Traditional medicine (also known as indigenous or folk medicine) comprises knowledge systems that developed over generations within various societies before the era of modern medicine.
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines traditional medicine as:
The health practices, approaches, knowledge and beliefs incorporating plant, animal and mineral-based medicines, spiritual therapies, manual techniques and exercises, applied singularly or in combination to treat, diagnose and prevent illnesses or maintain well-being.
The botanical medicine and traditional medicine, which today is called pharmacognosy, is given from the traditional beliefs of the people, as well as in ancient Iranian traditional medicine, derived from authentic books and reknowned scholars such as Ibn Sina, Zakaria Razi, Ahwazi Arjani, etc. The principles of its practice are based on the four human nature humors or humorism: blood, yellow bile, black bile, phelgm, as well as warm and cold, and diagnosis and treatment were carried out accordingly.
The theory holds that the human body is filled with four basic substances, called humors, which are in balance when a person is healthy. Diseases and disabilities supposedly resulted from an excess or deficit of one of these four humors. Disease could also be the result of the “corruption” of one or more of the humors, which could be caused by environmental circumstances, dietary changes, or many other factors. These deficits were thought to be caused by vapors inhaled or absorbed by the body. The four humors are black bile, yellow bile, phlegm, and blood.
Greeks and Romans, and the later Muslim and Western European medical establishments that adopted and adapted classical medical philosophy, believed that each of these humors would wax and wane in the body, depending on diet and activity. When a patient was suffering from a surplus or imbalance of one of these four fluids, then said patient’s personality and or physical health could be negatively affected.
In this science, the causes of illness and then treatment are treated with various herbal medicines and a variety of potion, food, beverage and, occasionally, by patient’s surgery. Today, the treatment costs relatively high. This medicine uses plant, animal and mineral medicines. Recently, methods have been developed such as herbal medicine, massage therapy, shiatsu, cupping, healing, leech therapy, bloodletting and water therapy.
There are thousands of herbs through the world, each of which can cure hundreds of pain or illness alone, and Iran achieved an important place in changing to a hub for traditional medicine and growing medicinal herbs in the world. Over 10 thousand medicinal plants identified in Iran, more than 3 thousand of which is native and also Iran has been one of the largest research centers of Phytotherapy and traditional medicine during 2 to 3 thousand years, which is implimented by famouse Iranian physicians and scientists such as Avicenna, Zakaria Razi, Jorjani and,etc. The thousands years tireless efforts are traditional and phytotherapical reference books such as Canon of medicine, Al Hawi, Eraz Al Tabibeh, Zakhire Kharazmshahi, and etc.
The treatment of various physical and mental diseases by plants is called “phytotherapy”.
One of the oldest ways in the world is phytotherapy. It is a method in which, plants are used in order to eliminate the symptoms of the disease, after medical examinations and necessary diagnosis. This method addresses the symptoms of the disease, and seeks to eliminate them, like the modern medicine. In this therapeutic approach, the active ingredient of plants, including alkaloids can treat patient healthy by eliminating the symptoms of the disease.
Cupping therapy is an ancient form of alternative medicine in which a therapist puts special cups on your skin for a few minutes to create suction. People get it for many purposes, including to help with pain, inflammation, blood flow, relaxation and well-being, and as a type of deep-tissue massage.
The use of animals to create a suction effect on the skin is one of the first innovative methods in human treatment process. The easiest way is vacuum the poison and animal bites. This type of cupping has been found all over the world. In Persian, cupping is defined as a treatment and is a blood sampling method used to prevent diseases and treat certain diseases. Dry cupping is done without razor bladder and cupping is done with bloodletting. Cupping is used to prevent and treat diseases such as asthma, drug addiction, digestive failure, migraine headaches and nerves, blood lipids, blood concentration, and cutaneous conditions.
Wet cupping takes the technique of dry cupping a step further. After applying dry cupping for about 3 to 5 minutes, the therapist performs tiny cuts on the raised area to allow for the elimination of toxic blood and fluids. These cuts or pricks might be performed with three-pronged needles like in the case of Chinese cupping therapy or with lancets or scalpels. Islamic cupping propagates the scraping of the skin.
Another cup is then placed on the same area to suck up the blood. The healer might also apply pressure around the treated area to speed the flow of blood. Later, the cut is treated with antiseptic ointments and bandages to assist in the healing process. The cupping has various types and is collected from different parts of the body in order to treat a certain disease. In general classification, the cupping can be divided into two types of dry cupping and bloodletting.
Dry cupping is a method by which suction is created on particular points on the patient’s body. Suction could be created by using heat to warm the cups so that the cooling air inside the cup creates a vacuum that tugs the skin upwards.
Other methods of creating suction include using an air pump to siphon air out of the cup. In today’s times, glass cups are used so that the therapist can monitor the condition of the skin. Medical grade silicone cups are also used because of their pliability.
Types of cupping
General cupping, head cupping, cupping sciatic, cupping cupola, cupping of silver or cupping of the abdomen, local cupping.
Avoid doing cupping for the following people:
- People who are suffering from severe illness since phlegm in terms of traditional medicine and Islamic medicine.
- Infants from four mounths
- Pregnant women during the first four month of pregnancy
- Women during the period of the menstrual cycle
- People with low blood platelets
- People with high blood pressure (in these patients, they lowered the blood pressure by using hot and dry cupping and then healed)
The British Cupping Society says that cupping therapy is used to treat:
- Blood disorders such as anemia and hemophilia
- Rheumatic diseases such as arthritis and fibromyalgia
- Fertility and gynecological disorders
- Skin problems such as eczema and acne
- High blood pressure
- Anxiety and depression
- Bronchial congestion caused by allergies and asthma
- Varicose veins
Phlebotomy is obtaining blood from a vein. Therapeutic bloodletting has a long history in medicine, including Persian medicine. Phlebotomy (fasd) and wet cupping (hijamat) are the most common methods of therapeutic bloodletting in Persian medicine. Fasd is a particular way of bloodletting in which the blood vessel is cut and some blood is removed from the body. Today phlebotomy is done more neatly by puncturing a vein with a needle.
Phlebotomy may be done in order to obtain blood for diagnostic tests or to remove blood for treatment purposes.
- Reduce risk for cancer
- Reduce hardening of the arteries and heart attack risk
- Improve insulin sensitivity, thus decreasing risk for type 2 diabetes
- Burn calories
- Blood pressure drop
Since ancient times, leeches were used to treat many illnesses and diseases, a method have been implemented to remove impure blood in the hope of healing the body. Leech therapy is sometimes the best alternative in treating illnesses, and even surpasses pharmacological treatments. Because of its healing effects to the human body, this traditional method of curing diseases is still thriving today.
Treating Vascular Disease
It is in the leech’s saliva that has been known to cure or prevent diseases. Their saliva has over 100 bioactive substances that are very beneficial. One such component is hirudin, which acts as an anticoagulation agent. Calin is another component that also inhibits blood coagulation. A component that dissolves fibrin clots as well as inhibits the formation of thrombus is the destabilase.
Those mentioned above all work together to decrease the viscosity of the blood, making its consistency thinner so as to promote better blood flow. Blood that has a thick consistency makes it prone to clot formation as well as increases the blood pressure of an individual. These clots can travel to different parts of the body and block a vessel, which could then cause a stroke or heart attack. Thick blood poses a risk that the distal extremities, especially the tips of the fingers and toes, will not receive adequate oxygenated blood and the nutrients they need. Therefore, the anticoagulation component in leech’s saliva is vital as it naturally makes the blood thinner and works to inhibit platelet coagulation.
Patients with cardiovascular disease undergo leech therapy on different areas of their body than, let’s say, patients with peripheral vascular disease. In each case leeches will promote better blood flow to the region.
- Treating Cardiovascular Disease
- Treating Alopecia and Baldness
- Treating Arthritis
- Treating Diabetes
- Treating Ear and Hearing Problems
- Treating Endometriosis
- Treating Eye Diseases
- Treating Gum Diseases
- Treating Hepatitis
- Treating High Blood Pressure
- Treat Infantile Cerebral Palsy
- Treating Kidney Diseases
- Treating Migraines
- Treating Skin Diseases
- Hirudotherapy for Alopecia
- Treating Sport Injuries