What is Unani system of medicine?

What is Unani?

Unani  is a system of medicine originated in Greece. Its founder, the grate Physician Hippocrates.  Unani is the only system of medicine which still follows the principles of medicine promoted by Hippocrates. The fundamentals of Unani system are based on his Humoral Theory.

In India, Unani system of Medicine was introduced by Arabs and soon it took firm roots in the soil. When Mongols ravaged Persian and Central Asian cities like Shiraz, Tabrez and Galan, scholars and Physicians of Unani Medicine fled to India.

The scholars and Physicians of Unani Medicine who settled in India were not content with the known drugs.They subjected indian drugs to clinical trials. As a result of their experimentation added numerous native drugs to their own system further enriching its treasures.

Unani medicine, like any other form of medical science strives to find the best possible ways by which a person can lead a healthy life with the least or Zero sickness. It prescribes drugs, diet, drinks and other regiments including codes of conduct which are conducive to the maintenance and promotion of positive health, as well as the prevention and cure of disease.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has recognized the Unani System of Medicine (USM) as an alternative system to cater the health care needs of human population. Alternative medicine is being practiced worldwide.

Who is called Hakim?

The person who knows hikmat. These are people, who have gained professional knowledge either institutionally, or otherwise, and impart treatment based on Unani  therapy. The practitioners of Unani Medicine are scattered all across the country forming an integral part of the national health care delivery system

What are the Principle of Unani Medicine?

The fundamental principle of the unani system recognises that disease is a natural process and symptoms of a disease are body’s reaction to disease. The chief function of the physician is to aid the natural forces of the body. The unani medicine is based on the Humoral theory-which presupposes the presence of four humors. They are Dum (blood), Balgham (phlegm), Safra (yellow bile) and Sauda ( black bile). The body has the power of self preservation to maintain a correct balance of these humors, which is called as Quwwat-e-Mudabbira (Medicatrix natura). Unani medicines help the body to regain this balance.

Different types and shades of imbalanced temperaments are described in Unani, which believes that at birth every person is endowed with a unique and healthy humoural constitution determining the temperament of an individual.  Unani also postulates that the body contains a self-preservative power, which strives to restore any disturbance within the limits prescribed by the constitution or state of the individual. The physician merely aims to help and develop rather than supersede or impede the action of this power.

What are the Sources of drugs?

The principal sources of drugs in USM are,

1. Plant origin drugs

2. Animal origin drugs

3. Mineral origin drugs                                        

Crude drugs when used one at a time is called Ilaj bil Mufrad (treatment by single drug). When two or more than two drugs are combined together, it is called Ilaj bil Murakkabat (treatment by compound drugs)

Which Type of compound Drug Formulations used in USM?

1. Solid formulations: Powder, tablets and pills etc

2. Semi Solid formulations: Electuaries, Aperients,Jawarishat, Khamerajat etc.

3. Liquid formulations: Syrups, decoctions, linctuses, eye and nasal drops etc

4. Gaseous formulations: Shamoom, Snuffs, notukh, lakhlakha etc.

How Diagnosis?

The  Unani system of medicine emphasizes on diagnosing a disease through Nabz (pulse), Baul (wine), Baraz (stool), etc. Besides, it gives due  importance to the surroundings and the ecological conditions on the state  of health of humans. The six essential prerequisites (called Asbab-e-Sitta  Zarooriya) for the prevention of diseases in the Unani system are air, food  and drinks, bodily movement and response, psychic movement and response, sleep and wakefulness, and excretion and retention

How Treatment?

Various types of treatment are employed in Unani system. These include regimental therapy (Ilaj-bit-Tadbeer), dietotherapy (Ilaj-bit-ghiza), pharmacotherapy (Ilaj-bit-Dawa) and surgery (Jarahat). The regimental therapy comprises venesection, cupping, diaphoresis, diuresis, Turkish bath, massage, cauterization, purging, emesis, exercise, leeching, etc. Dietotherapy tries to treat certain ailments by administration of specific diets or by regulating the quantity and quality of food. Pharmacotherapy deals with the use of naturally occurring drugs, mostly herbal, though drugs of animal and mineral origin are also used.

Since in Unani, health and disease depend upon the equilibrium or imbalance between the four humours, a thorough examination of the pulse is undertaken to determine which humour is dominant at the time. The examination of the urine is the next important step.