Unani medicine, also known as Greco-Arab medicine, is a traditional system of medicine originating in Greece and developed and refined over centuries by Muslim physicians. According to humoral pathology, the human body consists of four humors: blood, phlegm, yellow bile, and black bile. When these moods are in balance, the person is healthy. When they are out of balance, the person becomes ill.
Known for its holistic approach, Unani medicine uses a variety of treatments, including herbal remedies, diet changes, and lifestyle changes, to treat the whole person.
The Origin of Unani Medicine:
The principles of Unani medicine are based on the teachings of Hippocrates, the Greek physician considered the “Father of Western Medicine.” Hippocrates lived around 460-370 BCE.
Key Figures in the Development of Unani Medicine:
Hippocrates (460-370 BCE):
His contributions to medicine were fundamental. He emphasized a holistic approach to diagnosis and treatment and believed that the body was capable of healing itself.
Galen (129-216 CE):
Galen, a Greek physician, played a crucial role in expanding and systematizing Unani medicine through his works on physiology, anatomy, and pharmacology.
Ibn Sina (980-1037 CE):
Known in the West as Avicenna, this Persian polymath contributed enormously to Unani medicine with his influential work, “The Canon of Medicine.”
Ibn al-Nafis (1213-1288 CE):
A pioneer in the study of human physiology, Ibn al-Nafis discovered the pulmonary circulation of blood.
Hakim Ajmal Khan (1868-1927 CE):
During the modern era, Hakim Ajmal Khan, an Indian Unani practitioner, played an important role in preserving and promoting Unani medicine.
In Unani medicine, the whole person, including mind, body, and spirit, is treated based on the principles of humoral pathology. It has a long history and is a traditional system of medicine. The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes Unani medicine as one of the world’s most ancient systems of medicine.
The development and refinement of Unani medicine over centuries was carried out by many different people, particularly Hippocrates, Galen, Avicenna, and other Muslim physicians.