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org/JMPR DOI: 10.5897/JMPR11.509 ISSN 1996-0875 ©2012 Academic Journals
Efficacy of Unani medicine
Khalil Ahmed1, S. M. Ali1, M. Akram2*, H. M. Asif1 and Saeed Ahmed Pirzada1
Department of Conventional and Alternative Medicine, the Islamia University of Bahawalpur Pakistan. Faculty of Eastern Medicine, Shifa Ul Mulk Memorial Hospital, Hamdard University Karachi, Pakistan.
Accepted 9 May, 2011
Unani medicines obtained from herbal sources are in great demand all over the world. They are famous due to their efficacy and less side effects as compared to allopathic medicine. The diseases in which Unani medicine have therapeutic value are chronic diseases like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma and gout. In this review, Unani medicine and its efficacy as well as previous research on Unani medicine has been presented to provide clinical details as evidence based strategy. Key words: Unani medicine, efficacy, previous research study.
INTRODUCTION In recent times, focus on the research on medicinal plants has increased considerably all over the world (Ali, 2008). A large amount of data on evidence based clinical strategy has been collected to prove the efficacy of medicinal plants (Usmanghani, 2005). Thus, pharmacological and therapeutic research on medicinal plants and then bioactive natural product represent a major shift for the discovery and development of new drugs. With over many centuries, practice of Unani medicine would have remained under the dark of cultural antiquity. Educational status was not upto date because of out dated syllabi and contents. There is a lack of government interest for the preparation of Unani, homeopathic act, and due to this negligence no suitable amount of budget was sanctioned for provision of Unani medicine and Unani practioners. Up till the year 2000, there were no single institute of Unani systems of medicine in the public sector. Only 32 private and government diploma colleges were serving and this system were also not properly supervised. In ministry of health, there is only one post of herbal practitioner with designation of assistant director of health, Unani. Results show that, government has not made a law for manufacturing of Unani medicine; unavailability of appropriate funds in government hospitals, lack of graduate and post graduate Unani educational centers and non representation in the ministry of health plague this profession, unlike other medical systems that have been provided suitable places in ministry of health and law, and its implementation body in ministry of health, ample numbers of educational centers. Due to these conditions, allopathic system is introduced more in this population. Allopathic system of medicine exert several side effects, therefore, there is a need to supervise the herbal and Unani system, to produce less side effects and sustainable efficacy (Akram, 2010). The saying goes that “man by dint of his senses” learns to express words in writing. In this way, enormous time has elapsed under the tunnel of time scale that the first clay like structure was explored for increasing number of herbal materials as medicine that were used by the ancient predecessor of time (Lindsay, 2010). UNANI FORMULATION AND EFFICACY Given that the Unani medicine is formulated in powdery form or aqueous or alcohol based extracts, it is a fact that it will absorb more rapidly into the blood stream. Since the human body is more than 85% water and since proper cellular metabolism must occur in the fluid medium. It has been reported that mother tincture and hydroalcoholic extracts of commonly used medicinal plants show potent effect while commercially available product based on extracts show more efficacy in a short duration of time (Shanwari, 2010). It may be due to achieving the synergistic action of the group of
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Ahmed et al.
compounds. The analgesic and anti-inflammatory effect of allopathic drug is superior, however, this occurs if the drug in question is used after the therapy. The recurrence of pain is again initiated. This relapse does not occur in Unani medicine. Therefore, a mechanism has to be explored. The arguments resulting from the fact that, polypharmaceutical interaction may play a part in inhibiting such biological responses are completely abolished (Charles, 1967). UNANI MEDICINE IN PAKISTAN Unani-tibb is gaining momentum from the point of view of its sphere of application and practice in Pakistan. It is because of the fact that 70% of the population in Pakistan depend on the Unani medicine and that evidence based Unani therapy and herbal medicine have shown a very good promise in healing acute diseases as well as chronic diseases (Shahabuddin, 2006). Therefore, Unani system of medicine has become one of the important sources of health care throughout the country. Unani medicine formulation usually consists of herbs, animals and minerals, and Pakistan has intrinsic tradition in the use of medicinal plants and herbs to ward off different malaise (Hannan, 2006; Arshad, 2008).
officinale. This was a case control direct unicenter prospective, randomized authentic allopathic controlled two arm parallel group clinical trial. Duration of treatment was 18 weeks. As a conclusion, it was found that Gouticin is effective for treatment of hyperuricemia (Akram et al, 2010).
Diabetes mellitus A study was carried out in which an herbal coded formulation, diabetin, was used for treatment of diabetes mellitus. The response of medicine on hyperglycemia was recorded and has been proved as good hypoglycemic drug (Rais, 2009). Rheumatoid arthritis A study was carried out in which an herbal coded formulation of arthritin was used for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. The response of medicine on rheumatoid arthritis was recorded and has been proved as good medicine of the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis drug (Owias, 2009).
Diarrhea SOME MEDICINAL SOURCES COMPONENTS AND THEIR A study was carried out to evaluate the therapeutic effects of herbal coded formulation, dirasif in comparison with allopathic medicine, furoxone for treatment of Diarrhea. Total patients selected for this study were one hundred. Fifty patients were treated with herbal coded formulation dirasif and fifty were treated with allopathic medicine, furoxone. This study was conducted at Shifa ul Mulk Memorial Hospital, Hamdard University, Karachi. Dirasif contains Aegle marmelos, Phyllanthus embelica, Myrtus communis, Punica granatum and Berberis vulgaris. This was a case control of direct unicenter, prospective randomized, authentic allopathic controlled two armed parallel group clinical trial. Duration of treatment was two weeks. As a conclusion, it was found that dirasif is effective for treatment of diarrhea (Asif et al., 2010). Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH) oxidase inhibitory activity by some medicinal plants A study was carried out to evaluate the inhibition of ACH and NADH by some medicinal plants. These medicinal plants were selected from those that have antiinflammatory and antioxidant effects. These plants are usually used for treatment of various ailments in Unani system of medicine, to enhance the memory, to maintain
Codeine was obtained from Papaver somniferum that is commonly used for headache and insomnia. Atropa was obtained from Atropa belladonna that has sympathetic action in the body and dilates the pupils. Ephedrene was obtained from Ephedra sinica that is usually used for asthmatic conditions. Quinine was derived from Cinchona species that is used for treatment of malaria. Colchicine is obtained from Colchicum autumnale and has antiinflammatory effects in gouty arthritis (Jayaraj, 2010).
RESEARCH STUDY Hyperuricemia A study was carried out to evaluate the therapeutic effects of herbal coded formulation, gouticin in comparison with allopathic medicine, allopurinol for treatment of hyperuricemia. Total patients selected for this study were one hundred. Fifty patients were treated with herbal coded formulation, gouticin, and fifty were treated with allopathic medicine, allopurinol. This study was conducted at shifa ul Mulk Memorial Hospital, Hamdard University, Karachi. Gouticin contains Apium graveolens, Colchicum autumnale, Tribulus terrestris, Withania somnifera, Smilax chinensis and Zingiber
J. Med. Plants Res.
the cardiac enzymes and alziemer disease. In this study, crude plant methanolic extracts 1 mg/ml were used against crude enzymes obtained from chicken liver and goat brain to evaluate the anticholinesterase and antiNADH oxidase activity. It was found that five plants have more than fifty percent activity observed against both enzymes. Inhibitory activity of Crocus stivus against these enzymes was found. These plants may be evaluated for further study as pure compound against pure enzymes (Khalil, 2008).
Hyperlipidemia A study was carried out in which an herbal coded formulation of lipitame was given for the treatment of hyperlipidemia. The response of medicine on hyperlipidemia was recorded and proven to be a good hypolipidemic drug (Sheraz, 2010).
Roundworms A study was carried out in which an herbal coded formulation of kemol was given for treatment of roundworms. Kemol was prescribed to fifty patients. Kemol contains Mentha arvensis and Embelia ribes. The response of medicine on symptomatology of round worm infestation was recorded proven to be an effective antihelmintic drug (Ibrahim et al, 2010).
Scabies A study was carried out in which an herbal coded formulation of scaneem was applied for treatment of scabies. It has been proven to be a good anti scabies drug. Scaneem was prescribed to patients suffering from scabies. The response of medicine on scabies was recorded and has been proven to be a good and efficient drug (Sultan, 2009).
DISCUSSION The word medicine is defined as the science and art of healing. Other prefixes used are medicaments or remedy or a therapeutic substance to ward off malaise or otherwise deal with the treatment of diseases or therapy. Thus, traditional medicine, since antiquity has utilized plants or animals and their parts as well as minerals to cure and prevent diseases and promote health. From ancient time till today, many centuries have passed by and the state of art and science of traditional medicine have gone through the wind tunnel of hard time. A reflection on what has been achieved thus far is the growth of experimental evidence based evolvement of
chemical and synthetic medicine which was vigorously and clinically tested as evidence based medicine (Ali and Qaiser, 1986). Thus, allopathic has been formally established as a fast acting molecule generating quick interaction to alter the biological, psychological, and pharmacological responses in the body system to regain health. All this were created to motivate and apply these molecules through parenteral route as a paradigm shift for the quick relief in emergency cases. This remarkable success brought the medicine to the forefront of health phenomenon linked strongly with the 18 and 19th century, and over powered all the rest of informal therapies, including the traditional medicine. The development of allopathy, in fact, is an extended extension of traditional materia medica which was progressively partitioned from the extract to pure molecule with the advent of chromatographic analysis and spectrophotometric characterization, and therefore, these molecules were synthesized as designer molecule to target the diseases (Naveed, 2011). Thus, synthetic drugs played a significant role from an economic point of view where few milligram of quantity is sufficient to cure and prevent illness, thus large size population will require a few kilogram of pure material. With the last fifty years, the adverse effects of synthetic and chemical medicine surfaced in the literature and document circle. In addition, the higher costs of the drugs prevented the larger segment of population not to be able to have the access of such type of medical treatment. Therefore, the World Health Organization (WHO) came with the new idea to use traditional and herbal medicine for the treatment and cure of all the population of humans on the face of this earth. An additional contribution to the healthy way of life from the use of promotive medicine is that it has extended the aging process where longevity is the dominant factor in affluent and less affluent societies of the world. Naturally, synthetic and chemical medicines due to their intense pharmacological and physiological reactions are a harsher type of medicine (Jeanne, 2006). Therefore, a strategy of soft medicine which is based on traditional medicine resurfaced among the dosage regimen for treating patients. All this opened a door once again in the middle of 19th century. But this brought back demands to renew clinical efforts and endeavors adhering to the street compliance of science and technology development. Therefore, traditional medicine development and strategy in the 21st century is to be envisioned once again. The traditional medicinal clinic operators should learn a lesson from the period gone by that there is no chance of repeating the mistakes of the past where experimental and clinical practice are available. Knowledge of science and technology has to be acknowledged for the greater acceptance of traditional medicine with in the fold of all the relative functionaries (Charlie et al., 2003).
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CONCLUSION Unani medicine has been used since centuries in all over the world. It has been proven effective for treatment of various diseases including hyperuricemia, hyperlipidemia, scabies, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.
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