Traditional Herbal Medicine

Iran has an amazing geography. With 12 different geographical environments and 5 major climates it’s host to 7500 plants, of which 1800 possess medicinal properties. It would take forever to list them all so here are some of the few which can be easily located where ever you happen to be in the world.

KONDOR or frankincense. Use of this herb goes back to ancient Persia. The most commonly used part is the milky sap or resin which is often used as a salve for skin irritations and wounds. It’s thought to have a rejuvenating effect and is therefore excellent for acne, scars and injuries. Frankincense can also benefit the emotions and those with nervous disorders such as anxiety or generalised nervousness. It’s thought to be an aid to a poor memory and lethargy. And among its other attributes, Frankincense is good for gum disease, indigestion problems, ulcers and as an eye wash.

SANDAL or sandalwood is often thought only to be a pleasant smelling inscense but you might be surprised to know that it is also a disinfectant and helps prevent simple herpes, eg mouth ulcers. The useful part of the sandalwood plant is the oil from the woody part.  Other uses include UTI infections like cystitis, skin irritations, and digestive problems.

AZARIYUN or marigold is widely used the globe over and many countries have culinary uses for it.  It is also brilliant as a salve for skin conditions such as acne, eczema and general rashes and open wounds. It’s something we can all grow in pots or in our gardens.

To make a salve simply add 2 handfuls of Calendula leaves and flowers to 1 tbsp lanolin, 5 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp beeswax and heat gently. Mix together; take off the heat and leave to set. The following morning re-heat the mixture and pour into a sterile jar and leave to harden.

Ahura Mazda the Zoroastrian prophet advocated the beneficial use of the following herbs. Many of the herbs were incorporated into Zoroastrian rituals which can still be found on the ‘Haft sein’ table at new year.

HAOMA or Ephedra . Indigenous to Iran this is a small plant with yellow flowers. It was also found to have an intoxicating effect and then said by Ahura Mazda to be a ‘waste of time’ causing the consumer to be become irrational.

Widely used for muscular and bronchial complaints, headaches, as an antiseptic, aid to digestion and a blood purifier. It’s now thought to have properties close to penicillin and can be used for hay fever, asthma, and for colds and fevers.Interestingly enough it is thought to be very useful in loosing weight but before you rush out to find it, there is a recommended limit of 150mg per day. Generally it’s an all round healer as it’s  supposed to  promote  the bodies natural ability of the body to fight invading diseases through a natural antibiotic called interferon.

SEER or GARLIC Most people are aware of the benefits of regularly eating garlic. It’s a natural form of antioxidant and thought to be helpful in preventing general infections and fighting off free radicals.

OOUD or ALOESWOOD. This is  fairly rare and expensive so perhaps not so easy to  come by these days. although the oil available usually through chinese websites .  It used to be grown in Iran and is now generally found in  SE Asia . However it was thought to be useful in the treatment of the nervous system and was great for the treatment of anxiety and cardio vascular problems such as rapid heart beat. Yves Saint Lauren uses the oil is some of its perfumes!