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TRADITIONAL FOLK MEDICINE IN ANATOLIA

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Title: TRADITIONAL FOLK MEDICINE IN ANATOLIA


1
TRADITIONAL FOLK MEDICINE IN ANATOLIA
  • Ministry of Health
  • General Directorate of Health Services
  • Department of Traditional, Complementary and
    Alternative Medicine

2
HISTORY
The traditional folk medicine has a history of
thousands years. This tradition existed before
Islam, has continued to live then. Therefore,
nowadays, old-traditional healing practices
continued to be applied, contains marks of faith
and beliefs of past. This tradition executed by
shamans and kams, in the ancient religion and
tradition, is maintained by religion men, big
wives, folk healers and ocaks (that is a kind of
folk healer) in Islam and culture around.
3
HISTORY
Healing experiences of traditional medicine
occurred by transferring from a generation to
generation are a product of accumulated
knowledge. This handed down knowledge of
tradition is still being used by traditional folk
healers in various parts of Turkey. Due to this
prevalence of traditional medicine so many
different names have appeared to be given to folk
healers in course of time in Anatolia.
4
HISTORY
Folk healers have so many treatment practices
based on the faiths, beliefs and experiences that
these all have occurred by being gained from
different cultures. At this point, folk remedies
appear. Folk remedies as well as in traditional
medicine have a deep-rooted history based on
accumulated knowledge of the past. Folk
pharmaceutical products resembled traditional
medicine practices derive their drugs from plants
and animals with traditional practices.
5
SHAMANS AS FOLK HEALER OF OLD TURKISH CULTURE
Shamanism is a belief system that has existed in
the various primitive regions of the world and in
central Asia for centuries. Shamans are at once
doctors, priests, social workers and mystics.
They have been called madmen or madwomen, were
frequently persecuted throughout history.
6
SHAMANS AS FOLK HEALER OF OLD TURKISH CULTURE
Turks have had a lot of shamans while were in
Central Asia. The technique used most commonly
by shamans was fire. It is believed that fire is
cleansing and purifies from evil spirits. It is
believed that fire has a mystical heat. Shamans,
at the same time, have also an important role
owing to govern the birth, marriage and death
ceremonies.
7
FOLK HEALERS KNOWN AS OCAK
It is argued that folk healers called as Ocaks
are remains of shamans in Anatolia. They have the
power to treat the diseases with extraordinary
ways. They are also called as urasa . There are
many different Ocaks struggled with various
diseases in Anatolia. For example, the ocak of
jaundice, the ocak of erysipelas, the ocak of
malaria, the ocak of mumps, the ocak of herpes,
the ocak of tonsillitis, the ocak of infertility
and more of them still exist today.
8
FOLK HEALERS KNOWN AS OCAK
Ocak folk healers use mainly magical practices
and these practices are mostly implemented within
family by parents who have unusual powers. It is
believed that this power has passed from parents
to children. There are also some ocak folk
healers benefiting from plants in the treatment
of diseases.
9
FOLK HEALERS KNOWN AS OCAK
But this transition ritual is not just within the
family or is not an obligation for ocaks. Ocak
folk healers can give their ability to anyone who
is seen as talented in this area. As it can be
understood from the transition practices, there
are two type transition rituals in tradition. In
the first one the role of heredity is high. But
in the second one, the role of education is high.
10
FOLK HEALERS KNOWN AS OCAK
These treatment methods are still used by folk
healers in Turkish folk culture. People, who are
usually from rural areas of country, continue to
prefer traditional treatment methods.
11
EXAMPLES FROM TRADITIONAL MEDICINE PRACTICES IN
TURKEY
When talked about Anatolia, Lokman Healer came
to the front rather than Shamans. Lokman Healer
who is an Islamic type has become the ancestor of
contemporary folk healers from the first period
passed to Islam until now. Lokman Healer is the
most popular traditional folk healer of Anatolia
folk culture.
12
EXAMPLES FROM TRADITIONAL MEDICINE PRACTICES IN
TURKEY
Lokman Healer, who is one of the healers of the
traditional folk medicine, not only has been
engaged with biological diseases, but also has
implemented the healing practices against the
sorcery and the evil eye. In case of biological
disease is used drugs made from herbs. Herbalists
(Aktar in Turkish) are persons sold and made
those drugs. Aktar is a name given for who
sell the herbal and animal products used in drug
making. Aktars are descendants of Lokman
Healer in the traditional folk medicine.
13
EXAMPLES FROM TRADITIONAL MEDICINE PRACTICES IN
TURKEY
Traditional folk healers use many methods to heal
the diseases and physical defects. Within these
methods, there are a lot of techniques such as
treatment by using the spiritual power, treatment
with evacuation of blood from the body, treatment
by sitting in a sacred place, treatment by
injuring the body, treatment with pray, treatment
by using the plant-based drugs, treatment by
using the animal-based drugs and treatment by
using the mineral-based drugs.
14
TREATMENT BY USING THE SPIRITUAL POWER
This method in Turkish is known as irvasa. In
this method, there is desire to benefit from the
spiritual power of a person or object. It is not
directly related to the body. It is one of the
types of treatment with intent to influence the
patients. In old Turkish tradition wolf, snake
and eagle are powerful creatures feared among
people. And so parts of their body are regarded
as sacred and powerful.
15
TREATMENT BY USING THE SPIRITUAL POWER
For example, it has been even made drugs from
snake poison. Skull and bones of wolves, wolf
teeth, snake skins, eagle claw are elements with
mystic powerful in this tradition. This is done
by tossing something (sacred elements) over ones
head or shoulders into space.
16
TREATMENT BY SHEDDING THE BLOOD FROM BODY
This method called parpilama mainly in the
Turkish is also known as parpilama, parpilma,
parpulama, and parpulma in different parts of
Turkey. In this practice, it is aimed the
treatment of patient by removing the contaminated
blood from the patients body.
It is believed in the traditional folk culture
that every human body collects the contaminated
blood in the head or back area. The deposit of
this blood is drained from skin cut with a
scalpel or razor. And thus body can been cleaned
from harmful factors.
17
TREATMENT BY SITTING IN A SACRED PLACE
Places navigated during the life of a saint
regarded as sacred places. There are a lot of
places occurring in this way in different parts
of Turkey. Rocks, trees, fountains and some of
the tombs are from these sacred places. Patients
go to these sacred places and expect to get rid
of diseases.
18
TREATMENT BY SITTING IN A SACRED PLACE
People also go to these places to make a wish.For
example, infertile women and men, women who want
a son, persons who want to be rich in future,
students who want to pass an important
examination . All these people expect the
realization of the wishes.
19
TREATMENT BY USING THE MINERAL-BASED DRUGS
  • In addition to these practices, minerals can also
    be used as a treatment . Many minerals such as
    mercury, silver, gold, copper, water were used by
    folk healer to heal the patients in the
    traditional folk medicine.
  • Gold and Gold Powder are used in treatment of
    heel thorn.
  • Lime is used to treat hemorrhoid in humans,for
    tick flea in animals.
  • Salt is used in treatment of wounded and injured
    people.

20
TREATMENT BY USING THE ANIMAL-BASED DRUGS
  • Some animal-based drugs had been used in
    treatment of some diseases some are currently
    being used. They are
  • Ayran (or buttermilk) is used to treat food
    poisoning.
  • Honey is used in treatment of anorexia, peptic
    ulcer, infertility,
  • irregular menstruation, hemorrhoid.
  • Dog milk is used in treatment of cataract.
  • Rabbit skin is used to treat malaria.

21
TREATMENT BY USING THE ANIMAL-BASED DRUGS
It is well-known that the leech has a wide
variety of usage in treatment of diseases. It is
also claimed that the leech can absorb
contaminated blood of up to 10 times the weight
of itself. This method is still widely used in
Turkey. Fish therapy This type of fish found in
Sivas county and known as healing fish. This
type of healing fishes had been recorded as
Garra rufa in Latin by the European Biologist
Heckel in 1843 for the first time.They are
currently being used in treatment of atopic
dermatitis and psoriasis.
22
TREATMENT BY USING THE PLANT-BASED DRUGS
Anatolia is very rich in plant species and we can
not list all the healing types here. While many
of them had been widely used before conventional
medicine had taken place, later the interest in
using them as healer had decreased in time. But,
the interest in natural and herbal treatments has
increased in Turkey as well as the rest of the
world. The studies on plants and herbs in
Anatolia are still going on.
23
TREATMENT BY USING THE PLANT-BASED DRUGS
  • When talked about some herbal treatments special
    to Anatolia
  • Thorn apple (Crataegus azarolus) is used in
    treatment of jaundice.
  • Anise (Pimpinella anisum) is used in treatment
    of gastritis, hemorrhoids.
  • Juniper (Juniperus) is used in treatment of
    mangy (in humans) and heart disease.

24
TREATMENT BY USING THE PLANT-BASED DRUGS
  • When talked about some herbal treatments special
    to Anatolia
  • Barleycorn (Hordeum vulgare) is used in
    treatment of diarrhea, hemorrhoids, diabetes,
    insect bites, obesity, wart (verrü) and sciatica.
  • Couch grass (Chiedent, Agropyron repens) is used
    in treatment of kidney diseases.
  • Mulberry tree (Morus murier) is used in
    treatment of tooth ache.

25
TREATMENT BY USING HEALING WATER
Water is healing, cleansing and purifying.
Therefore water has been used by folk healers. It
is known that there are many healing water
resources all around Anatolia. Some of them are
drinkable, some others are used as bath water.
Kidney disease, stomach pain, nausea, muscle
and skeloton disease is mainly tried to be healed
by this method.
26
TREATMENT BY USING HEALING WATER
Also sound of water is listened by patients
because it is believed that there is cure in the
sound of water. Mental patients, schizophrenics
are usually treated in this way. We can also come
across method of chemotherapy applying with the
sound of water in the past.
27
TREATMENT WITH EVACUATION OF BLOOD FROM THE BODY
(CUPPING)
Cupping therapy is an ancient alternative
medicine in which a local suction is created on
the skin practitioners believe this mobilizes
blood flow in order to promote healing. Suction
is created using heat (fire) or nowadays using
mechanical devices (hand or electrical pumps).
Wet cupping is known as Hijamah in Anatolia.
28
TREATMENT WITH EVACUATION OF BLOOD FROM THE BODY
(CUPPING)
While the history of wet cupping may date back
thousands of years, the first documented uses are
found in the teachings of the Islamic prophet
Muhammad. According to Muhammad al-Bukhari,
Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj Nishapuri and Ahmad ibn
Hanbal, Muhammad approved of the Hijama (cupping)
treatment. A number of hadith support its
recommendation and use by Muhammad. As a result,
the practice of cupping therapy has survived in
Muslim countries. Today, wet cupping is a popular
remedy practiced in many parts of the world.
29
TREATMENT WITH PRAY
After the adoption of Islam by the people of
Anatolia, many psychological illnesses were
treated by the prays. Different methods of
praying for healing has come upto present. One of
those methods is to get the sick person drink
prayerful water. Another one is carrying amulet.
Touch healing is also a method while praying.
30
TREATMENT AGAINST EVIL EYE
Evil eye (nazar in Turkish) is a very common folk
belief which extends to ancient times. The people
of Anatolia associates the health and business
problems with evil eye. Therefore they practises
many methods to get rid of the evil eye effect.
The most used one is a kind of amulet called
nazarlik which is made of materials from blue
stone ,plants, animals or minerals.
31
OTHER THERAPIES
Fever People drink sage to reduce the fever.
Fever also drops down when applied vinegar on the
skin. Head aches Cheesecloth or head scarf is
wrapped around the head and squeezed by inserted
wooden spoon. Abdominal pain People get extra
virgin olive oil and black pepper mixed and apply
the mixture on chest and back. Then they wrap the
body with cloth. Heated brick is also used to
treat abdominal pain.
32
OTHER THERAPIES
Sore, cut and abscess People wraps egg membrane
on the lesion. Linseed is also applied on the
skin. Pine resin and cinnamon mixture is also
used to treat the lesion. Varicella zoster
Either taken to the Ocakli or sesame oil is
applied. Warts People pray on same number of
wheat and barley seeds as much as the number of
warts. Or jelly of fig tree is applied on the
warts.
33
MUSIC THERAPY
The importance of music providing a considerable
alternative medical option for the modern
medicine and its healing power were known by the
Anatolian Seljuks and the Ottomans centuries ago.
The importance given to music can be realized by
its usage as a treatment method in medical
institutions. The art of medicine was attached
importance in Seljuk period, and it is written in
medical books that the method of treatment with
sports as well as music was also employed in
these institutions.
34
MUSIC THERAPY
Anatolia folks expended and practiced the studies
on the effects of music in darüssifas, old
Turkish hospitals, had their own music bands. In
those institutions, where treatment was free,
there were service classes such as doctors,
surgeons, pharmacists, service group, nurses,
imams(prayer leader), singers and sazendes
(musicians).
35
MUSIC THERAPY
The scientific bases regarding the therapeutic
nature of music particularly in psychological
disorders in Islamic world were first put forward
by Kindi (801-865), Er-Razi (854-932), Farabi
(870-950) and Ibni Sina (980-1037), and they were
practiced by Anatolian Seljuk and Ottoman
physicians in hospitals and improved until the
18th century. Er-Razi recommends keeping
melancholic patients busy, and doing this with
music and making them listen to singers with
beautiful voice.
36
MUSIC THERAPY
Farabi explained the psychological effects of
Turkish music tunes according to the time of the
day as some shown below tune Hüseyni effective
in the morning tune Rast effective when the sun
is two-spear-round tune Buselik effective in
mid-morning tune Ussak effective at noon tune
Hejaz effective in the afternoon tune Iraqi
effective in late afternoon tune Esfahan
effective at dusk tune Neva effective in the
evening
37
MUSIC THERAPY
Farabi also specified the effects of Turkish
music tunes on illnesses as some shown
below tune Esfahan illumination, boosting
intelligence, refreshing memories tune Rast
eclampsia and paralysis tune Zirevkent backache
and arthralgia tune Rehavi headache tune Neva
gynaecological diseases tune Zengule heart
dieases tune Hejaz dysuria tune Buselik
shoulder and low back pain tune Ussak heart,
stomach diseases, dysuria and malaria tune Irak
meningitis and neurological diseases
38
MUSIC THERAPY
Ibni Sina regarded music as one of the four
mathematical sciences together with geometry,
arithmetic and astronomy. Ibni Sina stated in his
written work (book) called Kitabül-Sifa that
music was one of the best ways of treatment to
boost the mental and spiritual powers of the
patients and to encourage them to fight against
the disease.
39
MUSIC THERAPY
Music-therapy activities, as training and
practises, are still being carried out by TÜMATA
Group in Turkey and abroad as well.
40
WORKS AND BOOKS
Some famous medical works and books in the
Anatolian History Ahmedî  Tervihu'l-Ervah,
Müntehab-i Sifa Haci Pasa  Kitabu'l-Feride,
Kitabu's-Saade ve'l-Ikbal, Kitabu't-Ta'lim,
Sifau'l Eskam ve Devau'l-Âlâm, Müntehab-i
Sifa Seyhî  Kenzu'l-Menafi Mü'min b. Mukbil 
Kitabu't-Tib, Miftahu'n-Nur ve Hazainu's-Surûr
Aksemseddin  Kitabu't-Tib, Maddetu'l-Hayat Serafe
ddin Sabuncuoglu  Cerrahiye-i Ilhaniye,
Mücerrebnâme Bedr-i Dilsad  Kehhalnâme,
Kemalnâme, Muhtasaru't-Tib Ibn-i Serif 
Yadigâr-i Ibn-i Serif
41
Some famous medical works and books in the
Anatolian History Sükrullah Sirvanî  Ilyasiye
fi't-Tib Kaysunîzâde Mehmed  Tib Mecmuasi Halimî
Lütfullah Efendi  Kasimiyye Hekimsah Mehmed
Kazvinî  Asbabu Sitteti'z-Zaruriyye, Mucez
Serhi, Ahi Çelebi  Risâle-i Hassatu'l-Kilye
ve'l-Mesâne, Mucez Tercümesi Atufî
Hifzu'l-Ebdân, Ravzu'l-Insan fî Tedabir-i
Sihhati'l-Ebdân Nidaî  Baytarnâme  Manzume-i
Tib, Menafi'n-Nâs, Tababet-i Beseriye Takiyüddin
Sirazî Enisu'l-Etibba fi't-Tib Mehmed Efendi 
Menbau'l-Hayat
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