Four Homours

Four Homours Theory

History Of Four Homours

The idea of the Four Humours became popular in ancient Greece from about 400BC. It was probably developed by Hippocrates. The Theory of the Four Humours was an important development in medical knowledge which originated in the works of Aristotle.

Later on, a Roman named Galen would add to Hippocrates' work. While Hippocrates focused on health and disease connections to the humors, Galen would add to it by connecting a person's temperament and personality to imbalances in their humors.

At that time Greek thinkers were beginning to explain events in the world around them naturally rather than supernaturally - they looked for explanations in the world around them rather blaming gods and spirits. These ideas were then applied to medicine.

The Greeks believed that all things were made of four elements: air, water, fire and earth. These elements were also linked to the four seasons. Hippocrates and other Greek practitioners argued that the balance of the four humours would be most effected in those particular seasons.

Iranian and Muslim scholars translated these Greek's text into Persian and Arabic. The Muslim doctors used these texts to eliminate their shortcomings. After several years, due to the development of traditional medicine in Muslim countries, this medicine came to Europe again and aligned with the spread of modern medicine.

The theory of the Four Humours was an important step forward because it encouraged doctors to look for natural causes of disease and to provide natural treatments. For example, if someone has a fever, they would have been thought to have had too much blood in their body. The logical cure therefore is to 'bleed' the patient. Use of the Four Humours as a diagnostic tool would result in doctors looking for symptoms: the first time that clinical observation of a patient was recorded.

Four Homours Theory

What Were The Four Humors?

The four fluids are:

  • Blood
  • Yellow Bile
  • Black Bile
  • Phlegm

Each humor would increase and decrease depending on many factors, such as what you eat, the time of year, the temperature, your gender, and the time of day. If a person had an excess or an insufficient amount of a humor, this would lead to an imbalance, and a there would be a predictable change in the ill person.

Each Humour Had Its Own Characteristics:

Blood was the humour of spring, passion, air and childhood

Yellow bile belonged to summer, anger, fire and youth

Black bile was linked to a autumn, earth and adulthood

Phlegm was associated with winter, water and old age

The humours had so many characteristics that they became useful for explaining many aspects of daily life.

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