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Science, Technology and Medicine open access publisher.Publish, read and share novel research. Cancer and Its Treatment in Main Ancient Books of Islamic Iranian Traditional Medicine (7th to 14th Century AD)Amirhossein Sahebkar1, Nilufar Tayarani-Najaran2, Zahra Tayarani-Najaran3 and Seyed Ahmad Emami4[1] Biotechnology Research Center and School of Pharmacy, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran[2] Department of Dental Prosthesis, School of Dentistry, Mashhad, University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran[3] Department of Pharmacodynamics and Toxicology, School of Pharmacy, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran[4] Department of Pharmacognosy, School of Pharmacy, Mashhad, University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran1. Achillea milleflium, Yarrow: Used by the Micmac Indians who drank it with warm milk to treat upper respiratory infections. Alcea rosea, Hollyhock: The flowers are used in the treatment of respiratory and inflammatory ailments and the root extracts to produce marshmallow sweets.
Allium sativum, Garlic: Used for centuries for medicinal purposes, Louis Pasteur described its antibacterial properties in 1858. Allium schoenoprasum, Chives: In traditional folk medicine chives were eaten to treat and purge intestinal parasites, enhance the immune system, stimulate digestion and treat anemia. Allium tuberosum, Garlic Chives: In Chinese herbal medicine, garlic chives have been used to treat fatigue, control excessive bleeding, and as an antidote for ingested poisons. NOTE: Garlic and scallions, along with onions, leeks, chives and shallots, are rich in flavonols, substances in plants that have been shown to have anti-tumor effects. Asarum europeaum, European Ginger: In the past, it was used as an emetic, but it is obsolete because of toxicity. Collard greens contain 771 micrograms of vitamin A and 34.6 milligrams of vitamin C per 1-cup serving. Calendula officinalis, Pot Marigold: Traditionally, the flowers were used to impart a yellow color to cheese.
Chamomilia recutita or Matricaria recutita, German Chamomile: The medicinal use of chamomile dates back thousands of years to the ancient Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks. Artichoke has been shown to be a natural remedy which improve various digestive health disorders, shown to significantly lowered blood ldl cholesterol levels, prevent heart disease and atherosclerosis – plaque problems, enhance detoxification reactions, as well as protect the liver from damage. Dianthus anatolicus, Dianthus: Used in Chinese and European herbal medicine for a large number of conditions including cardiac, urinary, nervous and gastrointestinal. Foeniculum vulgare, Fennel: A Mediterranean native, it is used to relieve bloating and is also a diurectic.
Papaver somniferum, Poppy: By 300 BCE, opium was being used by the Arabs, Greeks and Romans as a sedative and soporific. Solanum lycopersicum, Tomatoes: According to the National Cancer Institute, there is now enough data to show that people who consume large amounts of tomatoes and tomato products have a significantly decreased risk for prostate, lung, and stomach cancer. Numerous other potentially beneficial compounds are present in tomatoes, and, conceivably, complex interactions among multiple components may contribute to the anticancer properties of tomatoes. Thymus citriodorus, Lemon Thyme: Used to make pediatric oral preparations that are tasty and sweet to relieve an “upset tummy”. Thymus vulgaris, Thyme: It was used in the Middle Ages as a treatment of epilepsy and depression. Tropaelum majus, Nasturtium: A native of Peru, it is a culinary as well as a medicinal herb that is used in Andean Indian herbal medicine.
Viola tricolor, Johnny-jump-up or Heartease: From this plant a bitter tea is made that is taken internally for lung disorders and is applied externally for skin diseases. Cover image of main ancient Islamic Iranian traditional medicine books discussed in the present article.
IntroductionIslamic medicine is a holistic and comprehensive medical school that has an antecedent over 12 centuries. Modern researchers find good experimental evidence for yarrow’s use as an anti-inflammatory agent and possibly as an astringent.
The leaves and bulbs are applied to insect bites, cuts, and wounds, while the seeds are used to treat kidney, liver, and digestive system problems. New research from China confirms that eating vegetables from the allium group can reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
Peter Rabbit’s mother treated Peter with chamomile tea to alleviate the distress that followed the overindulgence in Mr. These antioxidants help to lower the risk of oxidative stress on your cells, which is cell damage that can occur when your nutrient intake is low and when toxic chemicals and environmental pollutants enter your body. Anti-inflammatory and antibiotic (bacteria, fungi and viruses) properties are responsible for the antiseptic healing effect when preparations of this plant are applied to skin wounds and burns. Treats chest colds, sore throats, abcesses, gingivites, skin problems such as psoriasis, minor first degree burns, ulcerative colitis, stomach ulcers. Fennel Teas, or Fennel Water have been used throughout history to break up kidney stones, quiet hiccups, prevent nausea, aid digestion, prevent gout, purify the liver, reverse alcohol damage to the liver, and treat jaundice.
Sage has numerous traditional medicinal uses as an astringent, as an antiseptic, as a carminative and as an estrogenic. There is some evidence that people who consume a lot of tomatoes may also have a lower risk of pancreatic, colorectal, esophageal, oral, breast, and cervical cancers.
The consensus seems to be that lycopenes, bioflavonoids that are closely related to beta carotene, present in tomatoes are the natural cancer-fighting agents responsible. It is used primarily as a diuretic but also taken internally to treat arthritis and gastro-intestinal disorders.
By using the scientific knowledge of ancient Iran, ancient Greece, and archaic civilizations such as India and China, and adding useful and wise Islamic teachings to them, Islamic medicine has turned into a strong and permanent medical school.
It has been found effective in lowering blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and in boosting the immune system. In addition, it provides over 9% of the daily requirement for vitamins B6 and C, calcium, copper, and manganese, and dietary fiber. Collards also contain 5 grams of fiber per cup and can support the health of your digestive system when consumed regularly. For centuries it has been used in bridal bouquets to make the statement that the bride will never forget the family she is leaving. Its antiseptic qualities make it an effective gargle for inflammations of the mouth, tongue or throat. It is an antispasmodic and an anti-tussive used effectively in cough syrups to raise sputum and relieve coughing.
Its other common name, Heartease, refers to a romantic notion that it provides comfort and consolation to separated lovers. The Peter Rabbit line was just a reference to a literary mention of the medicinal use of chamomile in a story that all are familiar with…just wanted a moment for a smile.
List of medicinal plants mentioned in the current review for the treatment of cancer and its complications. Islamic medicine has, for many centuries, been used for diagnosing and treating diseases of large populations that live in vast geographic areas. Kales in the variety acephala supply significantly higher amounts of calcium, magnesium, potassium, and manganese, than kales from the fimbriata variety. Research is being done to see if it may be effective when used along with conventional treatments in prostate cancer.
Heroin, a further refinement of morphine, is so addictive that its use is forbidden even as a medication.
Its property as a protein synthesis inhibitor is the theory behind its trials in cancer therapy. It has been buried with the deceased and used in funeral bouquets to signify that the deceased member will never be forgotten by members of his or her family. In fact, cooking tomatoes rather than eating them raw has been shown to more than double the effectiveness of the lycopene tomatoes contain. It is eaten raw in “spring salads” and cooked as a vegetable when the plants are very young before flowering. These chemical compounds are very powerful antioxidants that are very effective in the prevention of heart disease and cancer. In the nineteenth century, the juice of the plant constituted the main ingredient of love potions. Some of the physicians of this school are famous worldwide and have contributed valuable services to the scientific world.Although there is no accurate statistics as to the proportion of traditional medicine to Western medicine in Iran, it is estimated that medicinal herbs constitute around 10% of the Iranian drug market.
Steam collards for 10 minutes or less to retain their nutrients and season them with peppers, chopped onions and your favorite herbs and spices.
A small amount of added oil, such as that in pizza or tomato sauce, intensifies the protective effect.
The root of the dandelion has shown researchers at the University of Windsor, Canada that it may help fight skin cancer. CAUTIONARY NOTE FOR MEDICINAL USE: Similar to comfrey, borage leaves contain potentially liver- toxic and carcinogenic pyrrolizidine alka- loids. Rosemary is believed to stimulate cerebral circulation thereby improving concentration and memory. In a 2010 study on skin cancer cells grown in the laboratory, scientists  demonstrated that a dandelion root extract causes malignant melanoma cells to die — without causing any damage to healthy cells. A cup of cooked collard greens provides over 300% of the daily requirement for vitamins A and K.
Papaverine is a muscle relaxant used for gastrointestinal spasm and respiratory spasm triggered by asthma.
Strong aromatherapy qualities, it is used in organic skin tonics and masques for its effectiveness as a toner and disinfectant. It contains over 25% of the daily requirements for dietary folate, vitamin C, calcium, and manganese, over 10% of iron, magnesium, vitamin B6, and riboflavin, and 4 grams of well-balanced, almost complete protein. The reviewed books, except Zakhireh Khaarazmshahi and Hidayat al-Muta'allimin fi al-Tibb, are written in Arabic and translated into several other languages including Persian, Turkish and Hebrew.2. The book was translated into Latin in 1279 by Faraj ibn Salem (Farrgut) and was reprinted five times in Europe between 1488 and 1542. The Arabic text of Al-Hawi was published in Heydarabad, India, in the 7th decade of the 20th century. Among other famous medicinal books of Rhazes one can mention:Man la Yahduruhu al-Tabib (for One without Doctor), a medical advisor for the general public.
Rhazes was probably the first Persian doctor to deliberately write a home medical manual (remedial) directed at the general public. In al-Mansouri, Rhazes has presented a description of the identification of tempers, anatomy, hygiene, orthopedics, wounds and sores, bites and a complete course of therapeutics. Al-Jodari wa al-Hasbah (Smallpox and Measles) which was the first book on differential diagnosis of smallpox and measles. Al-Morshed (The Guide) which includes 29 chapters and is an adaptation of one of Hippocrate’s writings.
Some other of his medical books are al-Tibb al-Mlouki (Royal Medicine), Bur al-Sa’ah (Medical Emergencies), al-Taqseem wa al-Tashjir (Divisions and the Branches), al-Qarabadin al-Kabir (The Great Book of Dispensatories) and al-Shukuk al’a Jalinus (Doubts about Galen). Rhazes was the most important specialist in clinical and practical medicine in the Islamic world [2-7].In the first section of this writing, Rhazes’s view about cancer is described.
Paul of Aegina has noted that applying the aforementioned poultice is effective against parotid cancers. Galen has said that hedge mustard causes inflammation, has a taste similar to garden cress (Lepidium sativum L.) and is beneficial in the treatment of otitis as well as indurated swellings of breasts and testicles. According to Galen, nettle (Urtica dioica L.) has efficacy in the treatment of corrosive cancers which is due to the non-stinging astringent effects of this herb.
In addition, poultice of water cooked pea (Cicer arientium L.) promotes healing of cancerous wounds. Galen and Dioscorides have mentioned that milk, either alone or in combination with analgesic drugs, could relieve the pain associated with different kinds of cancerous wounds.
Galen and Dioscorides have also quoted that loferghesh has the same property and its analgesic effect is superior to that of mineral drugs.
Galen has mentioned that the effect of dressings prepared from powdered lead and cold extracts is very beneficial against ulcerative cancers. Besides, washing these wounds with the decoction of oriental plane tree (Platanus orientalis L.) leaves is very beneficial.

After washing with the aforementioned decoction, cancerous wounds should be covered with dwarf mallow (Malva rotundifolia L.) leaves. Slemon has said that black bile purgatives are effective in the treatment of cancer and everything that moistens the body is implicated in the nutrition of cancer tissue. He has also pointed that administration of antidote, in particular Electuarium Mithridatium, is efficacious in cancer therapy. In order to treat cancer, Galen has proposed that black bile should be removed from the body by means of administering an appropriate purgative, and then preventing the generation and accumulation of black bile in vessels as far as possible. If this method is not applicable, black bile should be removed from the body at regular time points. Topical anti-cancer drugs should have moderate lytic activity as drugs with mild activity cannot lyse the phlegm and those with strong activity will lyse the soft parts of the phlegm and make the remaining parts tough and hard.
Aside from moderate lytic activity, drugs should not be caustic because cancer is a malignant disease and is not compatible with irritant drugs.
Therefore, administration of caustic and irritant medications will stimulate the disease.Administration of the aforementioned drugs together with some black bile purgatives would lead to recovery at the early stages of disease. If surgery is to be performed, black bile should be removed from the body at first and as far as possible.
Galen has also noted that the cancerous organ or other malignant non-healing ulcers should be cut.In one of his books, Galen mentions that cancer development is due to the black bile blood.
He notes the rationale for this hypothesis as follows: First, the blood in cancer tissue is black. Third, vessels in the cancerous tissues are darker and have more blood content compared to tissues with warm swelling.
Galen continues that cancerous tissues are more malignant if accompanied by wounds, otherwise they tend to be benign.According to Jew (Masarjawai al-Basri al-Yahudi), cancer is frequently formed in the uterus, breast, and eyes. Galen has mentioned in the book “Purgative Drugs” that there is a possibility of treating cancer and malignant wounds by means of only administering purgatives. Sergius of Reshaina has noted that when thin blood flows from the uterus for a long period, there is the possibility of cancer formation in the mentioned organ.
The reason is that in such cases the thick portion of blood will remain in the uterus and cause cancer. Likewise, flow of thin milk from breast for a long period indicates the possibility of breast cancer.In the book entitled “Thick Substances with Abnormally High Concentrations”, Galen has noted that cancer is associated with black bile humor and when the aforementioned humor is warm, it will lead to ulcerative cancer. He has also added that cancerous tissues have darker appearance and lower temperature compared to warm swellings. Besides, the vasculature of cancerous tissue is hyperemic and contains higher and darker blood content compared to other types of swelling. In case of small ulcerative cancers in non-vital organs, venesection should be performed following repeated administration of purgative drugs. However, this method should not be performed for other types of cancer.It has been mentioned in the “al-Fosool” book that it is better to leave latent and asymptomatic cancers untreated in order to prolong patient’s life. In case of intervention in such types of cancers, there would be a possibility of death acceleration. Latent cancer refers to non-ulcerative cancers and cancers of internal organs and viscera.Galen has noted that some types of cancers could be recovered through surgery and cauterization. Rhazes mentions that: “as far as I am aware, internal cancers are not recoverable and treatment of these cancers would accelerate patient’s death. I have observed cases with palate, anal or vaginal cancers in which surgery and wound cauterization prevented wound healing and caused patient’s torment till death.
Apparently, if these patients were left untreated, they would have a longer life and would not undergo treatment related torments.” Hence, the aforementioned types of cancer should not be treated unless they are ulcerative and have secretion.
Abujarih has also approved the efficacy of this remedy.According to Athenaeus of Attalia, rubbing the mixture of whitened ash - obtained from burning an aquatic turtle - and ghee on ulcerative cancer would cleanse the wounds, accelerate their healing and prevent their relapse. Athenaeus has also pointed that rubbing the rennet obtained from rabbit (Lepus capensis L.) has wonderful effects on ulcerative cancer. In addition, he believed that rubbing the mixture of antler ash and human milk on newly formed cancer is efficacious.In the book “al-Ayn” (the eye), Galen has mentioned that if cancer is diagnosed at its early stages, its treatment would be possible, though such types of diagnoses are scarce. However, surgery and organ excision have serious problems including severe bleeding particularly in large tissues with high vessel density, severe pains in vital organs which is due to the high amount of moisture removed from dissected vessels, and impossibility of cutting or surgery for organs that are adjacent to vital organs.
In contrast, cancer could be treated in its early developmental stages by administering purgatives such as clover dodder and cheese whey.
Patients who suffer from these types of cancers should consume wet, soft and cool foods capable of attenuating black bile-induced burning.
He has also mentioned that metastatic cancer has stringent and lethal pain, sensible warmth upon prolonged physical examination of the tumor and swollen and inflamed adjacent vessels. Antyllus points that cancerous wounds have inward corrosiveness, liquid and stinky pus and two thick and erythematous edges. If these wounds are deep or placed in an organ which is not possible to be cut, they should not be treated or manipulated and only pain relief should be done. If the cancer is in one of nostrils, fingers or their adjacent areas, or breast, tumor should be eradicated (if possible) and after considerable bleeding the wound should be cauterized. Otherwise, such types of cancers should not be manipulated.In the “Methods of Treatment” book, Galen has mentioned that cancer is hard to be detected at its early stages. He has also added that newly formed cancers are curable through removal of harmful phlegms and rubbing some topical drugs. If the physician dares to operate such type of cancer, harmful phlegms must first be removed from the body. Afterwards, eradication of cancerous tumor should be attempted in a way that all tumor roots are cut. Then, adjacent vessels should be pressed in order to remove their thick blood.Rhazes’ experience implies that some hard swellings are similar to cancer. Differentiation of such swellings is based on the fact that hard swelling is usually secondary to warm swelling (such as phlegmatic or similar swellings), is dependent to other phenomena and is never formed initially. Another issue is that the vessels adjacent to non-cancerous swellings are stretched and have lower temperature upon touch compared to cancerous tumors. For senseless swellings, this is the best sign of their non-cancerous nature.In the "Semeiolgy" book it has been mentioned that cancer is primarily a small and mobile swelling similar in shape to broad bean. It could sometimes be enlarged to the size of a walnut and larger, thereby losing its mobility. Such large tumors are very sensitive and painful, with a distinctive red to yellow color and their pain is caustic and burning. Such tumors might burst spontaneously and their infectious and blood-like content becomes visible. If potent drugs are applied on the aforementioned wounds, convulsion, fever, fainting and chills will occur and secreted pus will irritate adjacent tissues.According to the book “Summary of Treatment Methods”, for the purpose of preventing growth and progression of early cancers, black chyme should be removed from the body as far as possible. He also adds that cancer is more prevalent in some organs such as the neck, breast and nervous organs. The cancerous area should be dressed with a piece of damp cloth soaked in black nightshade extract and when the cloth becomes dried, it should be resoaked with the aforementioned extract. Besides, powdered red Armenian bole could be mixed with any of the aforementioned extracts and the resulting poultice could be applied on the cancerous area. When the mixture finds a honey-like viscosity, heating is stopped and the mixture should be kept in glass containers.
According to Paul, cancer is a kind of sensitive and painful swelling which has black color, ugly and irregular appearance, and could be ulcerative.
When formed in an organ which could be cut, cancer should be eradicated and its scar be cauterized.According to Aristoxenus, cancer is a kind of spherical swelling that, upon initiation of treatment, will start to progress. The wound resulting from tumor burst has hard and red edges and the physicians do not frequently dare to cut it, unless it is situated in organs such as the nose and fingers. If cutting the tumor is applicable, it should be removed deeply and with some portions of normal adjacent tissues and then be cauterized in order to prevent its recurrence. Galen has noted that the aforementioned poultice is greatly effective in the elimination of hard swellings especially those in the breast and testicles.
Moreover, dragon wort (Arum dracunculus L.) seeds have a highly dry nature and are therefore effective in the treatment of chronic cancers. Galen has added that hedge mustard – a plant with leaves similar to those of rocket (Eruca sativa Mill.), narrow branches, yellow flowers and fine seeds – is effective against non-ulcerative cancers and all types of hard swellings. They have also noted that the poultice prepared from fat and burned cabbage (Brassica oleracea L.) roots could gradually eliminate cancer.
In case of tumor irritation, chicken fat should be applied for some days until irritation is relieved.
Venesection, administration of purgatives, consumption of moisturizing foods and bathing are also suggested.
Archigenes has noted that in the early stages of cancer, poultice prepared from equal amounts of gold or silver litharge (impure oxide) and river crab (Liocarcinus vernalis Risso) could be applied on the affected area. Besides, ash obtained from the river crab could be mixed with wax and oil to form a paste which could be then applied on cancerous area. In case of ulcerative cancers, application of paste from vinegar, sealing clay (terra sigillata) and powdered lead has been suggested. For these cancers, application of poultice obtained from black nightshade juice is also effective.In page 73 of the 2nd volume of al-Hawi, Rhazes has mentioned points about eye cancer. Also in pages 72-75 of the 3rd volume, he has written about nose cancer and in pages 11-14 and 89-100 of the 7th volume of this book he has discussed breast cancer and liver cancer, respectively.
In page 11 of the 8th volume and pages 297-314 of the 11th volume of al-Hawi some issues about intestinal and uterus cancers have been provided, respectively.3. He recorded his medicinal attempts in Hidayat al-Muta'allimin fi al-Tibb (An Educational Guide for Medicinal Students) (Figure 1). Akhaweyni has assigned a chapter of his book “Hidayat al-Muta'allimin fi al-Tibb” to cancer He states that cancer is curable during its early stages and its surgery and cutting should be performed when possible.
However, incomplete cutting or cauterization of a tumor is never suggested as it might cause the patient's death.When cancerous tumor is formed following warm swellings, treatment or stopping its progression is possible. It will then begin to grow gradually and reaches to the size of a walnut or larger and becomes hard and a bit warm.
The primary treatment measures include venesection, black bile purgation, consumption of easily digestible foods (such as chicken meat, lamb meat, fresh milk and almond oil) and application of cooling drugs such as ispaghula (Plantago ispaghula Roxb.), tin oxide, basic carbonate of lead, vinegar and red Armenian bole, which prevent the progression and injury of the tumor.
The characteristic of pus secreted from ulcerative cancerous tumors is its dark color, stinky smell and black or red openings [9]. Akhaweyni has also mentioned the signs and treatment methods of uterine cancer in page 537 of his book.4. AhwaziAhwazi is the author of the valuable book Kamel al-Sina'ah al-Tibbiyah (Complete Book of the Medical Art) or al-Maliki (Figure 1).
The first ten deal with the theory of medicine and its divisions and also types of tempers, elements, humors, anatomy, physiology, general principles of hygiene, diseases and their divisions, types of pulses, kinds of fevers, symptoms of diseases cap-a-pie and subjects on the period and consequences of diseases.
The second ten contain topics on health and hygiene care, introductions to all kinds of therapeutic methods, treatment of different types of fevers, dermatologic ailments, all kinds of bites and poisonings, headaches and psychological diseases, respiratory diseases, heart diseases, gastrointestinal diseases, and urogenital diseases, a complete course on surgery and orthopedics, and finally a course on pharmacology and pharmaceutics. The Latin translation was published three times in Europe and the Arabic text was printed in Bulaq, Egypt [2, 3, 4, 7]. Ahwazi has described cancer as a kind of swelling that is formed by black bile and in case of progression, has no treatment and is not recoverable.
If cancer has not affected a sensitive organ, it should be eradicated but if the affected organ is a sensitive and vital, one which is not possible to be cut, performing surgery will injure the tumor and change it to a non-healing wound.
Manipulation and surgical operation of cancerous tumors is risky and dangerous as there may be large vessels and arteries in the affected organ which cause cancer metastasis to sensitive and vital organs. Besides, closing such vessels and arteries might cause metastasis to the sensitive organs from which these vessels have originated. If the cancerous swelling is diagnosed at its early developmental stages and other conditions such as age, temper and etc are favorable, the adjacent vessel should be venesected. If the patient is female, menstruation-inducing drugs should be administered before any other measure.

Once the menstrual period is induced, the body should be cleaned up by means of administering black bile purgatives such as dodder and white agaric (Polyporus officinalis Fries) etc.
An important note in this regard is that the aforementioned drugs should be administered repeatedly (not just 1-2 times) in order to cleanse the body from black bile.
After complete cleansing of the body from black bile, appropriate measures (with moderate to wet nature) should be taken to relieve the violence and pungency of black bile until proper blood is produced in the body. In addition, the patient should live in regions with moderate climate and use foods with good chyme such as blite (Amaranthus blitum L.) and pumpkin. After cleansing the body from black bile, especially if cheese whey or dodder were used, drugs with moderate lytic activity should be applied. One such a drug is zinc oxide which has the following formula:Equal amounts of powdered and washed Kermanian zinc oxide, litharge of lead and lead basic carbonate are mixed, gently pulverized and filtered through a silk cloth.
Then, the powder and oil phase are mixed to obtain the balm.Yellow vitriol balm, cinnabar (mercuric sulphide) balm and apostles’ ointment are other topical medications that could be used for the treatment of cancer and other indurated swellings. Drugs with mild lytic activity are not effective against black bile as this bile is very thick.
It is better to pulverize common houseleek and rose oil along with the above components [10]. The witness for this claim is his books: al-Shifa (The Recovery), al-Esharat wa al-Tanbihat (Remarks and admonitions), al-Naajat (Book of Salvation), Uyun al-Hikmah (Principles of Wisdom) and Daneshnameh-e-Alaii (Alaii’s Encyclopaedia). Avicenna further wrote about 61 books and treaties in medical science including al-Adawiyah al-Qalbiyah (Cardiac Drugs), al-Orjozah fi al-Tibb (A Poethical Book in Medicine), al-Tashrih (Anatomy), al-Vasayah (Testament), and Resaleh Judiyah.
Avicenna’s masterpiece is the book of “al-Qanun fi al-Tibb” (The Canon of Medicine) (Figure 1) which is the mother book of medicine in the eastern and western worlds [2-7]. Canon comprises 5 major books each divided into some arts, tuitions, sentences and chapters.The first book of Canon discusses the concept of medicine, particularly the medicine extent and its subjects and also topics around humors, tempers, elements, organs, spirits, functions, and powers.
Themes on diseases and their etiology, hygiene, and finally general guides to treatment are also mentioned.
The second book is assigned to simple drugs and includes about 800 mineral, herbal, and animal based medicinal materials. The drugs are ordered alphabetically (Abjad), and in each drug monograph, the manner, characteristics, the best type of drugs, nature, application, properties and indication are mentioned.
The fourth book offers ways to cure general diseases such as fevers and edema, and also includes orthopedics, toxicology, and cosmetic and hygienic products The fifth and final book which is allocated to compound drugs is called Qarabadin and represents properties and recipes to make all kinds of pills, mixtures, powders, syrups, suppositories, tablets, and so on.There have been numerous expositions of whole Canon or its parts and it has been summarized many times.
From his point of view, cancer is a kind of black bile swelling, which is caused by the black bile resulting from burning of the yellow bile. After mentioning differential characteristics of cancer and scirrhus, he adds that cancer frequently affects hollow organs and for this reason, its prevalence is higher among females. Initially, cancer is the size of a broad bean or smaller, hard, spherical, dark and slightly warm.
Some types of cancer are accompanied by severe pain, while others have mild pain, and some are painless. Some cancers are prone to ulceration but in some cases, ulcerative cancer could become non-ulcerative. Naming of this disease as cancer (crab) might be due to the similarity between the shape of a cancerous tumor affecting an organ and a crab with its prey.
The appellation may be also due to the sphericity and darkness of tumor and origination of vessels from its surroundings which resembles crab’s feet.An important point in the treatment of cancer is that the progression and ulceration of cancerous tumor should be prevented as far as possible. Although some types of cancer could be treated during early stages of development, there is no possibility for the treatment of advanced cancers. In these cases, as Hippocrates mentions, its irritation should be strictly avoided as it might lead to death.
In contrast, when left untreated, the patient would have a longer life, especially if appropriate foods such as beer, soft-boiled egg yolk, and small river fishes are consumed. If so, the tumor should be eradicated and some parts of adjacent normal tissues should also be excised in order to cut all tumor-feeding vessels. After cutting the cancerous tumor, bleeding should be allowed until large blood volumes come out of the body.
Of course, purgation and venesection should have already been performed to cleanse the body from carcinogenic substances. Body cleansing should be performed by using proper foods (from both qualitative and quantitative aspects) in order to prepare the organ for cutting. However, if the cancerous tumor has come close to sensitive and vital organs, cauterization may be very dangerous. It has been quoted that a physician excised the cancerous breast of a woman but after a short time, her other breast became cancerous.
For the purpose of purgation, either the mixture of dodder (18.75 g) and cheese whey or honey syrup, or decoction of dodder in oxymel should be administered once every few days. Administration of topical anti-cancer drugs is performed to achieve the following 4 goals: 1. Drugs that are used for the eradication of cancer should be able to lyse the carcinogen and facilitate excretion of the lysed carcinogen present in the cancerous organ.
These drugs should not be strong or irritant because strong drugs increase cancer’s malignancy. Another requisite for these drugs is lack of caustic and irritant effects and lack of caustic taste.
In order to prevent growth and progression of cancer, the drug should reach the tumor’s body. On the other hand, modification of food and organ strengthening should be performed to prevent cancer progression. For this latter purpose, topical application of the following drugs is very beneficial: powdered grinding stone or knife grinder stone, liquid obtained from pulverization of lead in rose oil or coriander juice, and salving with unripe grape powder. Drugs that are administered for the prevention of tumor ulceration are also effective in halting tumor progression provided that they do not cause irritation. These drugs are especially effective if administered in combination with the liquid obtained from lead pulverization.
The aforementioned drugs include sealing clay, red Armenian bole, unripe olive oil, common houseleek juice, basic carbonate of lead with L. Another drug for this purpose, which is among the best ones, is the poultice prepared from mashed fresh caught river crab especially with litharge of gold or silver. If the cancerous wound is wet, the powder should be sprinkled but if the wound is dry, the powder should be mixed with rose oil and converted to balm before application.
Topical application of the mixture prepared from crab ash and ghiroty (mixture of wax and rose oil) is also useful. His biggest treasure is the detailed book of Zakhireh Khaarazmshahi (Treasure of Khaarazmshah) (Figure 1). Jorjani wrote a summary of the Zakhireh named al-Aqraz al-Tibbiah wa al-Mabaheth al-Alaiah (Medical Goals and Alaaiyeh’s Discussions). The first offers an introduction to medicine, the second book is about public health, the third one discusses disease treatment cap-a-pie, the forth book comprises simple drugs and finally the fifth book is assigned to evaluation of compound drugs. The photo-print of al-Aqraz al- Tibbiah was published in 1966 by the Iranian Culture Foundation. Tadjbakhsh and published by Tehran University press in 2006.The third book of Jorjani in medicine is named “Khofi Alaii” (Alaaii’s hidden book), which is an abbreviated medical text and has two parts.
It was also published with valuable footnotes and descriptions by Etela’at Institute located in Tehran. The forth book of Jorjani namely “Yadegar” (The Keepsake) is an extract text and codified in five parts.
The first part has 17 chapters, the second includes 30 chapters, the third contains 2 chapters, the forth is comprised of 11 chapters and finally the fifth is inclusive of 3 chapters.
Mohaghegh and published by the Institute of Islamic Studies in Tehran in 2003.One of Jorjani’s essays is “Zobdat al-Tibb” (Selected Topics in Medicine). This book has not been printed yet [3, 4, 6, 7].Jorjani has assigned part of Zakhireh to cancer [12].
In his point of view, cancer is a kind of black bile swelling which is, unlike scirrhus, accompanied by pain, pulsation, inflammation and angiogenesis. These characteristics could be applied for the differential diagnosis of cancer from scirrhus. Cancer is frequently formed in soft and porous organs and for this reason, it mainly affects breast and innervated organs (such as uterus) in females, and throat, larynx, testicles and penis in males. On the other hand, upon progression and appearance of clinical manifestations, treatment of cancer would be difficult.
Cancerous tumor is initially hard, dark colored, slightly warm and in the size of a broad bean or smaller. In some occasions, application of appropriate drugs would prevent the ulceration of susceptible tumors. In contrast, some cancerous tumors that are not prone to ulceration would be ulcerated following the administration of some drugs.Jorjani has mentioned that stabilization and prevention of cancer progression should be attempted.
If treatment is started during early stages of cancer development, recovery is possible but advanced cancers are not treatable.
In most cases, development and progression of cancer in visceral organs is a gradual process. For such cases, manipulation and treatment of tumor should be avoided as these may cause irritation and progression of the disease and eventually lead to the shortening of the patient's life. Conversely, lack of manipulation, using appropriate diets and timely evacuation would increase the longevity of patients. In cases with high temperature, administration of fresh cow's dough (prepared after isolation of butter) is beneficial. In some occasions, small cancerous tumors which are distant from vital organs may be removed via surgery.
If so, the tumor should be cut from its origin and some parts of adjacent normal tissues should be cut as well. It must be noted that cutting the tumor may be perilous in the majority of cases.To treat the aforementioned complication, the body must first be cleansed from black bile. For this purpose, 13.36 g of dodder in cheese whey or honey syrup is administered once every few days. Among mineral drugs, washed zinc oxide is beneficial especially if rubbed with rose oil on the tumor. Likewise, rubbing the liquid obtained from pulverization of lead pieces in chicory juice, coriander juice or lettuce extract on tumor could prevent its enlargement and ulceration. Other useful medications include poultices of basic lead carbonate, aloe, red Armenian bole, sealing clay, common houseleek extract and ispaghula mucilage. 562-563) of his book, Jorjani has explained the signs and treatment methods of uterine cancer as well as effective drugs against this type of cancer.7.
ConclusionsThe common point of all assessed books in the present review is the pivotal role of black bile in the development of cancer. Therefore, all listed physicians have insisted on the prominent impact of black bile purgatives in cancer therapy. All evaluated medical books implied that in case of advanced cancers with progression (metastasis) to other tissues, organectomy is the only therapeutic measure, followed by eradication of all cancer roots and adjacent vessels. Finally, all physicians mentioned in the present review consistently relied on the use of herbal medicine for the treatment of cancer or halting its progression (Table 1). It is greatly recommended that further research be undertaken to explore the contents of modern scientific literature on the ant-cancer properties of medicinal plants mentioned in the major books of Islamic traditional medicine (Figure 2).

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