Iranian traditional medicine is a collection of practical knowledge, skills and practices based on the claims and experiences of various traditional cultures from across Iran. Traditional medicine aims to prevent, diagnose and treat physical illness and mental and spiritual diseases. Iranian medicinal food is a part of this collection that has been researched as a new approach in medical sciences.
Medicinal foods and edible medicines are two separate categories in this collection of traditional knowledge. By adhering to sources of traditional Iranian medicine and relying on its less known knowledge, we plan to introduce medicinal Iranian food. Traditionally, medicinal foods are categorized into several groups: breads and cereals, dairy products, spices, nuts, legumes, vegetables, fruits, beverages, meats and mixed products.
The History of Functional Iranian Medicinal Food
In the mid-1980s, the concept of functional foods was introduced to modern medicine in Japan. These foods are described as optimal, sufficient, extra-nutritious, healthy and medicinal food. These are processed foods with components that boost the body’s natural functions, in addition to being rich in nutrients.
Functional foods have ushered in a new area in the field of nutritional science that is growing rapidly. In the United States, the concept of Food for Special Health Use (FOSHO) was introduced in 1991, and is still considered one of the most interesting fields of study that has attracted the attention of researchers and consumers. This interest stems from the delicate difference between the unprocessed foods and separated compounds, their impact on physical and mental performance and their role in reducing the risk of diseases.
It is a widely recognized notion that Iranian traditional medicine is one of the most prominent sources of traditional medicine in the world. This claim can be backed by the study of old sources of traditional medicine such as Aviccena’s The Canon of Medicine.
Medical Nutrition Therapy in Traditional Iranian Medicine
Traditional medicine divides practical medicine into two categories: Hefz-o-Sehah (maintaining good health) and Elm va Alaj (science and treatment). Therefore, the approach of traditional Iranian medicine towards diseases is at first prevention, and then treatment.
Traditional medicine summarizes the path to maintaining health and treating diseases in this phrase: “adjusting one’s lifestyle according to their Mizaj (temperament) and inherent characteristics”. By following this recommendation, we can safeguard our body from a variety of diseases.
Unfortunately, modern medicine often neglects the nutrition therapy of patients and its direct relationship with the administration of drugs and diseases. But in traditional medicine, the balance of Iranian medicinal food for the patient is a priority. Iranian traditional medicine recommends medicinal food according to weather, climate and temperament. This means that the patient receives optimal nutrition in different seasons of the year and under different health conditions and special diseases.
Regarding the importance of food in traditional medicine, there is a famous sentence by the prominent Iranian scientist, Abu Bakr Al-Razi:
“Try to use foods for treatment as much as possible, and avoid using drugs, and use one form of medicine as much as possible and don’t use additional medicines!”
Introducing Functional Iranian Medicinal Food
A large number of foods with medicinal properties and their medicinal effects have been introduced in detail in famous traditional medicine books “Makhzan al-Adviyeh”, “Al Shamel” and “The Canon of Medicine”. Some of these foods are as follows:
- Bread and cereals: oats, Meccan wheat, barley bread, chickpea bread, white bread, starch, rice, barley flour.
- Dairy products: fresh cheese, aged cheese, milk, butter, whey, cheese curd, cheese fermenter, yogurt, cow’s milk, goat’s milk and sheep’s milk.
- Spices: ginger, sumac, turmeric, cinnamon, marigold, cumin, pepper, wild cumin, Khatai cinnamon, black mustard, wild mustard, white mustard.
- Nuts: hazelnuts, walnuts, pistachios, wild almonds, sweet almonds, bitter almonds, wild pistachios.
- Legumes: lentils, chickpeas, mung beans, Indian beans.
- Vegetables, flowers and medicinal plants: onion, rose, mint, garlic, fenugreek, lettuce, fennel, rhubarb, cheese, castor, tarragon, borage, hyacinth and dill.
- Fruits: apple, semi-ripe date fruit, sweet berry, sour berry, fig, gooseberry, sweet pomegranate, sour pomegranate, raspberry, grape, elderberry, pear, apricot, sweet lemon and yellow.
- Drinks: grape Pekmez (molasses-like syrup), date Pekmez, green tea, honey with water, date molasses, sweet vinegar, buttermilk, vinegar, rose water and coffee.
- Meats: duck, beef, pigeon, fish, goose, quail, animal lung, heart, liver, and tongue, Venus, brain.
Boosting Immunity Using Iranian Medicinal Food
With the abundance of industrial processed foods and unbalanced nutritional diets, we see a variety of diseases spread in society. We can seek the help of professional researchers of traditional medicine and prominents books in this field. Persian sources of traditional medicine introduce a series of functional Iranian medicinal food that focus on the importance of food in the treatment of diseases.
Different climates in Iran make access to the raw ingredients of these medicinal foods much easier. You can buy these foods on your travels to different regions of the country.
You can get to know Iranian medicinal foods on your travels with Iran tours and start your journey of discovering the secrets of traditional medicine. Destination Iran invites you to know more functional medicinal foods throughout our beautiful country.