According to the WHO (World Health Organization), about three-quarters of the world population relies upon traditional remedies (mainly medicinal plants/ herbs) for the health care of its people. In fact, herbs/ plants are the oldest friends of mankind. They not only provided food and shelter to the mankind but also served to cure different ailments.
Unani system of medicine is one of the oldest systems of healing, originated in Greece. It is also known as Graeko- Arab system of medicine, which is Herbo-animo- mineral in origin. It is not only the original science of medicine but is also a rich store house of principles and philosophies of medicine which if understood in their proper perspective can proove to be of immense value to the science in general and medicine in particular.
It has been realized today that this alternate and safe healing system could provide answers to all the questions being faced by the human health in this progressing modern world. It is a great healing art as well as a science whose theories, philosophies of nature (Tabi'at) and temperament (Miza) and practices of medicine are most appropriate for the human biological system.
Immunity (Quwat-e- Mudafe'at) is a defence system within the body to protect the host from invading pathogens. In other words is is the ability of the body to neutralize & eliminate the pathogenic micro-organism & their toxic products, thus providing protection to the individual.
Dysfunction of immune system is responsible for various diseases like allergy, arthritis, asthma, cancer and other infectious diseases. Age-related changes of the immune system contribute to the increased susceptibility of elderly persons to infectious diseases.
It has been often seen that some people with weak immune status sharing the same living ahbits in an area are more susceptible to minor as well as major diseases as compared to the people with strong immune system.
Immunostimulant drug are those which enhances the body's immunity and enable the body's resistance power more efficient in order to prevent the body from various kinds of infections, immunodeficiency diseases etc.
Despite tremendous progress achieved by the modern medical system in its various fields it has failed to solve all the problems of health in which human life is faced.
It has been realised that the disease situation that has risen in search of alternate and safe healing system could provide an answer to all the questions being faced by the humanity regarding health in this progressing modern world.
Immunodeficiency and Pathophysiology of Immunity in Modern Medicine
When we talk about immunodeficiency in modern system of medicine, it is the decreased or compromised ability to respond to antigenic stimuli by appropriate cellular immunity reaction. This state may be secondary to loss of immunoglobulins or an abnormality of B or T-cell lymphocytes.
It has been often seen that some people with weak immune status sharing the same living ahbit in an area are more susceptible to minor as well as major diseases as compared to the people with strong immune system.
A recent WHO (World Health Organization) report states that though people live longer today, they are not healthier. People in general live in a state of morbidity and are more prone to illness than before. The immune system is known to be involved in the etiology as well as pathophysiological mechanism of many diseases.
Immunology is thus probably one of the most rapidly developing area of biomedical research and has great promises with regard to the prevention and treatment of a wide range of disorders.
Inflammatory diseases of skin, gut, respiratory tract, joints and central organs as well as infectious diseases are now primary concerns of immunological disorders.
In conventional chemotherapy, immunostimulation may be an ideal choice espicially when the host defence mechanism have to be activated under conditions of impaired immune responsiveness. The main clinical objective of immunostimulation is prophylaxis against oppotunistic infection.
The Clinical Settings where Immunostimulators have Potential Clinical Role are:
Immunodeficiencies can be classified in Three categories
Concept of Immunostimulation in Unani medicine
In Unani system of medicine more emphasis is given to strengten the immune status of the patient in order to make body's resistance more strong.
Survey of classical Unani literature reveals that a large number of immunostimulant drugs were being used by great Unani physicians including Hippocrats (460-377 B.C.), Galen (131-201 A.D.), Rhazes (850-925 A.D.), Avicenna (980-1037 A.D.), Ibu Baitar etc. to enhance the body immunity,.
In Unani system stimulation of immune responses to alleviate the diseases has been of prime intrest over many years and the concept of helping the Quwwat-e- Mudabbera (Vis medicatrix naturae) in overcoming the disease pathology.
Quwwat-e-Mudabbera is the power of self-preservation or adjustment, which strives to restore normal physiological function within the limits prescribed by the constitution or the state of individual. This corresponds to defense mechanism, which is called to action in case any injury to or the altered state of the body.
In Unani system of treatment, great relianceis placed on this power, the aim of physician being to help and develop rather than supersede or impede the action of this power.
The consequences of this philosophy is that by the use of Unani drugs not only is the system enabled to overcome the present disturbances by dint of its intrinsic power but it emerges after recovery with great power of resistance against future disturbances.
The efficiency of the immune sysem against the infection may be influenced by many exogenous and endogenous factors like food, physical and psychological stress, hormone etc. resulting in either immunosupression or immunostimulation.
The health state is believed to be based on a sophisticated fine maintanence and control of immunoregulatory mechanism governed by the power of self-preservation (Quwwat-e-Mudabbera).
Certain agents have been shown to possess activity to normalize or modulate pathophysiological process and hence called 'immunomodulatory agents'.
The immunomodulaory agents can enhance the immunological responsiveness of an individual by interfering with its regulatory mechanism.
The most common problem of all sort of infections is tackled very sucessfully by Unani system of medicine approach to strengthen the immune system which in turn eliminates infectious agents and exert least side effect.
One of the therapeutic strategies in Unani medicine is also to increase body natural resistance and helping the Quwwat-e-Mudabbera to restore the normal health, rather than directly neutralizing the agent itself.
This is achieved by using various drug mentioned as invigorator or tonic (Muqawwiat) in Unani classical literature.
Some Unani drugs have been shown to exhibit anti-inflammatory, antistress, anticancer effects by stimulation of immune system, on the other hand corticosteroids and other chemotherapeutic agents, which are very frequently prescribed by modern practitioners are known to be immuno-suppressants. These drugs impair immune responsiveness and make host risk prone for opportunist infections. In such situation immunostimulation is an ideal choice.
The main clinical objective of immunostimulation is prophylaxis against opportunistic infections.
Common Immunostimulant Single Drugs of Unani Medicine
Immunostimulant Umami Compound Drugs