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Journal of Integrative Medicine ›› 2022, Vol. 20 ›› Issue (2): 91-95.doi: 10.1016/j.joim.2022.01.002

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Why the “sugars” in traditional Unani formulations are a pivotal component: A viewpoint perspective

Mohammad Fazila,Sadia Nikhatb   

  1. a. Hakim Ajmal Khan Institute for Literary and Historical Research in Unani Medicine, Central Council for Research in Unani Medicine, Jamia Millia Islamia Campus, New Delhi 110025, India
    b. Department of Ilaj bit Tadbeer, School of Unani Medical Education and Research, Jamia Hamdard, New Delhi 110062, India
  • Received:2021-08-01 Accepted:2021-12-03 Online:2022-03-25 Published:2022-01-18

Traditional medicine systems around the globe, like Unani, Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine, include a number of sugar-based formulations, which contain a large amount of saccharide-containing sweetener, such as honey, sucrose or jaggery. With pervasive lifestyle disorders throughout the world, there have been discussions to consider alternative sweetening agents. Here, from the perspective of Unani medicine, we discuss how the saccharide-based sweeteners may be an essential component of these traditional preparations, like electuaries, which may be deprived of their bioactivities without these saccharides. With contemporary researches, it is known that apart from their own therapeutic effects, saccharides also form deep eutectic solvents which help in enhancing the bioactivity of other ingredients present in crude drugs. In addition, they provide energy for fermentation which is essential for biotransformation of compounds. Interestingly, the sugars also increase the shelf-life of these compound drugs and act as natural preservatives. On the basis of this review, we strongly believe that saccharide-based sweeteners are an essential component of traditional medicines and not merely an excipient.


Key words: Saccharides, Sugar-based formulations, Eutectic solvents, Traditional medicine

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