Traditional Medicine


The traditional system of medicine in Pakistan owe its origin in antiquity, therefore, usually it is referred to as Unani system of medicine (Unani meaning Greek). The origin of Greek medicine can be traced back to Aesculapius, Hippocrates, Dioscorides and many more who enormously contributed to the many virtues of herbal medicines. Greek medicine found its votaries among Arabs who developed the traditional medicine manifold, the prominent among them are Rhazes, Avicenna, Al-Idrisi, Ibn Al-Baitar, Ali Ibn Rabban, Ibn Al-Nafis, and others. The Arabs, preserved and gave impetus to the art of learning and practice of traditional medicine. This system of medicine flourished for centuries in middle east, southeast and central Asia. It is for this reason, this system of medicine has been referred to as either Arabic medicine, or Greco-Arabic medicine. With the spread of Islam from the Arab peninsula to the areas as far as Spain on one side, and on the other side through Iran, Indo-Pakistan, Afghanistan, the central Asian regions, Malaya, and upto Indonesia, the Greco-Arabic complexion of traditional medicinal system in the larger context has also been designated to as Islamic system of medicine. After the creation of Pakistan, the prevalent traditional system of medicine was also cited as Eastern or Oriental system of medicine to distinguish with the system of medicines in vogue in the west i.e. allopathy and homeopathy (Germany being the home town for homeopathy). Tibb and Hikmat, the two words are also popularly known for the traditional system of medicine in Pakistan and other Arabic speaking countries. Actually these two words are of Arabic origin, Tibb means medicine, Hikmat meaning the doctrine of medicine.