Thursday, October 17, 2013





        (Quince seeds or Bamtsoonth  Byol)                          

 To the  above Photographs, I am adding a brief story on Unani Medicines and  Hikmat in Kashmir

Abdul Hameed was my friend and class fellow in D.A.V School, Rainawari. He lived near the Ziyarat of Miyan Shah Sahib in Naidyaar locality. He was not so good at studies but his friends were mostly Pandit boys. Some boys from our class had seen him eating fried fish near Sheeraz cinema( Khanyar) on a Friday and accordingly, everyone started calling him Juma Gaada ( Friday fish ). The boys from D.A.V. school would go to this cinema for watching new movies on Fridays. I think no boy in our class knew other facets of Hameed’s personality.

Hameed was being trained by his father to be a Hakeem. His father was also a Hakeem who practised from a small shop in Naidyar Bazar of Rainawari. With Kashmiris opting for modern allopathic medicines, the customers at this shop were dwindling. Accordingly, quite often Hakeem Sahib would operate from his residence only. I knew the family very well as Hameed’s sister and my sister were friends and class fellows at Vishwa Bharti Girl’s school, Rainawari. From Hamid and his family, I came to know many things about the Unani system of medicine. I still remember Hameed’s Comments when I had typhoid 

“ Now that you are fine but I would have suggested you to take 'Chob i Chin'. It is the final medicine and a wonder drug. It can revive a dying man. ”

Later I came to know that 'Chob i Chin' was imported by Bohra traders ( Buhur in Kashmiri ) from Ladakh and its supply source was possibly somewhere in China. 

From Hameed's father, I came to know that everything that we eat has its Taaseer (effect) on our body. It could be Sarad ( cold) or Garam ( hot). And this Sarad o Garam was put to practice in almost every Kashmiri household. This Sarad o Garam knowledge came into clash with what I came to know about allopathic system later. Somehow, I couldn't reject one and subscribe to the other permanently.

 I also learnt that as per the Unani system, our body has seven components:
(1) Element (Arkan)
(2)Temperament (Mizaj)
(3) Humours (Akhlat)
(4) Organs (Aaza)
(5) Spirits (Arwah)
(6) Faculties (Quwa) 
(7) Functions (Afaal). 

The four temperaments of our body are air ( hot and moist), earth (cold and dry), fire (hot and dry) and water (cold and moist).

Unani system of medicine owes its origin to Greece thanks to Hippocrates. From Greece, it spread to Arabia and then to entire Central Asia. When Mongols attacked Persia and Central Asian countries, scholars and physicians of Unani medicine fled and brought this science to India. In India, Unani system flourished due to wide acceptance by the public. Ayurveda or the traditional Indian system of medicine also continued to flourish alongside. 

Most of us know about Hakeem Ajmal Khan (1868-1927) of Delhi who championed the cause of this system of medicine. A busy road and an equally busy market in Karol Bagh, New Delhi is named after this great Unani Hakeem and freedom fighter of the country. He is remembered for the revival of Unani medicine in early 20th century India.

 In Kashmir, Hikmat and Unani medicine were patronized by medieval Sultans. We know about Hakeem Shri Bhat who cured a poisonous boil that troubled Sultan Zain ul Abdin. We also know about Hakeem Ali Mohd (1906-1987 ) son of Hakeem Abdul Rehman of Zaina kadal Srinagar and Hakim Sham Lal Bhat ( 1900-1984 ) son of Hakeem Sehaj Bhat of Habba kadal Srinagar Kashmir who were known as Dast e Shifa ( Healing Hands ) in Kashmir.

I was told by Agha Ashraf Ali that his ancestors were royal Hakeems who came to Kashmir from Central Asia. And presently, I am told that a few Hakeems of Bagwaanpora, Lal Bazaar ( Hakeem Mehdi and Hakeem Altaf ) locality of Srinagar city are still engaged in treating patients with Unani medicines.

Many Youngsters smile and laugh when I tell them names of herbs and medicines which Hakeems in Kashmir would prescribe for ailments. Some names that I remember are:-

(1) Teythavaaen 
(3) Kaahzabaan 
(4)Nuna Posh ( Banafasha )
(5) Babri- Byol 
(6) Guelie-Byol 
(9) Mowal 
(10 ) Sosan 
(11) Bagar Bhang 
(12) Bamtsoonth Byol 
(13 ) Nar Maada ( Herb )
(14 ) Wan-Praan 
(15 ) Braari Gaasa 
(16 ) Sarpang 
( 17 ) Sharbats 
(18) Allu Bukhara 
(19 ) Magz e Tarbooz .
(20 ) Arq e Dalcheen 
( 21 ) Shangiir ( Mulhatti )
(22 ) Roghan e Badaam shirin
( 23 ) Maghaz e Chilgoza 
24) Qandh e safed 
(25 ) Munaqqa 
(26) Habb e Bawaseeri Khooni 
(27) Zaaphal ( nutmeg)
(28 ) Draaekka ( Leechi ) for sucking impure blood.
(29) Arq e Gulaab 
(30) Arq e Pudeena 
(31 ) Roghan e Amla 
(32 ) Roghan e Zaitoon
(33) Khamira
(34) Majoon e Shabaab

And later my friend Abdul Hameed forgot everything about Hikmat and the Unani system of medicines. He took up a job with J&K state Road transport Corporation while i continue to remember the names of these medicines and herbs.

    (Chob i Chin roots and powder)

                                (*Hakeem Ali Mohd of Kashmir  )

Although we have many B.U.M.S. doctors and two ISM hospitals in Jammu and Srinagar presently, yet the dast e Shifa (healing hand ) of the traditional Hakeem is nowhere around.

And most of the B.U.M.S. doctors prescribe allopathic medicines. So many quacks are also active in this arena advertising their so-called wonder drugs for bleeding haemorrhoids, kidney stones, skin allergies, general weakness and sexual disorders (Popularly known as amraaz e Khufiya ).


In a recent interview, Hakim Mohammad Khalid Siddiqui, director of Central Council for Research in Unani Medicine, New Delhi said:-

"The biggest drawback is that surgery has not been developed fully in this system. There is also no treatment for an emergency condition such as an accident or heart attack. The system had a setback during the British rule and very little development occurred during that time. Even after independence, the government had been busy promoting allopathic medicines. Many do not take the Unani system seriously. "

I end this post with a couplet of modern Urdu poet Zubair Rizvi.

"Beetay huve lamhon ki Khushboo hai mere ghar mein 
Book-rack pe rakhein hain yaadon ke kayee album……….."

( Avtar Mota )


* Hakeem Ali Mohd ( 1906-1988 )was a reputed Hakeem of Kashmir. He started his practice at Zaina Kadal and later moved to Gojwara in Srinagar city. He became the president of the Jammu and Kashmir Tibiyya Conference, a chapter of All India Tibbiya Conference. His ancestors were Kashmiri Raina Brahmins who embraced Islam. Apart from being a practising Hakeem, he lived a saintly life.

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