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Government Of Karnataka
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History Of Unani Medicine

ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT

The Unani system of medicine owes, as its name suggests, its origin to Greece. It was the Greek philosopher-physician Hippocrates(460-377BC) who freed Medicine from the realm of superstition and magic, and gave it the status of Science. The theoretical framework of Unani Medicine is based on the teachings of Hippocrates. After Hippocrates a number of other Greek scholars enriched the system considerably. Of them, Galen (131-210 AD) stands out as the one who stabilized its foundation, on which Arab and Persian physicians like Rhazes (850-925 AD) and Avicenna (980-1037 AD) constructed an imposing edifice.

UNANI MEDICINE IN INDIA

In India, Unani system of medicine was introduced by the Arabs, and soon it took firm roots in the soil. The Delhi Sultans, the khiljis, the Tughlaqs and the Mughal Emperors provided state patronage to the scholars and even enrolled some as state employees and court physicians. The system found immediate favour with the masses and soon spread all over the country.

Unani system of medicine, with its own recognized practitioners, hospitals and educational and research institutions, forms an integral part of our national health care delivery system. And as far as Unani Medicine is concerned, today India is the world leader. The Government of India is providing increasing support and funds for the multi pronged development Of Unani Medicine as well as other indigenous medical systems to draw the fullest advantage of these systems in health care delivery to the masses and attain the cherished goal of Health for All.

FUNDAMENTALS

According to the principles and philosophy of Unani Medicine, disease is a natural process, its symptoms are the reactions of the body to the disease, and the chief function of the physician is to aid the natural forces of the body. Unani Medicine is based on the humoral theory.

HUMORS

The humoral theory presupposes the presence of four humors-Dam (blood), Balgham(phlegm), Safra (yellow bile) and Sauda (black bile) in the body. The temperaments of persons are expressed by the words sanguine, phlegmatic, choleric and melancholic according to the dominancy of humors in their constitution. The humors themselves are assigned temperaments – blood is hot and moist, phlegm is cold and moist, yellow bile hot and dry, and black bile cold and dry. Every person is supposed to have a unique humoral constitution, which represents his healthy state and this is maintained by a supreme faculty in our body called Quwwat-e-Mudabbira Badan (medicatrix naturae). If this faculty weakens, imbalance in the humoral composition is bound to occur resulting in disease.

DIAGNOSIS

Another distinctive feature of the Unani system of medicine is its emphasis on diagnosing a disease through Pulse(Nabz), examination of urine (Baul) and Stool(Baraaz).

PREVENTION OF DISEASE

Unani system of medicine recognizes the influence of surroundings and ecological conditions on the state of health of human beings. The system aims at restoring the equilibrium of various elements and faculties of the human body.

Unani system of medicine describes six essential factors known as “Asbab-e-sitta zarooriyah” which includes – Air, Food & Drinks, Physical movement & Repose, Psychic movement & Repose, Sleep & Wakefulness and Evacuation & Retention. These factors are essential under normal limit for Life and for maintaining the Health and any Disturbance among these may lead to Disease.

THERAPEUTICS

There are various modes of treatment in Unani system of medicine such as Regimental Therapy (Ilaj bit Tadbeer), Dietotherapy (Ilaj bil Ghiza), Pharmacotherapy (Ilaj bid Dawa) and Surgery (Jarahat). When the disease causing matter is in the blood, it is eliminated by bloodletting techniques like venesection (Fasad), leeching (Taleeq), wet cupping (Hijamath bil shruth). When the matter lies in stomach or intestine the waste matter is eliminated by emesis (vomiting), laxatives and purgatives respectively. Sometimes the matter needs to be concocted and expelled from the body which is termed as Munzij Mushil .

There are various modes of treatment in Unani system of medicine such as Regimental Therapy (Ilaj bit Tadbeer), Dietotherapy (Ilaj bil Ghiza), Pharmacotherapy (Ilaj bid Dawa) and Surgery (Jarahat). When the disease causing matter is in the blood, it is eliminated by bloodletting techniques like venesection (Fasad), leeching (Taleeq), wet cupping (Hijamath bil shruth). When the matter lies in stomach or intestine the waste matter is eliminated by emesis (vomiting), laxatives and purgatives respectively. Sometimes the matter needs to be concocted and expelled from the body which is termed as Munzij Mushil .

Modern research

Unani is unmatched in treating chronic diseases like arthritis, asthma, mental, cardiac and digestive disorders, urinal infections, and of course sexual diseases.

Hakim Shamshad A. 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, leukoderma and skin problems.

Unani is also said to be effective in increasing immunity levels in AIDS patients. Hakim Usama Akram reports that the results of his research on Unani treatment in cerebral palsy among children have been encouraging, with children showing marked improvement in movement as well as cognitive levels.

Ziabetus or diabetes in its early stages is fully curable using Unani. Its efficacy in treating sexual disorders remains unrivalled. Hakim Jameel claims that Unani medicines permanently and effectively cure every sexual ailment, even sterility in women. Unlike modern medicines like Viagra and its Indian variants which have harmful side-effects, Unani also improves the general health of the person.

Today there are more than 40 undergraduate and postgraduate colleges teaching Unani medicine in India. These accord BUMS (Bachelor of Unani Medicines and Surgery).

Several colleges have recently introduced postgraduate courses in Unani and give MD degrees in Ilmul Advia (pharmacology), Moalijat (medicine) and Kulliyat (basic principles) as well as Jarahat (surgery) at Ajmal Khan Tibbiya College, Aligarh, and in Moalijat, Amraz-e-Niswan (gynaecology) and Amraz-e-Atfal (paediatrics) at Government Nizamiah Tibbi College, Hyderabad.

Several other colleges including Faculty of Medicine (Unani) at Hamdard University and Ayurvedic and Unani College at Karol Bagh in Delhi have introduced such postgraduate courses. There are more than 150 Unani hospitals and 1,500 Unani dispensaries spread across 18 states of India.

There are around 50,000 Unani graduates in the country and most of them are practising physicians. Unani now forms an integral part of the national health care delivery system, and is recognised by the WHO as one of the alternative system of medicines. The Unani system is inexpensive, effective and easily available.

Realising its potential, the central and state governments have constituted the IMCC Act of 1970, which since 1973 has been implemented all over the country for standardization of education in the Unani system of medicine. Accordingly, a statutory council, CCIM regulates the practice and education in Unani.

Even in financial terms, Unani is loaded with potential. There are several large and medium sized companies producing Unani medicines. There are a number of licensed manufacturers of Unani medicines both in the small and large-scale sectors, with their production being controlled by the government as well as private bodies.

These companies include Hamdard Dawakhana, Hamdam Dawakhana, New Shama Laboratory, Hamdam Hindustani Dawakhana, Sadar Dawakhana, Dehlevi Remedies, Rex Remedies, all in Delhi; Niyamath Pharmacies, Chennai, National Dawakhana, Calcutta, Islahi Drug House and Unani Remedies, in Mumbai.

SCOPE FOR UNANI

Unani system of medicine carries thousands of years of vast experiences of healing irrespective of geographical demarcations. This medicine has proved itself efficacious for all times. The trend of modern advancements in medicine is laudable.

Global investors have got the opportunity to use the resources of medicinal plants enriched on Indian soil for pharmaceutical establishments. They can establish units to carry out clinical research on various disorders quite easily availing resources of Karnataka.

They can establish state of Art and World class SPAS and Regimental therapy institutes imparting the concepts and wisdom of Unani making viable to public as well as to keep commercial interest alive. They can establish colleges of Unani medicine on the lines of modern medical colleges boosting academics in the general interest of mankind.

They can provide quality food products boosting immunity and relaxing minds such as Herbal energy drinks, herbal tea and herbal cosmetics.

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