Selected Unani Research Topics
From the MEDLINE Database
From the 'canon' of Avicenna to the illustration of
the 'wound healer'
Sudhoffs Arch Z Wissenschaftsgesch 1989;:45-54
The different genres in which Latin medical texts are preserved, may become integrated in
German medical literature into a new specific kind of text, the 'arzneibuch'. Depending on
which parts of Ortolf von Baierland's 'arzneibuch' are preserved, different literary
genres result in further tradition. When little Ortolf text survives in large
compilations, as often is the case, it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to identify
them as belonging to a certain genre. Although medieval nomenclature is useful, it does
not define the different genres, it merely classifies the texts according to their
Galactogogue action of Nigella sativa.
Agrawala IP, Achar MV, Tamankar BP.
Indian J Med Sci 1971;:535-7
General supervisory nurse. Definition of her functions at the Avicenna Hospital
Rev Infirm 1987;:20-1
Gentile da Foligno and his Commentary on the Canon of Avicenna concerning anatomy,
clinical medicine and therapy of liver diseases
Messini M, Messini R.
Gerontology and geriatrics in the works of Abu Ali Ibn Sina (Avicenna) (on the 950th
anniversary of the manuscript, Canon of Medical Science)
Pitskhelauri GZ, Dzhorbenadze DA.
Sov Zdravookhr 1970;:68-71
Ghost illness of children in north India.
Freed RS, Freed SA.
Med Anthropol 1990;:401-17
This analysis of the relationship of infant and childhood illness and death to ghost
beliefs is based on holistic fieldwork in the late 1950s and the late 1970s in Shanti
Nagar (a pseudonym), a village in North India. Illness and the supernatural world are
linked by the concepts of ghosts and Fever, the latter an index of ghost illness, deriving
from a supernatural being. The links between ghosts, Fever, and ghost illness involve
basic Hindu beliefs, tales from Hindu and Sanskrit texts, ancient curing practices,
stress, and local and family histories. A limited number of cases from the many in Ghosts:
Life and Death in North India (R. Freed and S. Freed 1991) are here presented to
illustrate particular points and general characteristics of ghost illness, including ghost
possession, when found in children. The village health culture includes curing practices
from the Atharva-Veda (the most ancient Sanskrit literature), Ayurvedic Medicine, Unani
Prophetic Medicine, and Western Biomedicine.
Great Arab physician-practitioners
Masic I, Konjhodzic F.
Med Arh 1994;:79-84
In the pleiad of the great names from the Golden Age of the Arabian medicine: at-Taberi,
ar-Razi, al-Magusi, al- Baitar, al-Zahrawi, ibn-Sina, ibn-Haitam, ibn-Zuhr, ibn- Rushd,
ibn-Nefis the important place belongs to the physicians- practitioners--many of the
applied methods by the Arabian doctors were forerunners of the contemporary diagnostic or
therapeutical methods. Later the methods were modernized by the great surgeons Ambroise
Pare, Agnew, Hunter, Warren, Billroth, Mayo et al. No doubts, the methods and instruments
of that time were primitive and the possibilities for research work, difficult. Because of
this reason a respect should be given to those great man in the history of medicine.
Greek anatomy of the eye in Pakistan today
Klin Monatsbl Augenheilkd 1988;:427-30
A Pakistani wall plate depicting the anatomy of the eye is described and illustrated. The
picture is partly Greek (the hollow optic nerve), in part medieval Arab (the optical image
on the disk), and in part modern (e.g., the refraction anomalies). A brief account is
given of how Greek science passed to the Arabs and then to India. The wall plate bears
witness to the pluralism in Pakistani medicine. Side by side with cosmopolitan medicine
there exists the Unani Tibb, based on the Ionic-Arabic tradition.
Health science on stamps.
Loevy HT, Kowitz A.
J Am Dent Assoc 1980;:553
Health, disease and health-care in rural Bangladesh.
Ashraf A, Chowdhury S, Streefland P.
Soc Sci Med 1982;:2041-54
During two periods of almost 3 months each, a study was done in three villages of Tangail
District in Bangladesh. One of the objectives was to find out how the fields of
traditional medicine (Ayurveda and Unani), folk medicine and allopathic medicine were
related to each other, and which processes could be discerned in these interrelationships.
In this respect an important outcome was that traditional medicine had almost disappeared
in this area and that Western medicine holds a very strong position. Another objective was
to study the illness-behaviour of various economic categories of villagers. Here we found
that the poor made much more use of the government facilities than the rich. In fact,
these facilities have a large potential, but there are many defects in the way they are
operating, so that the potential is not realized at all. We also studied the cures which
the practitioners of folk medicine and those of Western medicine are offering to their
clients. One of the conclusions was that the practices of the unqualified allopathic
practitioners, who hold a strong position in the countryside, are often a hazard to
History of intubation
Luckhaupt H, Brusis T.
Laryngol Rhinol Otol (Stuttg) 1986;:506-10
The Arabian doctor Avicenna (980-1037) described the first orotracheal intubation in
dyspnoea. The history of peroral endotracheal intubation actually begins in the 18th
century. At that time obstetricians and lifesavers used breathing tubes. In 1880 Macewen
preoperatively intubated a patient to prevent the aspiration of blood during extirpation
of a tumour from the base of the tongue. Regular peroral intubation to keep the
respiratory tract clear during narcosis was first applied by Franz Kuhn in 1900;
unfortunately, the pioneer himself did not live to see his method become a routine
procedure. It was only as late as 1945, that endotracheal intubation became part of
hospital practice at our clinic.
Hygiene and prevention in Avicenna
Tunis Med 1980;:556-61
Hygiene views of Avicenna
Feldsher Akush 1984;:52
Hygienic views of Abu Ali ibn-Sina (on the millennium of his birth)
Atabaev ShT, Babakhodzhaev NK, Il'inskii II.
Gig Sanit 1979;:36-40
Ibn al-Nefis--discoverer of pulmonary blood circulation
Med Arh 1993;:101-5
Medicine was developed to an astonishingly high degree by Muslims. During at least five
centuries Muslim physicians translated medical books from Greek and other languages, and
with their descriptions of the clinical signs of many illnesses, many of the ideas and
concepts contained in medical encyclopedias (like al-Qanun written by Avicenna) , passed
it to the West and East. One of the greatest Muslim physician was undoubtedly Ibn al-Nefis
(d.1288), who first accurately described the circulation of blood through the lung (in XVI
century the credit went to Michel Servet), and body (in 1628 the credit went to W.
Harvey), and author of the famous Excerpt of al-Qanun, written by Avicenna.
Ibn Sina and childhood diseases
Shamansurov ShSh, Madzhidova AT.
Ibn Sina--psychology and psychological disorders
Ceric I, Mehic Basara N.
Med Arh 1997;:21-3
Ebu Ali Husein Ibn Ali Ibn Sina (or Avicenna) was primarily a philosopher with amusing
knowledge, who dealt in all aspects of art of medicine, astronomer, poet, musician and
psychologist. This giant with an encyclopedic knowledge has dealt in almost all scientific
branches or praxis with the great success. Numerous statements of his have been
cornerstone of many sciences for centuries; and some of them are (in the era of computers
and Internet) still current. The best known treatise on medicine of his is El-Kanun,
consisting of five volumes, wherein all medical achievements (including psychology,
psychiatry and neurology) of that period were described clearly. In his psychology, Ibn
Sina (Avicenna) analyses the essence of human soul, mind, psychical streams, intellectum,
dreams and prophecy, man's desires etc. in details. It is unnecessary to point out how
much these items are actual in the contemporary psychology. Ibn al-Nefis has described
systematically the symptoms and recovery of "head sick" (including headaches,
cerebral sick like cranitis, lethargy, coma, demency, melancholy, insomnia, nightmares,
epilepsy, apoplexy, paralysis, spasm and many others) in his Mujez al-Kanun, that is
synopsis of Ibn Sina Kanun. We need much time to see magnificence of this philosopher,
that is best known as the great one among the physicians. His writings could be found in
whole Bosnia, but there were many few that would study him and his works. It is out task
to enable the future generations not only to know those works exist, but, also, to realize
the essence of this marvelous genius; because there are very few people that can be
compared to him.
Ibn-Sina (Avicenna) and folk medicine
Kuz'min MK, Bukharov PL.
Feldsher Akush 1981;:50-2
Ibn-Sina (Avicenna): on the millennium of his birth
Gribanov ED, Chuikina EI.
Feldsher Akush 1980;:54-7
Ibn-Sina: Avicenna (on the millennium of his birth)
Med Sestra 1980;:45-51
Immunomodulating agents of plant origin. I: Preliminary screening.
Atal CK, Sharma ML, Kaul A, Khajuria A.
J Ethnopharmacol 1986 Nov; 18(2;:133-41
The immunobiological activity was investigated of certain medicinal plants widely used in
the Ayurvedic and Unani systems of medicine for treatment of chronic infections and
immunological disorders. The effect of an ethanolic extract of each drug was studied on
delayed type hypersensitivity, humoral responses to sheep red blood cells, skin allograft
rejection, and phagocytic activity of the reticuloendothelial system in mice. Picrorrhiza
kurroa was found to be a potent immunostimulant, stimulating both cell-mediated and
humoral immunity. Tylophora indica, Aconitum heterophyllum and Holarrhena antidysenterica
appeared to stimulate phagocytic function while inhibiting the humoral component of the
immune system. Tinospora cordifolia and Ocimum gratissimum appeared to improve the
phagocytic function without affecting the humoral or cell-mediated immune system.
Hemidesmus indicus suppressed both the cell-mediated and humoral components of the immune
Immunosuppressive effect of honey on the induction of allergen- specific humoral antibody
response in mice.
Duddukuri GR, Kumar PS, Kumar VB, Athota RR.
Int Arch Allergy Immunol 1997;:385-8
Our study with honey for its possible immunomodulatory activity reveals the
immunosuppressive activity on induction of murine humoral antibody responses against
different allergens as determined by passive cutaneous anaphylaxis and Ouchterlony double
immunodiffusion techniques. Ovalbumin (OVA)-specific IgE antibody responses elicited with
various doses were completely suppressed by different sources of commercial honeys. Honey
is also found to have suppressed the induction of OVA-specific humoral antibody responses
in different strains of mice. The results obtained in this work confirm the
immunosuppressive activity of honey and suggest its possible applicability in conditions
Importance of the creativity of Ibn Sina for modern medicine
Med Sestra 1983;:46-51
Importance of the scientific and historical heritage of Ibn-Sina in the field of
epidemiology and infectious pathology
Zh Mikrobiol Epidemiol Immunobiol 1974;:112-8
Induced chromosomal aberrations in somatic cells of Nigella sativa L. by mitomycin C.
Kumar P, Nizam J.
Zentralbl Bakteriol [Naturwiss] 1978;:537-42
A cytological study was carried out on root tips of Nigella sativa L. by treatment with
Mitomycin C at 0.001% for six time intervals (10, 15, 20, 30, 40, and 50 min). The
chromosomal abnormalities were increasingly proportionate to the increase in time of
treatment. The seedlings treated with a 0.001% concentration of Mitomycin C for 10 min.
did not show any significant effect. At other time intervals, the effect was observed to
be quite significant. Beyond 40 min. treatment almost all the cells would become sticky.
Thirty minutes' treatment showed significant effect, inducing various types of chromosomal
aberrations in the anaphase, such as bridges and fragments of 34.13% and 48.07%,
Inhibition of histamine release from mast cells by nigellone.
Ann Allergy 1993;:237-42
Nigellone is the carbonyl polymer of thymoquinone, isolated from Nigella Sativa L. seeds.
The polymer is far less toxic but retains much of the pharmacologic properties of
thymoquinone, which is the active principle. Our investigations, carried out on rat
peritoneal mast cells in vitro, show that nigellone in relatively low concentrations is
very effective in inhibiting histamine release induced by the secretagogues: antigen in
sensitized cells, compound 48/80, and the calcium ionophore A23187. The mechanism of
action seems to be through decreasing intracellular calcium by inhibiting its uptake and
stimulating the efflux, and by an inhibition on protein kinase C. There is also indication
for a mild inhibition of oxidative energy metabolism contributing to some inhibition of
Inhibitory effects of Nigella sativa and saffron (Crocus sativus) on chemical
carcinogenesis in mice.
Salomi MJ, Nair SC, Panikkar KR.
Nutr Cancer 1991;:67-72
Topical application of Nigella sativa and Crocus sativus extracts (common food spices)
inhibited two-stage initiation/ promotion [dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA)/croton oil]
skin carcinogenesis in mice. A dose of 100 mg/kg body wt of these extracts delayed the
onset of papilloma formation and reduced the mean number of papillomas per mouse,
respectively. The possibility that these extracts could inhibit the action of
20-methylcholanthrene (MCA)-induced soft tissue sarcomas was evaluated by studying the
effect of these extracts on MCA-induced soft tissue sarcomas in albino mice.
Intraperitoneal administration of Nigella sativa (100 mg/kg body wt) and oral
administration of Crocus sativus (100 mg/kg body wt) 30 days after subcutaneous
administration of MCA (745 nmol x 2 days) restricted tumor incidence to 33.3% and 10%,
respectively, compared with 100% in MCA-treated controls.
Investigations of anti-inflammatory activity of Jigrine.
Karunakar N, Pillai KK, Husain SZ, Rao M.
Indian J Physiol Pharmacol 1997;:134-8
Jigrine, a polypharmaceutic herbal formulation containing 14 medicinal plants is used in
the Unani system of medicine for the treatment of liver ailments. The antiinflammatory
activity of Jigrine (0.5 ml and 1.0 ml/kg, po), was evaluated against acute inflammation
caused by carrageenin (injecting 0.1 ml of 1% carrageenin in 0.9% NaCl solution into
plantar surface of the hind paw of the rat) and the effect of Jigrine (1 ml/kg/day, po for
7 days) was also studied on the sub- acute inflammation induced by cotton pellet
granuloma. The paw volume, biochemical parameters like tissue AST, ALT, gamma-GTP and
lipid peroxides and dry wt. of granuloma were measured to assess the anti-inflammatory
activity. It showed a significant anti-inflammatory activity as evidenced by lowering the
elevated levels of paw volume and biochemical parameters. But it could not reduce the
sub-acute inflammation caused by cotton pellet granuloma. The study suggests that Jigrine
has significant effect only on acute phase of inflammation caused by carrageenin.
Antioxidant and membrane stabilizing action of Jigrine might be responsible for its
Isolation and structure assignment of an antimicrobial principle from the volatile oil of
Nigella sativa L. seeds.
Refrigeration of the volatile oil of Nigella sativa L. seeds eventuates in a crystalline
substance. The chemical structure of the compound was drawn from its chemical behaviour,
as well as from its UV, IR, PMR and mass spectral data. The compound was found to be
thymohydroquinone: confirmation of the structure was established via the preparation of
its corresponding diacetate ester. The compound was found to have high antimicrobial
effect against gram positive microorganisms.
Julián Gutiérrez de Toledo and his book "Cure of the stone and pain in the loin
and/or renal colic" in 1498
Virseda Rodríguez JA.
Actas Urol Esp 1994 Mar; 18 (3:165-77)
The physician Julián Gutiérrez de Toledo, born in the Imperial Town halfway through the
Fifteenth Century and deceased around 1520, has a great relevance in the History of
Urology for being the first writer of a treatise on urological topics in the Castilian
language with his work "Cure of the stone and loin pain or/and renal colic"
(Editor Melchor Gorricio, Printer Pedro de Hagembach, Toledo 1498). His work marks the
transit from The Middle Ages to the Modern Times in what refers to awareness of the
urinary tract diseases. The book "Cure of the stone..." has 85 pages written in
two columns of 40 lines each with gothic characters. On the cover there is an engraving of
the saint physicians Cosme and Damian, and on the last page is the printer's coat-of-arms.
The book consists of five parts as all books from late Middle Ages: Of the Causes, Signs
and Prognosis, Preservation, Of the Cure, Misgivings. The value of the treaty is that it
compiles all that was known at the time on urinary lithiasis showing a marked
Avicenna-like Galenism to which the author adds his own observations that show the
Renaissance man. An exceptional witness of the reign of the Catholic King and Queen, this
incunabula should be known by the Spanish speaking urologist as illustrious predecessor.
Juzam (leprosy) and its treatment in Unani medicine.
Zafarullah M, Bano H, Vohora SB.
Am J Chin Med 1980;:370-84
Juzam (leprosy) is attributed to excessive accumulation, infiltration and dispersal of
sauda (burnt humours) throughout the body disturbing the normal temperament of the organs.
A variety of causative factors responsible for excessive production or retention of sauda
are enumerated. Unani simple plants, animals and minerals and formulations used for the
treatment of leprosy are tabulated with recipes, methods of preparation, does and modes of
Knowledge of tongue diseases 1000 years ago
Stomatol Vjesn 1983;:147-51
Labor-induced bladder injuries: historical observations
Gynakol Geburtshilfliche Rundsch 1996;:197-200
Injuries to the urinary bladder with development of a fistula during birth were first
mentioned around 1030 AD in the opus called 'Al-Kanoun' by the Arabic physician and
philosopher Avicenna (Ali Ibn Sina). The observations of D.E. Derry in the mummy of
Henhenit seem to have made sure that this obstetric complication already existed earlier
on. Henhenit lived at the court of king Mentuhotep II (around 2050 BC) . During the second
half of the 19th century injury-related and necrosis-related fistulas were distinguished
for the first time. Jobert de Lamballe (1852), Marion Sims (1852) , and Gustav Simon
(1854) created the basis for successful operative treatment of vesicovaginal fistulas.
Medical heritage of Ibn Sina (Avicenna) (on the 1000th anniversary of his birth)
Klin Med (Mosk) 1981;:7-12
Medical inheritance of Avicenna and current clinical medicine
Ter Arkh 1980;:149-51
Medicine is not a difficult science. The historical influence of Arabic scholars--a
current exhibit in Berlin
Fortschr Med 1989 Jul 20; ;:55-6
Medieval Arabic medical views on male homosexuality.
J Homosex 1994;:37-9
Medieval medical views on homosexuality are outlined. Three theories seem to have been
present. The first considers homosexuality as a nasty psychological phenomenon that ought
to be punished rather than treated. The second theory suggests that an abnormal sensory
innervation to the penis requires intense sensory input to achieve sexual satisfaction. A
third congenital theory proposes that homosexuality results when the maternal sperm
prevails over the paternal sperm. The most important proponent of the first theory was
Avicenna (Ibn-Sîna, 980-1037 A.D.); a literal translation of the relevant chapter from
his Canon of Medicine is given.
Modulatory effects of Crocus sativus and Nigella sativa extracts on cisplatin-induced
toxicity in mice.
Nair SC, Salomi MJ, Panikkar B, Panikkar KR.
J Ethnopharmacol 1991;:75-83
In mice, an extract of Crocus sativus stigmas partially prevented the decreases in body
weight, hemoglobin levels and leucocyte counts caused by 2 mg/kg of cisplatin i.p. for 5
days. Treatment with the C. sativus extract also significantly prolonged the life span of
cisplatin-treated mice almost three-fold. In contrast, an extract of Nigella sativa seed
only tended to protect from cisplatin-induced falls in hemoglobin levels and leucocyte
Muslims with non-insulin dependent diabetes fasting during Ramadan: treatment with
Belkhadir J, el Ghomari H, Klöcker N, Mikou A, Nasciri M, Sabri M.
OBJECTIVE--To compare the efficacy of two glibenclamide regimens in patients with
non-insulin dependent diabetes who were fasting during Ramadan and regular glibenclamide
treatment in the non-fasting group. DESIGN--Non-randomised control group of patients who
did not fast during Ramadan and two groups of patients who fasted randomised equally to
one of two regimens: to take their usual morning dose of glibenclamide in the evening and
their usual evening dose before dawn; or to follow this pattern but to reduce the total
dose by a quarter. SETTING--Two university hospitals, one private hospital, and two
private clinics in Casablanca and Rabat, Morocco. SUBJECTS--591 diabetic patients (198
men, 391 women, two unspecified) with similar duration of diabetes and length and amount
of glibenclamide treatment, of whom 542 completed the study. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES- -Serum
fructosamine and total glycated haemoglobin concentrations and number of hypoglycaemic
events. RESULTS--At the end of Ramadan there were no significant differences between the
groups in fructosamine concentration (400 mumol/l in controls and 381 mumol/l and 376
mumol/l in the fasting groups); percentage of glycated haemoglobin (14.7%, 14. 0%, and
13.6%); or number of hypoglycaemic events during Ramadan (11, 14, and 10).
CONCLUSION--Glibenclamide is effective and safe for patients with non-insulin dependent
diabetes who fast during Ramadan. The easiest regimen is to take the normal morning dose
(together with any midday dose) at sunset and any evening dose before dawn.
Natural and preformed physical factors in the medical activity of Abu Ali Ibn-Sina (on the
millennium of his birth)
Dalimov ZA, Iuldasheva MKh, Alimova Miu, Salikhova MR.
Vopr Kurortol Fizioter Lech Fiz Kult 1981;:64-6
Nephrologic beginnings: the kidney in the age of Ibn Sina (980-1037 AD).
Am J Nephrol 1987;:133-6
Note on the history of cutaneous leishmaniasis in the Mediterranean and Middle East area.
There exist records of what seems to be cutaneous leishmaniasis at least as far back as
650 BC, and possibly much earlier in the Tigris/Euphrates basin. It was described by
Avicenna in the 10th century AD, and was well-known in Aleppo and Baghdad by the 18th
century AD. Cutaneous leishmaniasis due to Leishmania infantum may have occurred in Crete
in the 18th century. Artificial transmission was effected in Algeria and Aleppo in the
Ocular manifestations of sickle cell anaemia in Arab children.
al-Salem M, Ismail L.
Ann Trop Paediatr 1990;:199-202
A complete ophthalmic examination was carried out of 46 Arab children with various forms
of sickle cell disease. Mild and infrequent signs in anterior and posterior segments were
found, but no cases of sickle cell retinopathy of any kind were detected. These results
were compared with the reported findings in black American children of African origin with
the same disease. The probable explanations were the high prevalence of fetal haemoglobin
in Arab sicklers, the rarity of sickle cell disease among the Arabs and the possible
existence of a different gene.
On the 1,000th anniversary of the birth of the Ibn Sina (Avicenna)
Vnitr Lek 1980;:512-5
On the causes of collapse and sudden death by Avicenna.
Nathan B, Wray R.
Int J Clin Pract 1997;:245-5
Avicenna's views on the causes of collapse and sudden death are presented from a literal
translation of the mediaeval Arabic text. Medical knowledge based on observation mixed
with pure abstract reasoning forms the essence of Avicenna' s medical writings.
Outstanding contribution of the works of Avicenna to the history of anatomy (on the
occasion of the 1,000th anniversary of the birth of Avicenna)
Arkh Anat Gistol Embriol 1980;:109-11
Paediatric urology 1000 years ago.
Prog Pediatr Surg 1986; 20();:256-64
In this paper we present a commentary on four books from the paediatric urology point of
view; al-Hawi (Continens) , R. fi Siyasat as-Sibyan wa tadbirihim, at-Tasrif and al-Qanun
by the Moslem scholars ar-Razi, Ibn al-Jazzar, al Zahrawi and Ibn Sina who lived within
the period of the ninth to the eleventh centuries. In these books the supreme abilities of
the authors as clinicians and their role in the creation of clinical medicine are shown
by: The presentation of the various pathological conditions usually starting with the
complaint then describing the origin of the disease and enumerating the accurate signs
necessary for diagnosis. Differential diagnosis between various conditions which produce
similar complaints is precisely described. For example, retention of urine and different
types of anuria, types of renal hematuria, dormant and moving renal stones and their
precise localisation, renal or vesical pain and pain due to colitis. Finally, the
methodical classification of the diseases according to the organs affected is discussed.
The description of the pathology and the knowledge of new diseases was an important
advance made by these scholars. From the urological point of view, spina bifida and its
relation to incontinence was first described by ar-Razi and most of the diseases of the
kidney and bladder can be recognized in the systemic classification of the diseases of
these organs given by Ibn Sina who pointed out the psychological role in some cases of
nocturnal enuresis. (ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).