Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research (2004): Supplement 2:
2nd International Congress on Traditional Medicine and Materia Medica
Tuberculosis & traditional medicine: fighting the oldest infectious disease, using the oldest source of medicine
Kobarfard F.1, Velayati A.2, Mosaddegh M.3, Massjedi M.R.2, Farnia P.2
1School of Pharmacy; 2National Research Institute of Tuberculosis & Lung Diseases (NRITLD); 3Traditional Medicine and Materia Medica Research Center (TMRC); Shaheed Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
It is believed that tuberculosis has been killing human beings for over 4000 years. Several reports exist of ancient Egyptian mummies having signs of tubercular decay in their bodies. After the discovery of powerful anti-TB drugs such as streptomycin, isoniazid and rifampin during 1940-70s, it was thought that TB would be gone from the face of the earth, but tuberculosis still remains one of the biggest killer of human beings throughout the world. In fact the fall in human TB deaths that started in 1940s, leveled off in the late 1980s due to the emergence of AIDS and multi-drug-resistant TB. This resurgence of the disease calls for the discovery of new drugs and remedies.
From the historical point of view, medicinal plants had been the oldest source of medicines. Some of the most effective drugs such as digoxin and morphine have their roots in the nature and traditional medicine continues to play an important role in health services.
Due to its ecological diversity, Iran has distinctive medicinal plants growing in different parts of the country. On the other hand there are hundreds of documented native medicinal plants utilized by traditional practitioners who had lived in Iran in centuries ago and their records could be used as a priceless source of information.
In Traditional Medicine & Materia Medica Research Center (TMRC), we have launched a nationwide screening progam in colaboration with National Research Institute of Tuberculosis & Lung Diseases (NRITLD) for the identification of novel anti-TB agents in medicinal plants. We consider this program as a battlefield for traditional medicine against tuberculosis.