What is Unani Treatment?

Updated at: Sep 16, 2011
What is Unani Treatment?

Unani treatment is one of the most popular forms of alternative herbal healing therapy. It cures the disease by strengthening body’s natural process to fight against the disease.

Bushra Kafeel
AyurvedaWritten by: Bushra KafeelPublished at: Jul 20, 2011

Unani treatment originated from Greece (Unan). It aims to aid body’s natural processes with medicines that have no side effects. Unani is known by many different names, Greco-Arabs medicine, Arab medicine, Ionian medicine and Oriental medicine.

According to Unani system, diseases are natural processes and the symptoms are body’s reaction to them. Human body has self-preservation power (Quwwat-e-Mudabbira) that maintains the balance of these humours. Unani treatment facilitates body to regain or strengthen this balance. It follows the humoural theory that postulates presence of four humors in the body namely,

  • Blood (Dum).
  • Phlegm (balgham).
  • Yellow bile (safra).
  • Sauda (black bile).

Before starting the actual treatment, patient’s pulse is examined to know the dominant humor at that particular time. Depending upon the symptoms of patient urine and stool tests are also done.
In Unani treatment, strong drugs are never prescribed at the early stage of treatment. In fact, the drugs are selected as per the variations from healthy condition and preferably light dose is given. Effect of low dose is first noticed before giving the high dose.

Unani Treatments


For diagnosing the disease, unani physicians (commonly known as hakims) feel the rhythmic expansion of arteries (nubz) of the patient. Mainly there are four types of unani treatments available:

  • Ilaj bil tadbeer (regimental therapy): It is a detoxification method that improves constitution of body by removing waste materials. Regimental therapy also protects health and increases defence mechanism of the body. Important techniques in regimental therapy include massage (dalk, malish), Turkish bath (hammam), exercise (Riyazat), leeching (Taleeq-e-Alaq) and venesection (Fasd).
  • Ilaj bil Ghiza (dietotherapy): As the name suggests, dietotherapy involves regulation of quantity and quality of your diet. Unani physician may ask you to increase intake of specific food that is helpful to alleviate symptoms of the disease.
  • Ilaj bil dawa (Pharmacotherapy): Natural drugs from plant, minerals and animal drugs are used in unani system. Potency and temperament of drugs are important consideration in unani treatment. The drugs are supposed to act according to their temperament .i.e. hot, cold, moist and dry. Unani medicines are available in form of tablets, decoctions, infusion, Jawarish, Majoon, Khamira, Syrup and powder.
  • Jarahat (Surgery): Ancient physicians of unani system were considered to be pioneer in the field. However, at present only minor surgery is in vogue in this system.


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