Introduction of Unani Medicine :

The Unani system of medicines is Greek system of medicine. Hippocrates (460-377 BC)- the Greek philosopher and physician, also called  and known as “ Father of medicines “ introduced this system of medicine. He freed the medical field from the realm of superstition, magic etc and gave it the true status of science. The theoretical and practical framework of Unani Medicine is mainly based on the teachings of Hippocrates. Other Greek physicians e.g. Dioscorides, Galen ( 131 -210 AD ) enriched the system considerably with there theoretical views and experiences. Arab Physician like Rhazes ( 850 – 925 AD ), Avicenna ( 980 – 1037 AD ) Abulcasis (Abul Qasim Zahravi ) and many other physicians constructed an important edifice. Unani System of Medicines got enriched by imbibing what was best in the contemporary system of traditional medicines in Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Persia, India, China and other middle east and far east countries.
Ibn Rushd ( Averoes, 1120 – 1198, Moorish, Spain ) wrote Al – Kulliyat ( The Fundamentals ) or Colliget in five volumes Al-Razi ( Rhazes ) wrote a medical encyclopedia called  “ Continens ” with many excerpts from Ayurveda, and Greek medical sources along with his personal experience and theories and opinions. Avecenna ( Ibn Senna ) wrote five volumes of “ The Canon ” or AL – QANOON which became a standard textbook in Europain medical schools. It is the basic book of theoretical part of Unani medicines.

Now a days this system is mainly practiced in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and some other countries of the world. In India Unani System of medicine was introduced by Arabs. The system progressed in India a lot. During the 13th and 17th century the system has its hey-day in India. Among those who made valuable contributions to this system into period were Abu Bakr Bin Ali, Usman Ksahani, Sadruddin Damashqi, Bahwa Bin Khwas Khan, Ali Geelani, Akbar Arzano, Mohammed Hashim Alvi. The one popular name among the Indian Unani Physician is Hakeem Ajmal Khan ( 1868 – 1927 ) who championed the cause of the system in India.


Principle of Unani Medicine.

The Unani system of Medicines is also called Graeco-Indo-Arabian Medicine. The so called Modern medicine or Allopathy has its root from Unani and Ayurvedic medicines.
The four element, the four humors, the four temperaments, the four faculties, the four principal vectors of all bodily function, the vital principals, the organs, when all of the seven natural factors work together in a balanced and harmonious manner, there is health and homeostasis. When any one of these seven natural factors or there essential components ceases to function, there is death.

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.

The essential constituents and the working principles of the body, according to Unani, can be classified into seven main groups: arkan or elements, comprising earth, water, air and fire as different states of matter and the building blocks of everything in the universe; mizaj (temperament); akhlat (humours); aza (organs); arwah (life, spirits or vital breaths); quva (energy); and af'al (action).

Each of the four elements has its own special qualities: earth is cold and dry; water is cold and moist; fire is hot and dry; air is hot and moist. The resultant quality of the uniform body is called its mizaj. The temperament of a substance may be a mizaj-e-mutadil (balanced one) or a mizaj-e-ghair-mutadil (imbalanced one).

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.
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

Diagnosis & treatment :

The unani Physician-called Hakim diagnoses a disease by feeling the Nabz(pulse) and rhythmic expansion of arteries by fingers. stool and urine examination also help in diagnosis. Four types of treatment lines are available
In Unani, the most important aspect for the diagnosis of diseases are three in number, and they are Nabz (pluse), examination of baul (urine) and Baraz (stool).

The surroundings and the ecological conditions are very much responsible for the state of health of a person. In Tibb much emphasis is made on the causes for the prevention of health as (asbab sittah Zaruriyah ) are taken into consideration . They are atmospheric air, food and drinks, physical or bodily movement or response, mental or psychic movement or response, sleep and wake fullness and excretion and retention.
Its colour, taste, viscosity, whether it has froth on its surface, if the bubbles formed are large, indicating balgham, or small, indicating safra are scrutinised. The stool is also examined in a similar way.

In unani all the disease are treated on four therapies. They are as follows.

1. ILAJ Bil Tadbir (Regimental Therapy):

This therapy includes venesection (Fasad); cupping (Hajamat); exercise (Riyazat); steam bath (Hammam); leeching (Taleeque) Diathermy (Amal-e-kai)

2. ILAJ Bil Ghiza (Dieto Therapy);

In this therapy patient is treated with specific diets as diet itself plays an important role in human’s life. At a time it acts as a drug and the very same diet can become harmful to the same person. In this therapy specific diets are administered or some alteration is done in the quality and quantity of the patient’s diet.

3. ILAJ Bil Dawa (Pharmaco Therapy)

This therapy aims at treating the diseases with drugs of natural origin like herbs, animal origin and mineral origin. Mostly they are used as single drugs but in case of chronic disorders or various complex diseases compound formulation are also used.

4. ILAG Bil Yad (Surgery):

The practice of jarahat in Unani is as old as human existence. The special techniques and instruments are applied in this field

The regimental therapy includes procedures like venesection, cupping, Turkish bath, massage, exercise and leeching among others. These therapies involves working on specificbody reflexes, most commonly by massage. But in case of musculoskeletal problems like arthrities and back pain, application of cold, heat or suction cups is also done. In rare instances, serious and acute diseases are treated by puncturing certain reflex points, during which afew drops of blood are released.

Similarly, dietotherapy involves administration of specific diets or regulation of quantity and quality of food, where as pharmacotherapy deals with administration of drugs derived from plant and mineral sources. In unani system, single drugs or their combinations in raw form are preferred over compound formulations.

"A Unani physician does not prescribe the strongest drug at the beginning of the treatment. He selects the drug according to the degree of variation from the normal healthy condition and observes the effect produced by the treatment. At the same time, he instructs the patient to observe some restrictions in diet and lifestyle."