From Food to Drug: Avicenna’s Perspective, a Brief Review

Document Type : Review


1 Student Scientific Research Center (SSRC), Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran. Department of Traditional Pharmacy, School of Persian Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

2 Department of Traditional Pharmacy, School of Persian Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran. Department of History of Medicine, School of Persian Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.


The Food and drug were developed by pharmacists and physicians, in particular Persian scientists throughout medical history. There was an especial view on the subject of nutrition and medications in Persian medicine (PM). Avicenna was one of the main Persian physicians who contributed to this field in the Canon of medicine “Al-qanun-fi-al-tibb”, his main medical and pharmaceutical text book in the 10th century AD.  In this paper, different categorizations of foods and drugs and their definitions in the Avicenna’s Canon of medicine were considered and compared with the similar categories in current medicine. These groups of foods and drugs included absolute aliment (Ghidhāol-motlaq), functional foods “Ghidhā od-dawā”, pharconutrient “Dawāol-ghadhā”, absolute medicament or drug “Dawāol-motlaq”, and poisons “Sammol-motlaq”. Also, there were several other classifications for foods and drugs in the Canon of medicine that act without their temperaments (qualities) such as “Dho-l-khāsiyyahis”.These definitions and classifications 1000 years ago and matching with current accepted terminologies are important both historically and also in the field of traditional pharmacy.


Main Subjects

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