Traditional Medicine Can Enrich Healthcare System

Traditional Medicine Can Enrich Healthcare SystemTraditional Medicine Can Enrich Healthcare System

In spite of significant advances in manufacturing modern medicine, incorporating traditional medicine and treatment into the healthcare system can help provide cost effective, easily available and quality healthcare.

A report released by the Health Ministry on Monday indicates that the ministry has taken steps toward integrating traditional medicine and treatment practices into the health system over the past four years, IRNA reported.

Improving the curriculum in eight traditional medicine faculties, which together offer 17 different courses on traditional medicine and eight courses on traditional pharmacology, has been among the most significant measures.

Seventeen new university-level books have been published on traditional medicine over the past four years, while 19 more, including six for children, were published to enhance public awareness on the health benefits of traditional medicine.

Also, in the last Iranian year (ended in March) a traditional medicine course was included in the curriculum for contemporary medicine and pharmacy courses in all medical universities.

The ministry established 20 ‘traditional health centers’ in the medical universities during the past four years, which offer traditional treatment services.

Some of 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.

   Potential for Growth

Due to Iran’s geographical diversity, which includes 11 of the world’s 13 climates, more than 7,500 species of herbal plants are grown, of which 1,800 are used in traditional medicine.

Health Minister Hassan Qazizadeh Hashemi has been quoted as saying that “the Iranian traditional medicine dates back more than 2,000 years.”

This is while nowadays only about 3% of Iranian people are reportedly using traditional medicine for prevention or treatment of their ailments.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), traditional medicine is 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.

In the 21st century, pollution, unhealthy lifestyle, and environmental toxins increase the risk of disease. The side effects of overuse/misuse of allopathic drugs are also a major concern.

 In 2013, WHO developed and lunched ‘WHO Traditional Medicine Strategy 2014–2023’ and emphasized the integration of traditional and complementary medicine to promote universal healthcare and ensure the quality, safety and effectiveness of such medicine.

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