The Principles of Treatment (Uṣūl-i ‘Ilāj)
In the Unani System of Medicine, the management of diseases depends upon the pathology involved in the disease process. These principles are as under:
Removal of the causative factor (Izāla-i Sabab):
The causative factors in the pathology of the disease process are determined and removed for the proper management of the disease.
Evacuation of morbid material (Tanqiya):
If the temperament is changed due to increase in the quantity and volume of certain humours and that morbid material in the body gets accumulated, it is evacuated by various therapies through different routes for the cure of the disease e.g. Cupping (Ḥijāmat), Venesection (Faṣd), Leeching (Ta‘līq), Concoctive (Munḍij) purgative (Mushil) Therapy, expectoration (Tanfīth), Diuresis (Idrār-i Bawl), Diaphoresis (Ta‘rīq) etc.
Heterotherapy (‘Ilāj bi’l-Ḍidd):
This is the main principle of treatment in Unani System of Medicine, in which the drug having the opposite temperament to the disease is administered for the correction of morbid temperament and cure of illness.
In the management of the systemic diseases the entire lifestyle and the constitution of the patient is taken into account for making the diagnosis and prescribing the correct treatment. It includes habits, habitat, physical, emotional, temperamental and humoral status of the patient and condition of system/organ of the body involved.
Surgical and para surgical procedures (‘Ilāj bi’l-Yad):
In Unani System of Medicine, diseases of the structure (Sū’-i Tarkīb) and breach of continuity (Tafarruq-i Ittiṣāl) are treated by using suitable operative and para-operative techniques as applied for the treatment by the Unani scholars.
Normalization of the morbid temperament (Ta‘dīl-i Mizāj):
The disease in which, the temperament of a person is altered without affecting the quality and quantity of humours, the only correction of simple morbid temperament is required. This is achieved simply by modifying the lifestyle of the patient in view of essential and non-essential factors.
Psychiatric treatment (‘Ilāj Nafsānī):
The Unani System of Medicine treats psychiatric diseases by using drugs, modifying mind-related processes like sleep and psychotherapy. It is able to use drugs by its discovery of the ‘substance of mind’ i.e. Psychic pneuma (Rūḥ Nafsānī) while its appreciation of the medical importance of processes, physical conditions etc., which it organizes as ‘Six Essential Factors’ (Asbāb Sitta Ḍarūriyya), helps it to closely relate sleep etc. to the improvement of psychiatric and psychosomatic diseases. It also makes use of psychotherapy by manipulation of mind by verbal means. But its main reliance is on drug treatments it has discovered the subtle substance of mind and its relation with drugs due to their common temperament.
Other Principles of Treatment: (Usūl-i 'Ilāj ke Dīgar Ehkām)
Spiritual treatment (‘Ilāj Rūhạ̄ nī):
The Unani System of Medicine recognizes the role of spiritual health and treatment by discovering that the spirit () is joined to the Pneuma and through them, to the body, and is the supreme regulator of man. However, the Unani System of Medicine restricts itself only to the Pneuma and Body and leaves spiritual treatment to religious and spiritual counseling by spiritual experts. Although it does not oblige the physician to be a spiritual authority culturally most physicians are also spiritually advanced and provide religious and spiritual counseling which has a powerful role in healthcare by facilitating a healthy lifestyle and by distressing the patient. The technical limitations of medicine to only pneuma and body allows people of all religious persuasions to practice Unani System of Medicine, while recognition of religious and spiritual counseling as a complementary activity permits spiritual dimension of healthcare.
Three primary sources of drugs (Mawālīd Thalātha):
In the Unani System of Medicine, drugs obtained only from herbal, animal and mineral sources are used for medication. Sometimes, these drugs are used singly, and sometimes in the form of a compound of various drugs. They may be subjected to physicochemical processing but without breaking up their natural character. Thus, Unani System of Medicine uses only Natural Substances in treatment.
Principles of the Treatment for Undiagnosable Diseases
(Tashkhīs na Hone kī Sūrat Mein 'Ilāj)
Source: Kulliyat-e-Nafeesi, Usool-e-Tibb, CCRUM & NHP data