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Unani Medicine system in India
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What is Unani system of Medicine ?
Unani system is a science which deals with the preventive and promotive aspects of human being and health problems occurred by the Ecological and Environmental factors, which may vitiate humours i.e. Blood, Phlegm, Yellow bile and Black bile, the fluids circulating in the body vessels. It teaches to maintain the health and treat if effected by disease by bringing back the balance in imbalance humours. Humours are one of the basic principles & concepts conceptualized by the 'Father of Medicine', 'Hippocrates'.

What are the basic principles & concepts of Unani system ?
In the basic principles and concepts the human body is considered to be made up of the following components.

1. Arkan (Elements)
2. Mizaj (Temperament)
3. Akhlat (Humours)
4. Aza (Organs)
5. Arwah (Spirit)
6. Quwa (Powers)
7. Afa'l (Function)

(I) Elements (Arkan): These are four i.e. Air, Water, Earth and Fire. Actually these four elements represents several other elements found in the modern science. There are four states denoting the temperaments of these four elements

Air - Hot & Moist
Fire - Hot & Dry
Earth - Cold & Dry
Water - Cold & Moist

(II) Temperaments (Mizaj):- The interaction between the chemical combination of four elements, produces various states which determine the temperament of an individual human being, plants, & minerals. Temperament (Mizaj) is simply defined as having the following states and their combinations:-

Hot- Single -------Compound - Hot & Dry
Dry- Single -------Compound - Hot & Moist
Cold- Single -------Compound - Cold & Dry
Moist-Single -------Compound - Cold & Moist

(III) Humours (Akhlat):- The humours are actually the body fluids which are classified broadly in four. The fluids of the body contains various harmones, enzymes and humours etc. They are responsible for nutrition to the whole of body. These fluids are (a) Primary (b) Secondary.

(a) Primary fluids are four humour i.e. blood, phlegm, yellow bile and black bile.
(b) Secondary fluids are harmones, enzymes, and plasma etc.

(IV) Organs (Aaza):- Organs are composed of cell, tissues, nerves and blood vessels. Various organs of the body and health in disease condition of each individual affects the state of health.

(V) Pneuma-Gaseous material (Arwah):- The Pneuma is a life force which carries of different powers, without which human body is dead. This is a source of life and vitality.

(VI) Faculties (Qawa):- Faculties/Powers are of three kinds.

(a) Natural powers
(b) Psychic powers
(c) Vital powers

(VII) Functions (Afaal):- Includes movements of various organs. It is necessary to ensure that various organs should be in proper shape and condition to perform proper functions.

What does temperament of the drugs means ?
The temperament of the drugs means the whole chemistry and properties of a drug, its quality of having toxicity or otherwise. The drugs belongs to plant, mineral & animal origin have their own temperaments. Because of the temperament the property of one drug differs from the other.

How one can ascertain the temperament of compound drugs ?
The different ingredients of a drug have a molecular structure (Surat-Mauiyah). Therefore their temperament is also different. When ingredients of different temperament assemble in a compound drug, they develop and produce a different temperament altogether.

Describe and illustrate the method of assessment of the temperament of a drug ?
Al-Kindi (A distinguished pharcognosict died in 873 A.D.) established a method to asses the temperament, degrees of compound drugs and illustrated as follows.

Cardamom 1 warm ½ cold ½ moist 1 dry
Sugar 2 warm 1 cold 1 moist 2 dry
Indigo ½ warm 1 cold ½ moist 1 dry
Embolica 1 warm 2 cold 1 moist 2 dry

Sum:- 4 ½ warm 4 ½ cold 3 moist 6 dry

Thus the drug is dried to the first degree.

What do you mean by Hot, Wet or Dry Quality of Drug ?
The temperament is a quality of drug it means the drug is hot and cold in touch and vice-versa. It actually means that the drug is potentially or action wise hot in comparison to the body. The potency and degree developed inside the body. The action take place after in-take of drug, which increase or decrease the body temperament, stimulating the thermostat, centre of hypothalamus, by increasing the Basic Metabolic Mates (BMR), by releasing various hormones. A drug is said to be hot because it produces certain symptoms related to heat after intake. A drug is said to be cold when it lowers the temperament by influencing hypothalamus or decreasing the BMR, as such the symptoms produces after intake of drugs of various temperaments attributed to hot, cold, moist or dry.

Is there gradation of potencies of drugs ?
In Unani all drugs are defined in temperamental qualities and graded into four degrees according the potency of their qualities as hot, cold, moist (wet) and dry. Thus a hot drug graded in degree one, two, three and four and cold, moist and hot are defined vice-versa. Thus the first and second degree is safe and third have a toxic effect of mild nature and the fourth considered having side-effects or toxic.

What is importance of temperament and its manifestation ?
For maintaining health it is imperative to maintain temperaments as well. It is also paramount to a physician to keep the temperament in mind while diagnosing a disease. The dominance of one or more humor in the body vitiate humor itself and create a condition i.e. cold disease.

How the humors altered and create disease ?
There are various factors which affect the humors. When disturbance in the quantity, quality and equilibrium in one or more humors occurred due to the effect of atmosphere or otherwise it causes disease.

How the temperament was determined ?
It is the observation, experimentation and experience of ancient physicians who had under taken clinical trials on living beings and treated with single as well as compound drugs. According to the actions, resulted in the human body, observed and examined by the physicians, the temperament was defined and determined.

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What types of drugs are used in Unani system ?
Drugs of Herbal, Mineral & Animal origin are used. They form a large number of formulations and shape acceptable to the patient.

In what form the drugs are used ?
Drugs are used in crude form as single drugs and compound form.

Why compound drugs are used when the single drugs also have effective action ?
Because single drug sometime could not give desired effect and results, they can give less and sometime severe action. A drug of compound ingredients counteract the toxic effect of chemically active principle and act as antidote and enhance the required action of other single drugs.

On combination of multiple drugs in a formula having different qualities and active principles of mild or severe nature interact with each other. In the process the toxic effects or side-effects reduce to nil therefore the trend continue.

In compound forms whether the Unani drugs retain the quality and maintain the efficacy of drug and their life ?
In Unani drug sugar or honey is the base as a preservative. So if the preservative are standard then the drug retain the quality, efficacy and also retain the life for more than one year. The methods of preparation of compound drugs, preservatives are described in detail in NFUM, Part-I.

Are Unani drugs safe ?
All the drugs used in compound formulations are safe & non-toxic. These drugs are prepared according to the specific process & methods. Before preparation of Unani drugs toxicity of drugs are kept in mind and so the toxic ingredient are purified and de-toxified. Due to this process the toxicity is reduced to nil and the efficacy remains. Hence, the Unani drugs are absolutely safe.

It is well known that drugs in crude form act slowly. So they cannot give immediate relief to the patient? Then how the Unani physician handle in emergency and acute cases ?
The medicinal plants are a type of vegetation for example some fruit or vegetables are used to stop diarrhea and some are administered to increase hemoglobin in anemia. There action is fast. As such Unani medicines take effective action in the patients of acute diseases as well as of chronic diseases.

In the following acute conditions Unani drugs take immediate action.

I. Indigestion, Acidity, Flatulence
II. Diarrhea
III. Dysentery
IV. Bronchitis
V. Coryza and Cattarrh.
VI. Abdominal pain
VII. Urticaria and other ailments

The misconception that the Unani drugs act only in chronic diseases is absolutely in-correct. The Arthritis, Bronchial Asthma, Sinusitis, Hepatitis etc. becomes chronic due to repeated administration of allopathic drugs. These can be cured in acute condition by Unani drugs. As almost all the Unani drugs are used orally or locally and injectables are not used in the system, therefore they act like the allopathic drugs through the same route.

What are preventive & promotive aspect of Unani ?
Ecological & environmental factors affect the balance of humours in the body and also vitiate them. Maintenance of humour and promotion and preservation of health depends on six essentials which influence the living being with respect to preservation of health and causation of disease.

The Six Essentials (Asbab-e-Sitt-e-Zarooriya) are:-

I. Hawa-e-Muhit (atmospheric air)
II. Makul-vo-Mashrub (food & drink)
III. Harkat-vo-sakun badni (physical movement & rest)
IV. Harkat-vo-Sakun al-Nafsani (Mental movement and rest)
V. Naum vo-Yaqzah (Sleep and wakefulness)
VI. Istifragh-vo-Ihtibas (Evacuation & retention).

How the disease is diagnosed ?
Diagnosis is involved investigation of the cause of disease through pulse reading, naked eye examination of urine & stool and through the other conventional methods i.e. auscultation, palpation, percussion with the help of some modern tools. Thus, the spot diagnosis is made very easy.

What are the modes/methods of treatment ?
Modes of treatment are four.

I. Regimenal therapy
II. Dieto therapy
III. Pharmaco therapy
IV. Surgery.

What do you mean by regimenal therapy ?
Regimens are five as under.

I. Exercise
II. Massage
III. Hammam
IV. Douches
V. Regimen of Geriatrics

Hammam and massage therapy is available in Govt. Nizamia General Hospital (Unani) Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh. Cupping therapy as another speciality treatment of Unani is available in Central Research Instt., (CCRUM) Hyderabad, A.P.

Whether this system is recognized by the Govt. of India ?
Yes, this system is recognised by Govt. of India, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, under the Act-1970, to provide for the constitution of a Central Council of Indian Medicine and to maintain a Central Register of Indian Medicine. The CCIM makes the education regulations. This is a statutory body set up by an Act of Parliament. The training and education in Unani are being regulated by the CCIM Act. At present there are 39 recognized under graduate and three P.G. Unani colleges and 7 specialties are available in the P.G. courses.

What is the infrastructure of Unani in India ?
Unani system has a network of Colleges, Hospitals, Dispensaries, Research Institutes, National Institutes and Unani specialty centre established by the Department of ISM & H, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Govt. of India.

Is there any act to control the standards of Unani drug manufacturer sale, distribution and import-export law ?
Drug Technical Advisory Board constituted for Ay., Unani & Siddha under the Drugs & Cosmetics Act & Rules-1940 to control the standards of drugs, manufacturing, sales & distribution of Unani drugs.

Is there any Drug Testing Lab. for Unani Medicines ?
Yes, the PLIM is a Govt. Drug Testing Lab. for standardization and quality control of Ayurveda & Unani drugs.

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