It was further enriched by imbibing the best of contemporary systems of medicine in the far eastern and middle eastern countries including ancient Phoenicia.
Unani medicine was the first to establish that disease was a natural process and that symptoms were the reactions of the body to the disease. It believes in the humoral theory which presupposes the presence of the four humors - Dam (blood), Balgham (phlegm), Safra (yellow bile) and Sauda (black bile) in the body. Each humor has its own temperament - blood is hot and moist, phlegm cold and moist, yellow bile hot and dry and black bile cold and dry. Every person attains a temperament according to the preponderance in them of the humors which represent the person's healthy state, which are expressed as sanguine, phlegmatic, choleric and melancholic.
To maintain the correct humoral balance there is a power of self preservation or adjustment called Quwwat-e-Mudabbira (medicatrix naturae) in the body. When this power weakens, imbalance in humoral compositions occurs resulting in disease. The medicines used help regain this power and thereby restore the humoral balance and the disease is eradicated.
."A Unani physician does not prescribe the strongest drug at the beginning of the treatment. He selects the drug according to the degree of variation from the normal healthy condition and observes the effect produced by the treatment. At the same time, he instructs the patient to observe some restrictions in diet and lifestyle."
Since in Unani, health and disease depend upon the equilibrium or imbalance between the four humours, a thorough examination of the pulse is undertaken to determine which humour is dominant at the time. The examination of the urine is the next important step.
Its colour, taste, viscosity, whether it has froth on its surface, if the bubbles formed are large, indicating balgham, or small, indicating safra are scrutinised. The stool is also examined in a similar way