Based on accounts of European travelers and doctors who practiced and observed medical treatment, the study provides an overview of the major diseases the population suffered and how these were treated. It also includes the available evidence logged by Iranian patients abroad and at home, as well as contemporary Persian texts that comment on public health and its practice in Iran. Floor shuns the analysis of classic Persian medical textbooks, explaining that their medical advice was hardly ever administered and that the authors often had ideological (religious) agendas in writing these treatises. Instead, Floor investigates the commonly accepted theories of diseases, disorders, and their cures, including the so-called “Islamic Galenic” medicine and pre-Islamic theurgic folk medicine based on traditional herb lore and trial-and-error. Unfortunately, Floor ignores completely the pre-Islamic medicine in Iran and his conclusions in this era are absolutely biased.
The book concludes with the impact of Western medicine on the traditional medical institutions and public health in Qajar Iran.
Willem Floor studied development economics and non-western sociology, as well as Persian, Arabic and Islamology from 1963-67 at the University of Utrecht (the Netherlands). He received his doctoral degree from the University of Leiden in 1971. Since 1983, Dr. Floor has been employed by the World Bank as an energy specialist. Throughout this time, he has published extensively on the socio-economic history of Iran. His most recent books include Safavid Government Institutions (2001) and The Traditional Crafts of Qajar Iran (2002).
Public Health in Qajar Iran
Mage Publishers (May 2004)