World Unani Day takes place every year on February 11th which is also the birthday of the Unani scholar Hakim Ajmal Khan. The objective of the celebration is to commemorate the scholar for his contribution to the field of Unani medicine and for spreading its awareness all over the world. The AYUSH Ministry declared this day as World Unani Day in 2017.
Unani medicine or Unani-tibb is a form of traditional medicine practiced in the Middle-East and South-Asian countries. Unani originated in Greece almost 2,500 years ago. It incorporates herbal, animal and mineral extracts to cure ailments. It is a comprehensive holistic medical system that deals with many states of health and disease.
Principles of Unani Medicine
Hippocrates laid down the basic foundation for the Unani principles. It assumes the presence of four humours in the human body – blood, phlegm, yellow bile, and black bile.
The human body is further considered to be made up of these seven components:
- Arkan (Elements) – The human body is made up of four elements: Air (Hot and Moist), Earth (Cold and Dry), Fire (Hot and Dry), and Water (Cold and Moist). The treatment is determined according to the dominance of the elements.
- Mizaj (Temperament) – The temperament of an individual seeking treatment plays a large role in Unani medicine. Unani believes that the temperament of a person depends on the interaction between the elements.
- Akhlat (Humours) – Humours are the fluids that are present in the system and are responsible for the metabolism of the body. These fluids also affect the way a disease travels through the body. They are responsible for keeping the body moist and providing nutrition to every part of the body.
- Aaza (Organs) – These are the various organs that constitute the human body. Each organ has some functionality. Hence, when a single organ is affected by disease, it can affect the entire human body.
- Arwah (Spirits) – Ruh (spirit) is a gas that is obtained from air. It helps in the metabolism of the body.
- Quwa (Powers/Faculties) – There are three kinds of power: Quwa Tabiyah or Natural Power, Quwa Nafsaniyah or Psychic Power and Quwa Haywaniyah or Vital Power. Each of these Powers help the body perform its actions normally.
- Afaal (Functions) – This consists of all the movements or functions of all the organs of the body. In a healthy human, all these organs are in good condition and perform all their functions correctly.
All these seven factors are considered when a patient comes in for treatment.
Unani consists of preventive, curative, and rehabilitative care. It is based on scientific principles of health and healing. Unani covers the treatment of all diseases related to the systems and organs of the human body. It also has effective treatments for chronic diseases and diseases related to skin, liver, musculoskeletal and reproductive systems.
Diagnosis and Treatment
According to Unani, the management of any disease depends on the proper diagnosis of the disease. A proper diagnosis is achieved by observing the patient’s symptoms and temperament.
Like Ayurveda, Unani is also based on the theory of the presence of elements in the body. Every diagnosis consists of a thorough check-up to recognize how these elements interact with each other and which ones dominate the others.
Prevention of Disease
As in other treatment approaches, Unani also is concerned with the prevention of disease. The environmental and social influences on a human have been recognized in Unani. Therefore, Unani medicine lays special emphasis on clean water, hygienic food and unpolluted air. The pre-requisites of prevention of disease according to Unani medicine are:
- Clean air
- Fresh and hygienic food and drinks
- Ensuring mental health well-being
- Adequate sleep and wakefulness
- Proper evacuation and retention
Also Read: All You Need to Know About Ayurveda in India
Unani for Older Adults (Tadaabeer-e-Mashaaikh)
Unani has classified human life into four stages:
- Sinn-e-namu – Temperament is hot and wet, applicable up to 30 years of age
- Sinn-e-shabab – Temperament is hot and dry, applicable from 30 to 40 years of age
- Sinn-e-kahoolat – Temperament is cold and dry, applicable from 40 to 60 years of age
- Sinn-e-shaikhookhat – Temperament is cold and wet, applicable to those above 60 years of age
According to Unani, people over the age of 60 lack the muscle strength and fats that are required to preserve the innate heat of the body. This, in turn, results in diminished metabolism rates.
The ancient texts of Unani have described the physiology of older adults in meticulous detail. The temperament of the older adults is cold and dry and the elements are also different from those in other age groups.
With such different physiology, Unani suggests a different care and treatment method for older adults. Regular treatment methods like the use of purgatives and strong enemas are strictly forbidden. Proper calculation of doses is recommended and emphasized. Apart from these, older adults are also recommended to have proper sleep and excretory habits.
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