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Guidelines for Unani Practitioners for COVID-19

About Unani Medicine

Unani Medicine recognizes the influence of surroundings and ecological conditions on the state of health of human beings. Apart from treating disease conditions, Unani Medicine lays great emphasis on the prevention of disease and promotion of existing health through principles of six essential factors (Asbab-e-Sitta Zarooriyah) of life. It lays great emphasis on the maintenance of a proper ecological balance and on keeping air, water and food free from all possible pollution and pathogens. An eminent Unani physician Galen (129-200 CE) postulated that certain diseases caused by pollutants tend to be carried by wind and hence, do disseminate faster; these enter human body through respiratory route.

As per Unani classical wisdom, improving immunity with immune boosters is one of the key approaches for prevention of disease and maintenance of health. Therefore, a strategy to enhance immunity and provide symptomatic relief in upper respiratory tract infection is advocated in these guidelines for qualified Unani Medicine practitioners.

Prophylactic approach through Unani medicine

Unani scholars have prescribed several single drugs as well as compound formulations for the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases in general. They have emphasized more on the use of certain drugs which are known to improve host immunity during the outbreak of epidemics, endemics and pandemics. Ismail Jurjani (1041-1136 CE) mentioned that use of Tiryaqs during epidemics strengthens the heart and keeps the body faculties strong. Single and compound Unani drugs mentioned hereunder, may prove to be beneficial and can be used under the supervision of qualified Unani physicians for possible immune-boosting / symptomatic relief in upper respiratory tract infections.

Unani Single Drugs

  • Behi dana (Cydonia oblonga): Antioxidant, immunomodulator, antiallergic(3) and anti- influenza.(4) (Dose is 3-5 gm)
  • Unnab (Zizyphus jujuba): Anti-influenza, immunomodulator and antioxidant. (Dose is 5 pcs.)
  • Sapistan (Cordia myxa): Immunomodulator, tracheal smooth muscle relaxant and anti-oxidant. (Dose is 9 pcs.)
  • Karanjwa (Caesalpinia bonducella): Antipyretic, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and immunomodulator. (Dose is 3 to 5 gm)

Unani Formulation

Tiryaq-e-Arba has Dafae Sumoom (antidote) and Dafae Tashannuj (anti-spasmodic) properties and used in the dose of 3-5 gm with lukewarm water. (Not recommended for diabetics)

Local Application

In case of respiratory discomfort, local application of Roghan-e-Babuna Sada on chest is advocated (in quantity sufficient).

Inhalation

Arq-e-Ajeeb 2-5 drops 

Antivirals

Below mentioned Unani herbs have shown few leads to possess certain antiviral activities. They may be used under the supervision of a qualified Unani physician.

  1. Kalonji (Nigella sativa): 1-2 gm 
  2. Seer (Allium sativum): 2-3 gm 
  3. Zanjabeel (Zingiber officinale): 5 gm 
  4. Aslassus (Glycyrrhiza glabra): 5-10 gm 
  5. Afsanteen (Artemisia absinthium): 3-5 gm 
  6. Tukhm-e-Kasoos (Cuscuta reflexa): 15 gm (seeds) 
  7. Khayarshamber (Cassia fistula): 10-20 gm (pulp) for gargle
  8. Giloy (Tinospora cordifolia): 5-10 gm 

Note: Antiviral activity of the above-mentioned drugs against COVID-19 is not being claimed.

Immunity Enhancers

  • Khameera Marwareed: 3-5 g  (Not recommended for diabetics)
  • Asgandh (Safoof): 5 g 
Symptom Formulations Dose according to age group
Dry Cough Habb-e Surfa (125-250mg) 125 mg (pill) twice daily for 6-12 years of age
250 mg (pill) twice daily for above 12 years of age

Khamira-e-Banafsha (10-20 gm)

(Not recommended for diabetics)

5 gm twice daily for 6-12 years of age
10 gm twice daily for above 12 years of age

Laooq-e-Sapistan (10-20 gm)

(Not recommended for diabetics)

5 gm twice daily for 6-12 years of age
10 gm twice daily for above 12 years of age

Sharbat-e-Sadr (20-40 ml)

(Not recommended for diabetics)

10 ml twice daily for 6-12 years of age
20 ml twice daily for above 12 years of age
High Fever Habb-e-Bukhar (250-500 mg) 250 mg (pill) twice daily for 6-12 years of age
500 mg (pill) twice daily for above 12 years of age
500 mg (pill) twice daily for above 12 years of age
Habb-e-Mubarak (1-2 gm) 1 gm (pill) twice daily for 6-12 years of age
2 gm (pill) twice daily for above 12 years of age
Sore Throat

Sharbat-e-Toot Siyah (20-40 ml)

(Not recommended for diabetics)

10 ml twice daily for 6-12 years of age
20 ml twice daily for above 12 years of age
Difficulty In Breathing

Laooq-e-Katan (10-20 gm)

(Not recommended for diabetics)

5 gm twice daily for 6-12 years of age
10 gm twice daily for above 12 years of age
Habb-e-Hindi Zeeqi (125-250 mg) 125 mg (pill) twice daily for 6-12 years of age
250 mg (pill) twice daily for above 12 years of age

Specific Recommendations

Prophylactic approach:

Zanjabeel (Zingiber officinale), Gilo (Tinospora cordifolia), Aslassus (Glycyrrhiza glabra), Khameera Marwareed, Safoof Asgand

Symptomatic relief in upper respiratory tract infections:

Behi dana (Cydonia oblonga), Unnab (Zizyphus jujuba), Sapistan (Cordia myxa), Karanjwa (Caesalpinia bonducella), Habb-e-Surfa, Khamira-e-Banafsha, Laooq-e- Sapistan, Sharbat-e-Sadr, Habb-e-Bukhar, Habb-e- Mubarak, Sharbat-e-Toot Siyah, Laooq-e-Katan, Habb-e-Hindi Zeeqi

Note: These medicines may be used as per details mentioned above.

Special Care For Elderly

Unani Medicine categorizes the elderly people under Abdan-i Zaifa (weaker bodies). Such population may have higher susceptibility for acquiring different illnesses. General guidelines are provided for maintaining their health (46), (48),(49):

  • The diet should be in accordance with Mizaj (Temperament)
  • Nutritive and easily digestible diet should be taken
  • Frequent meals in small quantity
  • Avoid drinking cold water
  • Maintain good bowel habits
  • Maintain adequate sleep
  • Perform moderate exercises

Rationale behind Selected approach

In Unani Medicine, prevention has been preferred to treatment. Its classical literature mentions that Quwwat-i-Mudabbira-i-Badan / Tabi'at (Medicatrix naturae) is the supreme power, which controls all the physiological functions of the body and provides immunity against diseases. The disease conditions are considered to occur due to weakened medicatrix naturae and may be cured by its strengthening (including immunomodulation). Drugs for dry cough, sore throat, fever and difficulty in breathing may be used for supportive symptomatic relief. 

General Measures

  • Maintain social distancing
  • Frequent washing of hands with soap and water and use of alcohol-based sanitizer
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
  • Use of face mask
  • Practice good respiratory hygiene
  • Maintain sanitation and general hygiene
  • Isolation of vulnerable population like elderly people, pregnant women and people having co-morbid conditions such as hypertension and diabetes mellitus.
  • Stress relieving measures are equally important to follow. Certain Unani drugs like Sa'd Koofi (Cyperus rotundus), Ood Saleeb (Paeonia emodi) and Jadwar (Delphinium denudatum) may be beneficial.
  • Fumigation (Bakhoor) of the house at frequent intervals with combination of Sandal (Santalum album) and Kafoor (Cinnamomum camphora)

Recommendations for Unani Physicians

  • These guidelines are primarily for Unani physicians. They may adopt these guidelines, to the extent possible, as per feasibility and prevailing conditions.
  • Unani physicians may also adopt these guidelines for enhancement of immunity of their family members against any possible infection.
  • In addition, Unani physicians may devise a mechanism for providing these measures to the willing members of general public.

Source : Ministry of AYUSH



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