Greco-Arab and Islamic diet therapy: Tradition, research and practice

Bashar Saad


Diet therapy is one of the oldest methods of prevention and healing of all types of known diseases and built a substantial part of Greco-Arab medical system in maintaining healthy body, soul, and spirit. According to a statement by Al-Razi (Rhazes, 864-930) "As long as you can heal with food, do not heal with medication". Therefore, in the Greco-Arab medical system, the patients are treated through a scheme starting with diet and physiotherapy; if these failed, simple drugs were used, and then compound drugs, and at last, surgery would be used.

The past twenty years have witnessed significant progress in studying the cellular and molecular interactions between intake of healthy foods (e.g., edible wild plants, nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables as well as olive oil) and reduced rate of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, common cancers, degenerative diseases and ageing. This is attributed to the fact that these foods may provide an optimal mix of dietary fiber, natural antioxidants, vitamins, essential fatty acids and minerals. Various active compounds in the food can control the physiological functions of the body, and supporting immune responses. Immune functions are indispensable for defending the body against attack by pathogens or cancer cells, and thus play a pivotal role in the maintenance of health. Hence, the ingestion of foods with immune-modulating activities is considered as an efficient way to prevent immune functions from declining and reduce the risk of infection or cancer. This review focuses on food therapy in the Greco-Arab and Islamic medicine and its role in preventing and curing diseases on the daily basis.


Diet therapy, Greco-Arab and Islamic medicine, Black seeds, Olive oil, Honey

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ISSN: 2458-5920