'Unani' means medicines which are a symbol of life. The name is derived from the word 'Ionian' which originated in Greece. Unani medicine, like any other form of medical science strives to find the best possible ways by which a person can lead a healthy life with the least or zero sickness. Unani and its allied branches have rational and scientific basic principles. It is distinct from other branches of medicine, as the drugs it uses are natural in their sources and forms. It emphasizes on retaining natural compounds which belong to the human body, and hence prescribes only natural remedies. It involves the use of plants and herbs, these remedies are known to provide cures for diseases such as sinusitis, Leukoderma, rheumatism, jaundice and elephantiasis.

The origins of healing

Unani Medicine as a healing system was founded by Hakim Ibn Sina. Yet, because it is a comprehensive system encompassing virtual all of the known healing systems of the world, the threads which comprise Unani Healing can be traced all the way back to Hippocrates. This system has a long and impressive record in India. It was introduced in India around 10th century A.D with the spread of Islamic civilization. Now Unanipathy has become a part of Indian system of Medicine and India is one of the leading countries so far as its practice is concerned. It is very much similar to Ayurveda.

Unani medicine believes that diseases can be kept at bay by the use of clean and fresh water, breathing clean air and consuming fresh food. Likewise, a balance should be maintained between the mind and the body so that the metabolic process can take place easily and the body waste evacuated. Unani medicine also believes that all life forms have originated from the sea.

There are eight specialized branches of Unani medicine -
  • Internal medicine ( Moalijat )
  • Gynecology including Obstetrics and Pediatrics
  • Diseases of the head and neck
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry
  • Rejuvenation Therapy including Geriatrics
  • Sexology
  • Regimental Therapy
  • Dietotherapy
  • Hydrotherapy
According to the Unani discipline as it stands today, the human body is composed of 7 natural and basic components called 'Umoor -e- Tabaiyah' which are responsible for maintenance of health. These are: -
  • Arkan (Elements)
  • Mizaj (Temperament)
  • Akhlaat (Humours)
  • Aaza (Organs)
  • Arwah (Vital forces or Neuro)
  • Quwa (Faculties)
  • Afaal (Functions)

The loss of any one of these basic components or alteration in their physical state could lead to disease, or even death. It is highly essential to consider all these factors so as to reach the correct diagnosis and consequently the correct line of treatment.


The following treatments are done through Unani:
  • Regimental Therapy - It includes venesection, cupping, diaphoresis, diuresis, turkish bath, massage, cauterisation, purging, emesis, exercise and leeching.
  • Dietotherapy - It deals with certain ailments by administration of specific diets or by regulating the quantity and quality of food.
  • Pharmacotherapy - It deals with the use of naturally occurring drugs mostly herbal drugs of animal and mineral origin. Single drugs or their combination in raw form are preferred over compound formulations.

Unanipathy has shown remarkable results in curing diseases like Arthritis, Leucoderma, Jaundice, Bronchial Asthma, Filariasis and several other acute and chronic diseases where other systems do not give the desired level of positive response. The Unani system is a secular system in character and is popular among the masses.

In short, Unani Medicine aims at maintaining proper health by conserving symmetry in the different spheres of a man's life. Unani practitioners not only cure bodily diseases but also act as an ethical instructor.