History of Homoeopathy in Iran

By Soroush Ebrahimi

First Time Around
I remember many years ago as a child listening to a conversation among some adults about healthcare. One started to talk about the old practitioners and ‘healers’, some of whom he regarded as behaving as charlatans – “These charlatans would listen to the patient for a few minutes, then go into their back room and bring out a white pill and give it to the patient and send them away. These crooks would give the same white pill to every patient!”

Only when I started to study Homoeopathy did I realise that the conversation was in fact referring to Homoeopaths! It is interesting that I should remember such story after such a long time and it means that the practise of homoeopathy in Iran goes back some years.
During the summer of 1995 I met up with an old distant relative and when I explained what I was studying, he said that he could remember his father preparing medication in the manner (trituration) which I had explained to him. Sadly by the summer of 1998 both he and his brother had passed away and I could not find out more about how their father had practised.
Obviously, Homoeopathy must have been practised in Iran for many years before it was pushed aside by allopathy. So I decided to seek its roots during my short visit to Iran in the summer of 1998.

I met with Prof. Musa Zhaam who is the retired Chair of the Faculty of Pharmacy at Tabriz University. Prof. Zhaam, who is in his 90’s, has been retired for many years but has used Homoeopathy and has an extensive library of book on Homoeopathy. He is in fact the author of a book in Farsi on the basic principles of Homoeopathy titled “The Secrets of Homoeopathy” and published in Pakistan. He lent to me a couple of books on Homoeopathy and Schusler’s salts that had been translated from English to Farsi and published in India.
Prof. Zhaam went to Tabriz University Department of Chemistry in the 1930’s. He gave me a brief history of the main personalities that he could remember.

Dr Hassan Baharmand had worked in Iran as a homoeopath from about 1920. He had obtained a Diploma in Homoeopathy from India. A homoeopath had treated his father and so he had decided to learn himself. He worked officially as a physician and had become the chief of Tehran Health Centre and had a practice near the British Embassy. He had in fact treated Reza Shah (King) who was the father of the last shah of Iran (Reza Shah died in 1940 having been exiled by the British to Morris Islands). Dr Baharmand had apparently dreamt Hahnemann who had said to him “You will live to the age of 84 like me” – and he died aged 84!
Another contributor to early Iranian Homoeopathy was Dr Tabibi. (Tabib means doctor in Arabic, so his father at least must have been a doctor). He was again trained in India and obtained his Diploma in Homoeopathy and opened offices in Tehran to practise Homoeopathy. He lived to a ripe age of 97!

One of Prof. Zhaam’s students by the name of Amir Parviz Kamali had trained in Tabriz Medical School. Prof. Zhaam ‘ordered’ him to go and learn Homoeopathy as well as acupuncture. He started to practise in Tehran in a house and garden that was near the Parliament and had been donated to Homoeopathy! He had a busy practise treating drug addicts. Dr Eskandari, now in his 70’s, also practised there.
I asked Prof. Zhaam how he had become involved in Homoeopathy. He said that before the Second World War a Prof. Oberlin (French national of German origin) had started the Medical School of Tehran University. Reza Shah issued an edict that another Medical School should be set-up in Tabriz (Capital of the Iranian Azarbayejan). Prof. Zhaam, a chemistry specialist, was one of 10 lecturers selected to form the foundation core of the new university. About 1938 Prof. Oberlin went back to Paris and started to suffer from severe abdominal pains, which after 6 months became unbearable.

Apparently appendicitis was suspected but when they operated it was found that he was riddled with cancer and he sadly died on the operating table. This was of great interest because Prof. Oberlin was a world renowned cancer specialist of his time. Sadly Dr Habibi who had been left in charge of the department died some 6 months later from a heart attack.
Prof. Zhaam then started to wonder why doctors were unable to treat themselves properly and started to communicate with different schools of alternative medical treatment including Homoeopathy. In the process he translated a number of books into Farsi.
Dr Kazem Ali Rasa also trained in Tabriz and then went and studied in India and Pakistan and finally settled in Pakistan. He translated many books into Farsi from English and published magazines and booklets in Urdu* to promote homoeopathy. (Please also see Memory of Water below).

It is rather sad that apparently none of these Iranian homoeopaths took it upon themselves to formally teach the Homoeopathic Healing Art to others in Iran and therefore its use in Iran was stunted and never developed to the extent one observes in India and Pakistan.
In a book [4] written in 1973 by one of my distant relatives – Sarkar Agha Abdul-Reza Ebrahimi (of the Sheikhi School of Thought) in response to a question from Prof. Zhaam, there is a reference to homoeopathy and memory of water.
Sarkar Agha Abdul-Reza Ebrahimi was a high ranking Muslim cleric and a sage but was sadly assassinated in 1980 (just after the Iranian Revolution). The book is titled “Two Epistles in response to Mr Musa Zhaam and Mr Mehdi Rismanforoosh. Published on 8th July 1973, the part in response to Prof. Zhaam is the section that is of particular interest.

Memory of water
Prof. Zhaam had come across a story covering an instance of high dilution in a book in Urdu by the title of ‘The History of True Medicine – From Adam to this Instant’, by an Iranian Homoeopath living in Karachi by the name of Dr Kazem Ali Rasa* – Published by Day Hiller Homoeopathic Educational Company Ltd – Haydarabad, India. Prof. Zhaam had quoted from this book to Sarkar Agha Abdul-Reza Ebrahimi and sought his opinion.
The story reads as follows:
“Maamoon son Harun Arrashid (of the 1001 nights) had complained before Imam Ali son of Musa, AlRedha that, “When I leave my capital Tus and go elsewhere, it seems that the water from these places has an adverse effect on my health. The Imam recommended to him to do as follows: Fill a water container from Tus and use it as you go on but never let it become completely empty and fill it with water from each place you stop at. In this way the property of Tus’s water will remain even if you fill it from 50 other places.”
Last Updated ( Saturday, 12 June 2010 02:21 )

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