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The Principles of Diagnosis (Uṣūl-i Tashkhīṣ)

In accordance with its holistic vision of man and disease, Unani System of Medicine uses macroscopic parameters rather than microscopic or biochemical parameters for diagnosis. Since, its holism also takes into account the subtle level of man, therefore, Unani System of Medicine also uses subjective parameters, such as dreams. However, its diagnostic system is very sophisticated and accurate and succeeds in diagnosing diseases in a reproducible manner. Secondly, being macroscopic, it is highly economical and independent of technological paraphernalia. It also has the conceptual framework to use modern medical diagnostic means in some cases where they are useful at a secondary level. For instance, since it considers discontinuity in structure as a basic pathology, it has no hesitation in using endoscopy to see extent of gut ulceration after diagnosing the basic pathology by its macroscopic method.

The unique holistic diagnostics of Unani System of Medicine comprises of History, Physical Examination, Pulse Examination and Inspection of Excreta.


History taking and Physical examination (Rūdād-o-Mu‘āyana):

It is undertaken according to general parameters and the specific parameters required by the particular problem of the patient, guided mainly by the ‘Ten Fundamental Categories’ (Ajnās ‘Ashara).

Pulse (Nabḍ):
Rhythmic expansion and relaxation of the arteries produced by the systolic and diastolic movement of the heart 
is called pulse. The Pulse is fundamentally observed in the light of ten parameters. Apart from these, some other types of compound pulses have also been described in Unani System of Medicine. Further, the specific type of Pulse in each disease is also described, mainly in the light of the general parameters.


Unani physicians judge the nature of the functional disturbance of the human system empirically by examining the pulse of a patient. This judgment is based on the experience of the individual physician.


Pulse is examined by ten features viz. size, strength, speed, consistency (elasticity), fullness, temperature, rate, frequency (constancy), regularity and rhythm. It should be noted that the pulse has a rhythm similar to that of music. In music, the notes are related to one another both in their pitch and time intervals. The case of the pulse is also similar because its beats are related to one another in strength and time intervals.


Unani scholars have described pulse under several headings such as normal pulse, factors governing the pulse, effects of patient factors such as sex, age, temperament and season, region and country, food and drink, sleep and wakefulness, exercise, bath, pregnancy, pain, swelling, emotions and of factors inimical to the body.

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Deegar Nabz


Physical examination of Urine

Physical examination of urine helps a lot in the diagnosis, not only of urogenital diseases but other systemic disorders also. For these following aspects are taken into account:

  1. Quantity (Miqdār)

  2. Colour (Lawn)

  3. Odour (Rā’iḥa)

  4. Consistency (Qiwām)

  5. Foam or Froth (Zubda)

  6. Clearness and Turbidity (Ṣafā o Kudūrat)

  7. Sediments (Rasūb)

Urine Examination

Examination of Stool

The physical examination of stool also helps in the diagnosis of various diseases. Colour, quantity, consistency and the presence of foreign bodies are observed during the physical examination.


Stool Examination

Source: Kulliyat-e-Nafeesi, Usool-e-Tibb, CCRUM & NHP data

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