The Unani system of medicine is not only inexpensive but effective at the same time. Mehran throws light on this alternative system of medicine and its various benefits
Unani medicine is an ancient form of medicine developed by the Greeks in 460 B.C. It then spread throughout the Roman Empire by notable scientists such as GALEN (201 AD), with the fall of Roman Empire came the decline in Unani Medicine. It re-emerged later in Iran, where Muslim physicians translated the Unani text into Persian. While in the Middle East, Muslim physicians translated the text to Arabic and further developed it. India was then introduced to Unani Medicine in the 13th century through numerous Muslim invasions. In India all the Arabic and Persian literature was translated to Urdu language. Here lot of research has been done in this field. Today Unani Medicine is practiced in most of the world by physicians. Famous personalities of Unani Medicine include:
BOQRAT (HIPPOCRATES) – Father of Unani and Modern Medicine
IBN SENA (AVICENNA) AL RAZI (RHAZES) JALINOOS (GALEN), HK. AJMAL KHAN,
AVICENNA has written a book namely ‘AL QANOON FIL TIB’ (CANNON OF MEDICINE), which is considered as the best doctrine of Medicine.
The fundamental principle of Unani System recognized that disease is a natural process and symptoms of disease are body’s reaction to disease.
Unani philosophy believes that the body is made of three parts: A solid part (Termed ‘Organs’). A liquid part (Termed ‘Humours’) and a gaseous part (Termed ‘Pneuma’). In Unani medicine, Humoural Imbalance is the main cause for most of the diseases. Humans have four humours namely DAM (BLOOD), BALGAM (PHLEGM), SAFRA (YELLOW BILE), SAUDA (BLACK BILE).
The humours are in equilibrium within the body, and are in equilibrium within each organ, tissue and cell, when the right proportion of these humours is present the individual is in good health. However disequilibrium in either the quantity or quality of any humour will lead to a state termed as ‘DISEASE’.
In a human, the sum total of various humours and their proportions give rise to “Temperament’ (MIZAG) of a human. Based on the temperament of an individual the line of treatment is decided. There are generally four categories of temperament, which are as follows:
HOT TEMPERAMENT: A temperament where the dominating humour is Blood (Dam).
COLD TEMPERAMENT: A temperament where the dominating humour is Sauda (Black Bile).
MOIST TEMPERAMENT: A temperament where the dominating humour is Balgan (Phlegm).
DRY TEMPERAMENT: A temperament where the dominating humour is Safra (Yellow Bile).
Unani physicians usually classify patients according to their Temperate. Some of the qualities ate listed below:
Individuals with Moist temperament are Obese and exclusively Salivate.
Individuals with Cold and Dry temperament have a good appetite and prominent blood vessels.
The concept of temperament is basically the sum-up of relative proportions of each humour. Since each organ and each tissue type has a dominant humour, it is believed that each organ also has a temperament.
Organ highly perfused with blood will have ‘Hot Temperment’. These organs include Heart, Liver and Lungs.
Organs not highly prefused with blood will have ‘Cold Temperament These Organs are Cartilage, Ligaments and Teeth.
Since each Organ has its own temperament, any disruption in the equilibrium of any organ’s temperament can lead to a diseased state in that particular organ. For e.g a diseased liver would originate because of disequilibrium in the hot temperament (the blood humour).
The mode of diagnoses is based on the symptoms, which a human body produces in respect of disease. A Unani physician checks the PULSE of the patients to evaluate which humour is dominating. According to the domination humour, treatment is decided.
In Unani pathy, four lines of treatment are available.
ILAJ BIL TADBEER (Regimental Therapy).
ILAJ BIL GIZAH (Diet Therapy).
ILAJ BIL ADVIA (Pharmaco Therapy).
ILAJ BIL YAD/JARAHAT (Surgery).
The regimental therapy includes procedures like Venesection (Fasad), Cupping
(Hijama), Turkish-bath, Exercise (Riyazath) and Leeching (Jonkh Lagana). These therapies involves working on specific reflexes, most commonly by massage, but in musculoskeletal disorders like back pain application of Cold, heat or Suction Cups is also done. Similarly dietotheraphy involves administration of specific diets or regulation of quantity or quality of food. Pharmacotherapy deals with administration of drugs from animal, plant or mineral source.
Unani remedies are available for all kinds of diseases but most of the patients prefer to approach a Unani physician in Chronic conditions, as the treatment is from natural sources hence take slightly longer time to cure acute conditions compared to modern Medicine (Allopathic Medicine).
Modern Research has revealed that Unani is unmatched in treating Chronic disease like Arthritis, Asthma, Paralysis, Migraine, Cardiac disorder, Gastric Ulcers, Duodenal Ulcers, Renal Stones, Sinusitis, Menstrual Disorders, Sexual Disorders, Eczema, Utiligo, Psoriasis, Warts, Diabetes Mellitus, Obesity, Urinary Tract Infections, Varicose Veins, Hemorrhoids.
Hakeem Shamshad Ahmed Khan, Assistant Director of Central Council for Research in Unani Medicines (CCRUM), a government body, says that recent research has proved that unani medicines are highly effective in treating diseases like Malaria, Hepatitis B.
Unani medicine is said to be effective in increasing immunity levels in AIDS patients. It is being revealed here that Unani healing is Vibrant and Vigorous today and is being practiced, taught and researched under its local names in over 20 countries including Afghanistan, China, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Korea, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom and United States of America. With the global trend of rising interest in alternative and natural systems, Unani is drawing attention in countries South Africa and Malaysia also.
Unani philosophy dictates that good health can be maintained if the relative proportions of four humours are kept stable. Keeping this in mind the Unani physicians advocate six methods to keep these humours in balance. These include:
1) Inhalation of pure air.
2) Moderate intake of foods and drinks.
3) N.B. Two much or too little quantity of certain foods/drinks can stimulate an imbalance in preparation of humors.
4) Regular excretion
5) N.B. Irregular bowel movements lead to collection of wastes in the body.
6) Adequate Sleep.
N.B. Excess or deficiencies can both lead to poor health.
N.B. Can be obtained through Meditation.
There are 40 undergraduate and post graduate colleges teaching Unani Medicine in India. These accord BUMS (Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery) degrees and MD degrees in Ilmul Advia (Pharmacology), Moalijat (Medicine), Kulliyat (Basic Principles) and MS IJarahat) at Hk. Ajmal Khan Tibbiya College, Aligarh and at Faculty of Unani Medicine, Hamdard University New Delhi.
Besides these, Government Nizamiah Tibbi College, Hyderabad is offering MD degrees in Moalijat (Medicine), Amraz-e- Niswan (Gynecology and Amraz-e-Atfal (Pediatrics).
There are over 150 hospitals and 1500 Unani dispensaries spread across 18 states of India. There are around 50,000 unani graduates in the country and most of them are practicing physicians. Unani now forms an integral part of the national health care delivery system, and is recognized by World Health Organization (WHO) as one of the alternative system of medicines. The Unani system is inexpensive and effective, and easily available.
(Mehran is from Government. JLNM Hospital, Rainawari Srinagar. Mail at email@example.com)