Zinda Tilismath

Unani System of Medicine


Unani medicine is one of the ancient systems of medicine. The term Unani means ‘Greek’, and is used because this system is based on the teachings of ancient Greek philosophers and physicians. It is currently being practiced in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, China, Iran, Iraq, Malaysia, Indonesia, Central Asian, and Middle Eastern Countries. The practitioners of Unani Tib claim to cure numerous ailments and diseases through it.

History of Unani Medicine


In history, the origin of Unani medicine can be traced back to Greek, almost 2500 years ago. It comes out to be the second century of the Common Era. (Lloyd 23) The Greek physician Hippocrates was the first person who presented the theoretical framework of this medical system. Roman physician Claudius Gelenus also stabilized its foundations. (Husain et. al. 59)

After the decline of Greek and Roman civilizations, these medical texts survived in Islamic Courts of the Near East. Later, in the eighth and ninth centuries AD, many of these Greek texts were translated in the Arabic language. (Ahmad and Jamal 210)  Arabian and Persian scholars, including Ibn-e-Sina (Avicenna), Al-Zahrawi, Al-Razi (Rhazes), and Ibn Nafis, further developed it into an intricate piece of medical science. (Alam 14) Due to this transition from Greeks to Arabs, it is called as Greco-Arab medicine.

Introduction of Unani Medicine in India

Unani medicine was introduced in India during the 13th century after the establishment of Muslim rule. When Mongols attacked Persian and Central Asian regions, many of the experts and physicians of the Unani Tib fled to India. (Ahmad and Jamal 210) They benefitted from the local medicinal methods. In the subsequent centuries, the system flourished under the royal patronage of many Muslim Kings, especially during the Mughal Rule. (Subbarayappa 142)

Under the British Rule, its official acceptance retreated; however, it was still practiced among the working class, and Hakeem Ajmal Khan is considered as the main practitioner and contributor to Unani medicine in that era. (Poulakou-Rebelakou et. al. 325) During this period, Hakim Mohammed Moizuddin Farooqui also contributed a lot to this field, and his prepared formulation, known as Zinda Tilismath, is used to cure numerous common ailments, became popular as an effective household essential by millions. Today, India is the country where this medical system is majorly practiced and is officially recognized.

Concept of Unani Medicine

The concepts of Unani medicine are based on the philosophy that the human body is made up of four basic elements i.e. Earth, Air, Water, and Fire. Each has its specific temperament i.e. cold, hot, wet, and dry. Their combination and interaction lead to the formation of a new compound having a new Mizaj (temperament) i.e. hot wet, hot dry, cold wet, and cold dry. (Jabin 140)

Four Akhlat (Humours) provide nourishment to the simple and complex organs of the body, and these humours include Dam (Blood), Balgham (Phlegm), Safra (Yellow Bile), and Sauda (Black Bile). Each humour has its particular Mizaj. Blood is hot and moist, phlegm is cold and moist, yellow bile is hot and dry, and black bile is cold and dry. (Ahmer et. al. 6)

The predominance of humours determines the temperament of every person i.e. sanguine, phlegmatic, choleric, or melancholic. (Hongal et. al. 12) The practitioners of Unani medicine believe that equilibrium between these humours determines the health of the body. The body maintains this optimum balance and this self-preservation ability is known as Quwwat-e-Mudabbira. When this equilibrium is disturbed, the abnormal temperament of the affected organ upsets the body functions resulting in disease. (Ahmad and Jamal 210)

Benefits & Uses Of Unani Medicine

The Unani system of medicine offers various health benefits and it is used to treat diseases related to all the organs and organ systems of the human body. A brief introduction to the use of Unani rugs and formulations in various health disorders is given below.

Orofacial Diseases

 Oral diseases are considered as major health problems around the world. The most prominent ones are dental caries and periodontal diseases. Application of Zinda Tilismath on the affected gums helps to relieve toothaches due to its anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic properties.  Similarly, Unani formulations like Buzidan,  Habbe Gule Aak, Sunune Zard, Sunune Mulook, Sunune Mujalli, Majoon Suranjan, Majoon Azaraqi, etc, are also used in the treatment of orofacial diseases. (Said 166-167)

Throat Infections

Cough and sore throat are common infectious problems of the neck. Herbal medications, like Zinda Tilismath, due to their anti-microbial and anti-infectious characteristics, effectively cure these conditions and also ameliorate symptoms like pain and difficulty in swallowing.

Gastrointestinal Disorders

Unani medicines like Zinda Tilismath are also used as a remedy for stomach/abdominal problems like indigestion, constipation, flatulence, diarrhea, burping, and retching. Moreover, formulations like Jawarish-e- Bisbasa (Shailaja et. al. 172) and Sandalwood (Ahmed et. al. 81) are proved to be potent in the treatment of gastric ulcers and have no toxic effects.


Diabetes mellitus is a multifactorial metabolic disorder characterized by hyperglycemia due to relative or absolute deficiency of insulin. Unani drugs containing Gurmar Booti (Gymnema sylvestre) are proved to be helpful for diabetic patients (Singh et. al. 88) as its leaves are found to regenerate β pancreatic cells which secrete insulin in the body. (Saxena and Naval 369) Other beneficial drugs include Safoofe Ziabetus, Qurs Tabasheer, Tuhme Jamun, Satte Gilo, etc. (Anzar 462)

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Unani medicine puts arthritis under a broad category termed as Waja-ul-Mufassil which covers all joint disorders including infectious, inflammatory, non-inflammatory, metabolic, and various musculoskeletal disorders. Among various Unani formulations available to treat arthritis, the most reputed one in this regard is Majoon Suranjan which is made up of 21 ingredients. (Khan et. al. 351) A research study conducted on rats has also proved that Majoon Suranjan reduces inflammation and is effective in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. (Singh et. al. 384)


Hakeem Shareef Khan invented an ophthalmic formulation, known as Kohl-Chikni Dawa. It is renowned for its advantageous effects in the treatment of premature cataracts. In 3 different research studies conducted on rats having cataracts induced by naphthalene (Siddiqui et. al. 1), alloxan (Siddiqui et. al. 109), and galactose (Siddiqui 85), local application of Kohl-Chikni Dawa demonstrated significant positive results and was found completely non-toxic.

Heart Diseases

Unani medications are also been used to treat heart disorders. Ibn e Sina described 63 cardio-protective Unani drugs in his book, Adviya-E-Qalbiyah. Some of these major drugs include Khamirah, Qurs Zahar Mohra, Mufarreh Yaqoot, etc. (Ansari  and Shahla 67)

Researchers tested Khamirah Abresham Sada and Jawahar Mohra on patients of congestive heart failure and significant improvements in symptoms were observed. (Manzar et. al. 113) Another Unani medicine, Qalbeen, which is a herbomineral combination, is used for the treatment of ischemic heart disease (IHD). The results of a study, conducted on 40 adult patients, also support that this drug can be prescribed in the stable cases of IHD. (Mohsin et. al. 575)

Breathing Problems

Practitioners of this ancient system of medicine also cure many breathing problems with their formulations and techniques. For example, Zinda Tilismath is used to treat breathing difficulties in children as well in adults like wheezing, bronchitis, nasal congestion, throat discomfort, etc. it also cures common cold and coryza. Moreover, during a clinical trial, asthma, known as dama, was treated in a patient with the help of bronchodilation, anti-inflammatory, and anti-spasmolytic Unani drugs. Not only the symptoms were relieved in that patient but also the airway hypersensitivity was rectified resulting in normalizing the histopathological changes induced by asthma. (Shamsi et. al. 130)

Renal Disorders

Many kidney diseases are also claimed to be treated with the therapeutic strategies of this medical system. For instance, Hajrul yahood (Lapis judaicus) is found helpful in the management of urolithiasis/kidney stones. (Makbul et. al. 165) Jawarish Zarooni Sada, a polyherbal preparation made up of 15 ingredients, is proved to be nephroprotective and diuretic. (Afzal et. al. 219) Similarly, according to a case report, acute kidney injury was cured in a patient by only using Unani formulations. (Siddiqui and Khan 5)

Skin Problems

Unani physicians have been efficiently treating numerous skin problems from ancient times by using various modes of treatment like Ilaj Bil-Ghiza (Dietotherapy), Ilaj Bit-Tadbeer (Regimental Therapy), and Ilaj Bid-Dawa (Pharmacotherapy). The herbo-animo-mineral medications used for treating Psoriasis (Taqashshure Jild), have anti-inflammatory, purgative, moisturizing, blood purifying, and demulcificant properties. (Khan et. al.200) Likewise, the topical application of Zinda Timilismath is also useful in skin problems like itching and eczema.

Brain Problems

Various health problems related to the brain are being cured effectively through Unani concepts. For instance, Kamira Abresham Hakim Arshad Wala is a Yunani medicine prepared by a combination of natural ingredients like saffron, Indian bay leaf, citron, and cardamom. Research, conducted on rats, has shown that it protects from free radicals-induced harmful effects, thus helps in the prevention of age-related functional impairments in the brain. (Khan et. al. 68) Similarly, a study demonstrated that Majun Khadar is neuroprotective against cerebral damage due to ischemia. (Yousaf 1) Also, simple massaging with few drops of Zinda Tilismath on the forehead relieves headaches.

Reproductive Disorders

One of the most praiseworthy achievements of the Unani system of medicine is the treatment of sexual disorders. It is helpful in the cure of both male and female sterility enhancing the sexual strength and general wellbeing. Research has also shown that Withan somnifera a plant used in the formulations of Unani drugs, can improve semen quality in infertile males by the regulation of reproductive hormones and oxidative stress. (Ahmad et. al. 989)


To conclude the above discussion, we can say that Unani medicine is one of the ancient systems of medications. Many scholars have contributed to its development. Cures of disorders related to almost all organs and organ systems of the body are present in it.


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