The Four Humours

Topics: Humorism, Avicenna, The Canon of Medicine Pages: 3 (975 words) Published: December 14, 2010
Katelyn Harding

The Four Humors’ Influence
on the Modern Day World

The Four Humours created a new way of thinking in the field of medicine during the Middle Ages. This way of thinking is originally accredited to the great philosopher Hippocrates, though it has been changed slightly when it was revived in Europe (Siraisi 2). This popular belief took Europe by storm; in a small period of time it was the new way for providing remedies for ailments. The theory of medicine advanced from the basis of spirituality and the practice of magic into concrete theories that are connected to scientific methods due to the belief and practice of the Four Humours. This is illustrated through the transformation to the belief of the Four Humours, the evolution of the theories, and the legacy of the four Humours. The four Humours each represent different qualities and “problems” found within people. The four Humours names are sanguine, choleric, melancholic, and phlegmatic. The basic theory is that one’s body contains all of these four elements (Strathern 34). When they are balanced, one is considered healthy. But if one has too much of a single Humor, he/she will have undesired personality traits. They are each connected with a pair of different temperatures; hot, dry, cold, and moist. Sanguine is hot and moist, choleric is hot and dry, melancholic is cold and dry, and phlegmatic is cold and moist (Strathern 35). When bad personality traits occur, it will be connected with an excessive amount of a Humour. Also, different sicknesses were related to having too much of a specific Humour. The symptoms of the sicknesses were blood, yellow bile, black bile, and phlegm respectively. This was treated by herbal remedy that would use substance with the opposite temperature. There were also different procedures for the evening out of the bile’s. The Four Humours were related to the four natural elements of the world; earth, water, fire, and air. Sanguine...
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