Joint pain (arthritis) & role of alternative Unani medicine

Posted on Aug 19, 2021 | Author Dr. ALTAF HUSSAIN SHAH

Joint pain and inflammation – Arthritis is spreading around the world as a complicated health problem. It is the leading cause of disability in people over 55 years of age in developed countries. The word arthritis is derived from the Greek word “arthron” for “joint” and the Latin word “itis” for “inflammation”. According to the WHO, around 0.8% of the world’s population suffer from arthritis. In most countries it is between 0.3 and 1.0%. It is widely used in developed countries. In India more than 1% of the population suffers from arthritis, but in Kashmir the percentage of such patients is higher. According to the Unani Doctrine, arthritis is more common in cold regions like Kashmir, where people over the age of 45 are more likely to have the disorder, especially poor, malnourished or sedentary people.

Arthritis involves inflammation of one or more joints. The main complaint for those with arthritis is joint pain. The pain is often constant and can be localized to the affected joint. It is characterized by pain when walking. In addition to pain, there is swelling, stiffness of the joints and fatigue. Conventional treatments for this condition have improved in terms of effectiveness, with the use of pain relievers, surgery, and other medical interventions to relieve pain and prevent joint dysfunction have all been linked to side effects. However, conventional treatment cannot fully control symptoms, leading to great dissatisfaction and, in some cases, disability.

Because of this, patients with arthritis are likely to seek alternative Unani or AYUSH methods for complete relief. Unfortunately, some people fall victim to quacks who refer to themselves as “Hakeems” or “Unani Doctors” without proper mandatory institutional qualification (BUMS / MD -Unani) or registration with the National Commission of the ISM. Such private fake healers mix modern pain relievers and allopathic steroids into unfamiliar powdered drugs or capsules and care for patients without labels or prescriptions.

Some malicious people from neighboring states are selling some steroids and adulterated pain medication like hot cakes in Kashmir, labeling them as Ayurvedic or unani drugs that should be controlled by drug control or the AYUSH department. In my opinion, patients have the best choice of going to state AYUSH / Unani hospitals or pharmacies and should insist on receiving either external massage oils or unani regimental therapies for milder arthritis, or pure herbal formulas along with such therapies for chronic arthritis or joint pain in order to Reduce the burden of drug effects from quacks or over-the-counter pain relievers.

The Unani system identifies and attributes diseases such as arthritis to poor immunity and a poor digestive system. It suggests several polyherbic formulations for treating this condition and other joint disorders.

In the Unani context, arthritis is known as Waja-ulmafasil, which in a broader sense means pain in the joints. Waja-ulmafasil is used to describe all types of joint disorders, including pain, swelling, and stiffness. It has been described as Waja-ul-mafaasilaam (arthritis), Waja-ul-zuhr (back pain), Niqras (gout), and IrqunNisa (sciatica), etc.

Symptoms of arthritis

Symptoms of arthritis include joint pain, swelling, fatigue, and weight loss. Inflammation and stiffness in the fingers, arms, legs, and wrists in the same joints or on both sides, especially shortly after waking up, can also be present in extreme cases of arthritis.


Environmental factors and the mental status of a person influence the internal balance of the body fluids. However, maintaining humor about six essential essentials of life is beneficial. Patients with arthritis are advised to manage their weight as obesity can cause osteoarthritis. Regular exercise is very useful for such patients. Sun exposure is very useful. Patients should avoid extreme exertion, psychological distress, anxiety, and depression. Positive thinking itself can minimize the symptoms of arthritis.

The principle “prevention is better than cure” applies here. Unani medicine emphasizes the asbab-e-sitta-zaroorie (six foundations of life), through which one can prevent both communicable and non-communicable diseases. These are

1. Eva (air).

2. Maakool wa Mashroob (food and drink).

3. Harkat wa sukoon-e-badani (body movement and rest).

4th Intellectual work and rest.

5. Naum waYaqza (sleep and wakefulness).

6th IstifraaghwaEhtabaas (containment and evacuation).

If these fundamentals are in balance, the occurrence of severe chronic diseases can be avoided.

Treatment of arthritis

The Unani literature and classic textbooks contain detailed information about the disease and its management. According to the Unani philosophy, the following treatment modalities are recommended for complete relief based on preference

1. Diet therapy (Ilaj bil ghiza).

2. Regimental therapy (Ilaj bil tadbeer).

3. Pharmacotherapy (Ilaj bil dawa).

4th Surgery (Ilaj bil yad).

First and foremost, regimental therapy is considered together with diet therapy. If it does not show results, it is necessary to move to pharmacotherapy. Surgery is the final intervention for arthritis sufferers.

The regimen therapies include lathering, massage, leeches, cupping, Turkish bath, sweating, prep and cleansing as the condition requires. All of these therapies, alone and when taken together, have shown excellent results in controlling symptoms and the general well-being of the patient, and are freely available in major governments. Ayush hospitals.

According to the Unani philosophy, the following are basic principles for treating arthritis:

Maintaining the humoral imbalance.

Maintaining a healthy environment and good hygiene practices.

Eliminate toxins from the affected joints.

Using proper nutrition to check for disease growth and complications.

Improve digestion and appetite.

Some commonly used safe Unani drugs are available from branded companies like Hamdard which have undergone rigorous quality control procedures. Some famous classic formulations of Unani are Majun Suranjan or its pills (habb) or Majun Azraqi or Majun Jograj guggul or their tablet forms.

And always visit qualified BUMS / MD / PHD (unani) doctors or the government. Ayush centers or Govt-Unani hospitals / pharmacies and never fall prey to false healers. Never use over-the-counter Unani medication without consulting a valid Unani doctor or health care professional.

(Author is Medical Officer (Unani Medicine), AYUSH Unit District Hospital Pulwama. Feedback: [email protected])

Box: According to the Unani Doctrines, arthritis is more common in cold regions such as Kashmir, where people over 45 years of age are more likely to have the disorder, especially poor, malnourished or sedentary people