The movement of research in Unani System of Medicine dates back to the times of its origin when Greek physicianphilosopher Hippocrates freed Medicine from superstitions and presented it in the initial scientific form. Thereafter, the Roman scholar Galen stabilized the foundations of Hippocratic medical thoughts on which the Arab and Iranian physicians like al-Razi and Ibn Sina, built an edifice and developed the system to great heights. Ibn Sina laid down guidelines for clinical testing of drugs as early as in 11th Century.

The scientific research in Unani System of Medicine was given a boost in India by a versatile genius, Masih al-Mulk Hakim Ajmal Khan, in the 1920s. he spotted Dr. Salim al-Zaman Siddiqi, a chemist, for undertaking chemical studies on some important medicinal plants, used in Unani System of Medicne. Dr. Siddiqi discovered the medicinal properties of the plant commonly known as Asravl (Rauwolfia serpentina Linn.), and successfully isolated from this plant, in 1931, an anti-arrythmic agent, which he named as Ajmaline after his mentor Hakim Ajmal Khan. Later, he also extracted from the same plant some other alkaloids that included Ajmalinine, Ajmalicine, Isoajmaline, Neoajmaline, Serpentine, and Serpentinine for the treatment of mental and cardiovascular ailments. This paved way to sustained research in the system.

A number of committees appointed by the Government of India recommended detailed outline for the development of Indian Systems of Medicine including Unani System of Medicine. Systematic scientific research in these systems thereafter started with the establishment of Central Council for Research in Indian Medicine and Homeopathy (CCRIMH) in 1969. Research in Unani System of Medicine continued under the CCRIMH for about a decade. In March 1978, the Central Council for Research in Unani Medicine (CCRUM) was set up, which started functioning from 10 january 1979 to build up research base for the system with focused objectives and plans. Over the years, the CCRUM has emerged as the leading government organizations of scientific research in Unani System of Medicine. Research in Unani System of Medicine is being developed in the country with a multidisciplinary approach. The areas of research include fundamental research, preclinical and clinical research, drug standardization, survey and cultivation of medicinal plants, and literary research.

Scientific studies in these areas have also been conducted by some others institutions e.g. National Institue of Unani Medicine, Banglore; Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh; Jamia Hamdard, New Dellhi; Government Nizamia Tibbi College, Hyderabad, and some other institutions. More tha 1000 these of postgraduate research in various disciplines of Unani Medicine have been produced from different academic institutions .