The theory of humours revisited

International Journal of Development Research

Article ID: 
6 pages
Research Article

The theory of humours revisited

Prof. Rashid Bhikha and Dr. John Glynn


The Humoral Theory held sway for more than two thousand years, as it offered a rational and understandable model for the workings of the human body in both health and disease. It incorporated the concepts of the elements (fire, water, air, and earth) and the qualities (heat, coldness, moistness and dryness) which offered a viable explanation of both the microcosm (the body) and the microcosm (the environment). It also merged with the constructs related to the person’s temperament and lifestyle, and offered valuable clinical support in diagnosis, treatment, and recuperation. It fitted seamlessly into treatment modes such as phytotherapy, cupping, massage, and hydrotherapy. The Humoral Theory was ultimately superseded by the doctrine of specific aetiology, more popularly known as the Germ Theory. Even so, many aspects of the Humoral Theory are still relevant today, especially in the fields of physiology, neurochemistry, and personality research.

Download PDF: