Iranian Market (9)
In this edition of the Iranian Market we are going to discuss medicinal herbs grown in the land of Iran. Don’t miss the program and keep us company until the end.
Iran is one of the main hubs of different varieties of medicinal herbs. Medicinal herbs are one of the natural resources which have played an important role in providing health, hygiene and treatment of mankind from very past until now.
Recognizing the medicinal effects of herbs, the primitive human being resorted to these useful plants in order to treat his physical and mental pains as well as transferring his knowledge about these plants to next generations which helped it expand.
Though the type, number and variation of herbal species are different based on different conditions and geographical situation of each region, many countries are more or less enjoyed by this divine gift.
Medicinal herbs refer to the plants that are directly or indirectly used for hygienic purposes, and prevention or treatment of diseases.
Medicinal herbs if used in industry would be referred to as industrial herbs like oil seeds, sugar plants, ramies, etc.
These kinds of herbs can be used in dried or fresh forms. Less than one percent of the weight of dried medicinal herbs contain effective factors for treating illnesses.
An essential oil is a concentrated hydrophobic liquid containing volatile aroma compounds from plants. This oil is essential in the sense that it contains the essence of the plant’s fragrance.
Essential oils are generally extracted by distillation often by using steam. Other processes include expression, solvent extraction, absolute oil extraction, resin tapping, wax embedding, and cold pressing.
Essential oils are used in perfumes, cosmetics, soaps and other products for flavoring food and drinks. They are also used for aromatherapy. Essential oils have also the potential to be used as a natural pesticide.
Although nowadays the use of chemical and synthetic medicines in the world has risen, by revealing the harmful side effects of some of these drugs on the life of human beings, people have turned to medicinal herbs.
In addition to the harmful side effects these plants have, some of them are really expensive. According to the figures released by World Health Organization (WHO), about 80 percent of the world population that is about four billion people particularly those living in developing countries and poor regions use herbal medicine for primary healthcare.
So far 75 thousand species of medicinal herbs around the world have been made known and studied. Also about five thousand medicinal herbs have been studied by the world pharmaceutical industries and have entered the world market. Overall international trade in medicinal plants and their products was 60 billion dollars in 2010 and is expected to reach 5 billion dollars by 2025.
Today different countries try to have an appropriate share in this big market. It is said that 50 countries including the Islamic Republic of Iran are active in the field of producing herbal medicines. The Islamic Republic ranks 15th among these countries.
Using medicinal herbs in Iran has a long history. It should be said that phytotherpy or the science of treating by herbal medicines has always been one of the principles of Persian medicine.
Avesta which is the Zorastrians’ holy book and dates back to 6,500 years before the birth of Christ is the first book that has spoken about medicinal herbs.
Later on, after the emergence of the religion of Islam and Islamic civilization, efforts made by Iranian scientists such as Khandan Bukhtishu, Zakaria Razzi, Abu Ali Ibn Sina, Aboureihan Birooni, Jorjani and Heravi helped expansion of this science.
Today, Iran with its appropriate geographical situation has a unique status in the geography of medicinal herbs across the world. Among 13 territories in the world which are known by having medicinal herbs, 11 regions belong to the land of Iran. This has caused this land to grow a vast varieties of plants, mushrooms, algae, and microorganisms.
According phytologists and researchers of related sciences, Iran has about eight thousand plant species which doubles the number of the species in Europe.
Many regions of Iran including Kordestan, Lorestan, Hamedan, Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari, Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad, and Ilam are home to the growth of medicinal herbs.