The foundation of the Unani system of medicine is based on Hippocrates' theory of the four humours in the human body, a concept which forms the basis of Ayurveda as well. Expounding on the idea put forth by the Greek philosopher Empedocles (d. 430 BC) of the four elementary roots of all matter (earth, water, air and fire) Hippocrates propagated the theory that the human body was also a composition of 4 elements which he categorized as blood, phlegm, yellow bile and black bile. He believed that each individual had a distinct composition of these humours which determined their particular body temperament. It was the equilibrium of these humours or elements which resulted in health and any kind of imbalance in their original composition resulted in illness.
The scientists of the East quickly realized that nature had provided the cure for all illnesses and it was up to them to unlock the secret therapeutic efficacy of all organic substances abundant in nature. Therefore Tibb-e-Unani developed on this idea and sharply focused on the pharmacokinetics of herbs and other organic materials to restore and maintain the balance of the bodily humours. This led to the use of a vast variety of indigenous as well as exotic herbs, shrubs, minerals etc, which came into wide use to cure a wide range of diseases.
Today Tibb-e-Unani is fast gaining recognition in the Western world for its enriched knowledge covering an extensive array of novel and invaluable raw materials which has been proven for its tremendous therapeutic value and appeal.