Principles

According to practitioners of Unani medicine, achieving a balance of the body fluids known as "the four humors" (blood, phlegm, yellow bile, and black bile) is essential to health.

Another key principle of Unani medicine is that disease results from an imbalance in air, earth, water, and fire, four elements thought to comprise all that exists in nature, including the human body.

In addition, Unani medicine is partly based on the principle that environmental conditions, including the quality of water and air,) can significantly impact health.

Treatments

In Unani medicine, conditions are often treated with herbal formulas containing a variety of natural substances. For example, a formula known as Khamira Abresham Hakim Arshad Wala contains such botanicals as saffron, cardamom, Indian bay leaf, and citron.

Considered a tonic, Khamira Abresham Hakim Arshad Wala is said to enhance heart health and aid in the treatment of cardiovascular problems like high blood pressure and angina. ´╗┐Commonly prescribed treatments in Unani medicine also include dietary changes, leech therapy, and surgery.

History

Unani medicine is largely based on principles proposed by such physicians as Hippocrates and Galen. In addition, a number of Arab and Persian scholars (including the Arab philosopher and physicist Avicenna) have contributed to the development of Unani medicine. The word "Unani" means "Greek" in Arabic. Unani medicine was introduced in India around the tenth century.

Although recent scientific research on the health effects of Unani medicine is extremely limited, there's some evidence from animal studies that certain treatments used in Unani medicine may have some benefits. Here's a look at several key findings from the available studies: