believe that efforts for revitalizing Iranian traditional medicine in recent years have shaped two main attitudes: evidence-based medicine, and quackery. While many academics use evidence-based scientific measurements, there is also a pseudoscientific stream in modern academia.

Globally, this medicine reached its peak in Iran, concurrent with polymaths such as Muhammad ibn Zachariah al-Razi, Ibn Sina, and Esmaeil Jorjani. Ancient Iranian Medicine, the basic knowledge of four humors as a healing system, was developed by Hakim Ibn Sina in his medical encyclopedia The Canon of Medicine.

Iranian traditional medicine strongly focuses on prioritizing health maintenance and disease prevention over treatment.


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