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Unani medicine

Birbahuti (Trombidium) is used as Unani Medicine

Yunani or Unani medicine (Urdu: طب یونانی tibb yūnānī[1]) is the term for Perso-Arabic traditional medicine as practiced in Mughal India and in Muslim culture in South Asia. The term is derived from Arabic Yūnānī "Greek", as the Perso-Arabic system of medicine was in turn based on the teachings of the Greek physicians Hippocrates and Galen.[2]

The Hellenistic origin of Unani medicine is still visible in its being based on the classical four humours: Phlegm (Balgham), Blood (Dam), Yellow bile (Ṣafrā') and Black bile (Saudā'), but it has also been influenced by Indian and Chinese traditional systems.[3]


  • History 1
  • Diagnosis and treatment 2
  • Education and recognition 3
  • Safety issues 4
  • Notable Unani organizations/institutions 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • Further reading 8
  • External links 9


Unani medicine is substantially based on Ibn Sina's The Canon of Medicine (11th century).[4]

The medical tradition of medieval Islam was introduced to India by the 13th century with the establishment of the Delhi Sultanate and it took its own course of development during the Mughal Empire,[5][6] influenced by Indian medical teachings of Sushruta and Charaka.[7][8] Alauddin Khilji (d. 1316) had several eminent physicians (Hakims) at his royal courts.[9] This royal patronage meant development of Unani practice in India, but also of Unani literature with the aid of Indian Ayurvedic physicians.[10][11]

Diagnosis and treatment

A title page of Unani book on physiology in Urdu Language printed in 1289 Hijri(1868 AD) in India

Unani classical literature consists of thousands of books. According to Unani medicine, management of any disease depends upon the diagnosis of disease. In the diagnosis, clinical features, i.e., signs, symptoms, laboratory features and mizaj (temperament) are important.

Any cause and or factor is countered by Quwwat-e-Mudabbira-e-Badan (the power of body responsible to maintain health), the failing of which may lead to quantitatively or qualitatively derangement of the normal equilibrium of akhlat (humors) of body which constitute the tissues and organs. This abnormal humor leads to pathological changes in the tissues anatomically and physiologically at the affected site and exhibits the clinical manifestations.

After diagnosing the disease, Usoole Ilaj (principle of management) of disease is determined on the basis of etiology in the following pattern:

For fulfillment of requirements of principle of management, treatment is decided as per the Unani medicine which may be one or more of the following:

  • Ilaj-Bil-Tadbeer wa Ilaj-Bil-Ghiza (Regimenal Therapy). The disease may be treated by the modification of six essential pre-requisites of health (Asbab-e-Sitta Zarooriya in Unani Tibbi terminology). Asbab-e-Sitta Zarooriya may be modified by the use of one or more regimens: i.e., Dalak, Riyazat, Hammam, Taleeq, Takmeed, Hijamat (Cupping Therapy), Fasd, Lakhlakha, Bakhur, Abzan, Shamoomat (Aromatherapy), Pashoya, Idrar, Ishal, Qai, Tareeq, Elam, Laza-e-Muqabil, Imalah and alteration of food. According to the norms of C.C.I.M. New Delhi, Department of Ilaj-Bil-Tadbeer has been established in almost all Unani Tibbi Colleges of India. In the State Unani Medical College, Allahabad, U.P. and State Takmeel-Ul-Tibb College, Lucknow, Department of Ilaj-Bil-Tadbeer is known as Moalijat Khususi. Moaliajt Khususi is the old nomenclature of Ilaj-Bil-Tadbeer, suggested by C.C.I.M. New Delhi. Ilaj-Bil-Tadbeer is synonym to Panchkarma in Ayurveda.
  • Ilaj-Bil-Advia (Pharmacotherapy). For this purpose Mamulate Matab Nuskha (prescription) is formulated which contain the single and or compound (murakkābāt) Unani drugs[12] having desired actions as per requirements.
  • Ilaj-Bil-Yad (Surgery)

As an alternative form of medicine, Unani has found favor in India where popular products like Roghan Baiza Murgh (Egg Oil) and Roghan Badaam Shirin (Almond Oil) are commonly used for hair care. Unani practitioners can practice as qualified doctors in India, as the government approves their practice. Unani medicine has similarities to Ayurveda. Both are based on theory of the presence of the elements (in Unani, they are considered to be fire, water, earth and air) in the human body. (The elements, attributed to the philosopher Empedocles, determined the way of thinking in Medieval Europe.) According to followers of Unani medicine, these elements are present in different fluids and their balance leads to health and their imbalance leads to illness.

The theory postulates the presence of blood, phlegm, yellow bile and black bile in the human body. Each person's unique mixture of these substances determines his Mizaj (temperament). a predominance of blood gives a sanguine temperament; a predominance of phlegm makes one phlegmatic; yellow bile, bilious (or choleric); and black bile, melancholic.

Education and recognition

In India, there are 40 Unani medical colleges where the Unani system of medicine is taught. After five and half year courses, the graduates are awarded BUMS (Bachelor of Unani Medicine and Surgery). There are about eight Unani medical colleges where a postgraduate degree (Mahir-e-Tib and Mahir Jarahat) is being awarded to BUMS doctors. All these colleges are affiliated to reputed universities and recognized by the governments.

In India, the Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM) a statutory body established in 1971 under Department of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, monitors higher education in areas of Indian medicine including, Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha.[13] To fight biopiracy and unethical patents, the Government of India, in 2001, set up the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library as repository of formulations of systems of Indian medicine, includes 98,700 Unani formulations.[14][15] Central Council for Research in Unani Medicine (CCRUM)[16] established in 1979, also under AYUSH, aids and co-ordinates scientific research in the Unani system of medicine through a network of 22 nationwide research institutes and units, including two Central Research Institutes of Unani Medicine, at Hyderabad and Lucknow, eight Regional Research Institutes at Chennai, Bhadrak, Patna, Aligarh, Mumbai, Srinagar, Kolkata and New Delhi, six Clinical Research Units at Allahabad, Bangalore, Karimganj, Meerut, Bhopal and Burhanpur, four Drug Standardisation Research Units at New Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai and Lucknow, a Chemical Research Unit at Aligarh, a Literary Research Institute at New Delhi.[17]

In Pakistan, National Council for Tibb, Govt.of Pakistan is awarding four years Fazil-ut-Tibb-wal-Jarahat (B.U.M.S) and registration certificates to every 4 years qualified Tabibs/Unani Physicians, Doctors. Hamdard Foundation and Qarshi Foundation are prominent patrons of research and development in herbal medicines. Hamdard Research Institute of Unani Medicine at the Hamdard University offers advance degrees in the field.[18] The programs are accredited by Higher Education Commission (HEC),[19] Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC),[20] and the Pakistan Pharmacy Council (PCP).[21]

The Department of Eastern Medicine and Surgery at Qarshi University, Pakistan offers education and training in a network of clinics and dispensaries across the country under Qarshi Foundation so that students acquire clinical skills under the guidance of experienced Hakeem during their academic training.[22]

Qarshi Industries, Pakistan is one of the leading pharmaceutical companies manufacturing products using Ayurveda and Unani system of medicines.

Safety issues

The Indian Journal of Pharmacology notes:

According to WHO, "Pharmacovigilance activities are done to monitor detection, assessment, understanding and prevention of any obnoxious adverse reactions to drugs at therapeutic concentration that is used or is intended to be used to modify or explore physiological system or pathological states for the benefit of recipient." These drugs may be any substance or product including herbs, minerals, etc. for animals and human beings and can even be that prescribed by practitioners of Unani or ayurvedic system of medicine. In recent days, awareness has been created related to safety and adverse drug reaction monitoring of herbal drugs including Unani drugs.[23]

Notable Unani organizations/institutions

See also


  1. ^ the transcription as Unani is found in 19th-century English language sources: "the Ayurvedic and Unani systems of medicine" "Madhya Pradesh District Gazetteers: Hoshangabad", Gazetteer of India 17 (1827), p. 587.
  2. ^ Unani Medicine in India: Its Origin and Fundamental Concepts by Hakim Syed Zillur Rahman, History of Science, Philosophy and Culture in Indian Civilization, Vol. IV Part 2 (Medicine and Life Sciences in India), Ed. B. V. Subbarayappa, Centre for Studies in Civilizations, Project of History of Indian Science, Philosophy and Culture, New Delhi, 2001, pp. 298-325
  3. ^ "The use of Chinese herbal drugs in Islamic medicine". Journal of Integrative Medicine.  
  4. ^ Unani Medicine in India during 1901–1947 by Hakim Syed Zillur Rahman, Studies in History of Medicine and Science, IHMMR, New Delhi, Vol. XIII, No. 1, 1994, p. 97-112. Arab Medicine during the Ages by Hakim Syed Zillur Rahman, Studies in History of Medicine and Science, IHMMR, New Delhi, Vol. XIV, No. 1-2, 1996, p. 1-39
  5. ^ Chishti, p. 2.
  6. ^ Kapoor, p. 7264
  7. ^ Exchanges between India and Central Asia in the field of Medicine by Hakeem Abdul Hameed
  8. ^ Interaction with China and Central Asia in the Field of Unani Medicine by Hakim Syed Zillur Rahman, History of Science, Philosophy and Culture in Indian Civilization, Vol. III Part 2 (India’s Interaction with China, Central and West Asia), Ed. A. Rahman, Centre for Studies in Civilizations, Project of History of Indian Science, Philosophy and Culture, New Delhi, 2002, pp. 297-314
  9. ^ Indian Hakims: Their Role in the medical care of India by Hakim Syed Zillur Rahman, History of Science, Philosophy and Culture in Indian Civilization, Vol. IV Part 2 (Medicine and Life Sciences in India), Ed. B. V. Subbarayappa, Centre for Studies in Civilizations, Project of History of Indian Science, Philosophy and Culture, New Delhi, 2001, pp. 371-426
  10. ^ "Unani".  
  11. ^ Bala, p. 45
  12. ^ Hakim Syed Zillur Rahman (1980), Kitāb al-murakkābāt, ʻAlīgaṛh: Pablikeshan Ḍivīzhan, Muslim Yūnivarsiṭī 
  13. ^ CCIM
  14. ^ Traditional Knowledge Digital Library website.
  15. ^ "Know Instances of Patenting on the UES of Medicinal Plants in India". PIB, Ministry of Environment and Forests. May 6, 2010. 
  16. ^ "Central Council for Research in Unani Medicine (CCRUM)".  
  17. ^ "Research and Development: Central Council for Research in Unani Medicine (CCRUM)". Centre for Research in Indian Systems of Medicine, (CRISM). 
  18. ^ "Hamdard Research Institute of Unani Medicine, Hamdard University". Retrieved 11 January 2015. 
  19. ^ "H.E.C. Accreditation List". 
  20. ^ "PM&DC Accreditation List". Retrieved 2012-08-03. 
  21. ^ "PCP Accreditation List". Pharmacy Council of Pakistan. Retrieved 2013-02-19. 
  22. ^ "Department of Eastern Medicine and Surgery, Qarshi University". Retrieved 11 January 2015. 
  23. ^ Rahman, SZ; Latif, A; Khan, RA (Dec 2008). "Importance of pharmacovigilance in Unani system of medicine". Indian J Pharmacol. 40 (7): 17–20. 

Further reading

  • Standardisation of single drugs of Unani medicine. Central Council for Research in Unani Medicine (India), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Govt. of India, 1987.
  • Unani: the science of Graeco-Arabic medicine, by Jamil Ahmad, Hakim Ashhar Qadeer. Lustre Press, 1998. ISBN 81-7436-052-2.
  • The Unani Pharmacopoeia of India, Dept. of Indian Systems of Medicine & Homoeopathy. Pub. Govt. of India, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Dept. of Indian Systems of Medicine & Homoeopathy, 1999.
  • Physicochemical standards of Unani formulations, Pub. Central Council for Research in Unani Medicine, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Govt. of India, 2006.
  • Hakim Syed Zillur Rahman (1986), Qānūn-i ibn-i Sīnā aur us ke shārḥīn va mutarajimīn, ʻAlīgaṛh: Pablīkeshan Dīvīzan, Muslim Yūnīvarsiṭī 
  • Refiguring unani tibb: plural healing in late colonial India, by Guy N. A. Attewell. Orient Longman, 2007. ISBN 81-250-3017-4.
  • Hand book on unani medicines with formulae, processes, uses and analysis. National Institute Of Industrial Research, 2008. ISBN 81-7833-042-3.
  • Chishti, Hakim (1990). The traditional healer's handbook: a classic guide to the medicine of Avicenna. Inner Traditions / Bear & Company.  
  • Kapoor, Subodh (2002). The Indian encyclopaedia. Archery-Banog, Volume 2. Genesis Publishing.  
  • Bala, Poonam (2007). Medicine and medical policies in India: social and historical perspectives. Lexington Books.  
  • 10 Unani medicine books online at Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (Govt. of India)
  • Hakim Syed Zillur Rahman (1995), Dillī aur t̤ibb-i Yūnānī (Dillī aur t̤ibb-i Yūnānī ed.), Naʾī Dihlī: Urdū Akādmī, Dihlī 
  • Hakim Syed Zillur Rahman (1962), Daur-e Jadeed aur Tib, Bhopal, India: Tibbi Academy, India 
  • Hakim Syed Zillur Rahman (1983), Ṣafvī ʻahd men̲ ʻilm-i tashrīḥ kā mut̤ālaʻah, ʻAlīgaṛh: T̤ibbī Akādmī 

External links

  • Directory of History of Medicine Collection
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