Unani medicine: An integral part of health care system in Indian subcontinent

S. Rafatullah, S. Alqasoumi

Abstract

Unani medicine is known by various names including Al- Tibb-Al-Arabi, Al-Tibb-Al-Unani, Al-Tibb-Al-Aa’Shaab, etc. It is a part of the culture of the Indian subcontinent, Arabian and Middle Eastern, China, Mongolia, Central Asian and many other countries, where it is widely practiced and developed into an established profession and being taught at doctorate level. The Humoral theory is the basis of Unani system of medicine. According to this theory, there are four humors: Blood, Phlegm, Yellow bile and Black bile. Every person has a unique humoral constitution which represents the healthy state of the person. Mizaj (temperament) which is an important concept of Unani medicine, represents the metabolic constitution, psychological make up and beha- vioral pattern of an individual. It is expressed as sanguine, phlegmatic, choleric and melancholic temperament. Unani Tibb believes in promotion of health, prevention of diseases and cure. According to this science, the health of human beings is based on the six essentials. The six essentials are—Atmospheric Air, Drinks & Food, Sleep & Wakefulness, Excretion & Retention, Physical Activity & Rest, and Mental Activity & Rest. There are four ways to treat the diseases, which include Elajbil Tadbeer (Regimental Therapy), Elajbil Ghiza (Dietotherapy), Elajbil Dawa (Pharmacotherapy) and Elajbil Yad (Surgery). Today, there seems to be a strong urge of reviving the glorious past which is not a going back, but is well in tune with the needs of modern era as in other fields, in the medical field too. The World Health Organization’s Alma Ata Declaration, 1978, has given serious consideration to the development, promotion and recognition of the age-old traditional systems of medicine including Unani. In this regard, India has taken lead by integrating Unani medicine with conventional medicine at national level, along with many other traditional therapies and collabora- tion among diverse health professionals for better patient- centered care.

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