History of Unani Treatment
The Unani Treatment System, as its name suggests, owes its origin to Egypt & its sister civilization Mesopotamia. It was further adapted by Arabs, and was developed and improved tremendously by them into an elaborate medical science based on the frame work of the teaching of Buqrat (Hippocrates) and Jalinoos (Galen). The name Unani, derived from a Greek word ‘Ionian’ means the knowledge of the states of the human body in health and illness (decline of health). Since the time, it has been known as Greco-Arab medicine. Buqrat who is called as the father of medicine for his remarkable contribution and radical outlook, he provided the medicines. He established that the disease was a natural process and symptoms were the reaction of the body to the disease. Unani is one of the most well-known traditional medicine systems and draws on the ancient traditional systems of medicine of China, Egypt, India, Iraq, Persia and Syria. Practices of this traditional medical system vary greatly with country and region and influenced by factors such as culture, history, personal attitudes and philosophy. There were other Arab and Persian physicians such as Al Razi (Rhazes), Ibn-e-sina (Avicenna), Al Zahrawi and Ibn-e-Nafis who contributed a lot in this traditional medical system. Unani system of Medicine was introduced to India by the Arabs, and soon it took firm roots in the soil of India. The Delhi Sultans, the Khiljis, the Tughlaqs and the Mughal Emperors developed the Unani treatment System as a comprehensive Medical System. Another Unani physician Mohammad Ajmal Khan, better known as Hakim Ajmal Khan has huge contribution in the field of Unani Treatment system of India. More and more people are now seeking Unani treatment in Kolkata and in other major cities around the world. Several Unani doctors and practitioners have been working for the past several decades in order to provide safe and effective Unani treatment for a wide variety of major diseases like Piles, Fissure, Fistula, Psoriasis, Eczema, Knee Pain, Back Pain, Arthritis, Osteoarthritis, Joint Pain and so on. Unani doctors also treat chronic sexual problems like Erectile Dysfunction (ED) as well as Premature Ejaulation (PE), Lack of Sexual Desire (LSD) and many more.
According to the Unani Treatment protocol, Tabiyat is considered the supreme planner of our body that creates the healthy environment within the body and prepare to fight against the disease. The tabiyat may be defined as the sum total of structural, functional and psychological character of the human being. The Unani doctors belief that if tabiyat is strong, then a man does not suffer from a disease easily, if it weakens, a man becomes prone to disease easily. According to the Unani principles, the human body contains seven natural and basic components called Umoore Tabaiyah that are responsible for the existence of the human body and are considered responsible for the maintenance of health. The seven basic natural components are –
Arkan or Anasir
(Faculties of Powers)
According to the practice of Unani medicine, the body is made up of the four basic elements –Earth, Air, Water and Fire which have different temperaments cold, hot, wet and dry respectively. Arkan (singular- Rukn) are the primary substances of the body. All the creations in the nature are composed of four Arkan (elements). Each of these elements is endowed with inherent binary qualities. The human body is also constituted with these four elements namely-
Naar (Fire) • Hawa (Air) • Ma (Water) • Arz (Earth)
The Temperament of the Body (Mizaj)
Different creations existing in the universe come into being by interaction of these four elements in different quantities. As per Unani system of medicines, contrary qualities of these elements counteract with each other and a new quality develops in compound which is different from the original qualities of participating elements. This new quality developed in the component known as its Mizaj (Temperament). Possessed in different proportion, mizaj is balanced by all entities in the cosmos, including all plants, minerals, and animals. The equilibrium of the individual’s elemental combination and resulting mizaj, as determined by tabiyah, provides a stable constitution to that individual — in other words, health. Therefore, mizaj plays a pivotal role in Unani treatment in characterizing a person’s normal state (physical, mental, and social), as well as the nature of a disease. The four essential mizaj (temperaments) are –
This type has also been called the 'Muscular' temperament in Unani Medical Science. This temperament will be Hot & Moist in nature. It belongs to Air element. Individuals will look fair with muddy complexion, with full muscular development, large full veins and a large pulse. They are confident with positive thinking and are prone to involve themselves with physical excesses.
|Physical characteristics||Mental characteristics|
|Well-formed and prominent joints||Balanced and sound sleep|
|Oval face||Good faculty of judgement|
|More muscular tissues than fat||Optimistic, positive mental outlook|
|Thick and luxuriant hair||Persuasive extrovert|
|Warm to touch||Good social skills|
|Mildly prominent veins and full and strong pulse||Romantic nature, like to travel|
|Good appetite, wonderful digestive power||Confident, poised, graceful, enthusiastic|
|Physical characteristics||Mental characteristics|
|Flabbiness of body||Mental Dullness|
|Cold and moist skin||Excessive sleepiness|
|Excessive salivation, viscid saliva||Dreams about water, ice, rain|
|Soft and slow pulse||Relaxed, peaceful, quiet, easy going|
|Weak digestion||Sympathetic, care about others|
|Pale urine||Good at generalizing ideas|
This type has also been called the 'Lymphatic' temperament. This temperament will be Cold & Moist in nature. It belongs to Water element. It displays a fair complexion, light hair, general softness and laxity of tissues and a pulse that is soft and wide. The Phlegmatic type is slow and sluggish, apathetic and not readily excited, and easily becomes flabby and overweight. Unani treatment for Asthma or other phlegm related bronchial diseases are dependent on this temperament. Many Unani Kolkata Centers are providing treatment for various diseases based on these different temperaments.
This type has also been referred to as the 'Nervous' temperament. This temperament will be Hot & Dry in nature. It belongs to Fire element. It is characterized by a slim build and by much nervous activity. These are passionate people, quick to become excited or angry and just as quick to forget their excitement. As per the Unani treatment system, they are hyperactive and highly sensitive and may prone to suffer stress, anxiety and sleep deprivation.
|Physical characteristics||Mental characteristics|
|Medium Stature||Mental Dullness|
|Sharp angular features||Excessive sleepiness|
|Medium/lean built||Dreams about water, ice, rain|
|Yellowish complexion||Relaxed, peaceful, quiet, easy going|
|Brilliant penetrating eyes||Sympathetic, care about others|
|Prominent veins and hairy body||Good at generalizing ideas|
|Black, abundant, thick and curly hairs||Energetic, bold, daring, brilliant intellect|
|Rapid and strong pulse||Impatient, irritable and short-tempered|
|Good digestion, sharp and quick appetite||Persistent, zealous, passionate|
|Physical characteristics||Mental characteristics|
|Lean and thin built||Interrupted sleep|
|Small beady eyes with sunken hollow cheeks||Detail-oriented|
|Rough skin||Well-developed retention power|
|Dark complexion||Gloomy state of mind with depression|
|Profuse body hairs, slow growth of hair||---|
|Weak digestion, irregular appetite||---|
According to the fundamentals of Unani Medicine, This type of temperament will be Cold & Dry in nature. It belongs to Earth element. Usually the individual has a darkish complexion and appears emaciated. Their tissues are hard and dry and their pulse is narrow and thread as per the Unani doctors. This temperament is prone to frequent spells of pessimism, a gloomy state of mind with much depression.
The Four Humours of the Human Body (Akhlat)
Hippocrates propounded the doctrine of fluids, or Humours of the body which obtain from the food and various hormones and enzymes. The mizaj of a man is expressed by the preponderance of a particular khilt (humour) present in his body. Thus a man may be Damwi (sanguineous), Balghami (phlegmatic), Safrawi (choleric) or Saudawi (melancholic) in nature according to the preponderance of Dam, Balgham, Safra or Sauda respectively. The health is preserved until these humours are maintained in proportion according to their quantity or and quality, diseases like Piles, Fissure, Fistula, Asthma, Liver Disease, Joint Pain, Arthritis, Skin Disease, Psoriasis, Eczema, Diabetes even Sexual Diseases develop as soon as balanced proportion of these akhlat is disturbed in their quantity and/or quality. With the disruption of right balance among four humours, the normal mizaj of a person deteriorates to ill temperament marking the illness. In Unani Medicine different measures are adopted as the treatment to bring the normal mizaj back to get rid of the disease. Unani Doctors categorized the humours into four groups these fluids are –
Treatment of Simplified or Compound Organs (Aaza)
by Unani Doctors
These are the various organs of the human body and the health or disease of each individual organ affects the state of health of the whole body. According to Unani treatment system, Aaza have been classified into 2 categories as:
Aaza e Mufridah or Baseet
(simple organs – cells and tissues)
It is also known as Aaza Baseet or Aaza e Mufridah (simple organs). It is also defined as the organ, the smallest part of which exactly resembles the whole. A simple organ is therefore, homogeneous in structure throughout e.g. a piece of bone is still a bone. Aaza Baseet follows cartilaginous tissue, ligaments, tendons, nervous tissue, membranes, flesh and fat. Unani doctors help to diagnose the issues occur in the simple organs based on Unani treatment system.
Aaza e Murakkebah or Aliyah
(compound organs – organs or membrane)
The Aaza-e-Murakkebah are those which are heterogeneous and are composed of many Aaza Baseet and other substances. These are known as Aaza Aliyah (Mechanical organs) e.g. – Heart, Liver, Stomach, Intestine, Brain etc. The best Unani treatment seeks to help the individual if there is any disorder in these mechanical organs.
Balance of Vital Power (Arwah)
Arwah, singular “Ruh” represents such constituents which the body receives from atmospheric air and without which sustenance of life cannot be imagined. These are considered to be the life force and are therefore given importance in the diagnosis and treatment of disease. Ruh is a gaseous substance, obtained from the inspired air, it helps in all the metabolic activities of the body. These are considered to be the life force and are therefore, important in diagnosis and treatment of disease. These are the carriers of different powers, which make the whole body system and its parts functional.
For every living being certain functions are vital to preserve the life. For these functions to take place, certain power is prerequisite. According to Unani treatment and medicine, there are three types of power inherent in every human being to maintain the life and propagate the generation. Quwa Tabiyah (Natural faculty), Quwa Nafsania (Psychic and Mental faculty) and Quwa Haywaniya (Vital faculty) are the three powers present in human body. Each and every organ is furnished with a power through which physiological functions performed by that particular organ.
Proper Functioning of Organs (Afaal)
These include the movements and functions of the various organs of the body. To maintain proper health of the body it is necessary to ensure that various organs are not only in proper shape themselves but are performing their respective functions properly. The best Unani treatment requires a thorough understanding of the proper functioning of organs to diagnose the root cause of the disease.
Principles of Diagnosis
The Diagnostic process in Unani Treatment system is dependent on observation and physical examination. Any illness of a person is to be regarded as a product of –the stuff and material a person is made of, the kind of temperament, structure and strength of faculties they have, the type of factors operating on a person from outside and natures own attempt to maintain their physical functions and to ward off disruptions to the extent possible. Keeping all inter-related factors in view, the cause and nature of illness is determined and treatment is chalked out. Diagnosis involves investigating the causes of disease thoroughly and in detail. For this, the physicians depend mainly on Pulse Examination (Nabz Shanasi) reading and examination of urine and stool. The alternative contraction and expansion of the arteries produced by the systolic and diastolic of heart is called Pulse Examination (Nabz Shanasi). Beside the means of pulse reading and physical examination of urine and stool, other conventional means such as inspection, palpation, percussion and auscultation are also used for diagnosis purposes. Physical examination of urine helps a lot in the diagnosis of not only urogenital diseases but also other systemic disorders. Several aspects are taken into account for diagnosis, e.g. quantity, colour, odour, consistency, foam or froth, precipitates, clearness and turbidity. The physical examination of stool also helps in the diagnosis of various diseases. Colour, quantity, consistency and presence of foreign bodies are observed during its physical examination. In addition to the above, Unani physicians have stressed on the importance of physical examination of the patient e.g. diagnosis by skin, nails, tongue, etc. Other modern tools of diagnosis are also used to confirm the diagnosis.
Normal or abnormal temperament is not determined by chemical analysis of different akhlat of the body. However the Unani doctors have devised mean to find out mizaj. Assessment of mizaj or temperament is necessary for the proper treatment of diseases. The sign and symptoms by which mizaj can be diagnosed are classified into following 10 divisions-
1. Malmus (Palpation)
Through touching of the body two things are seen –Body heat and Hardness and softness of the body (Salabah, Laiyenat, Malasah an Kushunah etc.). Body heat is measured by touching the body by an equable person under normal conditions, but the accurate method of recording the temperament of body is thermometer.
2. Laham wa shaham (Flesh and Fat)
This is another criterion for determining temperament of the body. Thus, Laham –well developed and strong muscles, indicates toward hararat and rutubat (heat and moistness) of temperament. If the quantity of muscles is less and the body is devoid of fat, it indicates towards yubusat (dryness) of temperament.
3. Shaar (Hairs)
The following things are seen in the hairs – a) Fast or the slow growth of the hairs, b) Excess and the sparseness of the hairs, c) Thickness or the thinness of the hairs, d) Straightness or the curliness of the hairs, e) Colour of the hairs.
4. Laun –al- badan (Body complexion):
The colour of the body also indicates towards a particular temperament. Different colours indicate toward different temperaments. According to “RabbanTabri” the real cause of bodily colour is the dominance of particular khilt and its diversion towards the skin at the time of formation of the embryo, as we know the melanocytes are responsible for skin colours.
5. Sahna /Haiyat al aza (Physique)
The temperament also affects the physique. Therefore, development of different organs of body and body build indicate towards particular temperament. Anatomically four types of personalities have been described which are probably influenced by the respective temperaments. These are Hypersthenic type, Sthenic type, Hyposthenic type, Asthenic type.
6. Kaifiyat -e- infal (Responsiveness of organs)
This is seen by tendency of organs to accept the effect of heat or cold with slowness or fastness.
7. Naum wa yaqza (Sleep and Wakefulness)
The normal sleep and wakefulness indicates the presence of normal temperament, especially it indicates towards the temperament of the brain. Excessive wakefulness indicates towards hot and dry temperament, while excessive sleep indicates increased cold and wet (Barid Ratab) temperament of the brain.
8. Afal- ul- aza (Functions of organs)
Under this heading different physiological function of the body are examined. Thus in the light of these functions the temperament is interpreted.
9. Fuzlat -e -badan (Excreta of body)
The inspection and examination of different excrement of the body also indicates towards certain temperament. According to the modern concept of the excrement of body are four types, which are describe as Urine, Faeces, Sputum, Sweat.
10. Infalat- e –nafsania (Psyche)
Under the heading of the whole psychological and mental setup of a man is studied and nervous functions are examined and interpreted in the light of facts given by the Unani doctors.
Assessment of Nabz (Pulse)
After determination of mizaj, the diagnosis is corroborated by the findings of pulse. There are several hundred pulses found in a gamut of disease and there is a specific pulse for a specific body condition or internal milieu. There are ten features to constitute a nabz (pulse) as per the Unani treatment. These ten features are meticulously felt to find, if these characters are normal or abnormal. These ten features are as follows:
Miqdar –e- imbesat
(Degree of expansion)
Kaifiyat –e- qara
(Impaction on the fingers)
Zamana –e- harkat
(Duration of movement)
Qiwam -e- ala
(Texture of artery)
Khala wa imtala
(Emptiness and fullness of artery)
(Feeling of hot or cold)
(Duration of rest)
Istawa wa ikhtalaf
(Equality or inequality)
Nizam wa admenizam
(Regularity or irregularity)
From several thousand years ago, it is revealed that examination and observation of Urine was the first tool for diagnosis of illness and management of patients. They believed that urine examination could be helpful in medical judgement and determination of individual temperament. In this regard, Urine should be taken as whole sample in a glass jar to have a more reliable observation. Moreover sampling should be done in the morning after a moderate night sleep while the person is still, fasting and examined within 1 to 6 hours. Different features, including colour, density, transparency, sediments, volume, odour, taste and froth are evaluated in Unani treatment methodology. Urine glass should be clear and colourless and must be thoroughly washed before use. Urine should be kept in a place, not too cold or hot, away from wind and sunlight.
There are 5 types of urine divided on the basis of colour –Zard (Yellow), Surkh(Red), Sabz(Green), Siyah(Black), and Safed(White).
- Zard (Yellow): Acute fevers with high temperature are generally due to excess of bile that is why, urine becomes saffron or flame yellow in colour.
- Surkh(Red): Red coloured urine also present in Su-ul-qeeniya (anaemia) and Qolanj barid (cold colic). Red urine is a bad sign in kidney diseases because it indicates a hot inflammatory process.
- Sabz (Green): All shades of green except verdigris green and leek green denote extreme combustion. Pistachio green (Fastaqi) indicates a cold temperament. Sky green colour of urine is a sign of severe cold but according to some it is a sign of poisoning too.
- Siyah (Black): Dark and thin urine is a sign kidney stone. Dark urine with a strong smell points to predominance of heat while a faint odour indicates cold temperament.
- Safed (White Urine): Absolutely white like milk indicates presence of balgham (phlegm) and Thin and transparent denotes coldness of temperament and defective maturation.
According to density urine can be dilute, concentrated and moderate.
- Diluted Urine: If urine is too dilute than the normal, then it can be sign of Immature (not ripened), Occlusion of the vessels (narrow renal blood vessels), Renal failure in children with fever; if urine continues to be very dilute, renal insufficiency is indicated, Intake fluid in large quantity.
- Concentrated Urine:if urine is too concentrated, it might be due to lack of proper concoction or due to concoction of thick mucus that will be followed by high grade fever. Concentrated urine in severe illnesses indicates poor prognosis. In healthy people, concentrated urine can be due to dehydration.
- Moderation of urinary concentration: means urine is mature and concocted. When the urine is thick but not yellow it denotes the presence of white glassy phlegm which is sometimes observed in Epileptic conditions. The best Unani doctors always check these factors for better treatment. .
Turbidity results from the admixture of Reeh (air) with the earthy particles of liquid urine. Cloudy urine is usually due to renal failure. It is said that if there is a foggy smoky appearance in bottom of urine, the prognosis is poor. The turbidity of urine may be due to elimination of obstructive material from the liver or its adjoining tissues.
Sweat smelling urine suggests dominance of the Damvi khilt (sanguineous humour) in urine. Pungent smell denotes excess of bile while sour (acidic) smell represents dominance of Sauda (black bile). A foul smelling odour with signs of maturation in the urine indicates ulcers in the urinary passages or scabies. Foul smelling urine in an apparently healthy person is a sign of developing putrefactive fever, if this type of urine becomes sour; it indicates that there is putrefaction of barid akhlat (cold humours) by the extraneous heat.
Foam or froth is due to the admixture of reeh (air) in the liquid urine during micturition. Dark or orange coloured froth indicates jaundice. Excess of foam points to excess of reeh (air). Persistence of froth shows that the eliminated matter is viscid. Increased viscosity of urine is a bad sign in kidney diseases as it shows that abnormal phlegm or sauda is present in the system.
The nature, quality, quantity, form, position, time and amalgamation of sediment of urine provide so much valuable information about the various states of the body. Natural Sediment is White in color, smooth, round, regular, light, settles at the bottom and consists of uniform particles. There are 7 types of Abnormal sediments; (1) Flaky, (2) Fleshy, (3) Fatty, (4) Mucoid or Slimmy, (5) Purulant, (6) Hair like, (7) Resembling Pieces of yeast infused in water, (8) Sandy or Gritty, (9) Ashy and (10) Hirudiniform.
Low urine output after normal fluid intake indicates failure of the forces. If the volume of the urine is much less than the amount of drinking, it indicates that either there is high fever or diarrhoea and vomiting. Oliguria can happen due to drinking inadequate liquids, the effect of diarrhea on the body, disability of the kidneys, impaired absorption of fluids and disability of the liver in separation of the fluid.