Collaboration With China on Iranian Traditional Medicine

Iranian traditional medicine dates back more than 3,000 years.Iranian traditional medicine dates back more than 3,000 years.
The Health Ministry has taken measures to integrate Iranian traditional medicine in the national healthcare system

China will host a conference next year on Iranian traditional medicine to discuss and introduce Iran’s capabilities to foreign participants, said Dr Amir Hooman Kazemi, international counselor of the Iranian Traditional Medicine Office at the Health Ministry, on Saturday.

Iranian traditional medicine dates back more than 3,000 years and has been used since ancient times. Persian polymath Avicenna’s ‘Book of Healing’ and the ‘Canon of Medicine’ are the most authoritative sources in this field.

“The conference is planned for late 2017 and the exact date will be announced later,” IRNA quoted Kazemi as saying.

The decision for the confab was made during a meeting between Iranian deputy minister of health for traditional medicine Dr Mahmoud Khodadoust and president of China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences (CACMS) Zhang Boli, during the former’s visit to Beijing to take part in the 60th anniversary of establishment of Beijing University of Chinese Medicine on September 10.

Khodadoust also called on the head of the World Federation of Acupuncture and Moxibustion Societies (WFAS) Liu Baoyan and discussed ways of multilateral cooperation on traditional medicine.

Based in Beijing, CACMS was established in 1955 and previously called China Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is a institution that deals in scientific research, clinical medicine and medical education on traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).

The Chinese National Clinical Trial Center for New Herbal Medicines, the National Standardization Laboratory for Chinese Herbal Pharmacology, China Center for TCM Literature Retrieval and P3 Laboratory, the national Center for Evaluation on Safety of Herbal Medicines and the National Development Research Center for Herbal Compound Medicine are located at the academy.

 Measures to Promote Traditional Medicine

In the past three years Iran’s Health Ministry has taken measures to strengthen the role of Iranian traditional medicine.

Establishment of eight faculties of traditional medicine, development of 17 university programs on Iranian traditional medicine (and 8 university programs on traditional pharmacy), and fixing tariffs for 11 traditional medicine services (for the first time in 2013) are among the important measures taken so far to integrate traditional medicine into the modern healthcare system.

The services include leech, massage and herbal vapor therapies, wet and dry cupping therapies to treat certain medical conditions including inflammation and muscular diseases, therapeutic phlebotomy, herbal soaks and traditional enemas.

Currently, there are 70 accredited traditional medicine specialists in the country, more than half of whom work at medical science universities. The rest are involved in treatment procedures at traditional medicine centers affiliated to universities.

Up until recently, individuals practicing traditional medicine or active in the field were doing so without official certification.

But following a directive by the Health Ministry earlier this year to the Iranian Traditional Medicine Association, a protocol was initiated to enable issuing permits and accreditation to the practitioners who number around 5000-6,000.

Traditional medicine practitioners can now apply for and be granted permits to practice and the association is in charge of overseeing and managing their activities.

In July, Health Minister Hassan Qazizadeh Hashemi said Iranian traditional medicine has been integrated into the national healthcare system, and health workers would offer services at 10 centers across the country.

Traditional medicine as an academic and complementary discipline emerged in the 1980s across the world, and hundreds of universities, schools, institutes, and colleges worldwide have since offered services in education, research, and medicine in the field.

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines traditional medicine as “the sum total of the knowledge, skills, and practices based on the theories, beliefs, and experiences indigenous to different cultures, whether explicable or not, used in the maintenance of health as well as in the prevention, diagnosis, improvement or treatment of physical and mental illness.