Tibb is a system of medicine that has journeyed through many teachers, philosophers and countries. It was in fact, the mainstay of medicine until quite recently in world history. Its principles can be traced back to Egyptian, African, Greek, Arabic, Indian and Western Medicine.
Beginning with the renowned Egyptian physician, Imhotep, it was later embraced by the most famous medical philosopher of all time, Hippocrates, the father of medicine, and then further conceptualized by Galen. Over the centuries Tibb was refined by a number of Arab physicians, especially Ibn Sina or Avicenna as known I the West.
Shortened to “TIBB” in South Africa, Tibb is also known as Unani-Tibb. ‘Unani’ is the Persian word for Greek and ‘Tibb’ an Arabic word for Medicine. Directly translated Unani-Tibb means Graeco-Arab medicine. Tibb combines the best of ‘A Science of Medicine, the Art of Care’.
The establishment of Tibb in South Africa has indeed been a remarkable journey, as Tibb had been largely confined to the Indian Sub-continent for fifty years prior to finding its way into Africa.
Tibb is a holistic system of medicine which pays tribute to the role of mind, body and soul in the maintenance of health and in the manifestation of disease processes. Tibb is equally a preventative and curative system of medicine. Tibb believes that an understanding of the uniqueness of one’s self, also known as temperament, is imperative in maintaining health and preventing disease. In Tibb, treatment is aimed at resolving the cause of the illness and is so doing restoring homeostasis or balance in the body. Tibb treats illness conditions through the prescription of diet therapy, lifestyle adjustment, herbal medicine and certain hands-on therapies such as cupping and humoural massage therapy.