Temperaments in traditional medicine

Temperaments in traditional medicine

If you look at the study sources of herbalist (especially traditional Persian and Greek medicine), you will see that one of the key concepts in them is “temperament”.

Traditional medicine doctors classify patients’ temperament in the first step of treatment.

In this article, we will examine the types of temperaments and point out the characteristics, related diseases, as well as the treatment and diet related to each one.

Temperaments in traditional medicine

What is temperament in traditional medicine?

Temperaments in traditional medicine: Before defining temperament, it is necessary to explain some points about the expressions of traditional medicine. Since traditional medicine is rooted in thousands of years of experience, its epistemological principles have changed constantly.

Traditional medicine can be examined on two levels: 1) Assumptions, which are derived from the experimental sciences and philosophy, and 2) functions, which are the result of practical experience of physicians.

In other words, there are assumptions in traditional medicine that may not be compatible with the experimental sciences today.

However based on these assumptions, functions and prescriptions have been formed that prove their effectiveness in practice.

In fact, traditional medicine assumptions are used today more as a criterion for classifying patients and treatments rather than as a scientific or philosophical method for explaining the world.

By this interpretation, when we speak of “temperament” today, we do not mean a philosophical explanation, but a way of classifying people with similar characteristics according to the instructions of traditional medicine.

Traditional medicine basic terminology

Here we need to get acquainted with a few terms in traditional medicine.

From the point of view of traditional medicine, the constituent elements of the world and the human body are the following four elements, in other words, the primary components of the human and the world are:

A) Fire, which is hot and dry.

B) Air, which is hot and wet.

C) Water, which is cold and wet.

D) Soil, which is cold and dry.

Temperaments in Traditional Medicine

Temperaments in traditional medicine

These categories have long been popular among traditional and herbal healers.

The great Greek sage Socrates categorized all foods into four categories: hot, cold, dry, and wet, and believed that health is the result of balance in these four elements.

After him, another Greek sage, Galen, formulated his theory of “the four elements.”

Centuries later, the great Iranian scientist Aviccena organized the findings of the ancient sages in this field and expressed them along with his theories and findings in a book called “Qhanoon”.

Traditional healers believe that there is absolutely no balance temperament at all, and that everyone is more or less overwhelmed by one of these temperaments.

Therefore, perfect temperaments in which the four elements are perfectly balanced are rarely found.

In general, people have one of these temperaments: choleric (hot and dry), sanguine (hot and wet), phlegmatic (cold and wet) melancholic (cold and dry).

The importance of temperamentology in traditional medicine Temperament is a key concept in traditional medicine. Temperament indicates the extent to which each of the four elements of nature is present in the body.

No two human beings have the same temperament, just as no two fingerprints are the same.

According to this theory, in a clinical classification, healthy and sick people are divided into 9 different groups by considering symptoms such as face color, body temperature, pulse characteristics, physical and mental condition, etc. The purpose of this classification is to classify the characteristics of individuals.

Put the people who are most similar to each other in terms of general characteristics in a group and prescribe similar treatments for them.

The important point is that in the basics of traditional medicine, foods and medicines also have a special temperament. Accordingly, all substances consumed by humans fall into one of these six categories; Absolute food, absolute medicine, medicinal food, food medicine, poison medicine and absolute poison.

Therefore, it can be said that the basis of traditional medicine is to know the temperament of people, foods, and medicines.

A traditional medicine doctor can diagnose a patient’s temperament and prescribe a treatment that restores his or her mood.

Different types of temperaments in traditional medicine

Temperaments in Traditional Medicine
Temperaments in traditional medicine

According to ancient physicians, the human body is made of a combination of four elements (water, air, soil, fire).

If the amount and proportion of these substances in the body is proportional, the temperament will be moderate.

But if any of these substances exceed the moderate temperament, the person will have that particular temperament. For example, if the amount of bile in a person’s body is higher, the person in question will have a choleric temperament, and so will other temperaments.

The types of temperaments can be determined in a simple way as follows.

1. Hot and dry temperament (Choleric)

2. Hot and wet temperament (Sanguine)

3. Cold and dry temperament (Melancholic)

4. Cold and wet temperament (Phlegmatic)

Characteristics of people with different temperaments

Characteristics of people with different temperaments

Hot and dry temperament (choleric)

Temperaments in traditional medicine: Their face and eyes are usually more or less yellow, their mouths and noses are dry, and their tongues are dry and rough and sometimes bitter.

These people more feel thirsty and have less appetite.

They are thin and learn quickly. They are conscious people and their sleep is light.

They are irritable and quickly become angry and anxious. Their skin is dry.

Their body temperature is high, so they enjoy the cool air and are bothered in hot weather.

Their first morning urine is yellow and sometimes burning.

Their problems intensify in the summer. They walk fast, talk fast, and are usually rash.

People with choleric temperament have the most problems in their health at a young age, and most of these problems occur especially in summer.

Hot and wet temperament (sanguine)

Temperaments in traditional medicine : The temperament of these people is wet and hot and their face color is red and they have large bones.

They feel confused and are usually bored.

They sleep a lot and usually hard. Their problems are greater in the spring.

These people are usually strong, good-natured, talkative and funny, and make others happy.

They are brave and obedient, but they do not learn new things well and soon forget.

Their mouths are sweet and their skin, tongue and eyes are red.

Bleeding from areas such as the nose and gums is common.

Cold and dry temperament (melancholic)

The temperament of these people is cold and dry.

These people have dark and dry skin and their blood is thick.

A lot of worry about what is going on around them and disturbed and gloomy dreams are among the problems of these people.

If the lifestyle and nutrition of these people are not improved, they will suffer from serious psychological problems. Melancholy people are prone to depression.

Burning in the stomach and under the sternum, muscle cramps in the back of the leg, cramps in the throat (as if they constantly feel a ring around their throat), excessive appetite, and dark spots on the skin are common in these people. These people feel better in the spring and their illnesses get worse in the fall.

Cold and wet temperament (phlegmatic)

The temperament of these people is wet and cold, they have white skin.

But sometimes, due to high humidity, the skin under the eyes and under the throat becomes wrinkled.

Excessive salivation, thirst, laziness, belching, and reflux (return of acid from the stomach to the esophagus) are other symptoms of a phlegmatic temperament.

The movements of these people are slow and they talk slowly and they usually lag behind in walking and get tired quickly.

Yogurt and buttermilk and cold-tempered foods bother them.

Excessive sleep, poor memory, clear morning urine are some of the symptoms of this group. The group’s problems intensify in the winter.

Suitable diet for different temperament in traditional medicine

Suitable diet for different temperament in traditional medicine
Temperaments in traditional medicine

It has already been mentioned that foods also have different temperaments, and these temperaments, by combining in human temperament, can affect a person’s body and mind.

Now let’s see what foods traditional medicine prescribes for each temperament.

Foods for hot and dry temperament (choleric):

Harmful foods:

Excessive consumption of garlic, onions, spicy spices, beef, eggplant, bananas, melons, walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, figs, fried foods.

Consumption of this type of food de-balances the body and aggravates symptoms such as dry skin and insomnia, anxiety and heart palpitations.

Useful foods:

oranges, tangerines, apples, carrots, pomegranates, cucumbers, plums, watermelons, barberry, green tomatoes, squash, rhubarb, spinach, barley, lemons, tamarind, lettuce, olive oil.

The pectin in apples and carrots removes bile acids from the body as well as barley soup with chicken, mung bean soup, squash, spinach, almond oil, or rice with spinach, rice milk, verjuice, sumac, lemon syrup, plum syrup, sour and sweet pomegranate juice, tamarind juice, orange syrup, medical beer, honey and vinegar syrup, and cucumber.

Foods for hot and wet temperament (sanguine)

Harmful foods:

Excessive consumption of spicy spices, salty foods, beef, starch, fatty foods, eggs, dates, berries, raisins, mango, almonds, pistachios, bananas, hazelnuts, figs, grapes, garlic, eggplant, meat Sheep, lambs and turkeys.

It is better for these people to eat less hot foods and drinks.

Useful foods: Foods and drinks with a cold temper.

Cool water with a few drops of fresh sour lemon juice, barberry juice, lettuce, cucumber, fruits, especially apple tree with its skin and seeds, pomegranate, tangerine, orange, pear, orange, tamarind, sweet lemon, elm, gourd, plum, barley soup and bread, fresh lemon, salads, olive oil, legumes and grains (such as oats, mung bean and lentils), fruits and vegetables, berries, cherries.

People with a demo temperament are prone to diseases such as headaches, hypersomnia, fatigue, obesity and palpitations if they do not follow the principles of healthy eating.

Foods for cold and dry temperament (melancholic)

Harmful foods:

eggplant, salty foods, beef, goat, ostrich, game meat, cheese, vinegar, frozen foods, oils and processed foods, fast food, dairy, beverages and beer, cabbage, corn, spicy spices, pepper , ginger, sugar, tea, coffee, cocoa, fish, lentils, rice, pickles, gourds, potatoes, tomatoes, mushrooms, beans, sour fruits, sour pomegranates, oranges, strawberries.

These people may suffer from diseases such as insomnia, bloating, dry skin and depression if they do not improve their diet.

Useful foods:

peas, lamb, pigeons, turkeys, egg yolks, wheat, almonds, raisins, figs, apples, cantaloupe, melons, grapes, sweet plums, rice with cumin, dill or saffron, vegetables such as mint, basil, tarragon , Parsley, leeks, carrots, honey, berries, sesame, butter, date or grape juice, and almond oil.

Foods for cold and wet temperament (phlegmatic)

Harmful foods:

Excessive consumption of dairy products, pickles and vinegar, rice, potatoes, pasta, chicken, fish, bread, starch, rice milk, barley soup, sour fruits, tangerines, kiwis, oranges, watermelons, cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes , spinach, bananas, plums, cherries.

People with phlegm may develop digestive problems, joint pain, , and memory loss if they do not modify their diet.

Useful foods:

lamb, pigeon, sparrow, turkey, sweet fruits such as apples, coconuts, figs, pears, raisins, carrots, cumin, saffron, thyme, fennel, shallots, mint, basil, parsley, tarragon, dill, leeks, almonds, honey, flour, grape juice, and dates.

Is the temperament changeable?

Temperaments in traditional medicine, Each person has two types of temperament, one is primary (inherited) and the other is secondary (acquired).

Each person’s main temperament is his or her innate temperament, which he or she inherits from his or her parents.

Of course, a person’s primary temperament may change over time due to poor nutrition, climatic conditions, and lifestyle, so a new temperament called a secondary temperament may develop.

Human temperament changes greatly, but the temperament of animals and plants never changes completely, but changes slightly depending on the weather conditions.

Garlic, for example, has a warm temperament, never having a cold temperament in any geographical area where it is cultivated.

Common diseases in different temperaments

Common diseases in different temperaments

Choleric temperament common disease

Temperaments in Traditional Medicine
  • The body produces a lot of bile
  • Headache
  • Migraine
  • Yellow eyes
  • Vertigo
  • Bitter taste of the mouth
  • Gastric reflux
  • Thirst and burning in the right side of the chest
  • High body temperature
  • Dry skin and skin diseases
  • Anger and anxiety
  • Nightmare in sleep


Fatty and sweet foods aggravate these problems.

Treatment by nutrition:

Pomegranate and black mulberry are the best medicine.

Also, barberry, raspberry, apricot, peach, lettuce, carrot, olive oil, sesame, apple, pear, barley soup, squash, mushroom feed, squash, spinach, coriander, peas, lentils, and lemon.

Melancholic temperament common diseases

Temperaments in Traditional Medicine
  • Spleen diseases
  • Salty taste of the mouth
  • Bad breath
  • Nightmare
  • Depression and fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Severe constipation
  • Burning when urinating
  • Nausea
  • Dark skin color
  • Heartburn
  • Skin rash
  • Cracking of the skin


Processed foods and salty foods

Treatment by nutrition

Hot and wet food, barley soup (with a little ginger and saffron), honey, berries, figs, dates, cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, saffron

Phlegmatic temperament common diseases

Temperaments in Traditional Medicine
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • immune system diseases
  • Sour taste of the mouth
  • Parkinson’s and tremors in limbs
  • Digestive problems
  • Muscle cramps
  • Drowsiness
  • heart beat
  • Cough
  • Forgetting


Dairy products, pickles and vinegar increase phlegm.

Treatment by nutrition

Meat (camel, sheep, pigeon, sparrow), spices (cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cumin, saffron, garlic), vegetables (celery, mint, basil, parsley, tarragon), cabbage, carrots, pumpkin, lemon, wheat, pea

Phlegmatic temperament common diseases

Sanguine temperament common diseases

Temperaments in Traditional Medicine
  • Confusion
  • nap
  • Lack of mental focus
  • Itching
  • Acne
  • Bleeding gums
  • Anxiety


Overeating boosts sanguine temperament.

Treatment by nutrition

Fasting (milk soil, basil seeds), natural pickles (chard, barberry, sour lemon, orange juice), barley soup, barley bread, salad with olive oil and lemon juice before meals, vegetables, and fruits

Of course, the patients related to each temperament are much wider than the ones mentioned here.

Also, the relationships between these temperaments, the effect of different foods and drugs, as well as the effect of temperaments on different organs of the body are very wide.

The traditional medicine discipline clarifies these dimensions.

In this article, we tried to briefly acquaint you with the approach of traditional medicine and different temperaments. You can consult a traditional medicine doctor online to diagnose your temperament.


Temperaments in traditional medicine

If we know our temperament properly, and follow a proper diet, we will prevent many diseases.

Many diseases are due to upsetting the balance of the body and overcoming one of the temperaments.

Despite the significant advances that modern medicine has made in the development of chemotherapy, surgery, and disease diagnosis, it also seems to have neglected critical aspects including a holistic view of the human body and the world, drawing on the accumulated experience of traditional medicine over thousands of years (which has proven its effectiveness in practice), and attention to healthy nutrition based on the physical condition and temperament of individuals.

In addition to improving people’s diet to change their lifestyle, traditional medicine can also prescribe herbal medicines to cure acute diseases.

Traditional medicine drugs, as mentioned earlier, can be toxic, so they must be just prescribed by a doctor.

Contact us for more information and online traditional medicine consultation.

A traditional doctor can diagnose your temperament by asking some questions and can treat you with advice on changing your diet, changing your lifestyle, and prescribing herbal remedies if needed.

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