Traditional Iranian medicine: The use of the Canon of medicine by Avicenna to treat ascites
Jamileh Jafari Mahdavi
Mohammad Javad Ehsani
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© 2015. Introduction: Ascites is a common problem in clinical medicine, which may be the initial manifestation of a systemic disease such as heart failure or cirrhosis, or may appear without any obvious underlying disease. Drug treatments, including diuretics have been associated with many side effects, and non-drug treatments such as paracentesis and liver transplantation, apart from a high economic burden, are associated with many problems. The aim of this study was to explore the potential non diuretic therapies that could be used for the treatment of ascites using the ancient canon of medicine by Avicenna. Methods: The Canon of Avicenna, a famous Iranian medicine text (980-1037 AD) was comprehensively searched and the etiology, signs and symptoms and treatment of ascites were identified. Results: The theories and treatments found in the Avicenna, Canon of Medicine suggests that it can be used for the treatment of ascites, including; the treatment of underlying disease, reducing the ascites fluids using diuretics and non-diuretics and also by providing a hepatoprotective effect which can improve liver function by using life style modific ation and dietary intervention. Conclusions: Considering the high prevalence and burden of diseases causing ascites, familiarity with the steps using Avicenna treatment can be valuable and useful in the treatment of ascites, especially for cirrhotic patients. Confirmation of its use will need clinical trials.