General Information of Unani System of Medicine

What is general information of Unani?

General information of Unani: Unani medicine is a traditional system of healing and health maintenance observed in South Asia, particularly in India. Its origins can be traced back to the doctrines of the ancient Greek physicians Hippocrates and Galen, but it was further developed and refined by Arab scholars and physicians, most notably Avicenna.

Here’s a breakdown of Unani:

History and Origins: Developed from the teachings of Hippocrates and Galen, further refined by Arab scholars like Avicenna.

Philosophy: Based on the concept of maintaining a balance between four humors (blood, yellow bile, black bile, and phlegm) in the body.

Practitioners: Known as Hakims, they rely on natural healing methods like herbal remedies, dietary changes, and massage therapy.

Popularity: Particularly widespread in South Asia, with India having the largest number of Unani educational, research, and healthcare institutions.

Historical background:

The Unani System of Medicine as its name suggests, owes its immediate origin to ancient Greece (Yunan).Since the Greeks adopted Medicine from Egypt, the roots of this system go to Egypt and its sister civilization Mesopotamia. It was further adopted by the Arabs, and was developed and improved tremendously by them. In Indian subcontinent, Unani System of Medicine achieved marked growth enriching its practice even in Middle Eastland Central Asia, and successfully applied its principles to the local geo-human environment to become one of the major traditional systems of medicine in the area.

In the later part of the 18th century, Unani System in India accepted modern molecular medicine, successfully maintaining its holistic, temperament- based therapy while finding a place for molecular effects of drugs. It started undertaking modern research for the molecular effects of itsdrugs as early as 1920s. The system also took the lead in successfully institutionalizing education and medical practice by setting up curricula, colleges and professional associations.

The Unani system of medicine can be traced back to its earliest originators in ancient Egypt, which gave primary place to plants and medical methods in disease treatment. They had also initiated the use of surgery as a method of treatment. The studies of Papyri show the ability of Egyptians in the field of Medicine. Imhotep (2800 BC) and Amenhotep (1550 BC) are some noted physicians of Egyptian Period. Due to their great contributions in the field of Medicine, Mesopotamia also occupied an important place in history. They had used urine sample as a diagnostic tool. The Greek period of Unani Medicine began with Asclepius (Asqalībūs-1200BC),who was a great scholar of Medicine. During Asclepiad period, the Greeks developed the art of Medicine in the light of medical knowledge of Egyptians and Babylonians.

Portrait of Hippocrates(460-370 BC)-the father of Unani System of Medicine

Hippocrates (460-370 BC)was the over-arching physician of the classical period of Unani medical history. He emphasized the natural causes of disease and recorded the existing medical knowledge to set the grounds for Medicine to develop as a systematic science. The three fundamentals of Hippocratic Medicine were observation, experience, and rational principles, which still hold valid in the field of Medicine and Science.

General Information of Unani

The Alexandrian School (Madrasa Iskandariyya), established in the third century BC,needs a special mention, for being the first institution to deal with dissection of human body formally. The contribution of Herophilus,Erasistratus and other physicians in the field of Anatomy cannot be ignored. Even today, certain anatomical terms are named after Halophiles. Discords (40-90AD)who had the tremendous knowledge of medicinal herbs, was the first person to write an illustrated book comprising of 600 herbal drugs i.e. De Materia  Medica (Kitāb al-Hashā’ish). Apart from original additions by Discords, the book contained all the previous pharmacological knowledge.

Portrait of Galen(129-200 AD)-a great commentator of Hippocratic works

The closing years of the creative age of Greece were graced by the great Roman scholar Galen(129-200 AD). He not only made valuable addition to Medicine by conducting experiments but elevated it from the status of an art to the rank of a scientific discipline. Galen, one of the most Illustrious scholars in the history of Medicine, gathered all the medical knowledge of his time, arranged it systematically in a way that continued to be authoritative for the next fifteencenturies.

General Information of Unani

After the collapse of Greeco-Roman civilization,the vast Arabic-speaking world of the MiddleAges rendered great services to the mankind by its scientific and medical achievements.Although,the systematic Arabic translation of Unani medical texts started in the Umayyadperiod,it took the shape of a movement only at the dawn of Abbasid rule. The phase oftranslation work (750-850 AD) was followed by fresh researches and discoveries resulting inoriginal writings by Arabs. The Arabian physicians performed critical study of the inheritedmedical knowledge, carried out their own philosophic and scientific researches and madeoriginal additions to it. Arabs contributed most in the fields of Philosophy,General Science,Technology and especially Medicine, that gave Medicine a new spirit and light.

Portrait of Muhammad ibn Zakariyya Rāzī(865-925 AD)-the first to Differentiate smallpox from measles.

General Information of Unani

During the period of Arabic enlightenment, certain schools came into prominence. Abū al-Hasan’Ali ibn Rabban Tabarī, Muhammad ibn Zakariyya Rāzī,Abū Sahl Masīhī, and Ibn Sinā weresome great physicians of that period. The work of ‘Ali ibn ‘Īsā is a milestone in the field ofOphthalmology.Arabs contributed immensely to the field of materia medica, and this can beclearly viewed in the work of Ibn Baytār, named as Kitāb al-Jāmi li Mufradāt al-Adwiya wa-al-Aghdhiya comprising of 1,400 drugs.Some well-known pharmacologists of this period were Ibn Wäfid,Ibn Juljul, al-Ghafigieto. Pharmaceutical Chemistry was developed as a separate field ofScience and linked with Pharmacy for the first time.The name of Geber(Jābir ibn Hayyan)isworth mentioning in this regard.

Portrait of Ibn Sinā (980-1037 AD)-author of al-Qānūn fi’l-Tibb,an encyclopaedia of Unani System of Medicine

The quantum of development in the field of Surgery can be appreciated by going through Kitābal-Tasrif authoreby Spanish Unani scholar, Abū al-Qāsim al-Zahrāwi. Obstetrics andpaediatrics took a definite shape through the efforts of Arabs, who authored books on thesesubjects also and carried out experiments. Other Spanish scholars -Ibn Zuhr and Ibn Rushd-contributed to the development and entrenchment of Unani Medicine in Europe.

Portrait of Abū al-Qāsim al-Zahrāwī (936-1013 AD)-author of Ki tab al-Tariff, which is regarded as the masterpiece on Surgery

General Information of Unani

After this the Unani System of Medicine came to Indian subcontinent in the eighth century by the Arabs and Iranians, and developed as a comprehensive medical system due to multi-pronged original contribution and new applications by scholars of successive generations. It has been practiced, taught and scientifically documented in different parts of the subcontinent and flourished as a scientific medical system. The Government of Bangladesh facilitated the growth and development of Unani System of Medicine by recognizing its utility and scope and integrated it into healthcare delivery system.

The Healing Power of Regimental Therapy and holistic approach

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