Role of the Unani System of Medicine in Countering Epidemic Diseases, Considering Coronavirus Pandemic -19

    Published on:June 2022
    Journal of Young Pharmacists, 2022; 14(2):140-155
    Review Article | doi:10.5530/jyp.2022.14.28

    MD Aftab Alam1, Mohammad Zakir1,*, Ahmed Minhajuddin1, Uzma Viquar1, Tasleem Ahmad2, Kuna Lahari2

    1Department of Ilmul Advia (Unani Pharmacology), National Research Institute of Unani Medicine for Skin Disorders (NRIUMSD), AG Colony Road, Hyderabad, Telangana, INDIA.

    2Department of Biochemistry, National Research Institute of Unani Medicine for Skin Disorders (NRIUMSD), AG Colony Road, Erragadda, Hyderabad, Telangana, INDIA.


    Since December 2019 world faces a respiratory pandemic named Coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19). COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The term epidemic was coined by Hippocrates who is considered the father of Unani medicine which is based on four humours. In the Unani System of Medicine (USM) equivalent term for the epidemic is Wabā’. In classical Unani literature symptoms of Nazla-i-Wabā’iyya and Humma-i-Wabā’iyya closely resemble the symptoms of COVID-19. Major manifestations of this outbreak are cough, fever, headache, nausea, and breathlessness. This pandemic takes place due to a change in the quality of the surrounding air. We searched different databases electronically using the terms “COVID-19 or Coronavirus”, “Wabā› or infectious disease”, “Unani immunomodulators”, ‘’Herbal immunomodulators’’, ‘’Anti-viral herbal drugs’’, Herbal fumigation and “Nazla-i-Wabā’iyya or Nazla Wabā’ī”. We also gone through different classical textbooks of USM available in the NRIUMSD library. We reviewed the concept of Wabā’, its prevention, and management strategies available in USM. We also searched antiviral, immunomodulation, fumigation activities of Unani drugs. Unani physicians advocated general measures of physical distancing, health hygiene, isolation, quarantine, and immunomodulation. As a preventive measure, various immunomodulatory drugs like Asgandh, Aam, Babuna, Gilo, Satawar, and Kalonji and antidotes such as Tiryāq Wabā’i have been described in the literature. The ingredients of Tiryāqi- Wabā’i include Aloe barbedensis, Crocus sativus, and Commiphora myrrha. Several fumigants like Sandal, Ood, Kafoor, Loban, and Jhau are also mentioned in the management of the epidemic. For symptomatic management various antiviral, antipyretic and antitussive drugs are described well. Many evidence-based studies have already been reported for single drugs and formulations used in the USM. The Khamira Marwareed possesses antiviral, cardiotonic, and immunomodulatory activity. Single drugs such as Khaksi, Asgandh, Adusa, Chiriata, and Zanjabeel possess antipyretic, immunomodulatory, antitussive, antibacterial, and antiviral activities respectively. The knowledge from classical Unani literature and scientific researches may be useful in the prevention and management of COVID-19 like epidemic diseases. This review article aims to find out the concept of the pandemic, prevention, and management strategies existing in the USM.

    Key words: Amrād Wabā’ī, COVID-19, Epidemic, Humours, Kaifyat, Unani medicine, Wabā.

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