THE IMPACT OF ANCIENT GREEK MEDICINE IN INDIA: THE BIRTH OF UNANI MEDICINE
Background: Unani Medicine, also called “Unani-tibb”, has a long and impressive record in India based on the grecoarabic medicine and teachings of Hippocrates, Galen and Arab physicians. Its main principle is the maintenance of equilibrium among the various aspects of the body, made up of four elements, different temperaments, simple and compound organs, and four humours. Methods: The main bibliographic sources concerning the impact of ancient Greek medicine in India and the principles of Unani Medicine have been investigated and analysed. Results: The assimilation of Hippocratic principles in a country with a different philosophy and worldview was successful. The ancient Greek medical system enriched with local elements encountered a large response to the Indian people and to the physicians. Conclusions: Nowadays Unani medicine is not only popular in India where several Unani practitioners are registered but it enjoys a worldwide upsurge of interest.
Key words: Unani medicine; Hippocratic medicine; Arab physicians; humoral theory; traditional medicine