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    Post by Admin Thu 18 Nov 2010, 8:01 pm


    Concept of human entity in Unani Medicine
    In the Unani system of medicine the human body is considered to be made up of the following seven components which are called "UMOOR-E-TABA'YA" in Unani Medicine, each having a close relation to and direct bearing on the state of health of an individual and, therefore, it is necessary for an Unani physician to take all these factors of the human entity into consideration for arriving at a correct diagnosis and deciding the line of treatment of the ailment.

    Arkan or Anasir (Elements)
    The human body contains four elements namely air, fire, water and earth. These elements actually symbolize the four states of the matter. The four elements have their own temperaments.

    Mizaj (Temperament)
    The interaction of the elements produces various states which in their turn determine the temperament of an individual and it is of paramount importance to keep the temperament of and individual in mind while prescribing the course of treatment for a given disease. Each individual has a unique temperament. A temperament may be (I) Real equitable (2) Equitable and (3) Inequitable. Temperament is ‘Real equitable’ where the temperament of the four elements used are in equal quantities; this does not exist. Equitable is the just and required amount of compatible temperaments. Inequitable temperament is an absence of just distribution of temperament according to their requirements. Chart II is depiction of different temperaments according the Unani concept.

    Akhlat (Humours)
    These are in fact, the fluids which the human body obtains from the food and include various hormones and enzymes. These fluids are (a) Primary fluids and (b) Secondary fluids. The primary fluids are called AKHLAT (Humours) which are four in numbers. The secondary fluids are also four in number and called RUTUBAT-E-ARBA(four fluids). These four fluids are responsible for maintaining moisture of different organs of the body and also provide nutrition to the body.

    According to the Unani system of medicine there are four stages of digestion
    Hazm-e-Medi(Gastric digestion) followed by and including Hazm-e-Mevi (Intestinal digestion) when food is turned into Kaimoos (Chyme) and Kailoos (Chyle) and carried to liver by Urooq Masariqa (Mesentric veins).
    Hazm-e-Kabidi (Hepatic digestion): In the course of this process chyle is converted into four humours in varying quantities, that of blood being the largest. Thus the blood which leaves the liver is intermixed with the other three humours namely Balgham (Phlegm), Safra (Bile) and Sauda (Blackbile).

    Hazm-e-Urooqi (Vessels digestion).
    Hazm-e-Uzwi (Tissue digestion) While the humours are flowing in the blood vessels, every tissue absorbs its nutrition by its Quwat-e-Jaziba (Attractive power) and retains it by its Quwat-e-Masika (retentive power). Then the Quwat-e-Hazima (Digestive power) in conjunction with Quwat-e-Mushabbeha (assimilation power), converts it into tissues. The waste material in Humour at this stage is excreted by the Quwat-e-Dafia (expulsive power). Unani physicians maintain that when any disturbance occurs in the equilibrium of the humour it causes disease. Therefore the Unani mode of treatment aims at restoring the equilibrium of humours.

    A'za (Organs)
    These are the various organs of the human body and the health or disease of each individual organ affects the state of health of the whole body.

    Arwah (Spirits)
    These are considered to be the life force and are therefore given importance in the diagnosis and treatment of disease. These are carriers of different powers as defined by the Unani Physicians.

    Quwa (Faculties)
    These are of three kinds
    Quwat-e- Taba’ya (Natural power), the power of Metabolism and Reproduction. The seat of this power is liver but the process is carried on in every tissue of the body.

    The process of metabolism is completed by two factors
    Nutritive power
    Growing power. Nutritive power is developed from the food taken in the liver and conveyed to all parts of the body.

    This power is served by four powers
    Attractive power
    Retentive power
    Digestive power
    Explusive power

    Growing power is responsible for the construction and growth of the human organism and served by three powers:
    Receptive power
    power to retain nutrition
    Assimilative power

    As far as reproduction is concerned the function is accomplished by two powers
    Generative power
    Forming power

    Quwat-e-Nafsaniya (Psychic power)
    Nervous and psychic power. It is seated inside the brain and is constituted by two powers:
    Quwat-e-Mudrika (Perceptive power) which conveys impressions or sensation.
    Quwat-e-Muharrika (Motive power) which brings about movements as a response to the sensation.

    The perceptive power works in two directions
    External perceptive when it recognises objects outside; it is served by Hawas-e-Khmsa (Five senses) .
    Quwat-e-Mudrika Batina (Internal perceptive) when perceptions are not from outside but are inference drawn from the external impressions and recognitions.This is constituted by five powers:
    Hiss-e-Mushtarak (Composite sense): Its function is to collect in one place all the external recognitions
    Khayal (Imagination) : It retains all the materials collected by composite sense
    Waham (Conception): It co-relates all the external recognitions and draws conclusions from them.
    Hafiza (Memory): It retains conclusions of conception (5) Quwat-e-Mutashrrefa (Modifying faculty): This power is possessed only by human beings. This gives the capacity to explain one thing in different ways and interprets all the internal and external recognitions. Motive power is of two types:
    power that is the cause of motion.
    power that causes motion.

    Quwat-e-Haiwaniya (Vital power)
    Power that maintains life and enables all the organs to accept the effect of psychic power. Thus the vital power with Heart as its seat keeps life running in the tissues. Chart III shows different powers at a glance.

    Afa'l (Functions)
    These include the movements and functions of the various organs of the body. To maintain proper health of the body it is necessary to ensure that various organs are not only in proper shape themselves but are performing their respective functions properly.

    State of the Body
    According to Unani Physicians, states of the body are grouped under three heads:
    Sehat (Health) in which all the functions of the body are carried on normally.Maraz (Disease) is the opposite of Health in which one or more functions or forms of the bodily organs are at fault.
    La Sehat La Maraz (Neither health nor disease), there is neither complete health nor disease as is the case of old people or those who are convalescing.Diseases are of two types
    Maraz-e-Mufrad (singular disease)
    Maraz-e-Murakkab(Complex disease)
    A singular disease is one that completes its course without complications and a complex disease is opposite of it. A singular disease may manifest itself in three forms:
    Su-e-Mizaj (Dyscrasia)
    Amraz-e-Tarkib (Structural diseases)
    Amraz-e-Tafarruq-e-Ittisal (Diseases of solution of Unity).
    Further divisions of diseases have been mentioned according to different conditions in Ibn Sina`s Al-Qanun.

    Means of diagnosis
    Practitioners of the Unani medicine have, from the very outset, placed great reliance on investigating the causes of the disease thoroughly for proper diagnosis and have employed the following means to determine the cause and the nature of disease

    Nabz (Pulse)
    The alternative contraction and expansion of the arteries produced by the systolic and diastolic movements of the heart is called pulse. The ten features of pulse which are particularly observed during the diagnosis of a disease are
    Miqdar (Quantity)
    Kaifiat-e- Qara (Force)
    Zamana-e-Harkat (Duration of movement)
    Qawam-e-Ala (Condition of vessel wall; soft or hard)
    Miqdar Ma Fil Shiryan (Volume)
    Zamana-e-Sukun (Duration of rest period)
    Malmas ( Palpation of the pulse)
    Istawa-wa-Ikhtilaf (Equality and inequality)
    Wazan (Balance of the pulse)
    Nizam-wa-Adam-e-Nizam (Rhythm)

    Physical examination of Urine and stool
    Physical examination of Urine helps a lot in the diagnosis of Urinogenital disorders, pathogenesis of blood and other humours, metabolic disorders, and liver diseases. The following properties of urine are observed
    Laun (Colour)
    Qiwam (Consistency)
    Safa-wa-Kudurat (Clearness and Turbidity)
    Raiha (Odour)
    Zabad (Foam or Froth)
    Rasub (Precipitates)
    Miqdar (Quantity)
    The physical examination of stool helps in the diagnosis of various diseases. The colour, quantity, consistency and the presence of foreign bodies are observed

    Modes of treatment
    Unani medicine aims at restoring the equilibrium of the various elements and faculties of the human body. Secondly it presupposes the presence of a ‘Medicatrix naturae’ in the human system and attempts to call it into action to restore the normal health. To achieve this objective diverse lines of treatment are adopted keeping in view the specific cause and the nature of disease.
    Before we embark on explaining the various techniques of treatment adopted by the Unani Physicians it would be better to state briefly what advice the system has to offer to prevent occurrence of disease.

    Prevention of Disease - Measures laid down in Unani medicine.
    This infact covers the steps laid down in the classics of Unani medicine for the prevention of disease and epidemics. Unani medicine recognised the influence of surroundings and ecological conditions on the state of health of human beings long ago. It has laid down six essential prerequisites for the prevention of disease and lays great emphasis, on the one hand on the maintenance of proper ecological balance and on the other hand on keeping the water, food and air free from all pollution. These essentials known as ASBAB-E-SITTA ZARURIYA are briefly explained as under.

    Good and clean air is most necessary for health; many diseases occur due to changes in the air. Avicenna the famous Unani Physician says that the change of environment relieves the patients of many diseases. Avicenna has also emphasised the need of open airy houses with proper ventilation, play grounds and gardens in the cities so that every one has plenty of fresh air and a proper ecological balance is maintained.

    Food and Drinks
    The food that we eat should be fresh, free from putrefaction and disease producing matters. The drinking water should also be pure. The water of some wells act as a drug due to the presence in it of sulphur or other minerals.

    Bodily movement and repose
    To maintain perfect health and good trim the body requires exercise as well as rest. Again, certain diseases can be cured by giving the body rest while some are cured by movement of affected organs. Inflammation and fractures require complete rest to get properly cured. On the other hand afflictions such as paralysis demand specific quantum of movement. Several exercises help growth of muscles and ensure nutrition, increased blood supply and proper functioning of excretory system. Exercise also keeps the heart and liver in good condition.

    Psychic movement and repose
    Psychological factors such as happiness, sorrow, anger etc. have considerable bearing on the health of a human being Unani physicians maintain that certain diseases like tuberculosis, hysteria and mental disorder are caused in most cases, by emotional strain and maladjustment, and therefore, while dealing with such cases a physician should do his best to take all these factors into account. There is a branch of Unani medicine known as ‘Psychological treatment’ which deals with the above mentioned factors and many diseases are treated with psychological means. Sometimes this type of treatment cures the disease without using medicines and some times by administration of drugs along with psychological methods. The curative effect of music, pleasant company and beautiful scenery has also been recognised by Unani physicians.

    Sleep and wakefulness
    Normal slumber and wakefulness are essential for health. Sleep is an ideal form of rest, physical as well as mental. Lack of sleep causes dissipation of energies, mental weakness and digestive disturbances.

    Evacuation and retention
    Waste products of body, if not completely and properly excreted, produce disease. The natural means of excretion are the diuresis, diaphoresis, vomiting, faeces, excretion through uterus in the form of menses, through eyes, ears and nose or respiration. Proper and normal functioning of the excretory processes must be ensured in order to maintain perfect health. Any disturbance in the normal excretory balances, whether it be excess, dimunition or blockage, leads to disease. Practitioners of Unani medicine have, from time immemorial cured numerous diseases by regulating the excretory processes.


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