The use of earths and clays for medical purposes dates back to antiquity.
In recent years, there has been an increasing interest in researches on traditional
remedies in the hope of discovering new drug. Iran is an ancient country with a
medical backbone acquired from the experiences of ancient Persian scholars, who
had made a great contribution to the development of the medical sciences. Many
medical and pharmaceutical books by early Persian scientists still exist and may have
the potential of leading researchers to new drug discoveries. Owing to the emergence
of new and antimicrobial-resistant infections, present-day medicine has recently
begun focusing on medicinal earths and clays especially as mineral antimicrobials.
The current study is, therefore, aimed at gathering information regarding medicinal
clays in traditional Persian medicine (TPM). Five main Persian materia medica with
the key word ‘tin’ (clay) and current databases such as PubMed, Scopus,
ScienceDirect, and Google Scholar were searched by key words ‘white, green, red,
maroon, violet, black, grey and pink clays’ and ‘pharmacological effects’. Twenty
three clays were found in Persian manuscripts. Although their mineralogical
compositions are unknown, different pharmacological properties have been attributed
to these mineral medicaments. Clay’s properties were widely used in medieval times
for the treatment of infections to poisoning. They were also used in compound
formulations, possibly for their pharmaceutical formulation modifying effects.
Modern scientific proofs have also been found in many of the medicinal clays
reported in Persian manuscripts. Although many of the reported clays are still
unknown, their characterization may lead to new medicinal developments. Novel
analytical methods available today make it possible to elucidate the chemical
compositions of these minerals as parameters responsible for their medicinal effects.