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Journal of Integrative Medicine ›› 2018, Vol. 16 ›› Issue (2): 77-83.doi: 10.1016/j.joim.2018.02.004

• Review • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The medieval Persian manuscript of Afyunieh: The first individual treatise on the opium and addiction in history

Abdolali Moosavyzadeh a, Farzaneh Ghaffari b , Seyed Hamdollah Mosavat c, Arman  Zargaran d, Azarakhsh Mokri e, Soghrat Faghihzadeh f, Mohsen Naseri g#br#   

  1. a Department of Iranian Traditional Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Shahed University, Tehran 33191-18651, Iran
    b School of Traditional Medicine, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran 15167-45811, Iran
    c Research Center for Traditional Medicine and History of Medicine, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz 71356-44144, Iran
    d Department of History of Medicine, School of Traditional Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran 16687-53961, Iran
    e Psychiatry Department and National Center for Addiction Studies, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran 14176-53761, Iran
    f Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Faculty of Medicine, Zanjan University of Medical Sciences, Zanjan 45371-38791, Iran
    g Traditional Medicine Clinical Trial Research Center, Shahed University, Tehran 14179-53836, Iran

  • Received:2017-11-18 Accepted:2018-01-10 Online:2018-03-10 Published:2018-02-05
  • Contact: Mohsen Naseri; E-mail: naseri@shahed.ac.ir

According to historical evidence, the abuse of opium has been reported all over the globe—specifically throughout Eastern nations—since the sixteenth century. Before that, opium had mostly been applied as medication. Reference has been made in traditional Persian medical literature to the method of cultivation, properties, side effects and toxicity. In sixteenth century Iran, during the reign of the Safavids, opium abuse began. It was from then that prominent Persian scholars started to think of solutions to this societal problem. One of the most famous scholars was Imad al-Din Mahmud ibn Mas’ud Shirazi, who composed a book concerning addiction—Afyunieh, a comprehensive book on the topic of opium and all issues of opium. Furthermore, he recommended methods for reducing opium dose as well as substitution with other medications that had a narrower range of side effects, in order to eradicate dependency upon opium and opium-derived materials. This is most likely the first book that comprehensively addressed opium and discussed drug rehabilitation methodology, in traditional Persian medical literature. In this historical review, the authors have introduced the book Afyunieh, which presents methods for treating addiction to and giving up opium; the text comprises a synthesis of the author’s opinions, professional experience and references to the work of other famous physicians.

Key words: Persian medicine, Opium addiction, Imad al-Din Mahmud

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