The history of Unani is traced back to ancient Greece. Know more about the origin & history of Unani medicine.

Unani History

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 However, Unani did suffer a set back during the British rule, as the government patronage was withdrawn.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 period.