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UNANI MEDICINE AND CANCER Christer Sundqvist. Prepublished article, 2020 Petrafoundation, Helsinki, Finland Unani medicine is an alternative medical system originating in ancient Greece almost 2500 years back. It is now practiced primarily in India. Herbal remedies, dietary practices and alternative therapies characterize Unani medicine. Let us study what it can offer for a cancer patient.
Christer Sundqvist. Prepublished article, 2020
Petrafoundation, Helsinki, Finland
Unani medicine is an alternative medical system originating in ancient Greece almost 2500 years
back. It is now practiced primarily in India. Herbal remedies, dietary practices and alternative
therapies characterize Unani medicine. Let us study what it can offer for a cancer patient.
A science of health and healing
Avicenna (980-1037) has defined Unani medicine as a science in which we learn various states of
body in health and when not in health and the means by which health is likely to be lost and when
lost, is likely to be restored [1].
The Unani system of medicine is a holistic approach to cancer care. This short article is an
effort to highlight the main findings of Unani medicine [2].
Prevention of cancer can be achieved by following the sound principles of ”Six Prerequisites of
Healthy Living by Unani medicine” [1]:
1. Air (Fresh and pollution free air for breathing. Avoiding exposure to excessive heat or
excessive cold.)
2. Food and drink (To stop tobacco chewing and smoking. Avoiding junk and smoked foods,
preserved foods, alcohol, carbonated drinks, etc. Avoiding excess of non-vegetarian diet.
Avoiding black bile producing diets such as red meat, dried and salted meat and fish, etc.
Taking soft and easily digestible diets. Consuming turmeric, tomatoes, garlic, flaxseed,
spinach, broccoli, pomegranates, walnuts, etc. Taking diet rich in fibre (20-30 g/day).)
3. Bodily movement and repose (Avoiding sedentary lifestyle. Exercising for 30-45 minutes at
least five days a week.)
4. Psychic movement and repose (Avoiding mental stress and anxiety. Avoiding extreme
emotions, e.g. anger, fear, sadness. Lead a spiritual peaceful life.)
5. Sleep and wakefulness (Sleeping for six to eight hours.)
6. Retention and evacuation (Avoiding constipation. Ensuring proper evacuation, urination,
perspiration and menstruation. Avoiding dehydration and ensure retention of electrolytes and
Unani medicine accentuates an early detection of cancer leading to better prognosis. Unani
treatment may be used as an adjuvant therapy for cancer patients to restore a healthy lifestyle and to
enhance the immunity of the patient. Unani medicine might reduce the complications associated
with cancer, it might prevent the side-effects of conventional cancer therapies and is improving the
quality of life of the patients.
Some anti-cancerous drugs and herbs are often used. There is a rapidly growing interest into these
products and several studies have shown promising results.
For example the herb Artemisia absinthium (Wormwood) shows anti-angiogenic effects in tumor
cell lines [3]. In another study Artemisia significantly inhibited cell proliferation and promoted
apoptosis in two human breast cancer cell lines [4].
Studies have been conducted to verify the anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer activities of the herb
Cuscuta reflexa (Giant dodder) in cell lines [5], Swiss albino mice [6], human red blood cells [7]
and human cancer cell lines [8]. Ashwagandha or Indian ginseng Withania somnifera has
immunomodulatory and anti-cancer effects [9-14]. Glycyrrhiza glabra (Liquorice) expresses
promising antimicrobial, cytotoxic and anti-cancer effects [15, 16]. Also Terminalia bellerica
known as Bahera or Beleric has been found to possess anti-cancer effects [17, 18]. The
antimutagenic and anti-cancer activity of Tinospora cordifolia (Heart-leaved moonseed) has been
found in some studies [19, 20]. The spicy Black cumin Nigella sativa has some potential as an anti-
cancer agent [21, 22]. Curcuma longa (Turmeric) is quite well-known as an anti-cancer herb [23-
25]. Cinnamomum zeylenicum (Cinnamon bark) is able to induce apoptosis in cancer cell-lines [26,
27]. Bacopa monnieri (Water hyssop) is possessing some cytotoxic effects [28, 29].
Unani medicine, much like Ayurveda, is based on an ancient theory of the presence of the elements
in the human body. These elements are present in fluids and their balance (homeostasis) leads to
health and their imbalance leads to illness. Thus homeostasis plays an important key role in the
optimum functioning of the body.
Unani System of Medicine believes that the real physician is the body’s intrinsic power of healing
and maintaining its normal state of health. The physician is not the healer but an assistant to nature,
the true healer [30].
Modern research helps us to get a more scientific view of this medical system [31, 32]. Currently
there is a lack of research data and lack of adequate accepted research methodology for
understanding and evaluation of Unani medicine [33].
1 Unani – National Health Portal.
2 Fouzia Bashir, Jamal Akhtar, Nighat Anjum et al (5 authors). Concept of Sartān (Cancer) and Anti-cancerous drugs in
Unani System of Medicine. International Journal of Current Science and Multidisciplinary Research 3 (6), 2020
3 SA Emami, Nasser Vahdati-Mashhadian, R. Vosough, M.B. Oghazian. The anticancer activity of five species of
Artemisia on Hep2 and HepG2 cell lines. Pharmacologyonline 3:327-339, 2009
4 Gowhar Shafi, Tarique Noorul Hasan, Naveed Syed et al (7 authors). Artemisia absinthium (AA): A novel potential
complementary and alternative medicine for breast cancer. Molecular Biology Reports July 2012 DOI: 10.1007/s11033-
5 Vinayak Suresh, V Sruthi, B Padmaja, V V Asha. In vitro anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer activities of Cuscuta
reflexa Roxb. Journal of ethnopharmacology 134(3):872-877, 2011
6 Dandopani Chatterjee, Ram Kumar Sahu, Arvind K Jha, Jaya Dwivedi. Evaluation of Antitumor Activity of Cuscuta
Reflexa Roxb (Cuscutaceae) Against Ehrlich Ascites Carcinoma in Swiss Albino Mice. Tropical Journal of
Pharmaceutical Research 10(4), 2011
7 Pavan Bhausaheb Udavant, Satyanarayana V. Suggala, Chandrashekhar Devidas Upasani. Preliminary screening of
Cuscuta reflexa stems for Anti inflammatory and cytotoxic activity. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine
2(3):S1303–S1307, 2012
8 Madhulika Bhagat, Ajit K Saxena. In vitro anti-proliferative, anti-bacterial potential and induction of DNA strand
break of partially purified Cuscuta reflexa Roxb. International Journal of Green Pharmacy 5(4):307, 2011
9 Muralikrishnan Govindan, Amit K Dinda, Faiyaz Shakeel. Immunomodulatory Effects of Withania Somnifera on
Azoxymethane Induced Experimental Colon Cancer in Mice. Immunological Investigations 39(7):688-698, 2010
10 Zhen Yang, Anapatricia Garcia, Songli Xu et al (7 authors). Withania somnifera Root Extract Inhibits Mammary
Cancer Metastasis and Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transition. PLoS ONE 8(9):e75069, 2013
11 Hardeep Kataria, Renu Wadhwa, Sunil Kaul, Gurcharan Kaur. Withania somnifera Water Extract as a Potential
Candidate for Differentiation Based Therapy of Human Neuroblastomas. PLoS ONE 8(1):e55316, 2013
12 Bolleddula Jayaprakasam, Yanjun Zhang, Navindra P Seeram, Muraleedharan Gopalan Nair. Growth inhibition of
human tumor cell lines by withanolides from Withania somnifera leaves. Life Sciences 74(1):125-132, 2003
13 Bhuwaneshor Yadav, Amarjeet Bajaj, Mridula Saxena, Anil Kumar Saxena. In Vitro Anticancer Activity of the Root,
Stem and Leaves of Withania Somnifera against Various Human Cancer Cell Lines. Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical
Sciences 72(5):659-663, 2010
14 Rajeev Nema, Salaj Khare, P. Jain, A. Pradhan. Anticancer activity of Withania somnifera (Leaves) flavonoids
compound. International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences Review and Research 19(1):103-106, 2013
15 SG Rathi, M Suthar, P Patel et al (5 authors). In-vitro cytotoxic screening of Glycyrrhiza glabra L. (Fabaceae): A
natural anticancer drug. Journal of Young Pharmacists 1(3), 2009
16 Sahar Rahman, Sarwat Sultana. Glycyrrhizin exhibits potential chemopreventive activity on 12-O-tetradecanoyl
phorbol-13-acetate-induced cutaneous oxidative stress and tumor promotion in Swiss albino mice. Journal of Enzyme
Inhibition and Medicinal Chemistry 22(3):363-369, 2007
17 Shi Li, Ting Ye, Linjin Liang et al (7 authors). Anti-cancer activity of an ethyl-acetate extract of the fruits of
Terminalia bellerica (Gaertn.) Roxb. through an apoptotic signaling pathway in vitro. Journal of Traditional Chinese
Medical Sciences 5(4), 2018
18 Khosit Pinmai, Sriharut Chunlaratthanabhorn, Ariyaphong Wongnoppavich et al (5 authors). Synergistic growth
inhibitory effects of Phyllanthus emblica and Terminalia bellerica extracts with conventional cytotoxic agents:
Doxorubicin and cisplatin against human hepatocellular carcinoma and lung cancer cells. World Journal of
Gastroenterology 14(10):1491-1497, 2008
19 Vandana Mohan, Ashwani Koul. Anticancer potential of Tinospora cordifolia and arabinogalactan against
benzo(a)pyrene induced pulmonary tumorigenesis: A study in relevance to various biomarkers. Journal of Herbmed
Pharmacology 7(4):225-235, 2018
20 Rahul Verma, Hotam Singh, R.C. Agrawal. Evaluation of Anticarcinogenic and Antimutagenic effect of tinospora
cordifolia in experimental Animals. J Chem Pharm Res 3(6):877-881, 2011
21 Sameera Ranganath Samarakoon, Ira Thabrew, B. Prasanna Galhena et al (5 authors). A Comparison of the
Cytotoxic potential of standardized aqueous and ethanolic extracts of polyherbal mixture comprised of Nigella sativa
(seeds), Hemidesmus indicus (root) and Similax glabra (rhizome). Pharmacognosy Research 2(6):335, 2010
22 N.J. Salomi, Satish Nair, K.K. Jayawardhanan (5 authors). Antitumour principles from Nigella sativa seeds. Cancer
Letters 63(1):41-46, 1992
23 Zeinab Khazaei Koohpar, Maliheh Entezari, Abolfazl Movafagh, Mehrdad Hashemi. Anticancer Activity of
Curcumin on Human Breast Adenocarcinoma: Role of Mcl-1 Gene. Iranian Journal of Cancer Prevention 8(3), 2015
24 Shuang En Chuang, AL Cheng, J K Lin, Min-Liang Kuo. Inhibition by curcumin of diethylnitrosamine-induced
hepatic hyperplasia, inflammation, cellular gene products and cell-cycle-related proteins in rats. Food and Chemical
Toxicology 38(11):991-995, 2000
25 Zhen-Yu He, Chuan-Bing Shi, Hao Wen et al (6 authors). Upregulation of p53 Expression in Patients with Colorectal
Cancer by Administration of Curcumin. Cancer Investigation 29(3):208-213, 2011
26 Varalakshmi Badrinarayanan, Vijay Anand, Thirunethiran Karpagam et al (5 authors). In vitro antimicrobial and
anticancer activity of Cinnamomum Zeylanicum linn bark extracts. International Journal of Pharmacy and
Pharmaceutical Sciences 6:12-18, 2014
27 Soumya Koppikar, Amit Choudhari, Snehal A Suryavanshi et al (6 authors). Aqueous Cinnamon Extract (ACE-c)
from the bark of Cinnamomum cassia causes apoptosis in human cervical cancer cell line (SiHa) through loss of
mitochondrial membrane potential. BMC Cancer 10(1):210, 2010
28 Nasar Mallick, Mohammad Salman Akhtar, Mohd Zeeshan Najm et al (6 authors). Evaluation of anticancer potential
of Bacopa monnieri L. against MCF-7 and MDA-MB 231 cell line. Journal of Pharmacy And Bioallied Sciences
7(4):325, 2015
29 Paulina Koczurkiewicz, Maciej Łojewski, Kamil Piska et al (9 authors). Chemopreventive and Anticancer Activities
of Bacopa monnieri Extracted from Artificial Digestive Juices. Natural product communications 13(3):337-342, 2017
30 Abdul Azeez Rizwana, Hafeel Mohamed, Zar Nigar. Unani Concept of Prevention and Control of Lifestyle
Disorders: A Literature Review. American Journal of PharmTech Research 2018.
31 Joseph E. Pizzorno, Michael T. Murray. Textbook of Natural Medicine. Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2020
32 Arshiya Sultana, Khaleeq Raheman. Essentials of Research Methodology in Unani Medicine. ISBN: 81-89966-81-2,
33 Mumtaz Rabbani, Betania Kartika Muflih, Khairusy Syakirin. Nature’s Sustainable Aqua Gift - Pearl in Unani
medicine. Journal of Halal Industry & Services 3, 2020
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
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Although research studies are carried out in various fields of science, the general goals and defining characteristics of research are basically similar across disciplines. The rationales of this book are to discuss the fundamental methods to conduct research studies in various medical systems, the difficulties faced by researchers when planning and conducting a research study, variety of research designs commonly used, the research-related thoughtfulness of which researchers should be aware, the approach in which the results of research can be interpreted and disseminated, and ethical consideration. This book also includes one chapter on trends and possibilities of research in Unani medicine to benefit Unani fraternity and students and select different research design to conduct research in Unani medicine. Further, interesting chapter on journal club has been included to facilitate the Post Graduate scholar to understand and how to present the journal club especially for beginners. This book is best for readers who have either minimal or intermediate knowledge who need a quick reminder regarding particular aspects of research and its methodology. This book is also helpful for those readers with an advanced knowledge of research and its methodology, as it can provide a concise summary of basic research techniques and principles. Lastly, this book is valuable for even those readers who do not conduct research, as it will assist in becoming a more educated consumer of research. This book will develop your ability to professionally and successfully grasp and understand the results of a research study in various fields of science. Wherever feasible, visual cues highlighting key points are utilized alongside systematic, step-by-step guidelines. Chapters are focused and succinct. Topics are organized for an easy understanding of the essential material related to a particular topic. With this book, we aim to challenge and assist readers in the sciences faculty to aspire to the highest level of competency by arming them with the tools they need for knowledgeable and informed practice in research methodology.
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In this research article make known on Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) as Medicinal plants have therapeutic potential due to the presence of natural antioxidants functioning as reducing agents, free radical scavengers and quenchers of singlet oxygen. And this article also determines the use of Withania Somnifera (leaves) Polyphenolic Compound activity on MCF-7, A549 and PA-1 cancer cell line (breast, lung and ovary respectively). By providing a scientific basis the study can be made conventional to evaluate its constituents (natural product) to determine which of Withania Somnifera (leaves), would facilitate further study as potential new anticancer agents or lead to new anticancer compounds. Hydro alcoholic (1:1) sample of Withania Somnifera (leaves) were prepared and tested for their cytotoxic activities against cancer cell lines (MCF7, A549and PA1) with standard Doxorubicin. The most essential reason of this study is to estimate cytotoxicity of certain important Indian medicinal plants with facilitate of MTT assay. Concentrations are set of each plant extract which are 100 μg/ml, 10 μg/ml, 0.1 μg/ml, 0.01 μg/ml and 5-10×10 3 cells/ml are taken into each well which are exposed to different Concentrations of Withania Somnifera (leaves) for 96 hr and then treated with MTT. For MTT absorbance in use at 570 nm. From IC50 values of MTT assay of Withania Somnifera (leaves) for MCF7, A549 and PA1 cancer cell lines, from this it may conclude that Withania Somnifera (leaves)shows efficient cytotoxicity on MCF-7 (10 ± 1 μg) than PA-1 (13 ± 1 μg) and A-459 (11± 1 μg) cancer cell line.