Everything You Need To Know About Unani Medicine


What if the best modern medicine actually dates back to Ancient Greece?

That’s the case with Unani, a medical treatment comprising special diets, unique herbs and alternative treatments. While this medicine dates back to Greece, it is now popular primarily in India (which is home to several exciting health secrets).

Unani medicine is a great way to both treat and prevent disease. But is it the right medicine for you? Keep reading to learn all about it!

What is Unani medicine about?

The principles of Unani date back to the ancient world. And to this day, practicing this form of medicine is all about balancing “the four humours” of the body. Those include black bile, yellow bile, phlegm, and blood.

Another major principle is that everything in the world, including your body, is a mix of earth, wind, water, and fire. When there is an imbalance between elements, Unani practitioners believe this leads to disease.

This focus on ancient ideas may be a turnoff to some people. But these modern Unani practitioners pay attention to modern factors like air quality, water purity, and how an unclean environment leads to an unclean body.

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How do treatments work?

How does Unani actually work as a disease treatment or preventative? There is no one answer to this. Rather, there is often a mixture of different techniques.

In terms of special herbs, practitioners can mix different ingredients into tonics and other forms of food and drink. And consuming these special mixtures supposedly helps with things like cardiovascular issues and other matters of heart health.

There is more to Unani than herbs, though. Other forms of treatment range from changes to diet, surgery, and even leech therapy to restore your body back to a balanced state. And to understand the focus on ancient remedies such as leeches, you must understand exactly where Unani medicine comes from.

Ancient history

Nowadays, Unani medicine is a major part of Indian culture. But the cultivation of Unani thought and medicine goes back millennia and spans the entire world!

The major ideas behind Unani are Greek. In fact, the earliest Unani treatments were inspired by influential Greek figures. This includes Hippocrates, the so-called “father of modern medicine.”

However, scholars from Arabia and Persia helped preserve these medical ideas while adding a few ideas of their own. The name “Unani” reflects this because it means “Greek” in Arabic.

After many travels across ancient and distant lands, Unani medicine came to India about a thousand years ago.

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Innovative treatments

Still on the fence about Unani medicine? Debates about alternative medical treatment usually come down to debates about science vs. faith. Interestingly, though, scientific research backs up some of the claims made by Unani practitioners!

A 2011 study examined the effect of Unani treatments on rats. And the study concluded that this medicine may positively treat several health problems, including cataracts and arthritis.

As part of this study, scientists gave diabetic rats drops containing Kohl-Chikni Dawa, a popular Unani remedy. These drops helped prevent the formation of cataracts that often comes with diabetes.

For the same study, scientists gave other rats the Unani herbal formula Majoon Suranjan. The treatment actually reduced inflammation, which may be helpful in treating rheumatoid arthritis.

If that’s not interesting enough, an earlier study in 2006 found that Khamira Abresham Hakim Arshad Wala (another popular Unani combination of substances) could help boost brain health. That’s because it is full of antioxidants, and this helps fight the damage from free radicals that leads to age-related cognitive impairment.

All of this is really great on paper. But are you ready to learn about the side effects?

Potential side effects 

No medicine works the same for everyone. And it can be tough to tell what alternative medicines may do when they involve untested and unregulated substances. Nevertheless, some Unani medicine dangers are well known.

The biggest danger from these medical treatments is from the herbs. If the doses for the herbs are wrong or if there are other substances hidden inside there, it may not help your medical condition. In fact, it might make things worse!

Additionally, there has been no real testing for how Unani medicine may affect children, pregnant women, and nursing mothers. This is why it’s important to put safety first before changing up your medical regimen.

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Safety first

Unani medicine isn’t the right choice for everyone. But what if it’s right for you? Before changing up your pattern of treatment and medication, it is important to check with your physician.

First of all, your doctor can help verify the safety (or danger) of any herbal treatments or dietary changes required by Unani medicine. And your healthcare provider can help you avoid the natural dangers of taking too much (or too little) of any Unani supplements.

Ultimately, Unani medicine has the potential to seriously improve your life. But it’s important to involve your doctor in any major changes to your healthcare.