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Unani Medicine – Part 1 of 3

Yaser Abdelhamid, ND, LAc


Unani medicine is an organic synthesis of Greek, Arabic, and Islamic medical knowledge. It enjoys vast popularity in certain parts of the world, and the World Heritage Center, part of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and the United Nations Foundation list it as an authentic and still-living form of traditional medicine. Despite these facts, contemporary Western cultures know very little about this ancient form of primary health care.

This article is Part 1 of a three-part series. This part will highlight the historical and civilizational beginnings of this medi- cine while it also investigates the Arabic and Islamic worlds’ subsequent transformation of it into the Unani medicine practiced today. Part 1 also will present a brief primer on the rich philosophical and spiritual framework defining Unani medicine.

In Part 2 of this article, the author will provide some summary remarks about Unani medicine’s governing prin- ciples and theories, such as the concept of the humors.

Finally, Part 3 will focus on illustrating facets of this medicine’s classical and contemporary translations into clinical practice, with further discussion about its various modes of natural therapeutics.

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