Unani: A holistic healing approach

It’s one of the many blessings of Allah that He encoded the desire to remain healthy in the DNA of human being. There is no doubt that we all like to keep ourselves in good health. But the question is which methods do we follow to stay healthy? Do we like to follow the resources from the vast nature to keep us healthy, or do we not care about our health until we become ill? With this question asking, you may have found a hint to which directions I am leaning towards, right? During the time of Caliphate, the Unani treatment or treatment based on natural elements gained immense popularity because of its effective healing power.  According to the Encyclopedia Britannica Unani medicine gained a lot of attention in the world for its effective healing processes.

Unani medicine, also called Unani tibb, Arabian medicine, or Islamic medicine, a traditional system of healing and health maintenance observed in South Asia. The origins of Unani medicine are found in the doctrines of the ancient Greek physicians Hippocrates and Galen. As a field, it was later developed and refined through systematic experiment by the Arabs, most prominently by Muslim scholar-physician Avicenna. During the Caliphate … Unani medicine came to be known also as Arabian, or Islamic medicine.

In Unani healing (ilaj) or pharmacotherapy, the drugs used are of herbal origin. These are either parts of plants e.g. seeds, roots, flowers, stems, fruits, leaves, barks or the entire plant are used as medicines. Some of the drugs were made of minerals existing in nature used for therapeutic purposes and consists of ores, metals and precious stones, salts, stones, clay etc. In preparation of some drugs the animal products like milk or fats were also recommended. Well, we may feel great while reading about the era of Avicenna (the physician), how many of us utilize those natural elements in our own life? It is not like those ingredients or herbs are not available anymore in this universe!

Most of us pretty much know (esp. this day and age) that choosing natural course is way much healthier than using chemically processed stuff. In a nutshell, although we are aware of healthy lifestyle, but we do not follow it either because of the time constraints or from overlooking the fact that “prevention is better than cure!” So, without following a healthy regimen we frequently are being attacked by many kind of illnesses (from minor to major)!  One may argue that no matter what we do some illnesses are unavoidable, but it is simultaneously true that by maintaining a healthy lifestyle the impact of illness can be minimized if not being able to totally vanish it! So, the lack of a healthy lifestyle and the absence of following plant based prevention therapy, our immune system becomes weak and loses the power to combat even a minor illnesses!  As a result, once ill, we are bound to seek regular medical help. And, while in the doctor’s office, he/she writes us a good number of high dose prescription meds that we start ingesting, knowing the fact that high dose pills come at a cost of substantial side effects.

 Antibiotics kill both bad and good bacteria simultaneously. So, you might have noticed that while we are on prescription drugs we feel weak! Do not get me wrong, I am not against the medical professionals; I admire that discipline…but I do not like to visit them in their office for illness! I am quite sure none of us like it either. However, I am not disregarding the fact that sometimes it becomes totally essential to get medical help based on the gravity of the situation! I am not talking about those serious illnesses, I am simply referring to the common physical problems such as allergies, cough, cold, flu, pain, spasms or mental fatigue, depression (it may not be minor!) etc. Those problems may not be life threatening, but without doubt leaves a negative impact to our life force.  Versus, when we pick up a healthy, conscious lifestyle, it adds a positive spin on that, as a result we fall sick less and less! Because by taking precautions we are engaging our body and mind to build up combative resistance!

 As a practitioner of herbology and aromatherapy I am quite confident that Allah (SWT) has provided many gifts for us that remained scattered around the vast nature itself.  Also, from the teaching of our Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), we learned that small sicknesses or injuries can be cured or healed through natural remedies. Remedies that are found in the medicinal trees, plants, fruits and herbs. Yes, we need to have knowledge and understanding of how to use those natural resources in an effective way.  A naturopath can suggest various methods of using natural remedies that can be beneficial for both children and adults.

Being a promoter of natural healing, I feel both religiously and morally obligated to bring the awareness to the people so that they gain a healthy lifestyle by following the nature’s way. Also, when someone uses alternative medicine with knowledge they can be assured that the risk factor of side effects is very low (almost zero)! Rather, it impacts our health and mind positively beyond solving one specific problem. Since Allah (SWT) created so much medicinal herbs, spices, fruits and aromatic plants for us-why wouldn’t we be able to take advantage of those natural and holistic cure?  To start following the natural course you have two options:

  1. Either, you study and learn it yourself
  2. Or, consult a naturopath

However, before I go, I would like to share at least one recipe from the hundreds of the recipes that our prophet Mohammad(PBUH) recommended for his ummah. In the book “The Prophetic Medicine.” I am citing a beneficial recipe to cure headache. To find relief from extreme headache apply ground henna with vinegar and to apply it on the forehead to get relieve from the pain. Henna is not to be used only for headache but also to cure inflammations when used as a bandage, it soothes the nerve as a result to cure inflammation.

This is just one recipe out of hundreds those are being used by the Unani /herbal practitioners. I made my case toward the virtues of going the natural way of healing when possible, rest it up to you on how much “natural” you like to go!

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