Adolescent Healthcare in Unani Medicine
Adolescence (from Latin adolescere meaning "to grow up") is a transitional stage of physical and psychological human development that generally occurs during the period from puberty to legal adulthood (age of majority). It deals both boys and girls of this age group. In girls the age of adolescence is almost from 10 years up to 17 years while in boys it is from 11 to 19 years of age.
As per WHO, Adolescents are often thought of as a healthy group. Nevertheless, many adolescents do die prematurely due to accidents, suicide, violence, pregnancy related complications and other illnesses that are either preventable or treatable. Many more suffer chronic ill-health and disability. In addition, many serious diseases in adulthood have their roots in adolescence. For example, tobacco use, sexually transmitted diseases including HIV, poor eating and exercise habits, leading to illness or premature death later in life.
Keeping in mind the importance of the adolescent health World Health Organisation (26 September 2015 in New York) has developed/ launched “Global Strategy (2016-2030)” as a roadmap to achieve right to the highest attainable standard of health for all women, children and adolescents –to transform the future and ensure every new-born, mother and child not only survives, but thrives.
In new global standards for quality health-care services for adolescents which have been published by WHO and UNAIDS. Existing health services often fail the world’s adolescents. Many adolescents who suffer from mental health disorders, substance abuse, poor nutrition, intentional injuries and chronic illness do not have access to critical prevention and care services.
In public health problems anaemia is considered to be a major challenge, especially in school children. High prevalence of anaemia has been reported in non-pregnant adolescent girls.
Unani medicine is an organic synthesis of Greek, Iranian, Arabic, and Islamic medical knowledge. It enjoys vast popularity in most of the Asian countries and certain other parts of the world. World Heritage Centre which is the part of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and the United Nations Foundation list it as an authentic and still-living form of traditional medicine.
In the recommendations of steering committee constituted for AYUSH systems for 12th five year plan in INDIA, adolescent health is the major parts which has to be covered in this ongoing 5 year plan of Planning Commission (Now NITI AYOG).
For improving health for adolescents, Unani physicians have very clear view which have been mentioned in ancient books regarding what should we do to improve and maintain the health of the adolescents?
Health care for the adolescents is a separate chapter in Unani Tibb. This chapter deals all the aspects from physiological, pathological, life style changes etc. up to management level. All the health issues are mentioned in them. Unani medicine has given proper attention to the adolescents (both boys and girls). Several factors have contributed to the social construct of adolescence as a distinct period of life, including the rise in education, social media, and urbanisation.
Some useful tips
The consumption of balanced diet should manage his/her weight. Avoid fast foods, unnecessary fatty diet and deep fried foods. Spicy, Salty, Junk food, Preserved food, Artificial colour added food must be avoided specially in this age group.
Wheat, Great millet, Rice, Soya bean. All kind of vegetable are useful to them. Green leafy vegetables and the salad like Beat and Carrot should take in regular diet. Regular intake of the soups prepared with the Green gram, Black gram and Horse gram is recommended. Cow's milk, Butter, Ghee and Butter milk are also recommended. All kind of sweet fruit are advised. At least any one fruit should be eaten regularly. For the snacks the Barley flakes, roasted ground nut, Rice flakes, Popped rice are the useful things. The sweets like jaggery, various Kheer prepared with the help of Grains, Dry Fruits and Ghee are beneficial for them.
The diet should nourish his/ her hair and skin - Adolescence does bring in a lot of skin changes. The commonly encountered ones being pimples, pigmentation etc. Hair which was once thick and bouncy may begin to thin out. So, ensure that he/she consumes diet rich in vitamins and minerals. A bowl each of fruits and vegetables gives them all the necessary nutrients.
Supplementation of essential nutrients: They needs more iron and calcium. Dates, raisins and figs are excellent natural supplements of iron and calcium. A glass of milk every day is also helpful.
Unani Medicine for Adolescents
Ancient traditions if followed will have wonderful effects on adolescent health. Research studies in Unani Medicine have proven the efficacy of these methods. It helps improve his/her general health too.
Note: Drugs should be taken under the advice of the qualified Unani physician. The patients are required to follow strict Unani regimen for optimum results.