Journal of Halal Industry and Services
Original Research Article
Mumtaz Rabbani1*, Betania Kartika Muih1, Khairusy Syakirin1
1International Institute for Halal Research and Training (INHART), International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), Gombak, Selan-
Nature’s Sustainable Aqua Gi — Pearl in Unani medicine
Abstract: e Unani medical system is a holistic approach of science and the human body. It is a natural and simple method of
extracting from nature and based on the way body responses. Contrary to the prevalent credence,good health is always associated
with nutritious food and active lifestyle, but historical facts have laid a sturdy substructure that a natural gem-like Pearl hashigher
impact rate on the human body. Reports indicate that India is one of the top countries welcoming more medical tourists and the
industry is expected to grow to $8 billion this year. is paper explains the importance of sustaining the Unani system and drugs
made from a component (Pearl-Marwareed) obtained from a marine animal, providing insight on good aquaculture practice in
India. Hence, exploring the Islamic perspective of Unani medicine, the safety contour of the drugs and the usage of pearl in its
composition. e data were collected from personal interviews with Hakeem (physicianswith wisdom) across India and extensive
literature. is paper recommends to promote Unani medical tourism in India. us, generating positive statistics and providing
signicant sustainable strategies for further improvement in the Aquaculture industry. Policymakers and researchers need to focus
more on implementation of best techniques and technology to develop Indian traditional products and theirusage in traditional
medicinal system ‘Unani’.
Keywords: Unani system of medicine; Pearl-Marwareed; Aquaculture practice; safety contour; sustainable strategies.
Received: 30th October 2019
Accepted: 3rd February
Published Online: 2nd March 2020
Citation: Rabbani M, Muih BK & Syakirin K. Nature’s Sustainable Aqua Gi — Pearl in Unani medicine. J Halal Ind Serv 2020;
3(Special Issue): a0000060. https://doi.org/10.3687/jhis.a0000060
Copyright © 2020 by Rabbani M et al. and HH Publisher. is work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International Lisence
Mumtaz Rabbani, International Institute for Halal Research and Training (INHART),
International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), Gombak, Selangor, Malaysia; mum-
Unani Medical System in India
It originated in Greece, was developed by Persian
and Arab physicians who brought the system to India part of
the various alternative medical systems of India which include
Ayurveda, Naturopathy, Siddah and Homeopathy. e Indian
subcontinent has been a permanent home for the growth in
Unani science and medicines. Currently, India is the global leader
of Unani medicine and has its wide network of a well-organised
and functional network of educational, healthcare, research and
Pharmaceutical institutions (Ur-Rahman, 2013). is system
is popular among masses with Unani Hakeem (physicians &
practitioner) scattered across the nation. e vital role is to
form an integral part of national health care delivery structure
Figure 1.Advantageous attributes of Indian System of Medicine (AYUSH) (Author’s source)
Figure 1demonstrates the benecial and advantageous
attributes of the Indian systems of Medicine which include
Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddah and Homeopathy commonly
known as AYUSH. Tender steps are beingtaken by the
Government and great dedication and consideration areprovided
to the multi-facet advancement of Unani medical system to
use its potential strength in Indian healthcare services. Despite
several measures taken Unani has not gained much recognition
in the ultra-modern planet. According to Itrat (2016),this is due
to the lack of research data and lack of adequate accepted research
methodology for understanding and evaluating Unani medicine.
Indeed, it is fascinating and incredible the work of these Unani
practitioners and physicians in using these remarkable resources
into their drugs to cure the illness since it has become a part of the
mainstream system of medicine in India, Bangladesh, the Islamic
Republic of Iran, Pakistan (WHO, 2010). Although several
researchers are working to nd solutions for many diseases,
this system still hasnot gained popularity in the modern world
amongthe developers in this eld, despite the benecial fact for
Ideally, India would blend both its traditional and
conventional medicinal systems to provide the best care to its
medical patients in the best feature that matches each system and
grantsallowance to compensate each other’s’ weakness in the eld
of treatment and research.
Nature’s Sustainable .....
Islamic perspective of Unani medicine
Although this formal medicine was developed by the
Greek physician Hippocrates (Irfan, 2011), the latter portion was
established by the Persian, Arab physicians. One such great scholar
who wrote many books but one such book caught fame chiey
was ‘al-Qanun’, the classical medical book in which the great
Muslim physician and Polymath Ibn Sina popularly referred to as
‘e Prince of Physicians’ wrote and constituted the Proponents
of Tibb al-Unani (Avicenna-Ibn Sina, n.d.). Eventually, this
famous book became the Medical authority and inuenced the
development of Medical science and its therapeutics. Tibb Unani
is basically Greco-Islamic medicine (Leslieet al., 1992) and the
literature wasoriginally translated from Greek to Persian, then
secondarily into Arabic text, by the Muslims who were non-
Unani medicine is considered as the Halal version
of Indian pharmaceuticals and drug industry (Islam &
Chandrassekaran, 2013). It is the best alternative for non-
alcoholic and vegetarian consumers for its Halal conscious aspect
and its composition. A new term with core holistic principle has
evolved in recent studies called Halalopathy(Cochrane, 2019).
According to Jawad Alzeer, this Halalopathy is not new, but the
approach was advanced by the Greeks and propagated by Islamic
polymaths including Ibn Sina, al-Biruni and al-Razi (Cochrane,
2019) whose inuence is apparently present in the Asian countries
and referred to as Unani. Good health and sickness are closely
related in Islam as it teaches Muslims to be more understanding
ohe concept of suering and death which is considered as part
of life. Muslims believe everything that is bestowed upon us is
by the will of God and indeed it is a test for humanity. us,
Prophet Muhammad Peace be Upon Him (PBUH) has shared the
importance of showing respect for the body and maintaining it
with good health. One such Hadith says: ‘Your body has a right
over you’ (Unity, 2017) and the Prophet PBUHalso stated that
‘Verily there is no disease that Allah has created, except that He also
created its cure’ (Bukhari) (Rassool, 2014). In addition, health in
Islam is based on the regime of hygiene/cleanliness which is a
part of faith. erefore, creating a better and healthy community
to ght against illness. Physicians must possess the quality of
mercy and without the permission of Allah it is impossible to
deal with mutual respect between both parties: e physician
and the patient. Consequently, in Islam,the reward of caring for
a sick person is high and will be multiplied if done with proper
treatment and intention.
Methodology and Data Analysis
e research was carried out based on the interest of
Aquaculture in relation to its component usage in the age-old
Unani system of medicine. Both primary and secondary sources
were utilised to generate results. Personal interviews with several
well acquainted Hakeem (Unani physician) (Usmani, 2018)
were conducted to collect the data on resources used during
the preparation of drugs and to compile a percentage gure
based on the data received. Data on the usage of pearl as an
ingredient in Unani drugs, itseectiveness, proportion and safety
contour of drugs were collected and compiledthrough published
articles and personal interviews. Information from various
publicationswasused to analysethe current trend of Aquaculture
practice in India and the signicance of pearl usage in Unani.
Table 1. Medical Stakeholder roles in Traditional Healthcare system
Role in Medical system No. of Interviewees
Government Unani Administrators
Private Sector Unani Hakeem
Public Sector Unani Hakeem
Interviews(n=6) were conducted both in English and
Urdu. Digital recorders were used during interviews and each
interview waslater transcribed by the author. Aer successive
transcription, all data were surveillance closely for potential
criteria of this study.
Usage of Aqua-animal based component (Pearl) in
preparation of Unani Medicine
Unani is one of the oldest medicinal systems based on
its validity of principles in addition to its method of treatment.
Pearls are calcareous concretions (Dubey, Dubey, Mehta, Saluja,
& Jain, 2009) which are formed as protection against the minute
particles or parasites which penetrate between the mantle and
shell causing irritation in the mollusc. Consequently, these
foreign objects deposit and form as an irregular or spherical
shaped blister under the layer of the shell obtaining Pearl. e
Unani common name given to pearl is ‘Marwareed’ (Jamal et al.,
2006). Very frequent usage of pearl powder is at the highest rank
in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industry. Pearl is used in ash
form for its potential as an oral immunomodulator (Elahiet al.,
2014). erefore, pearl used in ash, calcinated and powder form
isused to treat various illnesses which include heart weakness,
myocardial degenerations, tuberculosis and habitual abortions
(Elahiet al., 2014). ese gems have been adored and admired
as a symbol of beauty and power. Studies reported ancient
Ayurvedic and Unani physicians have used powered pearls in
their medicines (Modayil & Kripa, 2001). However, they stated
the whitening eect of the toothpaste was most probably due to
the chemical eect. e market for halal food and products is
growing robustly, both domestically and internationally (Zakaria
& Buang, 2004).
Usage of pearl powder in Unani and Ayurvedic
medicines is believed to generate cosmic energy and cure
several illnesses(Jadhav, 2009).Whereas the unique preparation
of Herbo-mineral (botanical herbs and mineral pearl) used for
treating Tuberculosis, Diabetes, Asthma, cough (Wavareet al.,
2014). Several preparational method this gem is mentioned in
Unani therapeutics (Wavareet al., 2014).
Numerous formulations are used in dierent dosage for
the cosmetic purpose in which the term is usually referred to as
cosmeceutical. Some formulation contains a single dose of herb
(plant-based), mineral/metal or animal-based origins like amla,
almonds, neem, pearl, cucumber, aloe vera, clay and a few others
to sought as a drug, thus (Begum & Idris, 2016) claiming to be
scientically validated to prove the accuracy of Unani medicine.
Aquaculture management in Pearl Oyster in India
Aquaculture practice isworked out on an annual basis
in India (SathiaDhaset al., 2009). e Aquaculture industry has
seen tremendous growth in the last few decades, India with the
production of approx. 2.3 million tons per annum (SathiaDhaset
al., 2009) is considered as the second largest Aquaculture
producer. Despite its contribution is only around 5% out of the
entire global production. India practises a traditional method
Mumtaz Rabbani et al.
of coastal aquaculture. e Indian version of pearl is named
as Mukta. e Aquaculture industry has seen a remarkable
expansion in recent years with major development in states like
Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu
and Punjab (Mishra, 2017). In general, pearl production is a
challenging task ‘for the suite of numerous factors and processes
that need to be understood and mastered’ (Charpy & Lo, 2012).
e technique of pearl culturing was initially started by the
Chinese where pearl objects were rst developed in freshwater
mussel (Modayil & Kripa, 2001). ese precious gems were used
in old Traditional Chinese medicines.
Realising the utmost importance of pearl culturing,
the Central Institute of Freshwater Aquaculture (CIFA),
Bhubaneswar, India, initiated research in 1987 and evolved base
technology for growing pearl freshwater environment (Ram,
1997). e process to culture pearl involves various implantation
procedures. e culture of implanted mussels requires both
biological and physiochemical conditions (Ram, 1997).
e opportunity to cultivate approximately 73 dierent
marine organisms are highly potentfor the pharmaceutical/
drug industry due to its importance which includes nshes,
crustaceans, MOLLUSCS, seaweeds and sea cucumber (Devaraj
& Appukkuttan, 2000) along the shallow coastal region. e
natural resource of pearl oysters is found in the Gulf of Mannar
and Gulf of Kutch (SathiaDhaset al., 2009), it requires a long-term
investment for a successful process due to the high demand of
pearls which are classied into categories based on their quality,
size and shape and uniformity of coating. Indian pearl market has
been preparing to enter the world’s largest pearl merchandising
business. is could not be possible without extensive planned
research and developmental strategies constructed to grow and
produce ‘two types of pearls — golden and black pearl (Modayil
& Kripa, 2001) in order to enter theinternational market for
marine pearl industry.
Safety Contour of Unani medicine
e prole of Unani medicine is < 92% of medicinal plants
and herbs used. Basically, these drugs are from herbal sources,
therefore making theman herbal product or therapy for easy
consumption. While the rest > 5% is from minerals, metallic
and animal origin. e speciality is these drugs are collected
and processed by the Unani physicians themselves based on the
Figure 2 illustrates the percentage of various resources
used in the preparation of Unani drugs. esedata regarding the
resources used during the preparation wereobtained from several
Unani practitioners and physicians (Usmani, 2018) across India
and from primary sources.
Despite the search for new research techniques and
preparation of Unani medicine, valid data areyet to be conrmed
based on its physicochemical parameters and activities (Wavareet
al., 2014). Nationwide seminars are conducted in favour of
Unani profound scholars, academicians to highlight treatments
for various non-communicable diseases such as hypertension,
mental illness, diabetes, obesity and many more through Unani
system. “Clinical and pharmacological studies are being carried
out at dierent Unani research institutions and hospitals of India
showing good results” (INDIA, 2018).
Implementation of Signicant Sustainable Strategies in
utilisation of Pearl in Unani
1. e subsequent measures will contribute to the
sustainability of pearl production and its usage in Unani.
In collaboration with government policies, extensive
positive factors can have a huge impact on the industry.
2. Creating awareness and promoting good farm management
practice in the Indian aquaculture industry.
3. Development of human resource administration.
4. Environment awareness program.
5. Monitoring and constant recording of Ecosystem health.
6. Investigating the potential utilisation of pearl in Unani
drugs as Aqua medicine.
7. Setting a proper design research chart to support
Aquaculture farmers in India.
8. Promotion of positive and eective socio-economic
environment for the local pearl communities.
9. Need for future Government policies to set sustainable
schemes to encourage pearl farming in collaboration with
Unani Drug Labs.
10. Require great technology with government intervention.
11. Largely organised and coordinative eorts to promote the
Unani system of medicine in Southeast countries due to its
Muslim friendly nature.
ere is a vast dierence in the methodical and
technical teachings of medical systems such as Ayurveda, Unani
and Siddha (AUS) in India. is is especially with the domestic
market contributing more to the demand and supply of freshwater
aquaculture products, lack of proper infrastructure processing
facilities (Jong, 2017)impairs the access to quality products.
e pattern diers among areas. “Poor exposure to clinical
skills, poorly equipped colleges and reliance on rote learning
are major deterrents to quality AUS physicians” (Patwardhan,
2019).Promoting traditional herbal medicines comes with more
challenges (Sen & Chakraborthy, 2016) such as; 1.Quality and
administration issues, 2.Infrastructure and technology issues,
3.Irrational Clinical issues, and 4.Lack of adequate R&D.
Based on the pharmacological eect of the (pearl-
marwareed) dose; prepared in accurate proportion by Hakeem
(Unani physician) the eect could change with a dierent dose
Figure2. Percentage of resources used in preparation of Unani Drugs
Nature’s Sustainable .....
of the same drug. Mainstreaming quality of Health and usage
of herbal traditional medicine will provide thefunctionality of
these gems in Unani medicine which isconsumable, ensuring the
Halal factor and the quality of the medicine and cultured pearl
used. Since it attracts more Muslim medical patients who are also
domestic and international medical tourists. e country must
support qualied physicians and practitioners of this traditional
medicine by establishing strong systems for accreditation and
licensing the Unani dispensaries or clinics with Halal certication
from well-organised and focused Halal certication bodies
namely Halal India and others. Considering the requirements and
safety of medical patients, the practitioners must upgrade their
knowledge and skills of having better communication between
traditional physicians and conventional providers.
e higher potentiality the better the progress
and prospects of the Traditional System. If both Ministry of
AYUSH and Ministry of Tourism join together, the possibility of
a winning situation will be elevated for AYUSH and promotion
of Traditional Medical Tourism in India. Proper investment
opportunities for pearl farmers can generate high quality of pearl
production with improvement in aquaculture practice across
farming regions. erefore, providing a better business venture
for pearl farmers inclusive of good lifestyle through Unani.
Conict of Interest
e authors declare that there is no conict of interest in this
e authors are thankful to the Ministry of Education of Malaysia
for the funding through FRGS/1/2018/SSI03/UIAM/02/3grant.
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