Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Anesthesia and Pain Relief in the History of Islamic Medicine

. 2016 May; 41(3): S21.
PMCID: PMC4955306

1Research Center for Traditional Medicine and History of Medicine, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran
2Department of Traditional Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran
3Department of History of Medicine, Student Research Committee, Faculty of paramedical, Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences, Sari, Iran
4Department of Traditional Pharmacy, Faculty of pharmacy, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran



Since diseases and surgeries could be very painful, the annihilation of pain has been the most important goal of physicians. The history of Iranian-Islamic medicine includes distinguished physicians that attempted to find different methods of anesthesia. This research aims at reviewing approaches for anesthesia throughout the history of the Iranian-Islamic medicine, in order to identify a variety of drugs used during that period.


In this research, the information was mainly collected from medical history, traditional literature and various search engines (e.g. Google Scholar, PubMed, Medline, Scopus, SIDS and NoorMags). The search keywords were Anesthetic, Tbnj (sedation), Tnvym (sedative), and Hypnotic. Finally, a detailed analytical study was performed on all notes and the results were presented.


Mohammad Ibn-Zakaria Al-Razi (known to the Western world as Razes) in the 10th century was the first physician who used general inhalation for anesthesia in surgeries. Drugs used to relieve pain and anesthesia can be divided into two categories: (i) single drug and (ii) compound drugs. Usually, these are consumed by eating, drinking, inhalation, or as topical. Drugs such as Hemlock, Mandrake, Henbane, Hyocyamus, Mandragora, Loiseuria, Opium Poppy, and Black Nightshade were used. Beyond these herbs, Aghili (18th century) in his book “Makhzan al-adviyah” also explained the topical application of ice for pain management. The choice for the type of medication and its form of consumption is commensurate to pain and the speed by which the drug has an effect. Anesthesia was usually done in two ways: (i) using a substance called “Mokhader” which was consumed via the mouth or nose, and (ii) “Tnvym” which means putting a patient to sleep to block the sensation of pain. Typically, anesthesia methods and drug recipes were kept as secret to prevent misuse and abuse by unauthorized people.


Based on our study, Islamic physicians proposed inspiring methods in using drugs for anesthesia, which in turn greatly contributed to the Iranian-Islamic civilization.
Keywords: Anesthesia, Pain, History of Medicine, Medicine, Traditional