History of Medicine in Persia
The history of medicine in Iran is as old and as rich as its civilization. In Zoroastrian religious texts, such as the Avesta, science and medicine rise above class, ethnicity, nationality, race, gender and religion.
They placed great importance on personal hygiene, public health and the prevention of contagious diseases. Iranians refrained from polluting the four elements. They would not bathe or wash dirty objects in flowing water, odorous materials were never thrown into the fire while wild rue and frankincense were burned inside houses to kill insects and bacteria-- a custom that continues to this day.
According to Avesta, King Jamshid was the physician who initiated the custom of bathing with hot and cold water. The Persians who lived in an empire stretching from the Indus valley to the Aegean Sea enjoyed considerable variations in climate and vegetation and, thus, became quite familiar with a wide range of plants and their use for medicinal purpose.
Avesta mentions over 30 sacred medicinal herbs including basil, chicory, sweet violet, and peppermint. By the 9th century AD, there are mentions of thousands of species of medicinal plants for prevention of diseases, including Haoma (Vedic soma) indigenous to the Iranian plateau that contains large quantities of Ephedrine used effectively in the treatment of cardiovascular and respiratory ailments.
Similarly, garlic was used to reduce blood pressure, combat heart disease and treat infections. Rue was a popular remedy for earache, easing shaking fits and joint pain, while Bangha, extracted from Cannabis Indica seeds with hallucinatory effects, was used as an anesthetic.
Map of Persia during Achaemenid
Empire (559 - 330 BC)
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