By Dr. A Z Khan, Unani,
Unani treatment originated in Greece and the proponent of this method of intervention was Hippocrates. It was brought to India by Arab and Persian invaders, and the Sultans of Delhi promoted this method of treatment. The practice continued and today India is a leading country as far as Unani practice is concerned.
Unani believes in the body’s ability to restore the lost balance with the use of natural components. Hippocrates was of the opinion that our body consists of four humors, namely, blood, phlegm, yellow bile and black bile. These humors in a natural state are present in proportion. However, when a disruption takes place and a particular component overpowers the others, our body reacts in an adverse manner. The aim of Unani treatment is to restore the balance of these four humors. There are primarily 4 types of Unani treatments available.
- Regimental Therapy: Leech therapy is a part of regimental therapy. It might sound intimidating, but leeches are set on the affected area so that they can draw out the blood from the deceased area. You might not be aware of it, but leeches have certain anti-inflammatory and anti-coagulation properties that improve the condition of people suffering from disorders like hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, hemorrhoids, arthritis, skin problems etc. In Unani treatment, leeching is applied as a mode of purgation. Other types of intervention under regimental therapy include massage, Turkish bath, exercise and venesection. (In this case a vein is punctured to draw out blood or to introduce fluids into the body through the vein).
- Dietotherapy: In this case, the treatment depends completely on the dietary changes that you might be asked to follow. It could relate to the promotion or elimination/reduction of certain foods. The quality and quantity of foods that you would be asked to consume will work in treating your ailments.
- Pharmacotherapy: As the name suggests, this type of Unani treatment conforms to the use of medicines to treat a disorder. These medicines are made from natural components derived from plants or animals. Firstly, the doctor acquaints himself/herself with your medical history and then prescribes the drugs. The action of the medicines pertains to one of the disordered humors. Unani medicines come in various forms: powder, syrup, paste, decoction, (liquid that is derived after boiling certain products containing natural healing properties) infusions etc.
- Surgery: This type of Unani treatment used to be practiced in the ancient times, but nowadays it is no more practiced extensively; only minor surgeries might be attempted by the doctor depending on the condition of the patient.