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Historical account of endocrinal disorders in Unani medicine

  • Md Anzar Alam ORCID logo EMAIL logo , Mohd Aleemuddin Quamri and Ghulamuddin Sofi


Hippocratic doctrine of four humors and qualities is implicated to be a pioneer of modern endocrinology because of the concept of dyscrasia. Imbalance in humors causes disease. Unani scholars were aware of endocrinological disorders like endocrinologic syndrome (i.e., association of amenorrhea and galactorrhoea in a non-pregnant woman), castration, contraceptives techniques, infertility, obesity, diabetes etc., and also their mode of remedy, albeit with a phenomenological approach. Their understanding of the symptoms and signs related to endocrinologic syndromes, which were explained in detail in the recent account of the endocrine system, is presented here with historical chronology. The survey was carried out from the literature of the Unani system of medicine, and the same was analyzed from the observations reported in various indexed journals and reputed books. The paper details the account of endocrinologic syndrome from the Greek era to the end of the medieval ages.


  1. Description of the endocrinal disorders is mentioned in Unani Medicine for centuries, albeit with a different name for the disease category.

  2. According to Unani Medicine, this disease arises due to abnormal quality and quantity of humour.

  3. Renowned Unani scholars like Hippocrates (370–460 BC), Aristotle (384–322 BC), Aretaeos of Kappadokia(81–96 AD), Galen (130–200 AD), Zakaria Razi (865–925 AD), Majusi (930–994 AD), Ibn-e-Sina (980–1037 AD), Albucasis (1013–1106 AD) and Ismail Jorjani (1042–1137 AD) also treated such ailments through Unani medicine (plant, mineral and animal origin drugs).

  4. Majusi performed surgery of Goiter and mentioned in his treatise and recommended the method of surgery.

  5. Albucasis performed the first successful thyroidectomy under opium (Papaver somniferum L.) sedation and simple ligatures and hot cautery in the name of ‘elephantiasis’ of the throat (goiter).

  6. The principles of treatment in Unani medicine may provide a guide for better management of endocrinal disorders (e.g., hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, diabetes etc.).

  7. The treatment in Unani medicine for various diseases/syndromes/signs, which are now likely associated with hormone dysfunction, can open up the new field of Unani therapeutics for these diseases for the exploration of better treatment options.

Corresponding author: Md Anzar Alam, MD, PhD, Department of Moalajat (Medicine), National Institute of Unani Medicine, Kottigepalya, Magadi Main Road, Bangalore 560091, India, Mobile: +91 9916164662, E-mail:

  1. Research funding: There is no financial support in this study.

  2. Author contributions: All authors have accepted responsibility for the entire content of this manuscript and approved its submission.

  3. Competing interests: The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

  4. Informed consent: Not applicable.

  5. Ethical approval: Not applicable.


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Received: 2020-07-30
Accepted: 2020-08-29
Published Online: 2021-02-08

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