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Unani (also spelt Unaani), the system of medicine originated in Greece and flourished in Asia, especially India bears similarities with Ayurveda. Practiced mostly by Muslims, Unani practitioners are found in all parts of India, and a large number of them in Kerala.

Unani is an Arabic word which means Greek.

Unani principles are so close to that of Ayurveda’s.

Some basic terms used in Unani are described below

ARKAN – the four elements of nature
MIZAJ – the state of elements or body (the temperament of elements)
AZA – the organs
ARWAH – life, breath
QUVA – energy
AF’HAL – action

According to Unani, the basic elements of nature are earth, water, air and fire. These four elements are known as ARKAN.

Each element has its own properties and goes into the making of everything in the universe.

These four elements are set in a balanced state called mizaj-e-mutadil. Mizaj-e-ghair-mutadil is an imbalanced state.

Mizaj is the balanced state of body. Unani describes the different states of imbalance of body. According to unani concepts, a person is assigned specific dose of the elements and balanced state at the time of his or her birth.

Unani also describes the balancing, or self-healing capacity of the body. This capacity retains the constitution and balance of the individual. A Unani practitioner just assists this self-preservative power to retain balance and healthy state.

Diet and lifestyle adjustments are essential elements of Unani treatment. Medicines prescribed by a Unani physician are based on the condition of the person and the effect of medicine on a person is tested before suggesting full dose of medication.

Pulse examination determines which element is dominant at the time of a disease or condition.