Yunani or Unani medicine (Urdu: طب یونانی tibb yūnānī) is the term for Perso-Arabic traditional medicine as practiced in Mughal India and inMuslim culture in South Asia and modern day Central 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.
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.
Unani medicine is substantially based on Ibn Sina’s The Canon of Medicine (11th century)
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, influenced by Indian medical teachings of Sushruta and Charaka.Alauddin Khilji (d. 1316) had several eminent physicians (Hakims) at his royal courts. This royal patronage meant development of Unani practice in India, but also of Unani literature with the aid of Indian Ayurvedic physicians.
Diagnosis and treatment:
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:
- Izalae Sabab (elimination of cause)
- Tadeele Akhlat (normalization of humors)
- Tadeele Aza (normalization of tissues/organs)
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 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 toAyurveda. 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.