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Johannesburg, 2193, South Africa

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Welcome to the Ibn Sina Institute of Tibb

About my journey to Tibb

Prof. Bhikha’s commitment to healthcare is evident in his continuous efforts of establishing an effective, affordable and accessible healthcare model. Starting off as a qualified pharmacist in 1969, he built up Be-Tabs Pharmaceuticals into the largest privately-owned generic manufacturer in South Africa.

His journey to Tibb and the establishment of the Ibn Sina Institute of Tibb is a heartfelt one. It began more than twenty-five years ago when his youngest daughter, experienced severe breathing difficulties. After a lung biopsy she was diagnosed with fibrosing alveolitis, requiring oxygen continuously. 

The pulmonologist informed Prof Bhikha that the cause of the hardening of the alveoli in the lungs was unknown and a daily dose of 50mg prednisone was the only possible treatment. This made him realise the limitation of conventional/Western medicine. The days that followed were as dark as night watching her breathe with an oxygen mask and seeing her pretty little face swelling up with the side effects of cortisone.

This was a turning point and a catalyst for him to research different philosophies of healthcare including Ayurveda, Chinese medicine and more specifically Unani medicine. His choice of learning more about Unani medicine was based on its rich history over many centuries and the contribution of Hippocrates who established this system on the principles of cause and effect.

In 1994, to learn about Unani medicine Prof Bhikha met Hakim Mohamed Said, from Hamdard University, Pakistan, and arranged for a medical doctor and a primary healthcare nurse to attend an introductory course in this system. In 1999, in an arrangement with Hamdard University, Hakim Abdul Haq, a specialist in Unani philosophy joined the Institute in achieving its vision of promoting the practice and training of Unani medicine in South Africa.

The decision to choose the name Tibb came after much consideration. Over the centuries this system was called by many different names; Greco-Arab medicine, Western Herbal medicine, Unani-Tibb (‘Greek medicine’) and Unani medicine (Indian subcontinent). The name Tibb (the Arabic word for ‘medicine’) provides a differentiation from conventional/Western medicine and is in keeping with Prof Bhikha’s willingness to incorporate all medical knowledge in the form of integrative medicine.

Prof Bhikha’s contribution to the development in the promotion and practice of Tibb has earned him many awards including amongst others from Hamdard University (Pakistan), National Institute of Unani Medicine and Aligarh Muslim University (both from India). He was also awarded the Inyathelo Lifetime Philanthropy Award.

He remains committed to community upliftment and health provision focusing on primary healthcare, training of professionals, and research. He has presented academic papers worldwide and authored numerous books.

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Latest Updates

23 March 2020

A strong immune system is vital. Prof. Bhikha talks about the Corona virus from a Tibb perspective 

In this video Prof Bhikha provides insight on the Tibb perspective with regards to the coronavirus

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06 January 2020

Stellenbosch medical student completes elective at Tibb Treatment Centres

Raeesah Moola, MBChB – a fifth year student from Stellenbosch University, completed a three-week elective at the Tibb Treatment Centres in Cape Town and shares her views.

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13 October 2019

Prof Rashid Bhika Honoured at 3rd National Pharmacy Conference

The Pharmacy Council of South Africa awarded Prof Rashid Bhikha with “The Legacy Pharmacist Award” at the 3rd National Pharmacy Conference held in Sun City last weekend.

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25 September 2019

Is Excess/Abnormal Melancholic Humour the cause of Chronic Conditions?

In the above research, that was conducted at the Tibb Treatment Centres in Cape Town, one-thousand patients were recruited. The aim of the study was to evaluate the hypothesis that excess or abnormal states of the melancholic humour are a major and significant cause of many common chronic conditions. There was a steady increase in the incidence of patients with chronic conditions in patients with melancholic imbalances. In children and younger adults, it was virtually non-existent, and 15% in young adults. Thereafter it rose to 18% in mature adults, 56% in middle-aged adults, 71% in senior adults, 78% in older adults, and finally 100% in the aged patients. This clinical observation supports the hypothesis that excess/abnormal melancholic humour could well be the cause of most chronic conditions.

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Prof Bhikha's Weekly Tip: Digestive health in the elderly

The elderly commonly experience indigestion with symptoms such as bloating and belching, due to undigested foods fermenting. In Tibb, with aging there’s an increase in cold and dry qualities with metabolism decreasing. Production of digestive enzymes including digestive muscles becoming stiffer and weaker due to inefficient heat levels. Tibb recommends supporting Physis. Implement lifestyle factors decreasing cold and dry qualities, following a hot and moist diet. Consume warmer fluids. Smaller meals and light exercise.

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