Unani System of Medicine

Unani system of medicine is a medical science based on well established knowledge and practice related to promotion of health and prevention of disease. It is a very rich and timely proven method of treatment without any side effects.


Although the origin of the Unani system is believed to be in Greece , and this method was brought to India in the medieval period , but due to its widespread acceptance and its continuous use by the people, it has become an indigenous system for India and the whole country. It is in great demand among the people. This method developed from the fusion of the ancient cultural traditions of Egypt , Arabia , Iran , China , Syria and India, the rational thoughts and experiences of these nations. It has its origins in the teachings of Hippocrates (377–460 BC) and Gelens of Greece in the 4th and 5th centuries BC. 

Medical practice

The Unani system of medicine emphasizes the use of naturally occurring herbal medicines, although ingredients of animal, marine, mineral origin are also used. Late Hakim Ajmal Khan established the Unani system of medicine in India and supported its integration with science in understanding Unani Tibb and its use in healing. He (Asrol) discovered Rauwolfia serpentine which established its efficacy in the treatment of high blood pressure. Unani system of medicine, using research, observation and experiences, provides medicine and diagnoses diseases in a systematic manner following a definite method. This medical system is documented in the Al-Kanun of Shaykh Bu-Ali Sina (Awi-Sena, 980–1037 AD), which is the medical Bible, and Al Hawi of Razi (850–923 AD). There are four methods of treatment:-

  1. medicine system
  2. diet pattern
  3. regimental system
  4. Surgery

Regimental therapy is a specialty of Unani system of medicine. This is called treatment-bid tadbir. It has 12 treatment methods for some specific and complex diseases. Methods such as cupping, jalouka, vein surgery, sudana and bath are drug-free treatments and are effective in the treatment of diabetes , high blood pressure, obesity, arthritis and migraine etc.

Parts of treatment

There are three components of treatment. Preventive, promotive and curative. Unani system of medicine is more effective in rheumatoid arthritis, jaundice, filariasis, eczema, sinusitis and bronchial asthma. Research is underway on its potential in the treatment and management of heart disease. The Unani system emphasizes on the six requirements (Asbab-e Sitta-Zarooriya) for the prevention of disease and the promotion of health. These requirements are:- clean air, water and balanced diet, exercise and rest, mental activities and relaxation, sleeping and waking, renunciation and holding. 

Importance in the modern era

The importance of ancient Unani medicine remains intact even in the modern era. It is one of the oldest healing systems in the world, originating from Greece. To become a Unani doctor, after 12th, students can take admission in BUMS i.e. Bachelor of Unani Medicine and Surgery. Only those students can get admission in this course of five and a half years, who have biology and Urdu as compulsory subjects . After BUMS, students can go for M.D. and M.S. can also do. But M.S. That is, the study of Master of Surgeon is currently in Aligarh Muslim University only. 

Admission process

For admission to BUMS, students have to pass the Pre University Test (PUT), but the Unani colleges in Uttar Pradesh get admission only after clearing the Combined Pre Medical Test (CPMT) exam. Only students who get good marks in 12th can sit in this exam. In this course of five and a half years, one year internship is done. 

Leading Institutes Offering BUMS

  1. Jamia Hamdard, New Delhi
  2. Ayurveda Unani Tibbi College, Karolbagh, New Delhi
  3. Government Nizami Tibbi College, Charminar , Hyderabad , Andhra Pradesh
  4. Government Tibi College, Kadamkuan, Patna
  5.  Safia Unani Medical College, Darbhanga , Bihar
  6.  Ajmal Khan Tibbi College, Aligarh , Uttar Pradesh
  7.  Jamia Tibbia Deoband, Saharanpur , Deoband , Uttar Pradesh
  8. State Unani Medical College Allahabad , Uttar Pradesh
  9. Tibbia College and Hospital, Betul Aman, Mumbai
  10. Takmil Utib College and Hospital, Lucknow , Uttar Pradesh

Unani Medicine in India

Unani system of medicine has a long and illustrious record in India . It was introduced to India by Arabs and Iranians around the eleventh century. As far as Unani medicine is concerned, today India is one of the leading countries in its use. It has the largest number of Unani educational, research and health care institutions. As the name indicates, the Unani system originated in Greece . The foundation of the Greek system was laid by Hippocrates. The current form of this system is attributed to the Arabs who not only translated much of Greek literature but also enriched everyday medicine with their own contributions. In this process he made extensive use of physics, chemistry, botany, anatomy, physiology, pathology, medicine and surgery. 

Unani Medicines

Unani medicine prospered by adopting aspects that were best in contemporary systems of traditional medicine in Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Persia, India, China and other Middle Eastern countries. The Unani system of medicine was introduced in India by the Arabs and soon it took strong roots. The sultans (rulers) of Delhi patronized scholars of the Unani system and even enrolled some as state servants and court physicians. 

During British rule

This system suffered a serious setback during the British rule in India. The allopathic system was introduced and he found his feet. This slowed down the education, research and practice of the Unani system of medicine. All traditional systems of medicine, along with the Unani system, faced almost complete neglect for almost two centuries. The general public did not suffer much in the withdrawal of protection by the state as it reposed faith in the system and its practice continued. Unani medicine survived during the British period mainly due to the efforts of the Sharifi family in Delhi, the Azizi clan in Lucknow and the Nizam of Hyderabad . 

After India’s independence

After independence the Indian system of medicine as well as the Unani system got a boost again under the patronage of the national government and the people. The Government of India took several steps for the all-round development of this system. The government passed laws to regulate and promote its education and training. The government established research institutes, testing laboratories, and standardized regulations for the production and practice of these drugs. Today the Unani system of medicine, with its accredited physicians, hospitals and educational and research institutions, is an integral part of the national health care delivery system. 

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