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The Beliefs of Humors in Medieval Medicine

During the Medieval time period, few advances were made in the field of medicine and surgery. The belief in humors affecting ones health during the Middle Ages was responsible for the way health care was carried out.

Practitioners in Medieval Europe believed in the existence of four humors: sanguine, choler, phlegm, and melancholy. The physicians thought that illness was caused, primarily, by an imbalance of the humors (Wallace).

Each of the four humors was given specific qualities. Choler was dry and hot, melancholy was dry and cold, sanguine was moist and hot, and phlegm was moist and cold. Another property sometimes associated with the humors was color. Such as red for sanguine, and yellow for choler. This association of color and humors eventually became known as the Doctrine of Signatures which taught that "the color of flowers and other properties of plants indicated their usefulness in treating particular diseasesaE...

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The Beliefs of Humors in Medieval Medicine. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 14:11, July 30, 2015, from