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UNANI MEDICINE AND CANCER Christer Sundqvist. Prepublished article, 2020 Petrafoundation, Helsinki, Finland https://www.petrafoundation.com/en/foundation 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.
UNANI MEDICINE AND CANCER
Christer Sundqvist. Prepublished article, 2020
Petrafoundation, Helsinki, Finland https://www.petrafoundation.com/en/foundation
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
minerals.)
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].
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Unani System of Medicine. International Journal of Current Science and Multidisciplinary Research 3 (6), 2020
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cancerous_drugs_in_Unani_System_of_Medicine
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