The concepts of Temperament, Humors and lifestyle have a common denominator—the qualities of heat, moistness, coldness and dryness. To remain healthy, the qualities associated with the Temperament of the individual needs to be in line with the overall qualities of the Humors and the individual. A lifestyle with opposite qualities to that of your Temperament should be chosen to maintain an equilibrium that is conducive to health maintenance and disease prevention. Disease or ill health can ensue if there is a change in the qualities, or if the quantitative ratio of the Humors is not in line with the qualities required by the Temperament of an individual.

Everything in the universe is made up of elements with their unique qualities: Earth (Cold & Dry), Water (Cold & Moist), Air (Hot & Moist) and Fire (Hot & Dry). The effect of the qualities on human beings, as well as all living organisms, is an important consideration in Traditional Persian Medicine (TPM).

According to the philosophy of (TPM), the qualities of heat and coldness are active qualities, whereas moistness and dryness are passive qualities. To understand the influence that these qualities have on us, it is necessary to understand their interaction in nature. This is illustrated below; the quality of heat is opposite to the quality of coldness, and moistness opposite to dryness:

THE EAST TO WEST LIFESTYLE CO - Persian-inspired Cosmetics and Wellbeing
THE EAST TO WEST LIFESTYLE CO - Persian-inspired Cosmetics and Wellbeing

Opposite qualities cannot exist simultaneously. Nothing can be Hot & Cold at the same time, nor Moist & Dry. In addition, the shift between opposing qualities is always gradual and never rapid or abrupt. For example, the cold of the winter is never followed immediately by the heat of summertime. The gradual transition between opposite qualities minimises the negative effects of a sudden change to plants, animals, and humans. This results in the intermediate states of Hot & Moist, Cold & Moist, Cold & Dry, Hot & Dry.

THE EAST TO WEST LIFESTYLE CO - Persian-inspired Cosmetics and Wellbeing
THE EAST TO WEST LIFESTYLE CO - Persian-inspired Cosmetics and Wellbeing

Qualities form the basis of interpreting diagnosis and treatment; this is further elaborated on in the TPM principles of Temperament, Humour, Lifestyle Habits and Illnesses and Conditions.

Our digestion and how we produce the four humors

There are three aspects of the way we metabolise food that produce the humors: digestion, assimilation and residue. Digestion refers to the initial breakdown of foods in the mouth and stomach. Assimilation refers to the absorption of micronutrients in the bloodstream and cells. The evacuation of residue implies the amount of waste products after the body metabolises the food.

The humors are produced as the food and drink we consume and chew transforms into innate heat, acting as our fuel and energy to function healthily. As we chew our food, the enzymes in our saliva and grinding from our teeth help to create a type of heat that helps to breakdown the nutrients. As we then swallow, the food enters the stomach where hydraulic acid (an intense heat) further breaks down the solids into something called ‘Chyme’ –  the essence of food. This fluid then travels to the liver where the finer parts are made into blood and the other valuable nutrient components are carried around the body giving us life.

Digestion means that our nourishment is changed inside our body by natural heat until it becomes a part of the body or is eliminated.

In Traditional Persian Medicine, the four main organs are:

  • Heart
  • Brain
  • Liver
  • Ovaries / Testicles
THE EAST TO WEST LIFESTYLE CO - Persian-inspired Cosmetics and Wellbeing

Our Body and The  Four Primary Humors

Your mouth consumes food and drink