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Unani or Yunani ( ; Yūnānī in Arabic, Bengali, Hindi, Persian, Pashtu and Urdu) means "Greek", and has its origins in the Greek word Ἰωνία (Iōnía) or Ἰωνίη (Iōníe), a placename given to a Greek populated coastal region of Anatoliamarker.

It is used to refer to Graeco-Arabic[88973] or Unani medicine [88974], also called "Unani-tibb", which is based on the teachings of Hippocrates, Galen, and Avicenna, and the concepts of the four humours: Phlegm (Balgham), Blood (Dam), Yellow bile (Ṣafrā') and Black bile (Saudā').[88975]

Unani medicine

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 of the Christian Era, 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 and Charaka.

In India, there are about hundred Unani Medical Colleges where Unani System of medicine is taught. It is a five and half year course and the graduates are awarded BUMS (Bachelor of Unani Medicine and Surgery) degree. There are about 10 Unani medical Colleges where a Postgraduate degree is being awarded to BUMS Doctors. all these colleges are affiliated to reputed universities and recognized by the Government.

As an alternative form of medicine, Unani has found favour in Asia, especially Indiamarker. In India, these Unani practitioners can practice as qualified doctors, as the Indian government approves their practice. Unani medicine is very close to Ayurveda. 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. (The elements, attributed to the philosopher Empedocles, determined the way of thinking in Medieval Europe.) 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[88976]. 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.

See also

Traditional Knowledge Digital Library


  1. Hakeem Abdul Hameed, Exchanges between India and Central Asia in the field of Medicine

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