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Plaque in Arabic, associated with Unani Tibb medical practices, England, 2004-2005

The Arabic inscription on this sign translates as “If I get sick, He will heal”. Its role is to remind a Hakim that his or her role is to help nature and God to restore the patient to health. Hakims are practitioners of Unani Tibb, an Islamic medical tradition where the individual is influenced by the environment and health is maintained by the balance of humours. This echoes beliefs that were central to ancient Greek medicine. Unani means ‘Greek’ and Tibb means ‘medicine’. Signs like this one are displayed in many clinics that practice Unani Tibb.

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Glossary: plaque

An ornamental tablet of metal, porcelain etc that depicts a person, scene or inscription. Often fixed to a building in commemoration of a person or notable historical occurence.

Glossary: Unani Tibb

An Islamic medical tradition based on ancient Greek principles and focusing on balance in the body. It is found mostly in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and the Middle East.