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Herbal Medicine in Iran

Iran is among the most geographically diverse countries in the world. This ancient nation can be divided into 12 separate geographic environments and boasts 5 major climates. No wonder Iran is so diverse when it comes to the natural herbal remedies it produces.

This astounding diversity in Iran's geography allows Iran to host more than 7500 species of plants--around 1800 of which are used in medicine. Many of Iran's most precious herbal treasures are plants found nowhere else in the world.

The World Health Organization tells us that there are currently 30 companies producing natural herbal remedies in Iran. The government of Iran, in contrast to the regulatory agencies here in the U.S., requires all herbal remedies to be manufactured to the same quality standards as pharmaceutical drugs.


Its Persian name is kondor but you know it as frankincense. Many of the world's major religions include frankincense in their rituals but frankincense is also considered a medicinal plant. Traditional Iranian herbalists regarded frankincense as "disinfectant" and science is proving them correct. Frankincense has proven itself anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and chemopreventive.


Also known simply as sandal, sandalwood was once equally respected as a religious aromatic and a medicinal disinfectant. Today, sandalwood is still considered a sacred herb and still prized for its potential use in natural medicine. A 2007 study found sandalwood essential oil effective against herpes simplex virus type 1.


You can hardly open a magazine these days without seeing at least one story on calendula. Also known simply as marigold, calendula is a tremendously significant herb that traditional Iranian physicians used extensively for various skin conditions. And this use continues today. Calendula is among the most popular herbal remedies for acne, eczema, rashes and other skin problems.


High in antioxidants, pomegranate--or anar, as Persian physicans referred to it--has been the subject of numerous scientific studies in recent years. Traditional Iranian healers regarded pomegranate mainly as a disinfectant; today, we know that this "apple of many seeds" has both antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. Pomegranate is also antimalarial and may even help some men reduce their need for prostate medications.

Iran's Culinary Herbs

In addition to its medicinal herbs, Iran is also a country rich in culinary herbs like basil, saffron, barberrythyme and lemon balm. Of course, many of Iran's culinary herbs were used for medicinal purposes, too. Basil and thyme both have long histories as digestive aids and lemon balm is widely believed to be a safe herbal sedative.

Truly, Iran is an herbal gift to all of mankind. Who knows what potential healing plants are yet to be discovered in this ancient land so full of history.