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Unani Medicines

The Unani system of Medicine originated in Greece (Unan). The term "UNANI" is derived from word "UNAN" which means "Greece" in Arabic. It was the work Greek Philosopher-physician Hippocrates the "Father of Medicine” (Buqrat in Arabic) [460-377 B.C] who liberated medicine from the realm of superstition and magic,and gave it the status of science. The theoretical frame work of Unani medicine is based on the teachings of Hippocrates.

After Hippocrates a number of the greek scholars enriched the system considerably of them Galen (Jalinus in arabic) [131-210 A.D.] stands out as the one who established its foundation on which Arab and Persian physician like Rhazes (Al-Razi in Arabic) [850-925 A.D.] and Avicenna (Ibn-Sina in Arabic) [980-1037 A.D.] constructed an enriching edifice.

Galen introduced and practised the Unani systems of medicine in pre-Islamic Egypt serving as Royal court physician to the king of Egypt and under his patronage, researched experimented and developed hundreds of new medicines and cures for almost all types of diseases.

Imbibing what was best in the contemporary systems of traditional medicine in Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Persia, India, China and other middle east and fareast countries enriched the Unani system that is why this system is known in different names such as Greco-Arab medicine, lonian medicine, Arab medicine, Islamic medicine, Traditional medicine and orientel medicine etc.,

Avicenna: One of the greatest scholars of Unani Tibb (medicine), has defined it as : "Tibb is the science of which we learn the various states of body, in health and when not in health, and the means by which health is likely to be lost and when lost, is likely to be restored.”

In India

Hakeem Ajmal Khan (1868-1927)

The Unani medicine is the first system of medicine in this world. The Unani system of medicine, promoted by Arabs and Persians throughout the world. The system found immediate favour with the masses and soon spread all over the country.

Down the ages, all the emperors, kings, aristocrats, bureaucrats, the royal and elite class, courtiers, administrators and the greats have all, patronized Unani medicine and took treatments for their ailments only from the Unani Physicians.

During 13th and 17th century A.D. Unani medicine had its flourishing days in India. During the British rule Unani medicine suffered set back due to withdrawal of state patronage, but continued to be practised as the masses reposed faith in the system. An outstanding physician and scholar of Unani medicine, Hakeem Ajmal Khan (1868 - 1927) championed the cause of the system in India. After independence of India, Unani system was recognized as one of the India systems of medicine and steps were taken to develop and propagate this system. At the time of my great grandfathers, the Unani system of medicines were again held high.

In Chennai, Dr.Hakeem Syed Shah Shoibuddin, B.U.M.S.,the great scientist of Unani Medicine, compiled the process of manufacturing active compound formulation at "Shifa Unani Herbal Clinic" after extensive field survey and research in Unani Medicine.

Basic Principles & Fundamentals of Unani

The fundamentals of this system are based on Hippocrates "Humoral Theory". This presupposes the presence of four-humour in the body. According to Unani philosophy the health of a person depends upon the balance of these humours in the body. They are Dam (Blood), Balgham (Phlegm), Safra (Yellow bile), Sauda (Black bile). Every individual at birth is endowed with a unique temperament and this is determined by the presence of all the four humours in equilibrium so as to restore the health of a person.

Unani medicine believes in promotion of health, prevention of disease and cure.
The Practitioners of Unani system of Medicine are called as Hakeems.
The following 4 treatments are practising in Unani Medicines ILAJ–BIT–TADABEER (Regimental therapy) eg. Massage, ILAJ–BIL–GIZA (Dietotherapy) ILAJ–BID–DAWA (Pharmacotherapy) ILAJ–BIL–YAD (Surgery)

Some drugless regimens are advised for the treatment of certain ailments, i.e., Exercise, Massage (dalak), Hamam (Turkish bath), Purging, emesis, leeching. Diseases are treated by prescribing specific diet for the patients.

Diseases are mainly diagonosed with the help of PULSE READING (NABZ), PHYSICAL EXAMINATION OF URINE (BAUL), AND STOOL (BARAZ) .

Unani System has put forward six essentials for the prevention of diseases and greatly emphasizes the need for maintaining proper ecological balance and keeping food, water and air free from pollution.


The naturally occurring drugs used in Unani system are symbolic of life and are free from side effects. (1) All Unani medicines are free of toxicity and side effects.
(2) The Unani system’s diagnosis of ailments and illnesses is entirely unique.
(3) There is a solution in Unani medicine to any kind of incurable, terminal and fatal diseases.