Elephantiasis or Filaria or Lymphatic filariasis (Da-ul- Feel)


Da-ul- Feel (Elephantiasis or Filaria or Lymphatic filariasis) is a disease caused by a parasite. The parasite is a microscopic, thread-like worm. The adult worms can only live in the human lymphatic system – a system that maintains the body's fluid balance and fights infections.

Da-ul- Feel (Elephantiasis or Filaria or Lymphatic filariasis) is the enlargement and hardening of limbs or body parts due to tissue swelling. It is characterised by hypertrophy, oedema and fibrosis of skin and subcutaneous tissues due to obstruction of lymphatic vessels. It may affect the genitalia also.

According to World Health Organisation (WHO), Elephantiasis or Lymphatic filariasis (Da-ul- Feel) is a neglected tropical disease. It is a very rare condition in which infection occurs when filarial parasites are transmitted to humans through mosquitoes. Infection is usually acquired in childhood causing hidden damage to the lymphatic system. It impairs the lymphatic system and can lead to the abnormal enlargement of body parts, causing severe disability, pain and social stigma.

As per available data published in year 2000, over 120 million people were infected, with about 40 million disfigured and incapacitated by the disease. 893 million people in 49 countries worldwide remain threatened by Elephantiasis or Lymphatic filariasis (Da-ul- Feel) and require preventive chemotherapy to stop the spread of this parasitic infection.

The painful and profoundly disfiguring visible manifestations of the disease, lymphoedema, elephantiasis and scrotal swelling occur later in life and can lead to permanent disability. These patients are not only physically disabled, but suffer social, mental and financial losses contributing to stigma and poverty.

Elephantiasis or Lymphatic filariasis (Da-ul- Fil) is a condition in which non pitting oedema leads to increase in the girth of legs. It is commonly caused by black bile (Sauda). Sometimes it is also caused by phlegm (Balgham) and sanguine (Dam).

Unani Medicine Philosophy

It is characterized by an increase in the circumference of foot and leg as much as they resemble to elephant’s leg. In the initial stage the part remains hard, hot and red but later on becomes ash coloured sometimes accompanied with cracks and ulcerations (when caused by black bile) but in case of causative factor being phlegm (Balgham), the part will be comparatively soft and cold. Moreover, there will be difficulty in walking and decreased local sensation.

Symptoms (Alamaat)

Anyone may not know that he/ she has elephantiasis until he/ she notice the swelling. Not only will those body parts begin to look bulky and lumpy with stiff, tough skin, there is also pain in the swollen area. They may also have chills, fever, and just feel bad all over.

Diagnosis (Tashkhees)

Unani physician can find out if anyone having elephantiasis by doing a physical examination. They will ask about your medical history, and whether you’ve travelled to a place where you were more likely to have gotten elephantiasis (Da-ul- Feel). They also will have blood tests done to see if roundworms are in your bloodstream. These tests need to be done at night, because in nights these parasites are active.

Principles of Treatment (Usool-e- Ilaj)

  • Evacuation of morbid humours from the body (Tanqiya-e- Badan)
  • To tone up the affected part (Taqwiyat-e- Azw)
  • To produce dryness (Tajfeef) if caused by phlegm
  • To stop pouring of matter (Man’-e- insabab)
  • To wrap the calf (Talfif-e- Saq)

Pharmacotherapy (Ilaj Bil Dawa)

  • Oral administration of Joshanda-e- Aftimoon
  • Irrigation (Natool) of following decoction on the affected part:
  • Matricaria chamomila Linn. (Babuna), Seed of Trigonella foenum graecum Linn. (Tukhm-e- Hulba), Pods of Trigonella uncata Boiss (Nakhuna) and wheat husk (Sabus-e- Gandum)
  • Local application of paste prepared with Aloe vera Linn. (Sibr), Commiphora myrrha Nees (Murr Makki), extract of pods of acacia arabica willd. (Aqqqiya), fruit rind of Punica grantum Linn. (Post-e- Anaar) and vinegar.

Compound Formulations

  • Habb-e- Feelpa
  • Filiya
  • Itrifal Sagheer

Regimenal Therapy (Ilaj Bil Tadbeer)

  • Emesis (Qai)
  • Purgation (Ishaal)
  • Bloodletting through basilica vein (Fasd-e- Baasliq)
  • Bloodletting through  poplitial vein (Fasd-e- Mabyaz)
  • Cupping on calf (Hijama-e- Saq)

Dietary Recommendations

  • Ma-ul- Jubn
  • Aghziya-e- Lateefa

Dietary Restrictions

  • Aghziya-e- Ghaleeza
  • Aghziya-e- Baarida
  • Aghziya-e- Muwallid-e- balgham
  • Aghziya-e- Muwallid-e- sauda
  • Salty and sour diets

Prevention/ Precaution (Tahaffuz)

Avoid standing and walking for a longer period of time


  • Assays for circulating antigens of Wuchereria bancrofti
  • Dopler ultrsonography for suspected cases of lymphatic filariasis
  • Absolute Eosinophil count
  • IgE

Note: Unani drugs should be taken under the advice of the qualified Unani physician. The patients are required to follow strict Unani regimen for optimum results.


  • PUBLISHED DATE : May 03, 2021
  • CREATED / VALIDATED BY : Dr. Mahtab Alam Khan
  • LAST UPDATED ON : May 03, 2021


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