Message from the Head of the Unani Section
On behalf of all our Department of study, staff and students, welcome to the department of study in Unani History of Unani Medicine begins with the age of Pericles (562-430B.C) and it was developed during the Arab civilization. Hence, it is also known as Arab medicine. The Arabs, who were seafarers in mediaeval time, had commercial links with Sri Lanka. As a result, many of them settled down in Sri Lanka, especially in the coastal areas between the 10th to 12th centuries AD. From the coastal settlements in the West, Unani medicine in course of time spread to the interior region and East coast. When Muslims were expelled from the coastal area by Portuguese and late Dutch many of them were allowed to settle in the Kandyan Kingdom and along the East cost of Sri Lanka by Sinhala kings. Many of Kandyan kings invited them to their kingdom as these groups included Unani physician and even some kings made orders to grant lands to Unani physicians who were settled in the Kandyan kingdom.
Unani tibb’s dominating figure was Boharath (Hippocrates 460-360 B.C) who is still preferred to as the “Father of Medicine”, and he was the authority of the humoral theory. The great Philosopher Arasthu (Aristotle 384-322 B.C) was the next prominent figure in Unani Medicine. Jalinoos (Galen 131-210 B.C) introduced his Anatomical knowledge to the Arabians. Since then there have been so many authorities who contributed towards the development of Unani system. Ibn Sina (Avicenna 937-1037) was the most famous Physician and Philosopher in Unani Medical System. Among his contribution to medicine “Canon of Medicine” which is an encyclopedia and used as a text book of medicine until 17th century by the Western world.
As Head of the Unani section, I’m extremely proud of the rich tradition of providing Unani medical education with practical and clinical training that our institute has upheld since its founding in the year 1929. The Unani medical teaching is carried out by 8 academic units of the Unani Section. They include clinical, para clinical and non-clinical sbjects and the undergraduates and Postgraduate studies are conducted by these academic units. There is a growing demand for health care services with traditional medical treatment modalities including Unani medicine. Our medical programmes prepare our students to become competent Unani medical practitioners and researchers with the moral depth and intellectual intensity necessary to meet the present challenges of the world and serve the nation with pride.
Our institute is Located in an economical and cultural hub, administrative capital of Sri Lanka and it offers unique opportunities for our students to engage comprehensive training related to Unani medicine and traditional medicines. More over graduates from this institute serve the nation as medical officers in the governement sector and in private sectors.
Professor M.S.M. Shiffa
BUMS, MD, PhD (R), LLB, Att. at Law
Department of Study in Unani
Institute of Indigenous Medicine
University of Colombo
History of Unani Medicine begins with the age of Pericles (562-430B.C) and it was developed during the Arab civilization. Hence, it is also known as Arab medicine. The Arabs, who were seafarers in mediaeval time, had commercial links mainly with India, but later they resorted to direct trade with Sri Lanka. As a result, many of them settled down in Sri Lanka, especially in the coastal areas. The Muslims of Sri Lanka disseminated & preserved this system even in this 21st century. Its dominating figure was Boharath (Hippocrates 460-360 B.C) who is still preferred to as the “Father of Medicine”, and he was the authority of the humoral theory. The great Philosopher Arasthu (Aristotle 384-322 B.C) was the next prominent figure in Unani Medicine. Jalinoos (Galen 131-210 B.C) introduced his Anatomical knowledge to the Arabians. Since then there have been so many authorities who contributed towards the development of Unani system. Ibn Sina (Avicenna 937-1037) was the most famous Physician and Philosopher in Unani Medicine System. Among his contribution to medicine “Canon of Medicine” which is an encyclopedia and text book of medicine is the best.
During the 1st century arbians brought this system to Sri Lanka and the Muslims developed the same. History reveals the fact that Arab Physicians were the family consultants to kings of various kingdoms of the country. Having felt the efficacy and the value, the Unani system was intermingled with the traditional systems of medicine of Sri Lanka as Ayurveda was absorbed into the traditional medical system of country. All the traditional medical systems of Sri Lanka were brought under an umbrella by the 1961 Act of Ayurveda. Accordingly the term “Ayurveda” includes Ayurveda, Unani, Sidda and other traditional systems of Medicine indigenous to the Asian countries.
Successive foreign invasions and the resultant strife sapped the strength of the monarchy, and Ayurveda which for centuries before had enjoyed royal patronage became a casualty in common with other ancient arts and crafts. It was only at the beginning of this century that the organized training of Ayurveda physicians was resumed.
The Ceylon Social Reform Society was formed with the aim of reviving local arts and Sciences, including Ayurveda. The revival of Ayurveda became a high priority of the society it was handicapped by the lack of funds. In the absence of patronage by the colonial government, it had to depend on private contributions to promote its aims. Subscriptions totaling Rs.131, 000 were promised. The money was placed in a deposit under the name, Oriental Medical Science Fund. It was administered by a board of trustees with Pual E. Pieris as chairman. In 1916, the trustees mooted the idea of establishing an Ayurveda hospital.
In 1917, the board of trustees selected G. P. Wickramarachchi and R. Buddadasa to be trained in Culcutta. Their selection was prophetic (development of Ayurveda) and their subsequent contribution to the profession was outstanding. Pundit Wickramarachchi, established his own school at Gampaha in 1929.
The board of trustees continued to send students to India till 1929. When the College of Indigenous Medicine was established in 1929 the Unani system was also established along with the Ayurveda and Sidda sections at the College of Indigenous Medicine due to the untiring efforts of Dr. K. Balasingam and Sir. Razik Fareed. Dr. M. A. Ahmed and Dr. H. M. Jaffer were invited from India as lecturers in Unani. They were instrumental in organizing and establishing Unani at the college. It must be stressed that Dr. H. M. Jaffer along with Sir. Razik Fareed then a member of the Board of Indigenous Medicine strived to keep the Unani section at the college. Dr. H. M. Jaffer was the chief lecturer in the Unani section. Dr. M. H. M. Hafeel, Dr. M. A. M. Jalaldeen, and Dr. M. I. William succeeded him to the posts of Head of Unani section. They all strived hard to develop the Unani section during the period.
To be a partner in providing health care services to mankind by using Unani medical methods and materials .
To produce efficient Unani graduates to provide the best health care services of the country and produce competent teachers and researchers aimed at the national needs while strictly adhereing to the ethics of Hippocrates.