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Concept of diseases in Unani

In Unani medicine, the concept of diseases is discussed according to the laws of , pathology or ilmul amraaz which studies the abnormalities in the structure and function of the body. Broadly, the study is based on three factors: cause or sabab, disease or marz and after-effect or arz .


Cause or sabab can be defined as a specific disturbance which changes the state of the body either from health to sickness or from sickness to health. Here, only those causes are , discussed which are responsible in tmaking the body unhealthy, known , as asbab-e-marz or causes of diseases.

Causes of diseases can be divided into two types: external causes or asbab-e-badia and internal causes or asbab-e-batina. External causes are those which affect the body from outside such as excessive hot or cold climate, a polluted atmosphere, injury from an accident etc. Internal causes are those which appear and affect the body internally such as formation of stones inside the kidney or bladder .


A disease or marz is an abnormal condition of the body provoked by a cause. Diseases are classified by Unani physicians in two categories i.e. simple and compound.


After-effect or arz is also an abnormal condition of the body like disease but it happens as a result of a disease. Sometimes, diagnosis of a disease shows a symptom or alamat. For example, blood in the urine (hematuria) indicates that there is an injury or a certain type of a pathological condition in the urinary organs or inside the urinary tract.

Arz is actually the ase aftermath which follows once the disease has struck which does not determine the exact cause of the disease as an alamat can-in diarrhoea , for example, dehydration is a major after-effect. Sometimes, repercussions of one disease cause another disease. If the body breaks into a fever due to an infection, the arz which is the fever becomes the disease and causes another arz which is bodyache. Thus, a chain forms between sabab, marz and arz.

Ideally, the Unani physician should start his treatment only when he or she has diagnosed the disease after going to the heart of the problem. One cannot rely on the effect of the disease alone. Rehydration may cure dehydration but till it is ensured the food eaten by the patient is free from the risk of infection, the disease will recur.


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