Geriatric Management in Persian Medicine
Persian medicine is one of the oldest traditional systems of medicine dating back to at least 7000 years ago. This traditional system of medicine has a holistic approach to human and is based on humoral theory. Persian medicine was the main paradigm of medical sciences at least until the seventeenth century in Western Asia, Northern Africa, and Europe and some other traditional systems of medicine like Unani medicine derived from it. Geriatric management in Persian medicine covers all aspects of geriatric management to keep health of older people via lifestyle modification and the special recommendations and treatment approach embedded in Persian medicine for diseases and disorders.
Aging and geriatric management is a global health challenge (Onder et al. 2013), and finding any strategies to reduce the risk factors of disorders and to improve the quality of life for them is the key for healthy aging (Salas-Crisostomo et al. 2018). One of the sources to find such new strategies and recommendations based on historical perspective and generation by generation experience is traditional systems of medicine (Emami et al. 2013). These traditional systems of medicine like Persian medicine, Chinese medicine, Ayurveda, homeopathy, etc. have a root in history with their own philosophy and also centuries of experiences of physicians during history (Zarshenas et al. 2017).
Persian medicine is one of the traditional systems of medicine that dates back to at least 7000 years ago (Zargaran 2014). It was the main paradigm of medicine in the main parts of Western Asia, Northern Africa, and Europe until the seventeenth century. There were great Persian physicians like Akhawayni, Rhazes, Avicenna, Jorjani, etc. who have flourished this paradigm of medical sciences, in particular during the Islamic Golden Age (ninth to thirteenth century CE) (Ghaffari et al. 2017). One of the most important parts of Persian medicine is its contribution to health care, more than treatment (Nikaein et al. 2012) and in particular to geriatrics (Emami et al. 2013), for example, for their dietary regimen (Emami et al. 2014), and to reduce cardiovascular disease risks (Zarshenas et al. 2016).
Age temperament in Persian medicine
Hot and wet
Hot and dry
Cold and dry
Cold and more dryness (sometimes abnormal wetness)
However, the wetness of older persons is abnormal and is not good. Therefore, this temperament can affect the temperament of the person and health-care services are based on the specific condition and temperament of older adults (Naseri 2018).
General Considerations for Older Adults in Persian Medicine
The term of geriatric management is under the title of Tadbeer-e-mashayekh in Persian medicine. Tadbeer means strategy and mashayekh means older adults. This part covers all aspects of geriatric management including Persian medicine fundamentals, nutrition, health-care strategies, and treatment for older adults (Rezaeizadeh et al. 2009). Fat older adults have cold and wet and thin older adults have cold and dry temperaments. Therefore, health-care services are based on their temperaments.
Health-Care Services for Geriatrics
Health-care parameters for geriatrics
Some useful foods
Some harmful foods
Foods should be in small amount, light, easily digestible at frequent intervals in geriatric regimen
Laxative foods, fruits (like fig, grapes, citruses, and plum), vegetables (like carrot and cabbage), chicken broth, honey, boiled milk with honey, or rock candy
Heavy foods and additives such as eggplant (Solanum melongena L.), lentil (Lens culinaris Medik.) and watermelon (Citrullus lanatus Thunb.), beef, and vinegar
Medicinal herbs mentioned in Persian medicine for geriatric management
Mentioned effects in Persian medicine
Effects based on current evidences
Abrus precatorius L.
Immunopotentiating activity (Ramnath et al. 2002: 910–913)
Acorus calamus L.
Antioxidant (Manikandan et al. 2005: 2327–2330)
Allium sativum L.
Azadirachta indica A. Juss
Immunomodulatory effect (Baral and Chattopadhyay 2004: 355–366)
Bryonia dioica Jacq.
Antioxidant (Morales et al. 2012: 851–863)
Bunium persicum (Boiss.) B. Fedtsch.
Antioxidant (Shahsavari et al. 2008: 183–188)
Carthamus tinctorius L.
Antioxidant, neuroprotective (Hiramatsu et al. 2009: 795–805)
Cicer arietinum L.
Appetizer, general tonic
Growth enhancer (Nestares et al. 1996: 2760–2765)
Cocos nucifera L.
Antiaging, general tonic
Antioxidant (Mantena et al. 2003: 126–131)
Cuscuta epithymum L.
Dracocephalum kotschyi Boiss
Nutritional value (Goli et al. 2013: 188–193)
Echium amoenum Fisch. & Mey.
Antioxidant (Ranjbar et al. 2006: 469–473)
Juglans regia L.
Neuroprotective (Orhan et al. 2011: 781–786)
Lupinus termis L.
Having dietary fiber (Písaříková and Zralý, Písaříková and Zralý 2010: 211–216)
Mangifera indica L.
Matricaria chamomilla L.
Sleep enhancer (Shinomiya et al. 2005: 808–810)
Melissa officinalis L.
Mood modulatory effect (Kennedy et al. 2002: 953–964)
Myosotis scorpioides L.
Ocimum basilicum L.
Serotoninergic antidepressant effect (Abdoly et al. 2012: 211–215)
Tanacetum parthenium (L.) Sch. Bip.
Terminalia chebula Retz.
Summary and Future Directions of Research
Persian medicine is one of the oldest and most comprehensive traditional systems of medicine with a long historical background. Persian scholars paid attention to the geriatric problems and tried to manage their conditions with lifestyle modification as well as nutritional regimens and medicinal herbs. It seems that they focused on the common problems of older adults and prescribed medicinal plants as antiaging, health improver, appetizer, general tonic, memory enhancer, laxative, and sleep improver. Also, current investigations support their use and ancient claims about many of them. Therefore, with integrative approach to use traditional systems of medicine, Persian medicine can be considered to find new approaches for geriatric management in current medicine.
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