1. What is Unani System of Medicine?

Unani System of Medicine is the science in which we learn various states of body, in health and when not in health, and means by which health is likely to be lost and, when lost, is likely to be restored.

It is a form of traditional medicine commonly practiced in Middle- East and South- Asian countries which originated in Greece almost 2500 years back. This sytem of medicine discusses the health and diseased condition of the human body in all preventive, promotive and curative aspects.

2. What are the Fundamental Principles of Unani System of Medicine?

The most important fundamental principles are:

  1. Umoor-e-Taba'iyah (Natural/ Basic components)
  2. Mawaleed-e- Salasa (Trimatter theory)
  3. Asbaabe Sitta Zarooriya (Six essential factors).
  4. The Priciples of Diagnosis 
  5. The Principles of Treatment

Because of these fundamental principles the Unani system has some unique features i.e.unique holistic approach, reproducibility, ease of practice, application and clinical success.

3. What is Umoor-e-Taba'iyah (Natural/ Basic components)?

According to the Unani system, the human body is composed of seven natural and basic components called "Umoor-e-Tabaiyah" which is mainly responsible to maintain the health.  The human body stands by these factors. Alteration in these may alter the functioning of the body. 

These are 1. Arkaan (elements) 2. Mizaj (temperament) 3. Akhlaat (humours) 4. Aa'za (organs) 6. Arwaah (spirit/vital forces) 7. Quw'a (faculty/energy) 7. Afa'al (functions/actions).

4. What is Mawaleed-e- Salasa (Trimatter theory)?

The entire universe is made up by these three matters similarly human body is also formed in that way. these are as under:

1- Solid. 2- Liquid and 3- Gaseous.

5. What is Asbaabe Sitta Zarooriya (Six essential factors)?

These six essential factors are responsible for the health as well as disease of the body. These are as follows:

1. Hawa (Air)

2. Maakool wa mashroob (Food & drink) 

3. Harkat wa Sokoon-e-Badani (physical movement & repose)

4. Harkat wa Sokoon-e-Nafsani (mental movement & repose)

5. Naum wa Yaqza (sleeping habits)

6. Ihtebas wa Istifragh (retention & evacuation)

6. What is Tabiy'at (Medicatrix naturae)?

Unani System of Medicine believes that the real physician is the body’s intrinsic power of healing and maintaining its normal state of health (Ṭabī‘at).

Tabiyat (Medicatrix naturae) is responsible for all physiological functioning of the body in healthy condition, prevent the body from the disease and cure the disease by eradicating the causing substance. If tabiyat is strong then a man will not suffer from a disease easily. If it weakens a man can fall in the disease easily.

7. What is Theory of Akhlaat (Humoral theory/ Hippocratic theory of four Humours)?

It is a distinguished feature of Unani medicine conceived by Hippocrates (460BC). According to this theory, the human body consists of three types of materials: Solids which are named as organs (A’zaa), Liquids which are named as Humours (Akhlaat) and gaseous matter named as Arwaah (pneuma).

Akhlaat (Humours) are divided into four groups namely Dam (Blood), Balgham (Phlegm), Safra (Yellow Bile) and Sauda (Black Bile).

The humors are also having their own temperament as dam is hot and wet, balgham is cold and wet, safra is hot and dry and sauda is cold and dry.  

8. What is the role of humours in our body?

The humours are responsible for nourishment and over all body activities for which optimum qualitative and quantitative balance is necessary. According to Hippocrates "Optimum balance in quality and quantity of humors is health and disease is nothing but derangement of these humors either in quality or in quantity or both".

When disturbance in the quantity, quality and equilibrium in one or more humours occurs, it causes disease.

9. What are the methods of diagnosis in Unani system of Medicine?

There are three methods of diagnosis in Unani system of medicine viz.

  1.  Inspections  (Imtehan- bil- Nazar)
  2.  Palpations (Imtehan- bil- Lams)
  3.  Percussions (Imtehan- bil- Qara)
  • Imtehan- bil- Nazar (Inspection): In this method patients are examined in detail by visual method from head to toe.
  • Imtehan- bil- Lams (Palpations): This method is used to feel what type of Malmas (feelings on touch by the hand) exixt. Specially Unani Tabeeb uses this method to palpate the pulse. This is the main technique to diagnose the diseases.
  • Imtehan- bil- Qara (Percussion): This method is also used in Unani medicine for identifying the disease.

10. What are the modalitieses of treatment in Unani Medicine?

There are four modalitises of treatment in Unani System of Medicine as under:

  1. Regimenal Therapy (‘Ilāj bi ’l-Tadbīr)
  2. Dietotherapy (‘Ilāj bi ’l-Ghidhā’)
  3. Pharmacotherapy (‘Ilāj bi ’l-Dawā’)
  4. Surgery (‘Ilāj bi ’l-Yad)

It is recommended to treat diseases first with the help of Diet and Regimental therapies and if not responding, it may be treated by next line. More than one therapy may be applied simultaneously depending on the nature and severity of the disease.

11. How Unani system of medicine is different from Western system of medicine?

Unani System of Medicine is holistic in nature and takes into account the whole personality of the individual rather than taking a reductionistic approach towards diseases.

12. What does Temperament (Mizaj) mean in Unani System of Medicine?

Unani System of Medicine believes individuals have their own unique temperament according to their humoral constitution, lifestyle and environment. The interaction between four elements in the body produces various states which determine the temperament of an individual. Any deviation from normal temperament results into disease. The management of the disease depends upon the correction of altered temperament by using various regimens and drugs.

13. What is the importance of Temperament (Mizaj)?

For maintaining the health of an individual, it is imperative to maintain temperament. It is also important to keep the temperament in mind while diagnosing a disease.   The dominance of one or more humours in the body vitiates humour itself and causes disease. Temperament (Mizaj) is also importance in the treatment of diseases with natural remedies derived mostly from plants. It is also taken into consideration for identifying the most suitable diet and lifestyle for promoting good health.

14. How the temperament (Mizaj) can be diagnosed)?

The temperament of man, can be diagnosed by ten categories of bodily and mental parameters (Ajnās ‘Ashara), e.g. complexion, texture, built, hair, dreams etc.  Temperament (Mizāj) classifies human beings, diet, drugs etc. into four qualitative types: Hot & Dry, Hot & Wet, Cold & Wet and Cold & Dry.

15. What does Sanguine Temperament (Damwi Mizaj) mean?

This type of temperament will be Hot & Wet in nature. It belongs to Air element. Features of the individual having this temperament are:

Individuals will look fair with muddy complexion,  with full muscular development, large full veins and a large pulse. They are confident with positive thinking who are rarely anxious. They are very prone to involve themselves with physical excesses and as a result they often suffer from injuries and their sequels. This type has also been called the 'Muscular' temperament.

16. What does Phlegmatic Temperament (Balghami Mizaj) mean?

This type of temperament will be Hot & Dry in nature. It belongs to Water element. Features will be as followed:

It displays a fair complexion, light hair, general softness and laxity of tissues and a pulse that is soft and wide. Because of the excessive metabolic activity of immune system, heat tends to be drawn inwards and the exterior is cold; hence people of this types tend to feel the cold the acutely. The Phlegmatic type is slow and sluggish, apathetic and not readily excited, and easily becomes flabby and overweight. This type has also been called the 'Lymphatic' temperament.

17. What does Choleric Temperament (Safrawi Mizaj) mean?

This type of temperament will be Cold & Wet in nature. It belongs to Fire element. Features will be as followed:

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. They live on their nerves and because of this they are susceptible to brain and nervous disorders. Their pulse tends to be sharp and quick. The skin in this type appears yellowish, and this temperament occurs often in those with brown hair. This type has also been referred to as the 'Nervous' temperament.

18. What does Melancholic Temperament (Saudawi Mizaj) mean?

This type of temperament will be Cold & Dry in nature. It belongs to Earth element. Features will be as followed:

Usually the individual has a darkish complexion and appears emaciated. Their tissues are hard and dry and their pulse is narrow and thready. This temperament is prone to frequent spells of pessimism, a gloomy state of mind with much depression

19. Which type of ingredients are used in Unani Medicine?

Unani System is Herbo- animo- mineral and marine in origin, using items such as plants and their parts (leaf, seed, flowers, bark etc.), animals organs (liver, brain, fat etc.), mineral and metals (different stones, silver, gold etc.) marine (cuttle fish bone, anber etc.).

20. What types of drugs are used in Unani system of Medicine?

The Unani system of medicine uses drugs which are of Herbo-animo-mineral in origin. So the drugs of Herbal (approx. 90%), Mineral (5-6%) and Animal (4-5%) origin are used either in single form or as compound formulations.
Drugs are formulated into

  1. Solid preparations e.g. Hab (Tablet), Qurs (Capsule), Safoof (Powder), Kohl (Micropowder for eye diseases), Marham (ointment and liniment), etc
  2. Liquid preparations e.g. Sharbat (Syrup), Joshanda (Decoction), Khisanda (Infusion), Arq (Distellate), Mazmaza (Mouth gargle) etc
  3. Gaseous preparations e.g. Inkebaab, Shamoom, Lakhlakha.

21. What are the contributions of Unani in the Health Care Delivery?

Unani system of medicine plays an important role in health care delivery as its medicines  are cheaper and affordable to a common man.   Unani medicines are safe and efficacious against diseases like, viral hepatitis, jaundice, malaria, filaria, skin disorders like eczema, psoriasis, vitiligo, digestive disorders, bronchial asthma, sinusitis, , arthritis, neuromuscular disorders, GIT diseases, sexual disorders, respiratory system disorders and cardiovascular system diseases etc.

22. What are the system specific drugs of Unani medicine?

There are certain single, compound drugs used in Unani system of Medicine specific for a particular system e.g

  • Digestive System: Amla, Filfil Siyah, Zeera, Ajwain, Mako, Kasni, etc. Jawarishat are specifically used in gastric disorders.
  • Respiratory System: Asl-us-soos, Gaozaban, Unnab, Sapistan, Behdana, Badiyan, etc. Most of the gaseous preparations as well as Laooqs are specific for respiratory system.
  • Cardiovascular System: Abresham, Kafoor, Sandal, Zafran. Generally Majoon and Khamira are specific preparations for cardiovascular disorders.
  • Central Nervous System: Halela, Balela, Amla, Asgand, Azaraqi, Afiyoon, Bhang, etc. khamira and Itreefal are generally specific for Central Nervous system.
  • Genital System: Khurma, Piyaaz, Supari, Musli, Tudri, Behmanain, etc. Laboob are usually reserved for disorders pertaining to males and preparations like Firzajah, Humool for disorders pertaining to females.

23. What do you mean by Ilaj bil-Tadbir  (Regimental Therapy)?

Regimental therapy is special technique/ physical method of treatment to improve the constitution of body by removing waste materials and improving the defense mechanism of the body.   Some examples are, Fasd (Venesection), Hijaamat (Cupping), Idraare Baul (Diauresis), Ta'areeq (Sweating), Ishaal (Purgation), Hamam (Turkish bath), Dalak (Massage), Kai (Cauterization), Qai (Emesis), Riyaazat (Exercise), Ta'leeq (Leeching), Huqna (Enema) etc.


  • PUBLISHED DATE : Jan 21, 2016
  • LAST UPDATED ON : Jan 22, 2016


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