Alopecia Areata from the Perspective of Traditional Persian Medicine

Document Type: Original Article


1 Department of Traditional Persian Medicine, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

2 Research Center of Traditional Persian Medicine and History of Medicine, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran


Alopecia areata is a dermatologic disorder which presents itself with sudden and patchy hair loss. The aim of this study is to assess the issues related to the similar condition in ancient manuscripts of Traditional Persian Medicine. This is a descriptive review study in which a number of well-known traditional Persian manuscripts such as; Kamil Al-Sina’A Al-Tibbiyyaby Al-Majusi, ‘Ali ibn al-’Abbas(10 th century C.E.), Cannon of Medicine by Avicenna (10th -11 th century C.E.), Sharh al-Asbab wa al-Alamatby Nafis ibn Aiwaz Kirmani(14 th -15 th century C.E.), Mofarrah-al-gholooband Tebb-e-Akbariboth by Hakim Mohammad Akbar Arzani(17 th -18th century C.E.) and Exir-e-Azamby Hakim Mohammad Azam Khan (19th century C.E.) are assessed. Traditional Persian scholars paid a special attention to hair and skin diseases, and as a temperamental medicine, the disease diagnosis and treatment were categorized in one of the subtitles of hair loss named Da-ol-Saelab. As a Traditional Persian Medicine point of view, the first step in treatment is to diagnose the responsible humor for the ailment from the patient’s symptoms and signs and then, to try to expel it. The general approach adopted by most Iranian traditional physicians include: general cleansing of the body, cleansing of the involved organ (i.e. brain) and finally cleansing the affected skin, stimulating hair regrowth and correcting the patient’s diet. This study states that Persian traditional physicians were probably aware of the disease which today is known as “Alopecia areata”. Obviously, the viewpoint of Traditional Persian Medicine differs from the conventional one, but it seems the experiences of traditional physicians used for many years, the research and comparative analysis with current methods could help us improve treatment methods.