An Introduction and Historical Background of Concept of Akhlat (Humour)

Momin Shahzad Aamir


Humoral theory, also known as theory of akhlat is a key concept in Unani System of Medicine. It was originated in Ancient Greece and later developed by Galen and Arabic Physicians. The theory was central to the teachings of Greco Arabic medicine and it became the dominant theory in Europe for many centuries. It remained a major influence on medical practice and teaching until eighteenth century. The theory was first postulated by Hippocrates in his treatise On the Nature of Man. The method of approach of these early thinkers was to look for natural explanations for human physiology and disease causation with the help of logical reasoning and observation. In this theory, humors existed as liquids within the body which are known as blood, phlegm, black bile and yellow bile. The humoral theory evolved over millennia and finally became the dominant explanation of human physiology. This was in contrast to the supernatural theories for disease causation and also attempt to explain that disease instead is a naturalistic event and it can be understood by natural causes. This short review will mainly focus on the understanding and historical background of the theory of akhlat.

International Journal of Human and Health Sciences Vol. 02 No. 04 October’18. Page : 189-192


akhlat; humour; history; unani medicine; humoral theory

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