Alcohol Abuse, Consequences and Treatments from the Perspective of Traditional Iranian Medicine: A Review Study

Document Type : Review Article(s)


1 Neurosciences Research Center, Institute of Neuropharmacology AND Department of Traditional Medicine, School of Traditional Iranian Medicine, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran

2 Neuroscience institute, Traditional Iranian medicine Faculty, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran


Background: Alcohol use has always been prevalent in human societies, but in many Muslim-majority countries, including Iran, national laws prohibit the consumption of this substance. Methods: In this study, reference books on traditional Iranian medicine and electronic documents from Google Scholar, PubMed, and Scopus were searched for entries about the consequences and treatments of alcohol abuse. Findings: Seminal books of traditional Iranian medicine refer to alcoholic beverages using two terms, namely, “khamr” and “sharâb” (wine). These sources indicate that the temperament of “sharâb” is generally warm but may vary depending on color, taste, concentration, and age. Traditional Iranian medicine views wine as a cause of multiple adverse effects on health. Conclusion: Traditional Iranian medicine advocates the beliefs that no level of alcohol use is beneficial for health and that physicians should advise against alcohol consumption even in small amounts. Scholars of indigenous medical practices have long been opposed to the adoption of wine as a remedy or otherwise, as they believe that the benefits of alcohol are dwarfed by its harmful effects.


1. Room R, Babor T, Rehm J. Alcohol and public health. Lancet 2005; 365(9458): 519-30.
2. Griswold MG, Fullman N, Hawley C, Arian N, Zimsen SR, Tymeson HD, et al. Alcohol use and burden for 195 countries and territories, 1990-2016: A systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016. Lancet 2018; 392(10152): 1015-35.
3. Roshanpajouh M. A comparative review on national alcohol prevention policies in different selected countries. Asia Pac J Med Toxicol 2014; 3(Supplement 1): 22.
4. Axley PD, Richardson CT, Singal AK. Epidemiology of alcohol consumption and societal burden of alcoholism and alcoholic liver disease. Clin Liver Dis 2019; 23(1): 39-50.
5. Connor JP, Haber PS, Hall WD. Alcohol use disorders. Lancet 2016; 387(10022): 988-98.
6. Peacock A, Leung J, Larney S, Colledge S, Hickman M, Rehm J, et al. Global statistics on alcohol, tobacco and illicit drug use: 2017 status report. Addiction 2018; 113(10): 1905-26.
7. Sandoval JL, Leao T, Theler JM, Favrod-Coune T, Broers B, Gaspoz JM, et al. Alcohol control policies and socioeconomic inequalities in hazardous alcohol consumption: A 22-year cross-sectional study in a Swiss urban population. BMJ Open 2019; 9(5): e028971.
8. Momtazi S, Rawson R. Substance abuse among Iranian high school students. Curr Opin Psychiatry 2010; 23(3): 221-6.
9. Eskandarieh S, Hajebi A, Noroozi A, Haghdoost AA, Baneshi MR. Epidemiology of alcohol abuse in Iran. Asia Pac J Med Toxicol 2014; 3(Supplement 1): 22.
10. Nakhaee N, Ziaaddini H, Karimzadeh A. Epidemiologic study on drug abuse among first and second grade high school students in Kerman. Addict Health 2009; 1(1): 31-6.
11. Tergas AI, Wright JD. Cancer prevention strategies for women. Obstet Gynecol 2019; 134(1): 30-43.
12. McGee EE, Kiblawi R, Playdon MC, Eliassen AH. Nutritional metabolomics in cancer epidemiology: current trends, challenges, and future directions. Curr Nutr Rep 2019.
13. Praud D, Rota M, Rehm J, Shield K, Zatonski W, Hashibe M, et al. Cancer incidence and mortality attributable to alcohol consumption. Int J Cancer 2016; 138(6): 1380-7.
14. Assi N, Rinaldi S, Viallon V, Dashti SG, Dossus L, Fournier A, et al. Mediation analysis of the alcohol-postmenopausal breast cancer relationship by sex hormones in the EPIC cohort. Int J Cancer 2019. [Epub ahead of print].
15. Bagnardi V, Rota M, Botteri E, Tramacere I, Islami F, Fedirko V, et al. Alcohol consumption and site-
Traditional Iranian Medicine and Alcohol Moghadari et al.
Addict Health, Summer 2019; Vol 11, No 3 199, 06 July
specific cancer risk: A comprehensive dose-response meta-analysis. Br J Cancer 2015; 112(3): 580-93.
16. Rehm J, Soerjomataram I, Ferreira-Borges C, Shield KD. Does alcohol use affect cancer risk? Curr Nutr Rep 2019. [Epub ahead of print].
17. Peng Q, Chen H, Huo JR. Alcohol consumption and corresponding factors: A novel perspective on the risk factors of esophageal cancer. Oncol Lett 2016; 11(5): 3231-9.
18. Ma K, Baloch Z, He TT, Xia X. Alcohol consumption and gastric cancer risk: A meta-analysis. Med Sci Monit 2017; 23: 238-46.
19. Chuang SC, Lee YC, Wu GJ, Straif K, Hashibe M. Alcohol consumption and liver cancer risk: A meta-analysis. Cancer Causes Control 2015; 26(9): 1205-31.
20. Alvarez-Avellon SM, Fernandez-Somoano A, Navarrete-Munoz EM, Vioque J, Tardon A. Effect of alcohol and its metabolites in lung cancer: CAPUA study. Med Clin (Barc) 2017; 148(12): 531-8.
21. Yeligar SM, Chen MM, Kovacs EJ, Sisson JH, Burnham EL, Brown LA. Alcohol and lung injury and immunity. Alcohol 2016; 55: 51-9.
22. Ogunmoroti O, Osibogun O, McClelland RL, Burke GL, Nasir K, Michos ED. Alcohol and ideal cardiovascular health: The multi-ethnic study of atherosclerosis. Clin Cardiol 2019; 42(1): 151-8.
23. Messerli FH, Neagoe A, Messerli AW. The alcohol blood pressure paradox. Eur Heart J 2019; 40(9): 711-2.
24. Vogel RA. Alcohol, heart disease, and mortality: A review. Rev Cardiovasc Med 2002; 3(1): 7-13.
25. Waja T, Ebrahim J, Yohannis Z, Bedaso A. Prevalence of alcohol use disorders and associated factors among people with epilepsy attending Amanuel Mental Specialized Hospital, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat 2016; 12: 2989-96.
26. Fu X, Guo Z, Gao C, Chu Q, Li J, Ma H, et al. Long-term alcohol-induced activation of mammalian target of rapamycin is a key risk factor of epilepsy. Med Sci Monit 2016; 22: 3975-80.
27. Schwarzinger M, Pollock BG, Hasan OSM, Dufouil C, Rehm J. Contribution of alcohol use disorders to the burden of dementia in France 2008-13: A nationwide retrospective cohort study. Lancet Public Health 2018; 3(3): e124-e132.
28. Danzo S, Connell AM, Stormshak EA. Associations between alcohol-use and depression symptoms in adolescence: Examining gender differences and pathways over time. J Adolesc 2017; 56: 64-74.
29. Taylor B, Irving HM, Kanteres F, Room R, Borges G, Cherpitel C, et al. The more you drink, the harder you fall: A systematic review and meta-analysis of how acute alcohol consumption and injury or
collision risk increase together. Drug Alcohol Depend 2010; 110(1-2): 108-16.
30. Martin JL, Gadegbeku B, Wu D, Viallon V, Laumon B. Cannabis, alcohol and fatal road accidents. PLoS One 2017; 12(11): e0187320.
31. Peden AE, Franklin RC, Leggat PA. Alcohol and its contributory role in fatal drowning in Australian rivers, 2002-2012. Accid Anal Prev 2017; 98: 259-65.
32. Driscoll TR, Harrison JE, Steenkamp M. Alcohol and drowning in Australia. Inj Control Saf Promot 2004; 11(3): 175-81.
33. Spies C, Tonnesen H, Andreasson S, Helander A, Conigrave K. Perioperative morbidity and mortality in chronic alcoholic patients. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 2001; 25(5 Suppl ISBRA): 164S-70S.
34. Hammer AM, Khan OM, Morris NL, Li X, Movtchan NV, Cannon AR, et al. The effects of alcohol intoxication and burn injury on the expression of claudins and mucins in the small and large intestines. Shock 2016; 45(1): 73-81.
35. World Health Organization. WHO traditional medicine strategy: 2014-2023 [Online]. [cited 2013 Dec]; Available from: URL:
36. Pal SK, Shukla Y. Herbal medicine: current status and the future. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev 2003; 4(4): 281-8.
37. Naseri M. Health village. 2nd ed. Tehran, Iran: Traditional and Supplemental Medicine Publications; 2009.p. 25-30. [In Persian].
38. Ibn Sina. Al-Qanun Fi Al-Tibb. Beirut, Lebanon: Dar Ehya Al-Turath Al-Arabi; 2005. [In Arabic].
39. Chashti MA. Exir-e Azam. Tehran, Iran: Research Institute for Islamic and Complementary Medicine, Iran University of Medical Sciences; 2008. [In Persian].
40. Arzani Dehlavi MA. Mofareh Al-Gholoob. Tehran, Iran: Almaei Publications; 2012. [In Persian].
41. Aghili Khorasani MH. Makhzan Al-Adviyeh. Tehran, Iran: Research Institute for Islamic and Complementary Medicine, Iran University of Medical Sciences; 2013. [In Persian].
42. Tonekaboni SMM. Tohfe Al-Momenin. Tehran, Iran: Traditional Medicine and Materia Medica Research Center, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences; 2008. [In Persian].
43. Jurjani E. Zakhire Kharazmshahi. Tehran, Iran: Bonyad-e Farhang-e Iran; 1976. [In Persian].
44. Aghili Khorasani MH. Kholase-Al-Hekma. Qom, Iran: Research Institute for Islamic and Complementary Medicine; 2007. [In Persian].
45. Aghili Khorasani MH. Qarabadin-e Kabir. Tehran, Iran: Safire Ardehal Publications; 2015. [In Persian].
46. Dehkhoda AA. Dehkhoda Dictionary. Tehran, Iran.
Traditional Iranian Medicine and Alcohol Moghadari et al.
200 Addict Health, Summer 2019; Vol 11, No 3, 06 July
University of Tehran Press; 1998. [In Persian].
47. Naseri M, Rezaeizadeh H, Choopani R, Anoushirvani M. A review of the generalities of traditional Iranian medicine. 5th ed. Tehran, Iran: Traditional Iranian Medicine Publications; 2012. [In Persian].
48. Arzani MA. Teb-e-Akbari. Tehran, Iran: Research Institute for Islamic and Complementary Medicine; 2008. [In Persian].
49. Burton R, Sheron N. No level of alcohol consumption improves health. Lancet 2018; 392(10152): 987-8.