Traditional Medicine Progressing

More than 7,500 species of herbal plants are grown in Iran due to its geographical diversity.
More than 7,500 species of herbal plants are grown in Iran due to its geographical diversity.

Health Minister Hassan Qazizadeh Hashemi said on Saturday that over 90% of medicines needed by Iranians are produced in the country.

He made the remarks at the unveiling ceremony of a herbal medicine to treat Alzheimer’s disease, in Karaj, Alborz Province, IRNA reported.

The medicine under the brand name ‘Melitropic’ was developed by Iranian researchers at the Iranian Institute of Medicinal Plants affiliated to the Iranian Academic Center for Education, Culture and Research (IACECR).

“Traditional medicine in Iran dates back to more than 2000 years,” noted Hashemi and hoped that due attention would be paid to herbal medicine in the future. 

Melitropic was produced after a series of tests were conducted on 42 patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s in the age range of 65-80.

Patients in the experiment group were given dracocephalum extract and the control group was given placebos. After four months, the result showed that Alzheimer’s was well controlled in those patients who used dracocephalum extract and the anxiety disorder and irritability symptoms were considerably reduced.

Around 300 students have so far graduated from 17 faculties of traditional medicine in 17 universities of medical sciences across the country. The prestigious Tehran University and the University of Shahid Beheshti have traditional medicine faculties.

Stating that Iranian traditional medicine has been integrated into the national healthcare system, the minister said 20 traditional medicine centers have been established at the universities where quality treatment services are offered, ISNA reported. 

Additionally, a traditional medicine course with two credits has been added to all fields of contemporary medicine and pharmacy.

Last July, the Health Ministry had announced plans to set up a chain of herbal pharmacies across the 31 provinces that would function separately from the chemical pharmacies.

Fixing tariffs for 11 traditional medicine services for the first time in 2013 after the Rouhani government took office, is among the most important measures taken by the ministry to encourage use of traditional medicine. 

Due to Iran’s geographical diversity more than 7,500 species of herbal plants are grown, of which 1,800 are used in traditional medicine. Many of the herbal plants are unique to Iran and found nowhere else in the world. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) has adopted a strategy to promote traditional medicines between 2014 and 2023 that aims to support member states in developing proactive policies and implement plans to strengthen the role of traditional medicine in the health sector.

There are currently 30 companies producing natural herbal remedies in Iran, and all herbal medicine is manufactured on par with the same quality standards as pharmaceutical drugs.

Traditional remedies have long been used by the people especially in rural Iran, and most households even in urban areas store herbal petals, essences, powders and extracts to provide relief for different kinds of ailments.

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