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Unani medicine effective in treating vitiligo: Indian studies

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Monday, April 26, 2010, 20:39 This news item was posted in health category and has 0 Comments so far.

The traditional medicine Unani has been found effective in treating vitiligo, according to studies conducted in some leading hosptials in India, reports said.

The Central Council for Research in Unani Medicine has tested certain Unani medicines code-named UNIM-001 and UNIM-004 (Oral) and UNIM-003 and UNIM-005 for the treatment of vitiligo.

Nearly 23,500 patients with vitiligo have been screened and the the clinical studies to test the effecacy and safety on these Unani medicines are still on.

The clinical studies assessed the patient response to the medicines is assessed in terms of their potential for arresting the further exacerbation in the existing patches, appearance of new patches and percentage age re-pigmentation of existing de-pigmented patches.

Various formulations showed different response rate. However, the overall response rate to  all the medicines used in the study was above 60%. Re-pigmentation of the de-pigmented patches also ranged from 40 to 100 per cent.

The response rate of Unani drugs was also better and early in patients compared to other conventional drugs used as the first line of treatment. UNIM-001 and UNIM-004 (Oral) and UNIM-003 and UNIM-005 are being largely used in the treatment of vitiligo.

The Central Council for Research in Unani Medicine (CCRUM) is also conducting studies the efficacy of Unani medicines in eczema. The medicines are also assessed for their potential for in case of remission in the disease by subsiding all the clinical signs and symptoms.
Studies using the two combinations of drugs in about 1600 cases in two groups showed complete remission over 50 per cent of cases.

Unani medicines have also been tested to evaluate their efficacy in kala azar or leishmanias. Preliminary studies conducted in about 90 patients with kala azar showed significant response of Unani drugs in subsiding all the clinical signs and symptoms and reducing the fatality. The drugs have been found entirely safe and free from any side effects. Further studies are in progress, reports said.

The Central Council for Research in Unani Medicine (CCRUM) has tied up with Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai to improve the quality of life of cancer patients through intervention of Unani medicine.

The CCRUM has already undertaken a literary survey of the disease available in the Unani classics and is planning to initiate preliminary screening in collaboration with Tata hospital. The clinical studies on bars (Vitiligo), nar-e-farsi (Eczema) and kala azar were already in progress at different centres under the Council, sources said.

Unani system of medicine

Introduced to India several thousands of years ago, it has not only catered to the medical needs of millions of people, but also has gained an important place amongst the various systems of Medicine.

Unani system is a science which deals with the preventive and promotive aspects of human being and health problems occurred by the ecological and environmental factors, which may vitiate humours i.e. blood, phlegm, yellow bile and black bile, the fluids circulating in the body vessels. It teaches to maintain the health and treat if effected by disease by bringing back the balance in imbalance humours.

In Unani all drugs are defined in temperamental qualities and graded into four degrees according the potency of their qualities as hot, cold, moist (wet) and dry. Thus a hot drug graded in degree one, two, three and four and cold, moist and hot are defined vice-versa. Thus the first and second degree is safe and third have a toxic effect of mild nature and the fourth considered having side-effects or toxic.

system is recognised by Govt. of India, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, under the Act-1970, to provide for the constitution of a Central Council of Indian Medicine and to maintain a Central Register of Indian Medicine.

What is vitiligo?

Vitiligo is a pigmentation disease. In vitiligo melanocytes (the cells that make pigment) in the skin are destroyed. As a result, white patches appear on the skin in different parts of the body. Similar patches also appear on both the tissues that line the inside of the mouth and nose and the retina.

About 0.5 to 1 percent of the world’s population, or as many as 65 million people, have vitiligo.

In the United States, 1 to 2 million people have the disorder. Half the people who have vitiligo develop it before age 20; most develop it before their 40th birthday. The disorder affects both sexes and all races equally.

The cause of vitiligo is not known, but doctors and researchers have several different theories. There is strong evidence that people with vitiligo inherit a group of three genes that make them susceptible to depigmentation.

The most widely accepted view is that the depigmentation occurs because vitiligo is an autoimmune disease — a disease in which a person’s immune system reacts against the body’s own organs or tissues. As such, people’s bodies produce proteins called cytokines that alter their pigment-producing cells and cause these cells to die. Another theory is that melanocytes destroy themselves.

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