DOI: 10.2174/0113894501275731231215101426 ISSN: 1389-4501

An Exploratory Review on the Hypoglycemic Action of Unani Anti-diabetic Drugs via Possible Modulation of Gut Microbiota

Shaheen Akhlaq, Shabnam Anjum Ara, Malik Itrat, Mohammad Fazil, Bilal Ahmad, Usama Akram, Merajul Haque, Neelam Quddusi, Ahmad Sayeed
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Drug Discovery
  • Pharmacology
  • Molecular Medicine

Background and Aim:

Diabetes mellitus is a chronic, multi-factorial metabolic disorder and also an important public health issue that requires multi-dimensional therapeutic strategies for effective control. Unani herbs have long been used to effectively mitigate diabetes through various mechanisms. In recent years, it has been speculated that the alteration of gut microbiome ecology is potentially one of the important mechanisms through which the Unani drugs exert hypoglycemic action. This review aims at the trans-disciplinary interpretation of the holistic concepts of the Unani system of medicine and the molecular insights of contemporary medicine for novel strategies for diabetes management.


We searched scientific databases such as PubMed, Google Scholar, and Science-Direct, etc. Unani classical texts (Urdu, Arabic, and Persian), and medical books, for diabetic control with Unani medicine through the gut microbiome.


Unani medicine defines, diabetes as a urinary system disorder disrupting the transformational faculty (Quwwat Mughayyira) in the gastrointestinal tract. The Unani system and contemporary biomedicine use different epistemology and ontology for describing diabetes through gutderived factors in whole-body glucose homeostasis. Unani Pharmaceutics have reported in clinical and preclinical (in vitro/ in vivo) trials in improving diabetes by altering gut microbiota composition, microvascular dysfunction, and inflammation. However, the preventive plan is the preservance of six essential factors (Asbāb Sitta Ḍarūriyya) as a lifestyle plan.


This is the first study on the integrative strategy about the hypoglycemic effects of Unani herbs that could serve as a prerogative novel approach for cost-effective, holistic, rationalistic, and multi-targeted diabetes management.

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