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By Dr. Atiq Ahmad Bhatti, HD.

Unani Medicine

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"God did not send down any disease without sending the remedy with it"
-- Hadith


Unani medicine as the name suggests, originated in Greece or unan. It was the Greek philosopher-physician Hippocrates (460-377BC) who freed medicine from the realm of superstition and magic and gave the status of science.

Hippocrates of Cos (ca. 460 BC – ca. 370 BC) - Greek physician of the Age of Pericles
Considered one of the most outstanding figures in the history of medicine. He is referred to as the "father of medicine

The theoretical frame work of Unani medicine is based on the teachings of Hippocrates. He believed that whenever and where ever possible medicine should be gentle and safe. This is the main objective of unani medicine.

After Hippocrates, a number of Greek scholars enriched the system and it imbibed the best from contemporary system of medicine in Egypt , Syria , Iraq , Persia , India , china and other Middle east and far East countries. This is the reason why this system is known in different parts of the world by different names, like Greco-Arab medicine, Ionian medicine, Arab or Islamic medicine, Oriental medicine and so on.

Though the threads which comprise Unani healing can be traced all the way back to Claudius Galenus of Pergamum who lived in the second century CE, the basic knowledge of Unani medicine as a healing system was developed by Hakim Ibn Sina (known as Avicenna in the west) in his medical encyclopedia The Canon of Medicine.

The time of origin is thus dated at circa 1025 AD, when Avicenna wrote The Canon of Medicine in Persia . While he was primarily influenced by Greek and Islamic Medicine, he was also influenced by the Indian medical teachings of Sushruta nad Charaka.

As an alternative form of medicine, Unani Medicine has found favour in Asia, especially India and is very close to Ayurveda or Ayurvedic Medicine. Both are based on theory of the presence of the elements (in Unani, they are considered to be fire, water, earth and air) in the human body.

According to followers of Unani Medicine, these elements are present in different fluids and their balance leads to health and their imbalance leads to illness.

All these elaborations were built on the basic Hippocratic theory of the Four Humours.

The theory postulates the presence in the human body of blood, phlegm, yellow bile and black bile. Each person's unique mixture of these substances determines his temperament: a predominance of blood gives a sanguine temperament; a predominance of phlegm makes one phlegmatic; yellow bile, bilious (or choleric); and black bile, melancholic. As long as these humours are in balance, the human system is healthy, it is imbalance which can result in disease.

Author's Resource: Article by Dr Atiq Ahmad Bhatti
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