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More than 1,800 domestically grown plant species are used in Iranian traditional medicine.
More than 1,800 domestically grown plant species are used in Iranian traditional medicine.

Cyberpolice Asked to Act on Illegal Herbal Medicine Sales

A large number of online websites, Telegram channels, and Instagram accounts have long been prescribing herbal remedies for a number of health problems including weight loss, increasing physical stamina, as well as healing migraines, depression, etc

Cyberpolice Asked to Act on Illegal Herbal Medicine Sales

The Iranian Traditional Medicine Association has officially asked the cyberpolice to take action against illegal practitioners in the field of traditional medicine on the Internet and social media, and ban their activities.
Homeopathic and herbal healthcare products have become increasingly popular in Iran. Over the past few years, a large number of online websites, Telegram channels, and Instagram accounts are prescribing herbal remedies for several health problems including weight loss, increasing physical stamina, as well as healing migraines, depression, etc.
Several online sources are taking orders and selling traditional medicine, but the authenticity of the products cannot be verified. Despite this, the practice of promoting and prescribing traditional medicine on social media continues, where follower count can reach thousands and make the business appear booming.
“The current status of traditional medicine is marked by chaos,” Dr. Nafiseh Hosseini-Yekta, head of the ITMA, told ISNA last week.
“Whether in the real or virtual world, when people who are not genuine practitioners in the field, promote and sell herbal remedies it can prove risky and endanger lives,” she warned.
There are two categories of people practicing traditional medicine legally in the country. The first comprises medical students who major in a traditional medicine specialty after finishing general medicine, and work in health centers and clinics, she said.
The second includes doctors or specialists who take complementary and specialized traditional medicine courses and can practice traditional medicine as researchers or teachers.
“Other general practitioners can also take up traditional medicine courses which are offered year-round at universities of medical sciences in Tehran and other major cities,” Hosseini-Yekta added.
These practitioners receive a certificate at the end of the course, and are licensed to practice.

  Traditional Medicine in Iran
Traditional medicine is commonly defined 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.
 Over 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.
In February 2016, Health Minister Hassan Qazizadeh Hashemi said that Iranian traditional medicine has been integrated into the national healthcare system, and that 20 traditional medicine centers have been established in universities where quality treatment services are offered. Additionally, a traditional medicine course with two credits has been added to all fields of contemporary medicine and pharmacy.
The ministry’s deputy for traditional medicine Mahmoud Khodadoost had then said that traditional medicine practitioners would soon be granted practice permits supervised by the ITMA.
The Health Ministry had also announced plans to set up a chain of herbal pharmacies across the 31 provinces that would function separately from the chemical pharmacies. This project has yet to be fully implemented.
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.
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.
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.

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