• Users Online: 127
  • Home
  • Print this page
  • Email this page
Home About us Editorial board Ahead of print Browse Articles Search Archives Submit article Instructions Subscribe Contacts Login 

 Table of Contents  
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 35

Air pollution: Avicenna's concept

1 Department of Iranian Traditional Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Shahed University, Tehran, Iran
2 Traditional Medicine Clinical Trial Research Center, Shahed University, Tehran, Iran
3 Department of Pharmacognosy, School of Pharmacy, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
4 Department of History of Medicine, School of Traditional Medicine, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
5 Department of Traditional Medicine, School of Medicine, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran

Date of Submission12-Aug-2015
Date of Acceptance27-Nov-2015
Date of Web Publication08-Feb-2016

Correspondence Address:
Mohsen Naseri
Traditional Medicine Clinical Trial Research Center, Shahed University, Tehran
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2008-7802.175995

Rights and Permissions

How to cite this article:
Babaeian M, Naseri M, Kamalinejad M, Ghaffari F, Mazaheri M. Air pollution: Avicenna's concept . Int J Prev Med 2016;7:35

How to cite this URL:
Babaeian M, Naseri M, Kamalinejad M, Ghaffari F, Mazaheri M. Air pollution: Avicenna's concept . Int J Prev Med [serial online] 2016 [cited 2021 Oct 17];7:35. Available from: https://www.ijpvmjournal.net/text.asp?2016/7/1/35/175995

Dear editor,

Exposome, a term used by scientists, refers to the study of various environmental factors and body factors affecting our health from birth to death. [1],[2] A main environmental factor is the air polluted by gases and particles of different sizes. This claims the lives of about 7 million people in the world every year. [3] Furthermore, studies in 2010 show particles in the air ranked ninth on the list of the most pathogenic risk factors. [4] Polluted air may cause a variety of cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, psychological, and chronic health problems such as hypertension, diabetes, and cancer. [5],[6],[7]

Abu- Ali- Husain- Ibn- Abdollah- Ibn- Sina (Avicenna) (980-1073 AD), the famous Iranian scientist whose noted work in medicine entitled, "Canon of Medicine," has speculations on air and its effects on human health very much similar to those found in modern medicine. [8],[9]

He believes that healthy air is the base of life energy of human life. He reckons that air changes occur in two forms: Quality and components. Air quality relates to hotness, coldness, dryness, and wetness, while changes in air components are called changes in the nature of air. Avicenna believes that there are four air disorders, namely thick, smoky, opaque, and pathogenic air disorders. Each type differs from others in terms of its pathogenic effect and type, size, and density of its particles. According to his view, polluted air could cause short- and long-term effects, affecting cardiovascular system first and later the brain for short periods. Polluted air can cause itching, burning eyes, watering eyes, irritability, anxiety, and headache. In the long run, polluted air can affect development and growth systems and consequently cause heart and mental problems, depression, fatigue, energy loss, digestive disorders. Liver problems, ovarian disorders, skin problems, and cancer could be related due to digestion disorders. [9] Avicenna believes that cardiovascular problems are the most common ones caused by air pollution, a fact observed in modern epidemiologic studies. [10]

Avicenna suggests a number of preventive and curative measures to keep safe from the harms of polluted air. He recommends moving to mild weather areas and green plains, remaining indoors and shutting windows when the air is highly polluted, having fragrant stuff around, consuming antidotal foods, and foods which enhance cardiovascular and mental functions, avoiding hot, salty foods, and avoiding strong emotions such as anger. [9]

It appears that studying Iranian Traditional Medicine reference books related to lifestyle, especially investigations on properties of food stuff, can help reduce the harmful effects of air pollution on our health.


This study is a part of Ph.D. thesis entitled, "Explanation of Etiologies and Clinical Manifestations of Dyspepsia According to Iranian Traditional Medicine" (Department of Traditional Medicine, Shahed University, Tehran, Iran).

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Wild CP. The exposome: From concept to utility. Int J Epidemiol 2012;41:24-32.  Back to cited text no. 1
Vrijheid M, Slama R, Robinson O, Chatzi L, Coen M, van den Hazel P, et al. The human early-life exposome (HELIX): Project rationale and design. Environ Health Perspect 2014;122:535-44.  Back to cited text no. 2
World Health Organization [Internet]. Available from: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2014/air-pollution/en/ .  Back to cited text no. 3
Lim SS, Vos T, Flaxman AD, Danaei G, Shibuya K, Adair-Rohani H, et al. A comparative risk assessment of burden of disease and injury attributable to 67 risk factors and risk factor clusters in 21 regions, 1990-2010: A systematic analysis for the global burden of disease study 2010. Lancet 2012;380:2224-60.  Back to cited text no. 4
Araujo JA, Nel AE. Particulate matter and atherosclerosis: Role of particle size, composition and oxidative stress. Part Fibre Toxicol 2009;6:24.  Back to cited text no. 5
Andersen ZJ, Raaschou-Nielsen O, Ketzel M, Jensen SS, Hvidberg M, Loft S, et al. Diabetes incidence and long-term exposure to air pollution: A cohort study. Diabetes Care 2012;35:92-8.  Back to cited text no. 6
Kampa M, Castanas E. Human health effects of air pollution. Environ Pollut 2008;151:362-7.  Back to cited text no. 7
Aliasl J, Khoshzaban F. Traditional herbal remedies for burn wound healing in canon of Avicenna. Jundishapur J Nat Pharm Prod 2013;8:192.  Back to cited text no. 8
Avicenna. The Canon of Medicine. New York: AMS Press; 1973. p. 641.  Back to cited text no. 9
Burden of disease from Ambient Air Pollution for 2012. Summary of results. World Health Organization. Available from: www.who.int/phe/health_topics/outdoorair/databases/en/ .  Back to cited text no. 10

This article has been cited by
1 The necessity for integrating traditional, complementary, and alternative medicine into medical education curricula in Iran
Mohammad Hossein Ayati,Ata Pourabbasi,Nazli Namazi,Arman Zargaran,Zahra Kheiry,Amir Hooman Kazemi,Bagher Larijani
Journal of Integrative Medicine. 2019;
[Pubmed] | [DOI]


Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
Access Statistics
Email Alert *
Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)

  In this article

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded160    
    Comments [Add]    
    Cited by others 1    

Recommend this journal