The history of Unani system of medicine is traced back to ancient Greece. During that time, two schools of medicine were present in Greece, the older one of which believed in treating the disease, according to the symptoms exhibited. It confirmed the fact that an illness must be dealt with one organ and should be treated separately, strictly based on the symptoms. This led to great dissatisfaction and confusion, and few rebel physicians established a rival school.
This school became popular because of Hippocrates, who later came to be
known as the 'Father of the Medicine' in history. His ideology
emphasized that human body is a complete and integrated system. His
treatment methods were general in nature and did not comply with any
specific sets of symptoms. Moreover, he formulated the principle of
humoral theory. Besides, he also opposed and eliminated the elements of
magic and superstition that crept into the medicine system of that era.
It was he, who gave Unani the status of a science. However, the ancient
system of medicine was further enriched by the wisdom of many Greek
scholars. Galen and Avicenna were also significant contributors. In
addition, Unani has evolved from several medicine systems, prevalent in
different parts of the world, such as Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Persia, India,
China and other Middle East and Far Eastern countries. Attributed to
this fact, it is known by different names in different countries like,
Greeco-Arab Medicine, lonian Medicine, Arab Medicine, Islamic Medicine
Traditional Medicine, Oriental Medicine etc.
In India, Unani was introduced by Arabs and Persians. When Mongols
attacked Central Asia and Persia, the Unani scholars and physicians fled
to India, to find refuge. Here, they were provided state patronage by
the Delhi Sultans, the Khilijis, the Tughalaqs and the Mughal Emperors,
who even employed some of them as state employees and court physicians.
After this, these scholars conducted study on the Indian drugs and
further enriched the contents of Unani.
Soon, the medicine system became popular in the whole country and
maintained a strong hold even after the downfall of Mughal Empire.
However, Unani did suffer a set back during the British rule, as the
government patronage was withdrawn. Nevertheless, it did not cease to
exist as it enjoyed people's support and trust. It was mainly because of
the efforts of Sharifi Family in Delhi, the Azizi family in Lucknow and
the Nizam of Hyderabad that Unani Medicine survived during the British