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Concept of Cosmetics in Unani System of Medicine – II

The term cosmetology is used for the study and application of beauty treatment or the study or art of cosmetics and their uses or the science of practice of beautifying the skin, face, hairs and nails etc

Post by on Sunday, March 13, 2022

First slide

Types of Unani cosmeceuticals

Several Unani cosmeceutical are described in Unani classical literature. These can be broadly classified as follows:


Types of Unani cosmeceuticals on the basis of physical state of dosage form

·         Solid cosmeceuticals: This includes ghaza, ghalliya, nawwera, kohal, kajal etc.

·         Semisolid cosmeceuticals: This includes zimad, tila, ubtan etc.

·         Liquid cosmeceuticals: this category includes ghusool, pashoya, roshoya etc.

·         Types of Unani cosmeceutical on the basis of their pharmacological actions.

Corrosive (Akkal Advia): Drug of this category possesses keratolytic action by which it is helpful in treatment of abnormal growth of skin like warts, acne etc. Some of examples of akkal are as choona (Lime), hartaal (Orpiment / Arsenic trisulphide) etc.

Abluent / lave (Ghassal Advia): Drug of this category possesses dead skin or debris peeling off activity, used to clean the skin of face, hand etc. Some of the e.g. are Asl-e-khalish (honey), aab-e-lemun (Citrus limon) etc.

Detergent (Jali advia): Drug of this category possesses detergent activity, used to clean the skin. These drugs have the ability of clean the pores of skin. Some of the drugs mentioned are Aqarqarha (Anacyclus pyrethrum), Baladur (Semecarpus anacardium) and Chadela (Parmelia perlata) etc.

Astringent (Qabiz Advia): If the drugs of this category are applied locally they increase the tone of skin. Some of the drugs mentioned in classical Unani texts are gil-e-multani (Earth of multaan / Fuller's earth), gil-e-surkh (Red ochre) etc.

Absorbent (Jazib Advia): They are having absorbing properties, used all over the body to absorb sweat. Some examples of these drugs are Jund bedaster (Castorium), tukhm-e- panwad (Cassia tora) etc.

Antiperspirant (Mane'y arq Advia): These drugs acts on sweat glands of skin and diminish the perspiration through skin. Some of examples are jauz masil (Datura stramonium), kuchla (Strychnos nuxvomica) etc.

Hair remover/ Depilator (Haliq Advia): Local application of these drugs used to removes the unwanted hairs. E.g. are Hartaal (Arsenic trisulphide), Safeda (Zinc oxide), Choona (lime) etc. Noora is a Unani cosmeceutical dosage form compounded by using of haliq as an ingredient, used to remove the hairs.

Rubefacient (Muhammir Advia): If the drugs of this category are applied externally, they produce/ cause redness of the skin. Some of examples are Khardal/Rai/Laaee/Laahee (Brassica nigra (Linn.) W.D.J. Koch), Unsul/ piyaz (Allium cepa), Laung/ qaranfal (Syzygium aromaticum) etc.

Peeler / Stripper (Qasir Advia): Drugs of this category possesses powerful detergent activity. Used to remove the dead skin. Some of examples are kaf-e-darya (Cuttlefish bone), jangabeel (Zingiber officinale) etc.

Blood purifiers (Musaffi-e-dam Advia): Drugs of this category are used to remove the impurities within the blood. Some of examples are neem (Azadirachta indica A. Juss.), chiraita (Swertia chirayita (Roxb. ex Flem.) Karst.), unnab (Zizyphus jujuba) etc.

Emollient (Murakkhi Advia): If the drugs of this category are applied locally they are having soothing as well as softening effect on skin. These drugs possess skin moisturizing properties. Some of examples are roghan badam (almond oil), roghan-e-kunjud (sesame oil), mom-e-zard (wax) etc.

Haematinic (Muallid-e- khoon Advia): Drugs of this category are used to increases the hemoglobin content in blood. Some of examples are khubsul hadeed (iron rust), anar (Punica granatum) etc.

Teeth and gum tonics (Muqawwi-e-dandan was lissa Advia): If the drugs of this category are applied locally in the oral cavity they provide strength and tone. They also used to clean the tooth and gums. Some of examples are shib-e-yamani (alum) post-e-anar (Punica granatum) etc.

Types of Unani cosmeceutical on the basis of site of application

Face care cosmeceutical: This includes ghaza (face powder), ghalliya (Perfume powder), ubtan, roshoya (face wash) and ghusool (wash) etc.


Body care cosmeceutical: Several body care cosmeceutical measures are mentioned in classical literature of Unani medicine, e.g. noora (hair remover), mane'y arq (anti-perspirant), tila (liniment).  The emollient is used in cracked lips, hand and feet.

Hair care cosmeceutical: This includes roghan, sabagh, khizab, henna paste application, ghusool-e-sha'r.

Eye care cosmeceutical: This includes surma, kohal, kajal, anjan, mascara, neela anjan etc.

List of single Unani medicinal plants are commonly used in cosmetics. These medicinal plants are categorized according to their actions and preparations as mentioned in classics of Unani medicine.

Medicinal Plants used as skin moisturizers, tonics and posing Anti-Aging activities

·         Gheekawaar/Sibr (Aloe barbadensis Mill. Syn. Aloe Vera (L.) Burm.f.): It is a good moisturizer, sunscreen. Also acts as emollient.

·         Genda (Tagetes erecta): It has wound healing property.

·         Kasni (Cichorium intybus): It blemishes the skin.

·         Haldi (Curcuma longa): It has antiseptic, antibacterial and complexion improver properties.

·         Gajar (Daucus carota Linn.): It is natural toner and skin rejuvenator.

·         Asl-us-soos (Glycyrrhiza glabra):  It is skin whitening agent.

·         Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum): It is good anti-aging, antibacterial and antiseptic.

·         Gulaab (Rosa damascene): It has toning and cooling activities.

·         Iklil-al-Jabal (Rosmarinus officinalis Linn.): It is skin rejuvenator and cleansing.

·         Majeeth (Rubia cordifolia Linn.): It has wound healing and anti-aging properties.

·         Gandum (Triticum aesativum): It is antioxidant and anti-wrinkle. It also nourishes the skin.

Sun Screen

·         Gheekawaar/Sibr (Aloe barbadensis Mill. Syn. Aloe Vera (L.) Burm.f.): It is good moisturizer.

·         Gandum (Triticum aesativum): It is antioxidant.

Sun Tan

·         Nager motha/Saad Kufi / Sad Kufi (Cyperus rotundus Linn. / Cyperus scariosus R. Br. / Cyperus arundinaceum Baker):  Sun tanning

·         Shajana/Sohanjana (Moringa pterygosperma C.F. Gaertn.) Sun tanning


·         Narmushk/ Nagkesar (Mesua ferrea Linn.): It is strong astringent.

·         Kakra singhi (Pistacia integerrima J. L.Stewart ex Brandis): It is rubefacient, astringent and anti-bacterial.

·         Halelah (Terminalia chebula Retz.): It is antibacterial, astringent, antifungal and antiseptic in nature.

Ingredients for Hair Care

·         Shikakai (Acacia concinna (Willd.) DC.): It is natural detergent and anti-dandruff.

·         Gheekawaar/Sibr (Aloe barbadensis Mill. Syn. Aloe Vera (L.) Burm.f.): It is good cleanser and revitalizer.

·         Neem (Azadirachta indica A. Juss.): It is anti-dandruff. Reduces hair loss.

·         Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri (Linn.) Penn.): It is good hair tonic. It promotes hair growth.

·         Deodar (Cedrus deodara (D.Don) G.Don): It is anti-dandruff.

·         Brahmmi Booti (Centella asiatica (Linn.) Urban): Darkening of hair.

·         Bhangra (Eclipta prostrata (Linn.) Linn. Syn.: E. alba (Linn.) Hassk.): It reduces premature greying of hair, good remedy for alopecia.

·         Aamla (Phyllanthus emblica Linn. Syn.: Emblica officinalis Gaertn.): It is toner and anti-dandruff. It protects hair and reduces hair loss.

·         Gul-e-Gurhal (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis Linn.) It is a natural hair dye. It prevents hair fall. It is anti- dandruff also.

·         Kapurakachari (Hedychium spicatum Sm. in A.Rees): It promotes hair growth

·         Hina/Mehdi (Lawsonia inermis Linn. / Jasminum sambac (Linn.) Ait./Lawsonia alba): It is a natural hair dye. It is antidandruff and conditioner.

·         Iklil-al-Jabal / Libanutis (Rosmarinus officinalis Linn.): It nourishes, soothens and restores the hair shapes.

·         Bunduq-e-Hindi/Reetha/Atamtoot/Rattah (Sapindus trifoliatus Linn.): It is natural detergent and cleanser.

·         Gandum (Triticum aesativum): It provides lubrication, nourishment and lustre.

·         Balela/Bahera (Terminalia bellirica (Gaertn.) Roxb.): It prevents greying of hair.

·         Kunjad Siyah/Til/Sheeraj (Sesamum indicum Linn.): It promotes hair growth and prevents premature greying of hair. Also it blackens the hair.



Ingredients for Dental Care

·         Neem (Azadirachta indica A. Juss.): It is a potent antibacterial. Useful specially in toothache and dental carries.

·         Kikar/Babool (Acacia arabica/nillotica Willd.): Useful in dental swelling, bleeding gums and syphilitic infections.

·         Pya bansa/Jhinti (Barleria prionitis Linn.): Useful in toothache and bleeding gums. It also strengthens teeth.

·         Moolsari (Mimusops elengi): It is astringent. It keep gums healthy.

·         Anisoon/ Aaneesan (Pimpinella anisum Linn.): It is antiseptic having aromatic flavour.

·         Peeloo (Salvadora persica Linn.): It is potent antimicrobial.

·         Qaranful/Laung (Syzygium aromaticum (Linn.) Merr. & L.M. Perry): It is local anaesthetic. It relieves toothache.

·         Lodh Pathani (Symplocos racemosa Roxb.): It strengthens gums and teeth.

Ingredients for Dermatological Applications

·         Neem (Azadirachta indica A. Juss.): It is a potent antibacterial.

·         Khulanjan (Alpinia galangal (Linn.)Willd.): It is good antibacterial.

·         Seer/ Lahsan (Allium sativum): It is antifungal, antiseptic and Tonic.

·         Karanj (Pongamia glabra or pongamia pinnata): Good remedy for herpes, scabies and leukoderma.

·         Malkangni/Nammilnaraa (Celastrus paniculatus Willd.): Used for wounds healing and eczema.

·         Kalonji/Shooneez (Nigella sativa Linn.): Good antibacterial. Used in leucoderma.

·         Babchi (Psoralea corylifolia Linn.): Good remedy for leucoderma, leprosy, psoriasis and skin inflammations.

Ministry of AYUSH has constituted Drug Technical Advisory Board for Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha medicines under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act-1940 to control the standards of drugs, their manufacturing, sales and distribution.



(Dr Altaf Shah is Senior Medical Officer (Unani), AYSUH Unit, District Hospital, Pulwama 

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