In ancient times, Egypt started the use of plants to cure ailments, and for surgery. Then, this art of medicine acknowledged and developed in Greece and new system evolved which is widely known as Unani system of medicine. The great contribution in this field of science by Hippocrates made him ‘Father of medicine’. According to him, to maintain the health of the mind and body, there should be balance between ‘Arkan’ (elements), ‘Akhlat’ (humor) and ‘Mizaj’ (temperament). The Unani system furthered carried forward by Galen, Tabari, Al-razi, and Ibn e Sina.
Arabs introduced Unani system of medicine in India. When some of the scholars fled to India, they were provided state patronage by Delhi Sultan, Khiljis, Tughlaqs and Mughal Emperors. In British dominated India, there was some conspiracy against Unani tib. Hakeem Ajmal Khan defeated all the conspiracies and protected the unani system. Hakeem Baqa-ullah, came to India from Iran in Mughal era, was expert in hikmat. His book Majmua-e-Baqai is a famous addition in tib-e-unani. Mr. Muneer-uddin-Baqai and his son Hakeem shareef-uddin Baqai continued this treatment with his efforts. Today, Hakeem Baqai medicare pvt. Ltd. is owner of the most useful products (ziya Bet, waj-al-masal, amraz jigar, Amraz Meda o amma and Amraz Zanana o Mardana). With all developments in the field of tib e unani, it has also achieved GMP status.
Equilibrium plays a vital role in Unani medicine. The seven basic physiological principles should be arranged in some proportion to maintain the human body.
Arwah (Vital Spirit)
Diagnosis is the keypoint in tib e unani. Tabeeb palpates the pulse of patient. This is the main technique to diagnose the disease. Imtehan bil qara (percussion) is another method. The main cause of illness is also visible by the physical appearance of patient. Furthermore, the queries regarding diet habits, excretions, different symptoms related to ailment, activities, sleep patterns provide more information and knowledge. These things combinely help in treatment.
Eminent unani physicians described some procedures to cure the sick person. It is called Ilaaj bil tadbeer. It includes :
Dalak (Massage or Friction)
Nutool (Pouring of medicated lukewarm water on affected part)
Zimaad wa tila(Ointment and Liniment)
Idrar e baul(Diuresis)
Imala(Diversion of morbid material)
Unani system of medicine gives emphasis on natural ways of treatment. When the procedures of regimental therapy does not help much in retaining the balance of the body, ilaj bil dawa is recommended. Natural substances are used to make medicines. Unani medicines aim at supporting and stimulating the immune system so that it could fight back the problem on its own. Medicines are the extracts of natural products , such as; nabaati (having plant origin), haiwaani (having animal origin), ma’dini advia (having mineral origin).
Unani physicians were innovators of surgery. They started Ilaaj bil yad (surgey) with the instruments and new techniques developed by them. Many highly remarkable books were also written by them on the same subject like ‘Kitab-al-umda fil Jarahat’ by Ibn-al-Quf, ‘Kamilus San’a’ by Ali Abbas Majoosi, Kitab-al-Tasreef by Abul Qasim Zohravi, etc.
Unani system has shown outstanding results in healing some diseases such as respiratory conditions, liver disorders, nervous system disorders, musculo skeletal disorder, skin diseases, and, different chronic and acute cases where other systems have not shown expected results. Today, this system has remarkable goodwill, and it is praised and recognized all over the world.
Masih ul mulk Hakim Ajmal Khan in the 1920s originally perceived the concept of research in unani medicine. Under his supervision a lot of research had been done. It further encouraged by Indian Government with the setting up of Central Council for Research in Unani Medicine (CCRUM) which established in 1979, also under AYUSH, aids and co-ordinates scientific research in the Unani system of medicine through a network of 22 nationwide research institutes and units. The council is engaged in different research activities and plays major role in development of Unani system of medicine. The major areas of research programmes are Clinical Research, Drug Standardization Research, Literary Research, Survey and Cultivation of Medicinal Plants, Information, Education and Communication (IEC) Programme.
Hakeem Baqaullah progressed in this field of medicine. Now this chain is continued by Hakeem Jameeluddin Baqai and Hakeem Khubaib Baqai, who with their established programme of research and development, have 20 patterns registered in their name.
The main function of tabeeb is to assist the natural force of the body, which is termed as Tabi’at. To maintain the equilibrium of different humors is called as Quwwat-e-Mudabbirah-e-Badan (Medicatrix Naturae). According to unani medicine, the composition of human body is based on 7 components. They are :
Pneuma or vital spirit
Faculties of power
Unani lays down 6 essential pre-requisites for the prevention of disease. They are known as Asbab-e-Sitta Zarooriya. They are:
Food and drinks
Bodily movement & response
Mental or psychic movement or response
Sleep & wakefulness
Evacuation & retention
The training and education facilities are under surveillance of the Central Council of Indian Medicine, which is a statutory body set up by an Act of Parliament known as Indian Medicine Central Council Act, 1970.
Postgraduate courses in Unani offer MD degrees in Moalijat (medicine), Amraz-e- Niswan (gynaecology), Kulliyat (basic principles), Jarahat (surgery), Ilmul Advia (pharmacology), Amraz-e-Atfal (paediatrics),and Tahaffuzi wa samaji tibb (preventive and social medicine).
In india, there are 11 Regional Research Institutes, 7 Clinical Research Units, 1 Literary Research Units, 2 Survey and Cultivation of Medicinal Plants Unit, 7 Drug Standardisation Research Unit. At present, there are 31 Unani colleges in India offering graduate education and four colleges offering Postgraduate education.
Unani medication is now world renowned system, and it is being practiced and researched in more than 20 countries in the world.