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THE PHARMA REVIEW (JULY - AUGUST 2011)

Pharmacovigilance in Unani Medicine – A Challenge

Dr. Syed Zia-ur Rahman, Dr. Rahat Ali Khan and Dr. Abdul Latif

Abstract
Unani Medicine (also called as Greco-Arab Medicine) is an ancient system of medicine originated from Greece. It is more commonly practiced in Indian Subcontinent and has an age-old concept and principles of drug management. Some authorities even consider this system of medicine as a holistic loom. It has drugs from natural identity and source. It may pose threat if not prepared, isolated, identified and administered properly. Greek Medicine, roughly speaking, covers the millennium from 500 BC to 500 AD. The inventor of the healing art was Apollo, "who chases away all ills". It is said, that Aesculepius, Hygiea, Panacea, Aphrodite, Pan, Juno, Neptune, Mercury, Pluto, Hippocrates, Dioscoridius, Galen were the successive healers of all ills. Hippocratic materia medica was large. His theory of four humours: Sanguin (Dam), Phlegm (Balgam), Yellow Choler (Safrā) and Melancholia (Saudā), is analogous to the three dosas of Ayurvedic Medicine: Phlegm, Choler and Wind. Dioscoridius (70AD) was the first person to write a comprehensive illustrated book enlisting the major medicinal plants.

 
By the tenth century AD, several views in different fields of medicine including those of pharmacology were consolidated. In the time of Ibn Sinâ (980-1037 A.D.), all knowledge on pharmacology and curative properties of substances were based on clinical observations, i.e., the main feature of pharmacology in the age of Ibn Sinâ was the empirical use of compounds and an accumulation of vast knowledge on clinical pharmacology. Knowledge on curative properties of drugs increased greatly as a result of the consolidation and rapprochement of ancient Greek medicine, Persian-Tajik and Indo-Chinese medicine. Such a rapprochement resulted in the widespread use of the most effective drugs, although simultaneously it was also sometimes the cause of discrepancies and even false opinions about curative properties of the same preparations. It was necessary to systematize different groups of drugs, to establish inter connections and especially to evolve the problems of general Pharmacology. Having realized the importance of this problem, Ibn Sinâ paid great attention to general and systemic pharmacology of the then existing drugs. This is confirmed by chapters and even sub-chapters dealing with systemic or general pharmacology of drugs in each of his medical books.

 

 

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