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It was copied from greek medicine .net for personal reading.. …

It was copied from greek medicine .net for personal reading..
it will help u 2 trace retrospectively to origin of medicine

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  • 1. WHAT IS GREEK MEDICINE? BASIC PRINCIPLES OF NATURAL HEALING IN GREEK MEDICINE HOW TO USE THIS WEBSITE Greek Medicine is the traditional, indigenous holistic healing system of Western civilization. It was first codified and systematized by the Greek philosopher - physician Hippocrates in the 4th century B.C.E. and subsequently developed and expanded by other physicians, most notably Galen, Dioscorides and Avicenna. In the Islamic world, Greek Medicine is known as Unani Medicine or Unani Tibb. "Unani" is the Arabic ord for "Ionian", or Greek. Greek Medicine was the original source and inspiration for many other natural, holistic and alternative medical systems that developed in Europe and the United States in the 18th and 19th centuries, which include homeopathy, naturopathy and chiropractic. The exemplary life and teachings of its founder, Hippocrates have provided a shining source of inspiration to natural healers down through the ages. As a traditional holistic healing system, Greek Medicine has a lot in common with Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda. All these traditional medical systems seek to harmonize the health of the individual with the Universal Life Forces of Nature and the cosmos. Like Ayurveda, Greek Medicine is humorally and constitutionally based. Like Chinese Medicine, Greek Medicine seeks a balance, or homeostasis, between opposite yet complementary forces of Nature. Greek Medicine is also the traditional medical system out of which modern medicine evolved. In the basic notions and concepts of Greek Medicine we can see the fundamental assumptions and orientations that have guided the development of modern medicine. In the Enlightenment and the scientific and industrial revolutions that followed, the natural healing methods of Greek Medicine were gradually abandoned in favor of more synthetic, technological treatments and interventions. Also, the holistic orientation and traditional holistic healing wisdom of Greek Medicine were gradually abandoned in favor of the excessively analytical, reductionistic methods of modern science. Modern man has become increasingly estranged from Nature. Modern technology threatens to overwhem and dehumanize us. A global environmental crisis threatens to annihilate our very existence on this planet and poses unprecedented challenges for the health of the individual. People around the world are desperately searching for something natural to heal their ills. Far from being an irrelevant, obsolete relic of the past, Greek Medicine is needed now more than ever. It's highly ironic that Western man has been increasingly turning to the Orient in recent years for natural healing solutions when Western civilization has at its very roots a fine, outstanding holistic healing system of its own. The basic ideas, philosophies and archetypes that underly Greek Medicine are not foreign but rather indigenous to Western civilization and culture. And so, reviving Greek Medicine as a holistic healing system can have a profound healing and regenerative effect on Western civilization itself, and create a renewed appreciation and respect for our relationship with Nature. Greek Medicine offers a wealth of natural remedies, treatments and therapies to heal body, mind and spirit. Modern medicine would benefit greatly by returning to its traditional Greek roots to recover the natural, holistic perspectives and virtues it has lost. This need not be done in a blind, uncritical manner, but rather with a discerning, integrative approach that synthesizes and combines the best of the old with the best of the new. GREEK MYTHOLOGY Gaia | Apollo | Asclepius | Hygeia | Chiron | Hermes | Achilles | The Asclepions A Gift from the Gods Medicine is and always has been the Divine Art. To primitive man, the ability to heal and cure disease seemed to be magical, even miraculous. The gospels of the New Testament are filled with the miraculous healings of Jesus. Every traditional culture has its gods, demigods, and heroes who are
  • 2. associated with the art of healing. To the ancient Greeks, medicine was a gift from the gods. Greek mythology is full of symbolic legends and allegories explaining the nature and origins of the art of healing. In these myths and the gods and goddesses associated with them, we can find the basic, fundamental archetypes that have guided and shaped the art of healing in Western civilization from its very inception. These archetypes still guide the physician today, and all those who come to him for healing, whether they realize it or not. Greek mythology is a wonderful source of wisdom and inspiration for the physician. By studying the Greek myths, we can gain valuable insights into the nature of health and disease, and the way of the healer. GAIA Mother Earth, Mother Nature The first Greek god was actually a goddess. She is Gaia, or Mother Earth, who created herself out of primordial chaos. From her fertile womb all life sprang, and unto Mother Earth all living things must return after their allotted span of life is over. Gaia, as Mother Nature, personifies the entire ecosystem of Planet Earth. Mother Nature is always working to achieve and maintain harmony, wholeness and balance within the environment. Mother Nature heals, nurtures and supports all life on this planet, and ultimately all life and health depend on Her. In time, Nature heals all ills. The way of Mother Gaia is the passive, feminine, Yin way of healing. All we need to do to regain our health is to return to the bosom of Mother Nature and live in accordance with Her laws. The Gaia archetype underlies all notions of the Nature Cure. Mother Nature is a healing goddess. In the 1960s, James Lovelock formulated the Gaia hypothesis. It states that all life, and all living things on this planet, are part of a single, all-encompassing global entity or consciousness which he named Gaia. It is this global consciousness, Mother Gaia, that makes our planet capable of supporting life, while our near neighbors in the solar system are barren and lifeless. Through the global consciousness of Mother Gaia, all living things on this planet, from their most primordial instincts, are constantly interacting with their environment to ensure the harmony, balance and continuity of Life. Live in abalance with Mother Nature and health and healing are yours; violate Her laws and get out of balance, and you pay the price in suffering and disease. In this sense, all medicine and healing can be seen as a system of ecology. APOLLO The Source of Health and Healing
  • 3. Apollo, a solar deity, was also the god of archery, music and healing. Apollo personifies the active, Yang path to healing through self betterment and physical culture. The solar principle he represents manifests in the body as the Vital Force - that which the Chinese call Qi and the Hindus call Prana. Called The Bright One, Apollo is an eternal youth, and the bringer of enlightenment and higher consciousness to all mankind. Advocating order, balance, harmony, personal discretion and conscious living, Apollo's two basic health mottos are: Know thyself. and, Nothing in excess. Apollo's bow symbolizes the concept of tone and the need for physical conditioning. Tone is the dynamic tension between opposite yet complementary forces within the human organism. The higher the level of tone, the greater this dynamic tension is, and the greater the capacity of the organism to respond with decisiveness, strength, and vigor. When we exercise, we're toning up our muscles; we also feel more vital and alive, responsive and energetic. Stringing Apollo's bow means bringing these powerful opposing forces into the proper relationship or alignment. Until this happens, the system is non-functional, or dysfunctional, and unable to respond properly. Apollo's lyre symbolizes the gift of music, which is the harmony of sounds. To have health and healing, there must be a harmonious ordering of all the vital forces within the organism; all the strings must be in tune. There's a deep therapeutic relationship between music and healing. In Greek mythology, Apollo is acknowledged as the original source of health and healing. He is the first god addressed in the Hippocratic Oath. He was also the father of Asclepius, the god of medicine. ASCLEPIUS
  • 4. God of Medicine All traditional cultures have some personification of the Divine Healer or miracle working physician. The ancient Greeks had Asclepius, the god of medicine. In Homer's Iliad, Asclepius was a man, a physician to soldiers wounded on the battlefield at Troy. But by Hippocrates' day, he had become elevated to the status of a god. Actually, Asclepius was a demigod, born of a divine father,Apollo, and a mortal mother, Coronis. While pregnant with Asclepius, Coronis fell in love with a mortal man and married him. This so angered Apollo that he struck both Coronis and her husband dead. As Coronis' body lay burning on the funeral pyre, Apollo performed the first Caesarian section, freeing the baby Asclepius from his mother's womb and certain death. And so, Asclepius' very birth was due to a heroic act of medical intervention. Apollo then took the infant to be raised by the wise old centaur Chiron, who taught him the art of healing. Asclepius became a great physician and surgeon, and raised the art of medicine to unprecedented heights. The goddess Athena gave Asclepius the gift of Medusa's blood. The blood from the veins on the left side of Medusa's head was for the bane of mankind, but Asclepius used the blood from the veins on the right side for saving mankind and for raising the dead. Asclepius' raising of the dead aroused the wrath of Zeus. Not only was Zeus angered to see many of his old enemies, whom he had struck dead with his thunderbolts, returning to life, but his brother Hades, king of the underworld, was complaining about the dearth of new arrivals. And so, Zeus struck Asclepius dead with one of his thunderbolts, fearing the spread of his miraculous art of healing, especially into the wrong hands. Despite the rumors of his death, Asclepius became a living god. Healing sanctuaries, or Asclepions, were dedicated to him at sacred sites throughout ancient Greece. Asclepius often used the art of divination to obtain responses from his father Apollo through oracles. From these auguries he learned much about the natures of many drugs and herbs, and how to use them in treating disease. This knowledge he passed on to his sons, and to his students. Asclepius is the personification of the miracle working physician of consummate medical skill. This powerful archetype is still invoked today by many patients, desperately praying for their doctor to work them a medical miracle, to snatch life from the jaws of death. Many people place a powerful, almost religious faith in their doctors. While placing a supernatural, blind faith in medicine and physicians, most men actually know very little about life and death, and what they really are. On the whole, their approach to both is rather
  • 5. cursory and superficial. Many men waste their lives away while fearing death, without properly investigating either of them. Asclepius' demise at the hands of Zeus shows the ultimate powerlessness of man against the natural order and the forces of decay, destruction, and death. Even the most skillful physician cannot hold death off indefinitely, and in the end, the grim reaper always claims his due. HYGEIA Goddess of Sanitation and Hygiene Hygeia, the goddess of health, sanitation and hygiene, was the stepdaughter of Asclepius. She was worshipped alongside Asclepius in all his healing sanctuaries, or Asclepions. Since ancient times, healers have noticed the close relationship between cleanliness and health. Pestilence and disease flourish where filth and impurities accumulate. Cleanse the body, both inwardly and outwardly, through diet, exercise, lifestyle and physical regimen, and most diseases are greatly ameliorated, or vanish of their own accord. Personifying the value of diet and hygiene in health maintenance and disease prevention, Hygeia is the antithesis and complement to Asclepius. We look to Asclepius for medical miracles in times of crisis, nut first let us do all we can to maintain our health and prevent disease ourselves. The body has amazing powers of self healing if we keep it clean and live in accordance with Nature's laws. In his book, Spontaneous Healing, Dr. Andrew Weil categorizes various approaches to the art of medicine as being either predominantly Asclepian or Hygeian. Most natural, holistic, alternative medical systems are in the Hygeian camp, whereas modern medicine is overwhelmingly Asclepian. The Hygeian approach, he maintains, is ultimately the most positive and empowering. Hippocrates wasn't a fanatic or idealogue; he was, above all, eminently pragmatic, and believed in common sense to use whatever worked, and was most appropriate to the case at hand. But even though he believed in timely and heroic intervention where necessary, he was, in the balance, more Hygeian in his approach. CHIRON Father of the Medical Art Chiron is the father of the medical art in Greek mythology, for without him there would be no medicine. It was Chiron, the wise old Centaur, who taught the art of healing to Asclepius and others. Chiron was the good centaur - sober and civilized, and not at all given to rowdiness and drunken revelry like the others. Chiron was certainly wiser than men, whom he surpassed in justice; and sometimes, he was even wiser than the gods. One day when Hercules, one of his pupils, was visiting Chiron, they were examining one of his arrows. One of them fell on Chiron's thigh, inflicting an agonizing wound. The wound was so painful that Chiron wanted to die, but, being immortal, he couldn't.
  • 6. After Hercules released Prometheus, whom Zeus had imprisoned for giving the gift of fire to man, Chiron wiilingly gave up his life and consented to die in Prometheus' place. The genial centaur Chiron had renounced immortality, taught man the art of medicine, reared many famous disciples, and surpassed men in justice, conscientiousness and dilligence. In recognition of these monumental accomplishments, Chiron was immortalized after his death and accorded a place amongst the stars, in the constellation Centaurus. Chiron embodies the spirit of compassion and selfless service that all good physicians must have to master and practice the medical art. Through his supreme sacrifice, willingly given, Chiron gave mankind the art of healing. Chiron's agonizing woulnd symbolizes the transformative power of illness and affliction. Through pain and suffering, our personal wounds, both psychic and physical, can transform themselves into sources of great moral and spiritual strength. HERMES And His Magic Wand Hermes, the messenger god on Mount Olympus, had a magic wand called a Caduceus, which was given to him by Apollo. The Caduceus is a rod or staff framed by two intertwined snakes; at the top of the staff are two wings. The Caduceus symbolizes the spinal column, the central conduit for the Psychic Force, or nerve energy, which animates all the organs and members of the body. The places where the snakes cross represent the spinal energy centers or chakras of the subtle body. The two snakes represent the two complementary halves of the nervous system: motor and sensory, sympathetic and parasympathetic. For optimal functioning of the nervous system, these complementary halves must be balanced. Hermes, also called Mercury by the Romans, is sometimes pictured as a hermaphrodite, or a person who is half male and half female. So it is with the nervous system; it is neither emissive/masculine/Yang, nor is it receptive/feminine/Yin, because it incorporates both principles, or polarities. The essence of the nervous system is communication, and Hermes, or Mercury, is the god of communication, transportation, and commerce. Greek mythology also depicts Hermes as a clever trickster, sent out on missions by Zeus and other Olympian gods to do their dirty work. And so, Hermes symbolizes the Mercurial adaptability of the mind, which must survive by living by its wits and ingenuity. Esoterically speaking, the two intertwining snakes of the Caduceus symbolize the lunar Ida and solar Pingala channels of yogic philosophy, which must be cleared and balanced in order for the
  • 7. kundalini energy, or serpent power, to ascend from the base of the spine to the crown, producing enlightenment. In the Western esoteric tradition, this is called the Alchemical Marriage. Snakes also have a profound symbolic significance in science, medicine and healing. The snake, which periodically molts, or sheds its skin, is a symbol of healing, regeneration and renewal. In ancient Greece snakes, which move about without any visible means of support or locomotion, were considered to be the wisest and cleverest of all animals. Asclepius' staff has only one snake entwined around it, which symbolizes healing, regeneration, and the consummate skill of the medical art. Hermes' Caduceus has two intertwined snakes, which, in addition to all the above, also represent the need for balance, or homeostasis, for optimum health maintenance and disease prevention. It seems as if snakes were also solar symbols. Apollo, who gave the Caduceus to Hermes, is often pictured with snakes. And the staff of Asclepius, son of Apollo, has a snake entwined around it. The sun, as the source of all Life and energy in our universe, is deeply connected with healing and the expression of vitality and wellbeing in general. ACHILLES And His Vulnerable Heel Achilles was a powerful hero in Homer's Iliad, and undoubtedly the greatest warrior on the battlefield at Troy. In his youth, he had been a pupil of Chiron. When Achilles was just an infant, his mother immersed him in the river Styx, which separates the land of the living from the land of the dead, to confer on him immortality, and to make him invincible in battle. But when doing this, she committed a grave error. Through her oversight and negligence, she held Achilles by his left heel when immersing him in the river Styx, and forgot to immerse his heel as well. And so, in spite of his great power and strength, and unsurpassed skill and prowess in battle, Achilles remained with one weak or vulnerable spot, his left heel, which was ultimately to prove fatal. In the final battle of the Trojan War, as Troy was being sacked and burned by marauding Greek soldiers, Achilles was shot in his left heel with a poisoned arrow, which finally killed him. We all have our weak or vulnerable areas, our Achilles' heels. Even someone who may outwardly appear to be all-powerful, or even invincible, isn't without a weak spot, or Achilles' heel. We may seem to be impervious to all harm until an injury, microbe or other pathogenic factor comes along that has the ability to specifically target or exploit our weak spot, or Achilles' heel. As the myth of Achilles so aptly symbolizes, our vulnerable areas, or Achilles' heels, are usually either genetic, or handed down from our parents; or the result of some prior denial, neglect, or other
  • 8. unconscious behavior; or both. It would greatly benefit all of us to take a long, hard look at our vulnerable areas and consider carefully what we can do to ameliorate, remedy or eradicate them. But all too often, it's much easier to take the path of least resistance and fail to do anything significant or decisive, thereby allowing the vulnerable area to fester and grow. The morbid humors, toxins and microbes that cause chronic and degenerative diseases are basically opportunistic in nature; their inherent tendency is to seek out or gravitate towards the weak spots or vulnerable areas of the organism, where they focus their attacks and become entrenched. This is another important reason why we should make every effort to strengthen, vitalize and shore up our weak spots, or areas of vulnerability. THE ASCLEPIONS Sanctuaries of Healing The roots of healing and medicine in ancient Greece lie in religion and spirituality. Asclepius, the Divine Physician, was worshipped as a god, and supplications were made to him for healing. Healing sanctuaries called Asclepions, dedicated to the god of medicine, were established throughout Greece, usually in settings of awe-inspiring natural beauty and scenic grandeur. The main Asclepion was in Epidaurus, with important branches in Cos and Pergamum. There, physician - priests practiced a kind of spiritual healing centered around dream therapy on patient - pilgrims, who came seeking a healing intercession from the Divine Physician. The preliminary treatment for admission into the Asclepions was Katharsis, or purification. It consisted of a series of cleansing baths and purgations, accompanied by a cleansing diet, which lasted several days. Then the supplicant was admitted into the sanctuary proper to participate in the Asclepian rites. Offerings were made, usually in the form of gold, silver, or marble sculptures of the body part to be healed. Sometimes, coins were tossed into a sacred spring. The priest invoked suggestive prayers to the supplicant, and also included accounts of previous cures, to put him into a positive and receptive frame of mind. Then the supplicant entered the Abaton or dream incubation chamber for one or more nights, to receive a healing dream from Asclepius. If the patient - pilgrim was lucky, he would receive a personal visitation from the Divine Physician himself, who would either heal the supplicant directly in the dream state, or tell him what to do to cure his illness or affliction. Other dreams were less direct, and more symbolic. The physician - priests at the Asclepions were also master dream interpreters who would divine the treatment to be followed from the patient's
  • 9. account of the dream. The god Asclepius had certain totem animals in whose guise he liked to visit the supplicants as they slept. These were the dog, the rooster, and of course, the snake. From the ancient Greek Asclepions comes the concept of the healing retreat or sanctuary, the sanitarium where people go to take the Nature Cure. You can find their descendants in the health spas that are so popular throughout Europe. Sometimes these even have an overtly religious character, as in the healing sanctuary at Lourdes. Today, modern scientists praise and emphasize Hippocrates' establishment of medicine as a rational science and his freeing of it from the shackles of magic and the supernatural. But the fact remains that Hippocrates' father was a physician - priest in the Asclepion at Cos, where the young Hippocrates got his first practical experience and training in the art of healing and caring for the sick. Even the great physician Galen received a lot of his early training and instruction in medicine from the physician - priests at the Asclepion in Pergamum. INTRODUCTION Life is short, the Art long... Hippocrates In these first few words of his first aphorism, Hippocrates places the life of the individual physician against the panoramic backdrop of medical history for a sense of humility and perspective. The practice of medicine stretches all the way back into the misty dawn of time. What any individual physician can hope to learn and master in relation to the entirety of medical knowledge collected throughout human history is indeed miniscule by comparison. The vast expanse of medical history is indeed a panoramic landscape filled not only with deep valleys, but also numerous exalted peaks. Some paths of medical experience and development have proven to be blind alleys, while others have been extremely fruitful. Above all is the impressive ingenuity, persistence and resourcefulness of man in his ongoing struggle against disease. Modern man can easily lull himself into a sense of chauvinism and condescension, thinking that he is living in the best of all possible worlds and times. He also tends to belittle or downplay the medical accomplishments of the past. Instead, we should go back, seek them out, and try to learn from them with an open mind. As the drawbacks of modern technological medicine become increasingly self-evident, there is an increasing need to think outside the box to search for innovative solutions. Past civilizations and cultures, with their radically different perspectives on Life, may also hold the key to providing refreshing new answers and solutions to the medical problems and challenges we now face. For all its tremendous accomplishments, modern medicine isn't without its failures and shortcomings: Many of its methods and treatments are unnatural and invasive, and try to suppress or subvert the natural defensive and recuperative responses of the organism, which can only deplete and compromise the overall health and vitality of the body in the long run. We should go back to Hippocrates and learn again how to work with nature, not against it. Many synthetic pharmaceutical drugs have numerous negative side effects, even when used and prescribed properly, because they're not metabolized in a natural, balanced way by the organism. Many infectious microbes are now resistant to antibiotics, which were once hailed as the "wonder drugs" of modern medicine, mainly because they've been overused and overprescribed. Natural remedies and treatments from the past don't have these drawbacks, and are generally safer and gentler.
  • 10. Technology can truly be a great blessing to modern medicine where it is truly necessary and cost effective. But a lot of modern medical technology is prohibitively expensive, and is driving the cost of healthcare way up and out of sight. "Low tech", or traditional alternatives are usually much cheaper, and are often just as effective. Because of their great cost effectiveness, the United Nations has supported and endorsed the use of traditional medical systems and their natural remedies and treatments, especially in impoverished Third World countries. Insurance companies in the industrialized nations are also recognizing this cost effectiveness, and are now starting to pay for traditional medical treatments like acupuncture. Like the great medical systems of China and India, Greek Medicine is a traditional healing system with a lot to offer to relieve the illness and suffering of modern man. It was also the traditional medical system from which modern medicine evolved. By studying its history and development and how it evolved into modern medicine, we can begin to understand the true nature of healing and gain a sense of perspective that lifts us above the fray of current medical politics and propaganda. So, what are the historical accomplishments of Greek Medicine, and how can they benefit us today? Read on! EGYPTIAN ROOTS The Origins of Greek Medicine The ancient Greeks didn't invent the art of medicine; rather, they had a large body of preexisting medical lore and knowledge to draw on. Their distinctive genius lay in their ability to distill and refine all this medical knowledge into a new systematization and synthesis. Most medical historians now agree that the main source and reservoir of medical knowledge that the ancient Greeks drew upon came from Egypt, whose civilization was already old and well-established as the Golden Age of classical Greece was dawning. But exactly how this medical knowledge was transmitted from Egypt to Greece is still disputed. Many medical scholars maintain that the Minoan civilization on Crete served as the intermediary in this transmission. But two other figures also stand out in this regard: Pythagoras and Thales. Pythagoras is known to have traveled widely, and Thales received his medical training in Egypt. As with Greek Medicine, the origins of Egyptian Medicine lie in religion and spirituality. The Egyptian god of medicine was Imhotep, whose basic role and function roughly corresponded to that of Asclepius. Prayers and supplications were made to him and other gods for healing intercessions, and it was believed that the gods intervened in matters of health and disease. In spite of these religious origins, Egyptian Medicine was mostly rational and scientific. Blood was considered to be an important nutritive and regulatory substance, and the heart was considered to be the center of the circulatory system. The influence of respiratory patterns on blood circulation was also widely recognized.
  • 11. The ancient Egyptians wrote many medical papyri, which were filled with medical recipes that were attributed to Imhotep, the legandary god and founder of their medical system. Other medical papyri discuss the effects of various drugs and the classification and systematization of diseases and their symptoms. The most famous of these medical papyri is the Ebers Papyrus. The personal hygiene of the ancient Egyptians was impeccable. They bathed twice a day and anointed themselves with perfumes and medicated oils. They boiled their water to sterilize it before drinking, and never ate pork, as it was considered to be unclean. For similar reasons, women never engaged in sex during their menstrual periods. Specialists abounded for just about every field of medical practice. Each part of the body had its own specialist who attended to it. RE-HIPPOCRATIC PHYSICIANS The Foundations of Greek Medicine Of all the forerunners of Hippocrates,Pythagoras was certainly the most fabled and legendary. His life is the provinde of legends, myth and miracles. Pythagoras had a famous school for philosophers at Crotona, and many were his pupils. Pythagoras was a mathematician, and believed in the harmony of numbers. He discovered the whole number ratios at work in musical scales and intervals, and their healing effects on the organism. And so, Pythagoras' name is frequently invoked by music therapists. Pythagoras was indeed a seminal thinker, but because his life is so shrouded in myth and legend, it's hard to say with any degree of certainty exactly which basic concepts of Greek Medicne were actually his. Many feel that the concepts of critical days, and perhaps even the basic notion of the humors, may have originated with him. Pythagoras kept a very strict diet and health regimen, and many way that he was a lifelong vegetarian. Believing that meat eating impaired one's faculty of judgement, he advised judges to abstain from eating meat before trying important cases. As a mystic, Pythagoras believed inmetempsychosis, which is reincarnation, or the transmigration of souls. The theory of the Four Elements is generally attributed toEmpedocles. According to this theory, everything in the universe, including the human body, is composed of the Four Elements: Fire, Air, Earth and Water - in varying proportions. Empedocles had a theory of building up, or synthesis (anabolism) versus breaking down, or analysis (catabolism). The physician's job was to assess the patient to see which aspect of metabolism predominated, and then bring them back into balance. Another Four Element theorist was Thales, who had a theory of biogenesis. Reasoning that everything that now exists had to come from something, he tried to figure out what was the original source element for all life. After some thought, he concluded that it must have been Water. This is more than just wild speculation; biologists now agree that all biochemical reactions essential to life must take place in water, and that all life evolved out of the primordial oceans. As a physician, Thales received his medical training in Egypt. In order to bring Greek medical
  • 12. theory more into line with that of Egyptian Medicine, Thales proposed adding a fourth humor, black bile. This brought the humors into line with the Four Elements. Alcmaeon of Crotona was a younger contemporary of Pythagoras, and quite possibly his disciple as well. He had a theory of isonomia, which means the perfect harmony of all substances in the metabolism. The body was healthy as long as this metabolic harmony was maintained; disease resulted from its disruption. Disease was cured by restoring metabolic balance and harmony to the organism. Modern nutritionists and physiologists see in isonomia the precursor of all modern metabolic theory. More specifically for Greek Medicine, humoral physiology and pathology evolved from the concept of isonomia. Greek Medicine, as codified and systematized by Hippocrates, came together from many diverse strands of scientific, medical and philosophical thought. This rich diversity of conceptual background has given Greek Medicine much resiliency, versatility and adaptability as a medical system, and openness to continued growth and change. ALCHEMY AND MEDICINE Healing and Transformation Today, we tend to dismiss the alchemists as nothing more than dubious hucksters and impractical dreamers whose sole mission was a misguided search for ways to transform base metals into gold. But actually, they were much more than that; as the forerunners of modern chemists they originated many chemical processing methods that are still in use today. One of the key areas of human endeavor that the alchemists were involved in was medicine. The essence of medicine is transformation, and the alchemists transformed deadly poisons or otherwise inert organic substances into valuable medicines capable of bringing about beneficial healing transformations in the organism. Alchemical practices and currents of thought can be found in all the world's great traditional medical systems. In Chinese Medicine, the Taoists were involved in alchemy. In Indian Ayurvedic Medicine, alchemical bhasmas,or mineral ash preparations, are wonder drugs that are still in use today. The alchemical tradition in Greek Medicine is based on Hermetic philosophy, which was founded by the legendary Egyptian philosopher kingHermes Trimegistus, or the "Thrice-Great Hermes". Many alchemists equate him with the Greek god Hermes or Mercury, and take his winged, serpent-entwined staff as their symbol or emblem. The guiding principle of Hermetic philosophy is, "As above, so below; as within, so without." In its overal form, structure and composition, the microcosm of the human body reflects the macrocosm of Nature. Disease and dysfunction arise when the microcosm of the human body gets out of balance with the macrocosm of Nature; healing consists of bringing the microcosm of the human body back
  • 13. into balance with the macrocosm of Nature. Hermetic philosophy also underlies the science and practice of Medical Astrology. The planets symbolize universal life forces and processes that are active both in the macrocosm of the natural world and within the microcosm of the human body. Being intermediaries between God, the Prime Mover, and the world of Man and Nature, the planets and signs of the zodiac deal with the pure forms, or archetypes, that underly all the changing forms and transitory phenomena of the outer world. GRECO-ROMAN MEDICINE The Classical Era Greek Medicine was codified, systematized, and put into its classical form by Hippocrates, who is best remembered for the theory of the Four Humors. The basic principles of natural healing in Greek Medicine given in the introduction to this website are the key tenets upon which Hippocrates based his medical philosophy. Anatomical knowledge wasn't the strong point of Hippocratic medicine. Anatomy literally means, "cutting up", or the dissecting of bodies to reveal their various parts and structures. In ancient Greece, there was a religious ban on the dissecting of cadavers. Rather, the forte of classical Greek Medicine was its understanding of physiology, or how the living, breathing human organism as a whole relates and responds to its environment, and how it functions to ensure its health, survival and wellbeing. This gave Greek Medicine a holistic orientation. Hippocrates laid the theoretical foundation for Greek Medicine, which was further elaborated, expanded and added to by other physicians and philosophers. These included Plato, Aristotle and Galen. Plato was a spiritually oriented philosopher who was vitally interested in the relationship between soul, mind and body. His ideas on anatomy and physiology were basically teleological - that the human body and all its constituent parts were fashioned by their Creator to serve as a vehicle for the indwelling soul, or psyche, with the lower functions serving the higher in a hierarchy of form following function. Plato believed that all physical forms and entities were reflections of pure forms or ideas called archetypes which existed in the eternal, spiritual realm. The physical world of becoming was but a transitory and imperfect reflection of the spiritual world of being. Aristotle was much more materialistic than his teacher Plato, and injected a spirit of rationalism, empiricism and healthy skepticism into Greek science and medicine. Ever the curious student and observer of Nature, Aristotle wrote voluminously on all the sciences, and could be called the Father of Modern Science. Through the conquests of his pupil, Alexander the Great, Greek Medicine spread far and wide, throughout the entire Mediterranean world and beyond. An important medical school was established in Alexandria in Egypt, which served to transmit Greek Medicine to the Romans after they conquered Egypt in 33 B.C.E. The Alexandrian school called itself theEmpirical School, and everything was open to testing and experimentation. For a brief period, the religious ban on dissecting cadavers was lifted, and Herophilus performed the first postmortem examination on a dead body in public around 300 B.C.E. The famous library in Alexandria housed the collection of writings attributed to Hippocrates, or the Hippocratic Corpus. Not all the writings in the Corpus were genuinely written by Hippocrates; many were written by his students. Within the Hippocratic Corpus are many original, pioneering works, such as Airs, Waters and Places, which is probably the the first known treatise on medical
  • 14. geography and climatology. Other works, such as Hippocrates' Aphorisms and The Nature of Man, are perennial favorites. The early Romans were a simple, stoic lot who didn't like to rely on doctors; rather, their prescription for a healthy life was a simple diet of good, wholesome food, personal cleanliness and hygiene, and plenty of hard work and exercise. But as the Roman empire grew and life became more complex, the demand for doctors and their services increased. Ambitious physicians from all over the empire, eager for fame and fortune, poured in to Rome. The most famous and highly reputed physicians were Greek, many of whom had been trained in Alexandria. However, a few of them, like Celsus, were Roman by birth. The Romans, with their genius for governing an empire, were masters of public health. They installed long aqueducts and sophisticated plumbing systems in Rome and other major cities throughout the empire, and drained swamps and marshlands near crowded urban areas to prevent the germination and spread of pestilential diseases like malaria. Public healthcare was offered at low cost or free of charge, since the ancient Romans realized the benefits that would accrue to the empire by keeping all its citizens healthy. The Romans were also great devotees of the bath. Roman emperors vied with each other to see who could build the most luxurious, splendid public baths, which were also a pleasant way to relax after a hard day's work. Everywhere they went, the Romans took their baths with them, even to the farthest outposts of the empire. The Roman baths in Bath, England are still popular tourist attractions, and Baile Herculane (the Bath of Hercules) in Dacia (present day Romania) is a popular spa resort to this day. The two brightest stars in the Roman medical firmament were Galen and Dioscorides, both of whom were Greeks. They were both pioneering innovators who made major contributions to the theory and practice of Greek Medicine. Galen was the greatest physician of the Roman empire, and Dioscorides was a master herbalist and Father of Pharmacy. Although the Western Roman Empire fell to barbarian invasions in 476 A.D., the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire endured for another thousand years, finally falling to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. Although the Byzantine Empire produced its share of fine physicians, they were not quite the equal of Galen or Dioscorides. The Byzantines kept classical Greek Medicine alive long enough to pass it on to the Muslim Arabs, who kept the spirit of science and learning alive while Western Europe was in the Dark Ages. UNANI TIBB Greco-Arabic Medicine Unani is the Arabic word for Ionian, or Greek. Greece's Islamic neighbors call Greece Yunanistan,or the Land of the Unanis. While Western Europe was in the Dark Ages, Greek Medicine and other branches of classical science and learning found a safe haven in Islamic lands. But Greek Medicine didn't remain static or unchanging; it continued to grow and evelve as Muslim scholars and physicians continued to make important discoveries and contributions of their own. In the process, Greek Medicine was "Islamicized" into Unani-Tibb, or Greco-Arabic Medicine. This transformation proved that Greek Medicine was flexible, resilient and adaptable enough to absorb and incorporate new developments and influences. Within a few short centuries after its birth, the Islamic world had expanded to stretch from the Atlantic ocean in the west to the Indian ocean in the east, from Moorish Spain to the plains of Hindustan. Everywhere the Muslims went, their Unani physicians went with them, adapting themselves to the local conditions and resources. In the words of Unani medical historians, Unani Tibb enriched itself by imbibing new medicines, techniques and treatments from the various cultures and medical systems with which it came into contact, which included Indian Ayurveda and Oriental Medicine. Around the time of the Crusades, the Islamic world produced a few very prominent and influential physicians and medical scholars. Their names were Latinized, and their medical treatises were imported into Europe and translated into Latin, to serve as texts and reference manuals in the medical schools that were just starting to spring up in Medieval Europe. Ibn Rushd, or Averroes (1120 - 1198) was a physician and Islamic scholar and philosopher in Moorish Spain. He wrote a five volume treatise on medicine called Al-Culliyat(The Fundamentals), or Colliget.
  • 15. Al-Razi, or Rhazes (865 - 924) was a Persian physician, chemist and alchemist. He wrote a vast medical encyclopedia called Continens, with many excerpts from Hindu and Greek medical sources. But the greatest of these was undoubtedly Hakim Ibn Sina, or Avicenna. He wrote a five volume treatise called The Canon of Medicine, which became a standard textbook in European medical schools. Today, it serves as the basic handbook for all practitioners of Unani Medicine. Unani Medicine found fertile soil in India. The Delhi Sultanate and later the Moghul emperors were great patrons of medicine. Many eminent physicians from Persia and Central Asia came to India not only to seek fame and fortune, but also to find a safe haven from the wars and strife devastating their homelands. Under British rule, all forms of healing except conventional allopathic medicine were discouraged. But Unani Medicine survived, due to its popularity with the masses, and the safe, gentle yet effective nature of its treatments. Hakim Ajmal Khan (1864 - 1927) was an Unani physician, and also an Indian patriot and freedom fighter in the struggle for independence. He was also a great advocate and champion of the indigenous systems of Ayurvedic and Unani Medicine, and pioneered scientific research into their treatments. Today, the Indian government supports and subsidizes both Ayurvedic and Unani medical colleges and hospitals. But whereas Ayurveda has enjoyed a phenomenal surge in popularity, Unani Medicine still lags behind in recognition, perhaps due to its minority Islamic associations. MEDICINE IN MEDIEVAL AND RENAISSANCE EUROPE Greek Medicine Returns to the West After the fall of the Roman Empire, Europe entered the Dark Ages. All forms of science and learning, including medicine, retrogressed. This was the Age of Faith, and faith was contrary to knowledge and reason. In medicine, the works of Galen and Aristotle survived, since they were snctioned by the church, but were blindly accepted as dogma. The true spirit of scientific inquiry had died, and was no longer there. The Crusades and the High Middle Ages The Crusades were a violent, destructive and misguided period of European history, to be sure, but it wasn't without its fringe benefits. Islamic science and medical knowledge began to flow back into Europe, first as a trickle, then later as a flood. The medical works of Averroes, Rhazes and Avicenna were translated into Latin, and used as texts in the medical schools that were being established all over Europe. Of these, the oldest and most famous was the medical school at Salerno, in Italy. So great was
  • 16. its reputation that the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick decreed, in 1121, that only physicians who had been trained in Salerno could work in his court. Salerno also had the distinction of producing the first woman obstetrician and gynecologist, Trotula of Salerno. In an age of rampant patriarchy and sexual repression, Trotula considered it her sacred duty to educate male physicians on the nature of the female body and how to care for it. She wrote a book on women's diseases and health issues entitled Passionibus Mulherum Curandorum, or "Curing the Diseases of Women". The medical school at Salerno was followed in short order by the school at Montpelier in southern France. By the year 1300, there were over a dozen medical schools throughout Europe. The physicians trained in these medical schools worked as court physicians throughout Europe, and treated the nobility and the aristocracy. The common man couldn't afford their serevices, and had to make do with the local folk healer or barber-surgeon. The Church responded in kind to this growing influx of medical learning from the East and established religious orders and monasteries throughout Europe, which were also centers of learning and of medicine. The medieval monks and friars cultivated medicinal herbs in their gardens, prepared herbal medicines in their apothecaries and officinas,and cared for the sick as an expression of their Christian charity and compassion. One of the most medically distinguished was the Benedictine Order. They prepared a famous digestive tonic called the Benedictine liqueur. Its main ingredient, Carduus benedictus, or Blessed Thistle, derives its name from its associations from this order. The Christian brothers in these orders were master herbalists and pioneers of botany. Their influence can be seen in the Latin botanical names of many medicinal herbs. If the second name of the Latin binomial is officinalis or officinale, it was used by the medieval monk apothecaries in their medical dispensaries, or officinas. Plants of the Mustard family are called Cruciferae, or "crossforming" because, when viewed from the bottom end of the stalk, their fourfold branches form a cross, the symbol of Christianity. Medieval Medicine Medieval physicians placed great emphasis on exercise, a healthy diet, and healthy living conditions. They often prescribed laxatives, diuretics, fumigation and cauterization, herbs, and bathing, or hydrotherapy. Surgery, generally used only as a last resort, was performed on tumors, fistulas, hemorrhoids, gangrene, cataracts and scrofula. Of all types of surgery, venesection, or bloodletting, was the most common. Although excesses and abuses of this practice were common, bloodletting does have its beneficial, curative applications. Medical science is starting to rediscover the therapeutic value of venesection and medicinal leechcraft. Uroscopy, or urine analysis, was an important and highly developed diagnostic method in medieval medicine. So common was this prctice that it was almost routine to bring along a jar or flask containing the morning's urine sample when visiting the doctor. There's a humorous little anecdote that illustrates just how precise the science of uroscopy was: A wealthy baron, instead of collecting a sample of his own urine, decided to play a trick on his doctor, and instead collected a sample from his maidservant. Upon inspecting the sample, the physician boldly declared:
  • 17. "Almighty God has decided to bless us with a great miracle: that a man should give birth to a child!" Unbeknownst to the baron, his maidservant had conceived, and was pregnant. In the medical schools of medieval Europe, the dissection of a human cadaver was a basic initiatory ritual in the study of anatomy. Anatomy really came into its own as an important foundational science for the theory and practice of medicine. Medicine in the Renaissance By the Renaissance, the flow of classical and Islamic science and learning back into Europe had become a flood, and a new spirit of openness and humanism was in the air. Classical medical doctrines concerning the Four Humors, the Four Temperaments, and the like were all the rage. This intellectual curiosity and appetite in the popular mind for classical notions and concepts was exploited by writers and dramatists like William Shakespeare, Ben Johnsonand Christopher Marlowe, who made frequent poetic allusions to the humors and temperaments in their works. In fact, it's impossible to adequately understand or appreciate their writings without some knowledge of classical medical terms like Sanguine, Melancholy, Choleric and the like mean and imply. The Renaissance also saw a reawakening of the spirit of scientific inquiry in medicine. The teachings of Galen, Aristotle and other medical authorities of antiquity were no longer blindly accepted as dogma, but open to investigation and experimentation, and revision or expurgation if necessary. Andreas Vesalius, the great Renaissance anatomist, pointed out the errors of Galen concerning the pulmonary circulation and the oxygenation of the blood, for example. Sometimes it took the shock therapy of medical iconclasts and renegades likeParacelsus to shake medicine out of its medieval slumber of blind faith in the authorities and tradition of antiquity. Although Paracelsus' theories were highly unorthodox and controversial, they did open the eyes of the medical profession to alternative ways of medical thinking. Paracelsus' motto was: "Let no man belong to another who can belong to himself." MEDICINE IN THE MODERN ERA Medicine and Modern Technology After reaching a peak during the Renaissance, classical Greek ideas in medical theory and practice started to die out. It wasn't a sudden death, but more like a long, slow decline. But the change was radical and far-reaching until, by the mid-20th century, virtually nothing was left of the vast edifice that had once been Greek Medicine. Several revolutionary developments in science were mainly responsible for the death of Greek Medicine, and resulted in a total demolition and rebuilding of medicine and the science on which it's based from the ground up. In fact, they would result in a whole new understanding and perception of scientific truth and clinical reality. Modern chemistry started to discover and isolate the elements in a test tube. And they proved to be many more than, and quite different from, the basic four of Greek Medicine. The existence of blood, phlegm and plasma, and bile could be verified and proven, but the various subtle, energetic or psychosomatic notions associated with them had to be discarded as primitive fantasies of the ancient mind unless their mechanisms of action could be proven in the laboratory. And it was highly doubtful that black bile even existed at all. But since the classical concepts of humor and temperament provided a simple, elegant and eminently workable model for clinical diagnosis and treatment, they didn't die overnight, but lingered on in the actual practice of medicine until quite recently. Not until the 19th century do we find a gradual transition from the classical precepts to the new ways of medical theory and practice. Natural medicinal substances, mostly of botanical origin, were the mainstay of medical treatment up until the early 20th century. The wholesale switchover to synthetic pharmaceutical drugs didn't really happen until the advent of antibiotics in the 1930s. The Nineteenth Century: A Radical Break with Medicine's Past During the 19th century, medicine underwent a radical transformation as the latest discoveries of medical science began to be implemented in its practice as well. These changes also radically altered the way we look at health and disease. The classical way of understanding and classifying diseases was to identify them as specific complexes of certain signs and symptoms. This classification system was gradually abandoned in favor of models based on measurable disturbances of organ function and pathological lesions in the
  • 18. organs and tissues that were observable under a microscope. Diagnostically, there has been an ongoing shift in emphasis and reliance from qualitative data obtained from direct clinical observation of the patient to quantitative data obtained mostly from lab tests, microscopic analysis of cultures and tissue samples, and sophisticated diagnostic machinery. Powerful economic interests like the Rockefeller and Carnegie foundations have sought to technologize medicine, thus making it a profitable venue for capital investment and development. The downside of this trend is that medical costs continue to skyrocket up and out of sight. The 19th and 20th centuries also saw the infatuation of modern medicine with the germ theory of disease. Many diseases, from the common cold to cancer, have been blamed on various microbes. The germ theory has also been a powerful marketing tool for the medical-industrial complex, which is always developing a new pill or vaccination against the latest "bad guy" microbe. While Greek Medicine doesn't deny the existence of these microbes and their involvement in the infectious disease process, it rejects the notion that they are the unique, specific, or original cause of the disease for the following reasons: There is always at least one prior predisposing factor, be it a constitutional weakness or an imbalance of humor and/or temperament. There's really no such thing as a single agent or cause of disease. An illness or disease is usually the result of the simultaneous convergence of multiple causative factors. If microbes were really the primary causative agents in infectious diseases, then all doctors and healthcare workers coming into contact with them on a daily basis would become ill; this is clearly not the case. Exposure to microbes alone is not enough; there must also be some predisposing factor within the individual. Allopathy, the dominant conceptual system of modern medicine, tends to view disease as an enemy that attacks us from without. But Greek Medicine and other holistic healing systems prefer to focus on factors connected with host resistance and immunity, and the metabolic balance and soundness of the organism as the best way to overcome morbidity and disease. This internal biological and metabolic environment of the host organism is what many holistic healers call the terrain, or ground. If some potentially pathogenic microbe finds a morbid or toxic terrain that is hospitable to it, it will grow and thrive; if not, it won't even be able to gain a foothold in the host organism. Louis Pasteur, the founder and main proponent of the germ theory of disease, won fame and fortune, and became one of the scientific heroes of modern medicine. His main scientific rival, Dr. Claude Bernard, whose alternative theory of infectious disease emphasized the terrain and host resistance, was refuted and ridiculed by Pasteur and his colleagues. Finally, on his deathbed, with no more money to be made and no more honors to be won, Pasteur had his moment of truth, and finally conceded that Bernard was right - that the terrain was
  • 19. everything. Greek Medicine also takes issue with the use of harsh, potent synthetic pharmaceutical drugs to treat disease, even the most minor illnesses. Since these drugs are concentrated, purified, and therefore extreme and unbalanced by nature, they aren't metabolized in a balanced, harmonious fashion by the organism, and create humoral imbalances and negative side effects. So many pharmaceutical drugs also work in a negative fashion, by blocking this or that function, channel or receptor. Herbs and natural medicines mainly work by strengthening the healthy, righteous functioning of the organism. By radically discarding so many classical theories and practices, modern medicine has lostouch with its roots, with any sense of tradition and continuity from its past. The great traditional medical systems of India, Chana and Greece also had their periods of rapid growth and change. But the old ways weren't discarded completely; they were usually just modified, expanded or refined. Galen worked within the Greek medical tradition while introducing improvements; so did Avicenna. But with Western medicine, the whole edifice of classical medicine was discarded as being erroneous, primitive and merely misguided superstition. In the process, "the baby was thrown out with the bathwater", so to speak, and Western medicine lost touch with its traditional holistic healing wisdom. GREEK MEDICINE AND MODERN PSYCHOLOGY Ancient Healing for the Mind and Spirit Classical Greek Medicine was holistic; it saw the mind and body as one. The Four Temperaments, or constitutional types originally pertained just as much to the body as to the mind. By treating the mind as well as the body, the Greek physicians of antiquity were the first psychologists of Western civilization. Since the body is more solid and visible, its workings were more open to scientific testing and verification. And so, the physiological side of the classical Greek concepts of humor and temperament were abandoned fairly early on in favor of a physiology and pathology based more on the findings of modern science. However, the psychological notions associated with the Four Temperaments lingered on to become a kind of proto-psychology. And so, the Four Temperaments went on to become descriptions of character or personality types, or states of mind. These are as follows: Sanguine - optimistic, hopeful, cheerful, exuberant, outgoing Choleric - bold, feisty, angry, irritable, contentious, confrontive, ambitious Phlegmatic - relaxed, slow, sentimental, subjective, passive, stable, good natured Melancholic - sad, moody, withdrawn, pensive, cautious, prudent, reflective Given the materialistic emphasis of modern science, it's only natural that psychology and psychiatry were the last branches of science to develop. Not until Sigmund Freud at the end of the nineteenth century did each of these sciences come into its own. But even then, due to the analytical, reductionistic nature of modern science, the mind was viewed as being separate from the body. This mind/body split, or schism, has inflicted much needless harm and suffering on modern man. Modern Psychological Typology
  • 20. click for more information The great spiritual psychologist Carl Gustav Jung developed a system of psychological typology based on the Four Elements of Greek Medicine and their associated temperaments. These are: Intuitive Type (Fire / Choleric): Bold, flambuoyant, imaginative; perceiving the subtle energies, possibilities and associations of things more than their actual physical reality. Sensation Type (Earth / Melancholic): Cautious, prudent, reserved, pragmatic, efficient, reliable; perceiving just the actual physical reality of things, exactly as they are, through the ordinary five senses. Thinking Type (Air / Sanguine): Subtle, sophisticated, refined; relates isolated facts and phenomena to each other through underlying ideas and conceptual frameworks. Feeling Type (Water / Phlegmatic): Emotive, sentimental, passive, subjective; evaluates experiences through their direct, visceral impact on the feelings and emotions. The first two personality types, Intuitive andSensation, Jung considered to be opposing modes of perception. The second two,Thinking and Feeling, Jung considered to be opposing modes of judgement. Although Jung's system does allow for mixed types, one can't be both Intuitive and Sensation because these are opposing modes of perception; neither can one be both Thinking and Feeling, for the same reason. If one analyzes Jung's types in terms of the classical Greek notions of element and temperament, the Intuitive and Sensation types correspond to the Fire and Earthelements, respectively, which are both Dry. The Thinking and Feeling types correspond to the Air and Water elements, respectively. which are both Wet. In essence, Jung is saying that you can't mix temperaments / types that have the same secondary quality of Wetness or Dryness. And so, Jung's system goes against classical authorities on temperament, who say that you can't mix temperaments having the same active or primary quality of Hot or Cold. Methods of personality typology based on Jung's model are still very much in use today in the psychological and counseling professions. In this way, Greek Medicine still lives on. REEK MEDICINE AND HOLISTIC HEALING Looking for a Natural Alternative to Modern Medicine Seeing the overly analytical, reductionistic direction that modern medicine was taking, and the harmful, toxic, or invasive nature of many of its treatments, a number of far-sighted, holistically minded individuals arose in rebellion to found their own schools of holistic medicine. Many of these
  • 21. medical revolutionaries looked to the life and teachings of Hippocrates and other classical Greek physicians for inspiration and holistic healing wisdom. Homeopathy The first of these medical revolutionaries was the German physician Samuel Hahnemann,who founded homeopathy in the late 18th century. Seeing all the harm being done by the heavy doses of harsh, toxic drugs, which was the standard medical practice of his day, Hahnemann decided to experiment with giving these same potent poisons in harmless microdoses, to see what kinds of effects they would have. He found that microdoses of these toxic drugs, properly diluted and prepared according to a special homeopathic process, helped the body heal or recover from the same diseases or symptoms that they caused in regular doses. They did this, Hahnemann theorized, by stimulating the natural innate healing responses of the organism to throw off the disease condition. Homeopathy is based on the principle Similia similibus curantur, or "Let like cure like.", a medical aphorism that the homeopathists attribute to Hippocrates. In other words, "a hair from the dog that bit you" cures the illness or affliction. Homeopathic methods of like curing like do indeed have their place in Greek Medicine. But the usual rule in most cases is to help the organism reestablish balance and homeostasis with medicines and treatments that are contrary in nature to the disease or affliction. American Schools of Herbal Medicine In 18th and 19th century America, a couple of influential schools of herbal medicine developed and flourished. These were the Thomsonian School and the Eclectics. The Thomsonian School was started by the maverick herbal practitioner Samuel Thomson in the late 18th century. As the school grew and flourished, it became known asPhysiomedicalism. The Thomsonians believed in stimulating the vital defensive and metabolic powers of the organism by using heating, stimulant herbs like Cayenne, Lobelia and Bayberry bark. They focused their treatments on what Greek Medicine would call the Vital Faculty, by stimulating the immune response, the Innate Heat of metabolism, and balancing and optimizing the circulatory system. Like homeopathy, the Eclectic School began as a protest against the harsh, toxic drugs and harmful medical treatments of their day. The Eclectics were looking for a gentler, saner, more natural approach to medical treatment, and found the alternative they sought in herbs. The Eclectics were true masters of herbal medicine. They had a doctrine of herbal specifics, or precisely matching single herbs or simple formulas to the patient's condition, in contrast to the crude "shotgun approach" of large doses of harsh, potent, but poorly chosen drugs favored by the conventional practitioners of their day. The Eclectics treated diseases according to their natures, not their names. Their system of disease
  • 22. syndrome differentiation and treatment had a lot in common with the classical Greek concepts of humor and temperament. They treated the person, not the disease. The word eclectic means, "I choose" in Greek. The Eclectics were very progressive and openminded, and believed in using whatever would best help their patients. In classical Greek Medicine, the term "eclectic" was reserved only for the greatest physicians, like Hippocrates and Galen, who had mastered the art of medicine to such an extent that they were free to pick and choose, and incorporate concepts and treatments from other medical schools and systems into their practice. Naturopathy The German cleric Father Sebastian Kneipp (1821 - 1897) developed a system of natural therapeutics that he called the Nature Cure. It combined diet, herbal medicine, fresh air, fasting and purification treatments, exercise and hydrotherapy, or therapeutic bathing into one integrated system. This became the basis for Naturopathy. In the mid-19th century, the teachings and practice of naturopathy came to American shores. People like Dr. William Kellogg went to Europe to learn the Kneipp system of natural therapeutics and used it in his famous sanitarium in Battle Creek, Michigan. Benedict Lust and his son John Lust, both disciples of Father Kneipp, were also instrumental in establishing naturopathy in the United States. Chiropractic Chiropractic is a natural, drugless osteopathic system of healing through physiotherapy and manipulation. Its central theory is that since nerves branch out from the spinal column to vitalize and animate all the organs, tissues and parts of the body, spinal subluxations, or displaced vertebrae can pinch or put undue pressure on important spinal nerves, thus impeding the flow of vital nerve force to the organs and tissues they supply, causing dysfunction and disease. Putting the spinal column back into alignment with chiropractic adjustments removes the original cause of the disorder and returns the organism back to a state of health and balance. In terms of Greek Medicine, chiropractic treats and heals the organism through the Psychic Faculty and its neural network. Through adjustments to the spinal column, or central nexus of this neural network, the chiropractor rebalances the flow of the Psychic Force, or nerve energy, thus putting the whole organism back into a state of homeostasis. Although the Caduceus, or winged, serpent-entwined staff of Hermes is the present day symbol of conventional allopathic medicine, chiropractors are better able to understand and appreciate its significance. The Caduceus is a symbolic representation of the human spinal column with its energy centers, or chakras. Conclusion The fact that all of these alternative holistic healing systems reverted back, either consciously or unconsciously, intentionally or otherwise, to certain fundamental principles of Greek Medicine is a testament to their timeless universality. In their essential commitment to gentler, safer methods of treatment, and to working with Nature, these holistic healing systems are in harmony with the basic precepts of Greek Medicine. RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN GREEK MEDICINE Ancient Healing Wisdom for Today Disillusioned with the failures of modern medicine in treating the chronic degenerative diseases that now plague mankind, many progressive, open-minded physicians have started to look beyond the prevailing practices of conventional medicine for healing solutions. Their search has led many of them, to a greater or lesser extent, intentionally or otherwise, back to the teachings of Hippocrates and Greek Medicine. Metabolic Body Typing One of the key concepts of Greek Medicine is that of different constitutional types, or temperaments. Knowing one's constitutional type is the key to all diagnosis and treatment in Greek Medicine. The classical Greek system of constitutional typology was based on inherent predominances of humor and qualities of temperament. In Greek Medicine, there are four basic constitutional types,
  • 23. whose predominances are as follows: Sanguine - Warm and Moist - Blood Choleric - Hot and Dry - Yellow Bile Melancholic - Cold and Dry - Black Bile Phlegmatic - Cold and Wet - Phlegm, Plasma, Lymph In recent years, certain progressive, holistically minded nutritionists and physicians have started to develop various systems of constitutional and metabolic typology. Their researches led them to realize that there were actually great variations in the way the systems of different individuals, all considered to be healthy and normal by conventional medical standards, metabolized various foods and nutrients. And so, various systems of metabolic body typing were born. In the mid-20th century, Dr. Sheldon developed the first modern system of body typing: the threefold differentiation of endomorph, ectomorph and mesomorph. Although these types were first developed as a form of psychological profiling, Dr. Sheldon soon realized that there were certain characteristics of physiology and metabolism associated with each type. Then, in the 1960's, Dr. Bieler came up with a system of constitutional typology based on one's dominant endocrine gland. Dr. Bieler recognized three basic glandular types: theAdrenal type, the Thyroid type, and the Pituitary type. To these basic three have been added two more: a Gonadal type and a Pancreas type. Some correspondences have been made between these glandular types and the Four Temperaments, or constitutional types of Greek Medicine, although these aren't universally accepted: Choleric - Adrenal type Melancholic - Thyroid type Phlegmatic - Pituitary type Sanguine - Gonad type Roger Williams was another great scientist and pioneer into body typing. His research discovered considerable individual variation not only in the size, but also in the functional performance of the various endocrine glands. Dr. Williams was the first to coin the termbiochemical individuality. The modern sciences of nutrition, physiology and biochemistry are incredibly complex. Besides the relative strength and dominance of the various endocrine glands, modern researchers have identified several other key ways in which one individual's physiology and metabolism may differ from another's. These are: 1) Autonomic nervous system balance - either sympathetic or parasympathetic dominant. 2) Variations in cellular metabolism, or the carbo-oxidative system - fast oxidation, slow oxidation, or sub- (incomplete) oxidation. 3) Lipo-oxidative processes - fatty acid and sterol balance, aerobic / anaerobic metabolism balance, cell membrane permeability variation, balance of catabolic versus anabolic metabolism. 4) Fluid and electrolyte balance - predispositions towards excesses or deficiencies of certain fluids and electrolytes. 5) Acid / alkaline balance - six potential areas of pH imbalance due to seven different causative factors. 6) Prostaglandin balance 7) Metabolic typology according to blood type 8) Typology according to constitutional elements - differing needs and constitutional predominance of certain minerals in the organism. 9) Neurotransmitter balance - excitatory versus inhibitory neurotransmitters Today, constitutional or metabolic body typing is used for the following purposes: 1) Determining the ideal diet for an individual, for optimum nutrition, or to facilitate weight loss; 2) Determining constitutional vulnerability to certain illnesses; 3) To facilitate better human relations through mutual understanding of differences in temperament. Neo-Hippocratic Medicine Other progressive, holistically-minded physicians have sought to reform and revolutionize medical practice by returning to certain therapeutic methods of Hippocrates and Galen, which had long been forgaotten and abandoned by conventional medicine. For this reason, they have chosen to call
  • 24. themselves Neo-Hippocratic physicians. Just what kinds of therapeutic methods are we talking about? Dr. Bernard Aeschner explains in his book, Neo-Hippocratism in Everyday Practice: "If we study the books of Hippocrates from a practical view, we find, besides the usually discussed subject... an enormous treasure of therapeutic wisdom of eternal value, largely unknown and unutilized today. I wanted to demonstrate this fact by one of the most important conceptions of Hippocrates which says that the majority of disease does not come from without (like injury or infection) but from within from overfilling with food-stuff, blood, and superfluous or corrupt humors, that we call metabolic products. Consequently to the concept of overfilling the six eliminating (evacuating) methods...: purging, vomiting, sweating, diuresis, bleeding and derivation through the skin (cauterization) were the basis of a most effective general treatment until the beginning of the nineteenth century. These methods were discovered and developed partly be chance, instinct and experience, partly by imitation of the healing crises of nature itself (like critical sweats, diarrhea, rashes, diuresis, hemorrhages of the nose, piles, etc...) But ... these fundamental and true Hippocratic methods have been discarded, and I wanted to show that their critical revival and reconciliation with modern methods gives surprising results just there, where experimental medicine declares the condition as acute and dangerous or chronic, obstinate and incurable. Especially for the actual so-called socially important problem of refractory chronic diseases NeoHippocratic constitutional therapy often brings effective help..." (Quoted from Traditional Greco-Arabic and Modern Medicine: Conflict or Symbiosis? by Hakim Mohammed Said, Copyright 1975 by Hamdard Academy, Karachi Pakistan, pg. 60) According to Aeschner, even when evacuating or purging methods are used today, the methods and agents used are too mechanical and standardized, too monotonous and unimaginative. The classical physicians used a wide variety of cathartic agents to induce a wide variety of therapeutic cleansing reactions in their patients as needed, according to the circumstances of the case, and the particulars of the patient's condition. Sweating isn't used comprehensively and systematically today. Modern medicine's approach to sweating is purely mechanical in its conception, and way too primitive. Classical medicine, on the other hand, used a wide variety of sudorific agents, each producing a differnt kind of sweat, and producing different effects. The same goes for laxatives and purgatives; the modern approach is much too standardized and mechanical, merely acting on the bowels. The classical approach employed a wide variety of cathartic agents which not only purged the bowels, but also had auxiliary systemic actions, having beneficial resolving, derivative, antiphlogistic, antispasmodic, and detoxifying effects on the entire organism. Arthritis is a particularly obstinate and refractory chronic disease for which the standard modern treatment methods are woefully inadequate, and don't offer much in the way of effective, lasting improvement. Classical methods, on the other hand, can often lead to dramatic improvements and breakthroughs in this debilitating disease. Although its main manifestation is in the joints and articular structures, Hippocrates saw arthritis primarioy as a metabolic disease, in which the toxic residues or byproducts of faulty digestion and metabolism accumulate in the joints, producing degenerative changes in the tissues and articular structures. Classical medicine used a two-pronged approach in treating arthritis, combining internal and external methods. Internally, blood cleansing remedies were given to remove toxins from the articular structures. Externally, counterirritant or vesicant plasters like Cantharideswere applied to the joints to produce boils, pustules or blisters, and in so doing draw out toxins from inside the joints to be released through the skin. By getting to the root cause, Hippocratic methods can produce dramatic breakthroughs in arthritis. Bloodletting, or venesection, is another ancient practice that modern medicine is reexamining. After operations to reconnect a severed finger, the site of the suture is often prone to bllod clotting and gangrene. But applying leeches distal to the suture to draw the blood outwards towards the fingertip keeps it flowing, preventing clotting and gangrene and facilitating healing and regeneration. Venesection is a common procedure used in Unani Medicine after cerebral trauma and cranial fractures to prevent deadly traumatic inflammation and edema to the brain. Wherever there is congestion of blood, inflammation or swelling, venesection, appropriately applied, can be a valuable, even lifesaving remedy.
  • 25. Neo-Hippocratic medicine is not a blind faith in the old ways, but a critical and intelligent reapplication or re-adaptation of traditional therapies in a modern clinical setting. The Neo-Hippocratic ideal is to achieve a new synthesis of progress and tradition. HIPPOCRATES Father of Medicine Medical historians generally look to Hippocrates as the founder of medicine as a rational science. It was Hippocrates who finally freed medicine fromthe shackles of magic, superstition, and the supernatural. Hippocrates collected data and conducted experiments to show that disease was a natural process; that the signs and symptoms of a disease were caused by the natural reactions of the body to the disease process; and that the chief role of the physician was to aid the natural resistance of the body to overcome the metabolic imbalance and restore health and harmony to the organism. Hippocrates was born on the island of Cos, off the southwest coast of Asia Minor, or present-day Turkey, around 460 B.C. His father was a physician-priest in the Asclepion at Cos, and his family could trace its lineage back to the legendary Asclepius. Hippocrates lived a very long life and died at a ripe old age in the town of Larissa in Thessaly. The Hippocratic Revolution When Hippocrates began to practicemedicine, the established school of medicine was the Cnidian school. But this school's approach to medicine had several serious flaws, whichwere already becoming apparent and starting to cause a general dissatisfaction with the art of medicine. The Cnidian school considered the body to be merely a collection of isolated parts, and saw diseases manifesting in a particular organ or body part as affecting that part only, which alone was treated. Their system of diagnosis was also faulty, relying exclusively on the subjective symptoms related by the patient, while totally ignoring the objective signs of the disease. Hippocrates radically disagreed with the Cnidian school, countering that the human body functioned as one unified organism, or physis, and must be treated, in health and disease, as one coherent, integrated whole. In diagnosis, not only the patient's subjective symptoms, but the objective signs of the disease must also be considered to arrive at an accurate assessment of what was going on. As his main unifying theory for the holistic understanding of the human organism and how it functions in health and disease, Hippocrates used the concept of the Four Humors. Although the groundwork of humoral physiology and pathology had already been laid by his predecessors, Hippocrates finally brought the thory of the Four Humors into its classical form.
  • 26. Health is a harmonious balance of the Four Humors. Disease results from their disharmony and imbalance. The physician's job is to restore health by correcting the imbalance and restoring harmony to the humors. To quote Hippocrates: "The body of man has in itself blood, phlegm, yellow bile, and black bile; these make up the nature of the body, and through these he feels pain or enjoys health. Now, he enjoys the most perfect health when these elements are duly proportioned to one another in respect to compounding, power and bulk, and when they are perfectly mingled. Pain is felt when one of these elements is in defect or excess, or is isolated in the body without being compounded with all the others." - The Nature of Man Hippocrates took his band of renegade physicians with him to the island of Cos. There, they set about to revolutionize the art of medicine and put its theory and practice on a truer, sounder footing. Hippocratic Medicine Physiology and pathology in Hippocratic medicine was based on the Four Humors. A united confluence and sympathy between all four humors working together was necessary for good health. Pneuma - the Breath or Vital Force, and the Innate Heat, which were suffused into the blood from the lungs via the heart, gave the blood the power to sustain life. Hippocrates saw pepsis, or an orderly, balanced, harmonious digestion and metabolism of the Four Humors as being essential to all good health. In disorders of pepsis Hippocrates saw the origin of most disease. Hippocrates' anatomical knowledge was rather scant, but this is compensated for by his profound insights into human physiology and the soundness of his reasoning. But even so, his surgical techniques for dislocations of the hip and jaw were unsurpassed until the nineteenth century. In therapeutics, Hippocrates saw the physician as the servant and facilitator of Nature. All medical treatment was aimed at enabling the natural resistance of the organism to prevail and overcome the disease, to bring about recovery. In the treatments he prescribed, Hippocrates was very sensible, pragmatic and flexible in his approach, favoring conservatism and moderation over radical or extreme measures. Bloodletting, which was much abused at other times in medicine's history, was used only rarely by Hippocrates, and even then, only applied conservatively. Hippocrates placed great emphasis on strengthening and building up the body's inherent resistance to disease. For this, he prescribed diet, gymnastics, exercise, massage, hydrotherapy and sea bathing. Hippocrates was a great believer in dietary measures in the treatment of disease. He prescribed a very slender, light diet during the crisis stage of an acute illness, and a liquid diet during the treatment of fevers and wounds. Hippocratic medicine was constitutionally based, so its approach to diagnosis and treatment was quite flexible. As a holistic healing system, Hippocratic medicine treated the patient, and not just the disease. Hippocrates was the first physician to systematically classify diseases based on points of similarity and contrast between them. He virtually originated the disciplines of etiology and pathology. By systematically classifying diseases, Hippocrates placed their diagnosis and treatment on a sounder footing. The Hippocratic Corpus The Hippocratic Corpus is a collection of over 60 works. Although all of them are attributed to Hippocrates, the Corpus is of a heterogenous character, and many, if not most, of its works may actually have been written by his students. Still, we can be fairly certain that Hippocrates actually did author many books in the Corpus, including many original, groundbreaking works. These include: Airs, Waters and Places - the first major work on medical meteorology, climatology, geography and anthropology. Aphorisms - a collection of wise, pithy sayings giving advice on practical matters of diet, prognosis and therapeutics. Ancient Medicine - a defense of the empirical study of medicine against one biased by preliminary axioms and assumptions. Also deals with the Four Humors. The Legacy of Hippocrates
  • 27. Hippocrates was the personification of the ideal physician - wise, caring, compassionate and honest. He is most remembered today for his famous Oath, which set high ethical standards for the practice of medicine. His exemplary life has been a constant and enduring source of inspiration for doctors and healers down through the ages. THE HIPPOCRATIC OATH Hippocrates is most remembered today for his famous Oath, which physicians take before beginning the practice of medicine. In writing his Oath, Hippocrates set high ethical standards for future physicians to follow. Needless to say, compliance, both then and now, has been considerably less than perfect. Certain provisions of the Oath, such as that protecting doctor - patient confidentiality and that forbidding sexual involvement or meddling in the lives of patients, are generally accepted without question. But after that, we start to get into the grey areas. In forbidding abortion, Hippocrates was clearly in favor of the Right to Life. In forbidding the use or suggestion of poisons or deadly drugs, Hippocrates comes out against euthanasia. One key ethical principle of Hippocrates is Primum non nocere, or, "First, do no harm." But many pharmaceutical drugs used for commmon ailments today have harmful negative side effects which traditional, natural medicines and treatments do not have. One little-known provision of the Oath is that the doctor should offer to teach any male offspring or relatives of his teacher the art of medicine, free of charge. But seriously - in today's high-pressured medical marketplace, where time is money, how many doctors can actually do that, when they don't even have the time to talk to their own patients? But still, I think Hippocrates was right to set such high ethical standards in his Oath. Ever conscious of his responsibility and personal example to future generations of physicians, he felt it better to set the bar high than to set it too low. The Oath: I swear by Apollo the Physician, and by Asclepius and Hygeia and Panacea and all the gods and goddesses, making them my witnesses, that I will fulfill, according to my ability and judgement this oath and this covenant: To hold him who has taught me this art as equal to my parents and to live my life in partnership with him, and if he is in need of money to give him a share of mine, and to regard his offspring as equal to my brothers in male lineage and to teach them this art, if they desire to learn it, without fee and covenant, to give a share of precepts and oral instruction and all the other learning to my sons and the sons of him who has instructed me and to his pupils who have signed the covenant and have taken an oath according to the medical law, but to noone else. I will apply dietetic measures for the benefit of the sick according to my ability and judgement; I will keep them from harm and injustice. I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody if asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly, I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy. In purity and holiness will I guard my life and my art. I will not use the knife, not even on sufferers from the stone, but will withdraw in favor of such men as are engaged in this work. Whatever houses I may visit, I will come for the benefit of the sick, remaining free of all intentional injustice, of all mischief, and in particular of sexual relations with both female and male persons, be they free or slaves. What I may see or hear in the course of treatment or even outside of the treatment in regard to the life of men, which on no account one must spread abroad, I will keep to myself, holding such things shameful to be spoken about. If I fulfill this Oath, and do not violate it, may it be granted to me to enjoy my life and my art, being honored with fame among all men, and at all times. If I transgress it and swear falsely, may the opposite of all this be my lot. ARISTOTLE Father of Science Aristotle was born in 384 B.C. in Stageira in Macedonia. His father, Nicomachus, was the court physician to the king of Macedonia. Aristotle probably received extensive training in biology and medicine from his father. These were his preferred fields, although Aristotle studied and wrote about
  • 28. all the sciences. As a youth, Aristotle distinguished himself as a student at Plato's Academy in Athens. He was even named to be Plato's successor, but declined the position due to doctrinal differences. Aristotle later commented that, although he loved Plato, he loved the truth more. In contrast to his teacher Plato, who considered the physical world of becoming to be an imperfect, ephemeral and illusory reflection of the spiritual world of being, Aristotle affirmed the essential reality of the physical world, and said that the senses must be trusted as the primary sources of valid knowledge. Aristotle's philosophy was empirical and experiential; he believed in approaching Nature with an open mind to learn Her secrets. Experimentation and observation were the cornerstones of Aristotle's science. He affirmed the precedence of facts over theory by declaring that if newly discovered facts contradicted a previously held theory, the theory had to be modified or discarded to accommodate them. In Aristotle, we can see the origins of modern science and the scientific method. Although he greatly loved medicine and probably even practiced it on occasion, Aristotle most distinguished himself in the field of biology. An avid natural historian who tirelessly studied and catalogued many species of plants and animals, Aristotle was the father of comparative anatomy and physiology, and of later theories of evolution and embryology. Aristotle's personal philosophy and ethics center on the virtue of reason and the Golden Mean. Aristotle believed that the highest virtue that a man could have came from the proper exercise of his reason. He believed that all true happiness and morality came from adhering to the Golden Mean of moderation in all things. Aristotle's most important contribution to the theory of Greek Medicine was his doctrine of the Four Basic Qualities: Hot, Cold, Wet, and Dry. Later philosopher-physicians would apply these qualities to characterize the Four Elements, Four Humors, and Four Temperaments. The Four Basic Qualities are the foundations for all notions of balance and homeostasis in Greek Medicine. Aristotle later founded his own school of philosophy, the Lyceum, which was patterned after Plato's Academy. However, his teachings were to be spread far and wide through the conquests of his most illustrious pupil, Alexander the Great. The early Church fathers vastly preferred the spiritual, otherworldly philosophy of Plato and the Neo-Platonists over Aristotle, who was esteemed chiefly as a logician. But in the High Middle Ages,
  • 29. Muslim philosopher-Physicians like Avicenna and Averroes brought a newfound appreciation for other aspects of Aristotle's science and philosophy. And so, Aristotle's teachings on biology, medicine and the natural sciences were finally accepted by the Church and incorporated into the medieval worldview. But, as with Galen, much of his work was blindly accepted as dogma and never questioned until the Renaissance. Like Galen, Aristotle, although impressive, was not infallible. Aristotle in a Nutshell Metaphysics: Change is both natural and necessary. Four different kinds of causes explain the process of change: Material Causes - due to what an object is made of. Formal Causes - due to an object's design. Efficient Causes - due to a thing's maker Final Causes - involving the end towards which a thing is destined. Epistemology: The most reliable source of knowledge is from the senses and direct experience and observation. Facts take precedence over theories. Logic: Invented the syllogism: two basic premises leading to a third conclusion. There are ten basic categories of statementsthat can be made about any given thing: 1) Its substance, or kind. 2) Its qualities, traits and attributes. 3) Its quantity. 4) Its relationship to other things. 5) Its placement, or location. 6) Its time, or age. 7) Its position. 8) Its state. 9) Its actions, or what it does. 10) Its receptions, or what is done to it. Ethics: The virtue of reason: Man is a rational animal. The Golden Mean: moderation in all things. Medicine: The Four Basic Qualities: Hot, Cold, Wet and Dry. Biology: Natural historian; comparative biology, anatomy and physiology. Early theories of evolution and embryology.
  • 30. Source: Spark Charts: Philosophy - ALEXANDER THE GREAT Torchbearer for Greek Science and Medicine Aristotle's teachings were spread far and wide, throughout Greece, the Middle East and Egypt, and even as far away as Persia and India, by his most illustrious and influential pupil:Alexander the Great, who conquered most of the known world. But it wasn't simply Alexander's own personal vainglory and love of power and conquest that spurred him on; he also had a burning desire to bring the benefits of Greek science, medicine and learning to those peoples and lands he conquered. Alexander founded the city of Alexandria, in present day Egypt, which became a great center of Greek science, medicine and learning. In keeping with the philosophy of his teacher, Aristotle, the tone of the scientific and medical research conducted there was very open-minded and empirical; everything was open to questioning and investigation. The library of Alexandria was the biggest and most famous in the ancient world. The school of medicine that arose in Alexandria was called the Empirical School. Founded in 330 B.C.E., the school attracted the best physicians and medical scholars from Greece and became
  • 31. instrumental in the transmission of Greek Medicine to Rome after the Roman conquest of Egypt. Through Alexander's conquests, all the Arab, Turkish and Persian peoples of the Middle East were exposed to the teachings of Greek Medicine. This probably predisposed them to take over Greek Medicine and Islamicize it as Unani Medicine later on, after the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. In addition, Greek Medicine probably absorbed a lot of elements from the folk medicines of the lands conquered, as well as from Persian and Zoroastrian medicine. Acknowledgements: Encyclopedia of Islamic Medicine, with a Greco-Roman Background by Dr. Hassan Kamal Copyright 1975 by General Egyptian Book Organization pp. 12 - 13 GALEN Greatest Physician of the Roman Empire Galen was the greatest physician of ancient Rome. Whereas Hippocrates laid the foundation of Greek Medicine, Galen further developed its theory and practice, and carried Greco-Roman medicine to its zenith.
  • 32. Claudius Galenus, or Galen, was born inPergamum, an old Greek city on the Aegean coast of Asia Minor, or present day Turkey, in the year 130 A.D. Pergamum was an ancient center of learning and medicine, having an Asclepion and a famous library that second only to the one in Alexandria. Galen was born into the lap of luxury, which afforded him ample time to study. His father Nicon, a wealthy architect, quickly recognized his son's brilliant mind and took a keen interest in his education, hiring the best tutors in all the arts and sciences. When Galen was just a boy, his father had a dream in which Asclepius appeared to him and told him to let his son study medicine. And so, the young Galen went to the local Asclepion to be trained by its elder physician-priests. Galen remained a lifelong devotee of Asclepius. When Galen was 19, his father died, which sent him on the journeyman phase of his medical education. He first studied in Smyrna, or present day Izmir, Turkey, and then traveled to Alexandria, where he finished his studies. His medical training in Alexandria made him an empiricist. Galen's first post was as a physician and surgeon to the gladiators in Pergamum, which gave him considerable skill and knowledge in the fields of anatomy and surgery. From there, he went to Rome, where his great skill and ability quickly attracted the attention of the influential and elite. Galen became the personal physician to the emperor Marcus Aurelius. Galen was a master of medical philosophy, and considered the study of philosophy to be essential to a physician's training. Philosophy enables the physician to discern between truth and illusion, or between reality and mere surface appearances, which is so important in diagnosis. It's also necessary for putting treatment on a sound ethical foundation. Although he wasn't a Christian, Galen was a monotheist; he believed that the body was the physical vehicle for the indwelling soul. Galen's monotheism greatly enhanced the acceptance of his medical theories and teachings by later generations of Muslim and Christian scholars and physicians. Galen's chief contributions to the theory of Greek Medicine were his theories of the three varieties of pneuma, or vital energy, and the Four Faculties of the organism. He also developed and expanded the humoral physiology and pathology of Hippocrates. Proper organ function was very important to Galen's views on anatomy and physiology. He tended to view health as the balanced, harmonious, optimal functioning of all the organs and systems of the body. Galen believed in the Aristotelian doctrine that, in Nature, form follows function. If we want to understand the function of an organ, tissue or body part, we must first study its form. That's why Galen considered anatomy to be so important. Galen was fanatical in his pursuit of anatomical knowledge. He conducted dissections and vivisections on animals, chiefly apes, to figure out by inference and experiment how the human body was structured, and how it worked. By clamping the ureters of living apes and watching the kidneys swell, Galen concluded that the kidneys produce urine. By cutting or stimulating various spinal nerve roots, he figured out which
  • 33. organs and muscles they controlled. Galen is most admired by modern medicine for being a brilliant anatomist who was way ahead of his time. Living so long ago, with so little previous knowledge to go on, it's amazing what Galen figured out; in fact, he almost got it all right. In pharmacology, Galen developed a system of Galenic degrees, which enabled physicians and pharmacists to gauge more precisely the effects of a medicinal substance. In the preparation of medicines, Galen considered increased quantity to be a poor substitute for poor quality of the ingredients. Galen personally visited the exotic locales where many key ingredients of his medicinal formulas were produced to better understand matters of quality. Galen's most famous medicinal formula was Theriac, an herbal jam or electuary with some 64 differnt ingredients that was a virtual panacea or cure-all for many diseases, and an antidote to many poisons. Theriac's use and manufacture continued until the late 19th century. Since Venice was a key center for its manufacture, it is sometimes called Theriac Venezian, orVenice Treacle. Today, Theriac Venezian is a key ingredient in Swedish Bitters, an herbal elixir popularized by the Austrian herbalist Maria Treben. Galen was also an expert on the pulse; many consider him to be the originator of pulse diagnosis. He wrote a treatise on the subject, entitled De Pulsibus. Being a lifelong devotee of Asclepius, Galen was a firm believer in the healing and diagnostic power of dreams. He even wrote a treatise on the medical interpretation of dreams. Galen was a prodigious author, and wrote some 80 different medical treatises. Today, many of them have been lost. Galen is often criticized for being egotistical, but perhaps in his case it was well-deserved. His writings are full of long-winded refutations of his rivals and critics, whose partial knowledge and fallacious reasoning he despised. Galen considered the profit motive and the love of money to be the worst reasons for becoming a physician. Being independently wealthy, money mattered little to him. He was only after two things: dedication to relieving the suffering of humanity and the pursuit of medical excellence. For over a thousand years after his death, Galen, with his prodigious accomplishments, was considered to be the gospel truth, the ultimate authority on all matters medical. Medieval medical authorities dogmatically agreed: If Galen figured it all out, why look any further? This was indeed to prove a mixed blessing for the history of medicine. It wasn't until the Renaissance that Galen was finally questioned and his errors uncovered. Acknowledgements: Ancient Healing: Unlocking the Mysteries of Health and Healing Through the Ages by Kevin V. Ergil et al Copyright 1997 by Publications International Ltd. Chapter on Greek & Roman Medicine, pp 68 - 98 Traditional Greco-Arabic and Modern Western Medicine: Conflict or Symbiosis? by Hakim Mohammed Said Copyright 1975 by Hamdard Academy - Karachi, Pakistan
  • 34. pp 23 - 24 Galen's Hygiene (De Sanitate Tuenda) Translated by Robert Montraville Green, M.D. Publisher: Springfield, Ill.: Thomas Copyright 1951 pp. xv - xxiv DIOSCORIDES Master Herbalist, Father of Pharmacy About two thousand years ago, Pedanius Dioscorides, a physician traveling throughout the Roman Empire with Emperor Nero's army, would collect samples of the local medicinal herbs everywhere he went. He turned his passion for plants and other medicinal substances into a monumental reference work on herbs and pharmacy that remained the supreme authority on the subject for over 1500 years. In 70 A.D., Dioscorides published De Materia Medica, or, "On Medicinal Substances" in five volumes. Translated into several languages both ancient and modern, and later supplemented with commentary by European, Middle Eastern, and Indian authors, it has been the prime authority and source work on herbs and other medicinal substances in the history of Western Civilization, and quite possibly in the history of the world. Pedanius Dioscorides was born around 30 A.D. in the town of Anazarbius in Asia Minor, in present day Turkey. He started work on De Materia Medica around 50 A.D. and published it in 70 A.D. Although he wrote his herbal in Greek, it was quickly translated into Latin, and subsequently into Arabic and other languages. Dioscorides died aroung 90 A.D. Dioscorides' great herbal is one of the most popular medical reference works in the history of mankind. Unlike other medical works by classical authors, De Materia Medica wasn't rediscovered in the Renaissance because it had never really left circulation. In sheer scale and thoroughness, De Materia Medica vastly surpassed all previous herbals. It discusses the medicinal properties of over one thousand natural medicinal substances; most of these are botanical in origin, but drugs of animal and mineral origin were also included. To put things in perspective, the entire Hippocratic Corpus only mentions about 130 different medicinal substances. Dioscorides listed over 4,740 different uses for the materia medica in his herbal, and lists over 360 varieties of medicinal actions. Dioscorides' herbal was qualitatively superior as well. In writing nd compiling De Materia Medica, Dioscorides wanted to avoid the faults of his predecessors: incomprehensiveness, mistaken information, confusion of drug identities, too little testing and verification of drug properties, lack of emphasis on experimental data, and poor organization.
  • 35. click to zoom De Materia Medica's subtitle, "On the Preparation, Properties and Testing of Drugs", sets the empirical, scientific tone of this work. Dioscorides didn't accept anything on faith, or on the reputation of established authorities; he checked everything out, and tested every drug clinically. He personally traveled and researched the local folk medicine uses of every herb. Dioscorides was the first to organize themateria medica into therapeutic groupings of drugs, based on similarities of medicinal action. This organizational format linked the science of pharmacy with the science of medicine. It also provided for the orderly placement of future drugs, once discovered, within this therapeutic organizational framework. Dioscorides also maintained that his organizational format, once learned, woud faclitate the learning and retention of pharmacological knowledge. When we consider that even the traditional Chinese herbal materia medica is organized according to similar therapeutic groupings of herbs, we can see exactly how influential and far-reaching were Dioscorides' revolutionary new ideas. Dioscorides' therapeutic groupings by medicinal action have a dynamic, kinetic character: Warming, Binding, Softening, Drying, Cooling, Concocting, Relaxing, Nourishing and the like. The Chinese materia medica, on the other hand, therapeutically divides medicinal actions into three broad categories: Eliminative, Regulating, and Supplementing, or Tonic; these are divided into various subgroupings according to what is being eliminated, regulated or supplemented. The presentations of every herb and medicinal substance in Dioscorides' herbal was very thorough. It included plant names, synonyms and illustrations; plant habitat and botanical descriptions; properties, actions and uses of the drug; negative side effects, if any; administration and dosage recommendations; directions on harvesting, preparation and storage of herbs or drugs; possible adulterations and how they're detected; and the veterinary uses of the drug or herb, if any. Why read Dioscorides' herbal today? Historically, it was the predecessor of all modern pharmacopeias. But beyond its historical importance, it also gives knowledge of the herbs and remedies used by the Greeks, Romans and other peoples of antiquity, remedies that can still be used today. Acknowledgements: Internet Resources: A whole website devoted to Dioscorides and his herbal. Wikipedia's article on Dioscorides. In the article entitled The Herbal Tradition, quite a bit of information is given a AVICENNA
  • 36. Prince of Physicians In Unani Medicine, the name of Hakim Ibn Sina, known to the West as Avicenna, towers head and shoulders above all others. Whereas Hippocrates is called the Father of Medicine, Avicenna has been called the Father of Modern Medicine. He is also called the Prince of Physicians. Avicenna was born in 980 A.D. nearBokhara, an ancient center of culture and learning in Persia. As a child, Avicenna showed a prodigious intellect. By age ten, he had committed the entire Koran to memory. While still in his teens, Avicenna had learned all there was to learn from the scholars of Bokhara, and had mastered the art of medicine. When Avicenna was only twenty-one, his father died. This traumatic event, coupled with the great political turmoil of the time, sent Avicenna on a period of constant wandering. He finally found refuge in the court of a prince in Hamdan, Persia, but even this wasn't enough to protect Avicenna from the whirlwind of political intrigue that surrounded him. He was even jailed on one occasion. But Avicenna's intellectual powers were so great that even these trials and hardships couldn't deter him from his creative work as a physician and scholar. Writing mainly from memory, Avicenna penned hundreds of works on just about every area of knowledge - physics, mathematics, economics, chemistry, natural history, religion, philosophy, music and, of course, medicine. Of these, two works are the most famous: The first is Kitab al-Shifa, or The Book of Healing. In it, Avicenna relates the principles of medicine to those of other sciences, like logic, geometry, psychology, astronomy, mathematics, music and metaphysics. According to Avicenna, any diagnosis of an illness was faulty and incomplete unless all aspects of the patient's life had been taken into consideration. A devoted student of Aristotle, Avicenna had certain bold and original ideas on philosophy and theology that were way ahead of his time. The conservative Islamic theologians of his day considered many of his religious ideas to be misguided, if not downright blasphemous.
  • 37. Avicenna's most famous and influential work is his monumental treatise in five volumes, al-Qanun fi al-Tibb, or The Canon of Medicine. Encyclopedia Britannica has called it the single most important book in the history of medicine, East or West. For centuries, Avicenna's Canonwas a standard textbook in many European medical schools. Even today, it is the standard reference manual for practitioners of Unani Medicine. While basing his medical system on the humoral and vitalistic concepts of Hippocratesand Galen, Avicenna, in writing his Canon, took a universal perspective, collecting, distilling and synthesizing all the medical knowledge that existed at his time. Avicenna had traveled, read and studied widely on several different medical systems - Greek, Egyptian, Persian, Hindu, Tibetan and Chinese - and came to the conclusion that, beyond their superficial differences, they all dealt with the same common themes and clinical realities. They all had concepts of qualities and temperament, vital fluids or humors, vital energy or the Life Force, and similar principles of bodily structure and function, or anatomy and physiology. The sheer pervasiveness of the Canon's influence cannot be overestimated. Even some alleged folk remedies of rural Afro-Americans have been traced back to medicinal recipes from Avicenna's Canon. Subsequent generations of Unani physicians, taking inspiration from theCanon, have developed new medical techniques and treatments, and have made advances in pharmacology and drug preparation. The natural healing principles in the Canon have also been studied by Samuel Hahnemann, founder of homeopathy, andFather Sebastian Kneipp, the founder of naturopathy. Currently, only the first volume of Avicenna'sCanon, dealing with basic principles, is available in English. It was translated from the Latin by the British physician, Dr. O. Cameron Gruner, and is
  • 38. entitled A Treatise on the Canon of Medicine of Avicenna, Incorporating a Translation of the First Book. Besides Avicenna's original text, Dr. Gruner has included a lot of his own annotation and commentary. It was published in 1970 by Augustus M. Kelley in New York City. WHO'S WHO IN GREEK MEDICINE Hippocrates The Hippocratic Oath Aristotle Alexander the Great Galen Dioscorides Avicenna Nicholas Culpeper AVICENNA Prince of Physicians In Unani Medicine, the name of Hakim Ibn Sina, known to the West as Avicenna, towers head and shoulders above all others. Whereas Hippocrates is called the Father of Medicine, Avicenna has been called the Father of Modern Medicine. He is also called the Prince of Physicians.
  • 39. Avicenna was born in 980 A.D. nearBokhara, an ancient center of culture and learning in Persia. As a child, Avicenna showed a prodigious intellect. By age ten, he had committed the entire Koran to memory. While still in his teens, Avicenna had learned all there was to learn from the scholars of Bokhara, and had mastered the art of medicine. When Avicenna was only twenty-one, his father died. This traumatic event, coupled with the great political turmoil of the time, sent Avicenna on a period of constant wandering. He finally found refuge in the court of a prince in Hamdan, Persia, but even this wasn't enough to protect Avicenna from the whirlwind of political intrigue that surrounded him. He was even jailed on one occasion. But Avicenna's intellectual powers were so great that even these trials and hardships couldn't deter him from his creative work as a physician and scholar. Writing mainly from memory, Avicenna penned hundreds of works on just about every area of knowledge - physics, mathematics, economics, chemistry, natural history, religion, philosophy, music and, of course, medicine. Of these, two works are the most famous: The first is Kitab al-Shifa, or The Book of Healing. In it, Avicenna relates the principles of medicine to those of other sciences, like logic, geometry, psychology, astronomy, mathematics, music and metaphysics. According to Avicenna, any diagnosis of an illness was faulty and incomplete unless all aspects of the patient's life had been taken into consideration. A devoted student of Aristotle, Avicenna had certain bold and original ideas on philosophy and theology that were way ahead of his time. The conservative Islamic theologians of his day considered many of his religious ideas to be misguided, if not downright blasphemous.
  • 40. Avicenna's most famous and influential work is his monumental treatise in five volumes, al-Qanun fi al-Tibb, or The Canon of Medicine. Encyclopedia Britannica has called it the single most important book in the history of medicine, East or West. For centuries, Avicenna's Canonwas a standard textbook in many European medical schools. Even today, it is the standard reference manual for practitioners of Unani Medicine. While basing his medical system on the humoral and vitalistic concepts of Hippocratesand Galen, Avicenna, in writing his Canon, took a universal perspective, collecting, distilling and synthesizing all the medical knowledge that existed at his time. Avicenna had traveled, read and studied widely on several different medical systems - Greek, Egyptian, Persian, Hindu, Tibetan and Chinese - and came to the conclusion that, beyond their superficial differences, they all dealt with the same common themes and clinical realities. They all had concepts of qualities and temperament, vital fluids or humors, vital energy or the Life Force, and similar principles of bodily structure and function, or anatomy and physiology. The sheer pervasiveness of the Canon's influence cannot be overestimated. Even some alleged folk remedies of rural Afro-Americans have been traced back to medicinal recipes from Avicenna's Canon. Subsequent generations of Unani physicians, taking inspiration from theCanon, have developed new medical techniques and treatments, and have made advances in pharmacology and drug preparation. The natural healing principles in the Canon have also been studied by Samuel Hahnemann, founder of homeopathy, andFather Sebastian Kneipp, the founder of naturopathy. Currently, only the first volume of Avicenna'sCanon, dealing with basic principles, is available in English. It was translated from the Latin by the British physician, Dr. O. Cameron Gruner, and is
  • 41. entitled A Treatise on the Canon of Medicine of Avicenna, Incorporating a Translation of the First Book. Besides Avicenna's original text, Dr. Gruner has included a lot of his own annotation and commentary. It was published in 1970 by Augustus M. Kelley in New York City. Ibn Sina / Avicenna performed by Roger Worrod Acknowledgements: I am deeply indebted to Hakim G. M. Chishti's excellent book, The Traditional Healer's Handbook for much of the information in this article. The Traditional Healer's Handbook by Hakim G. M. Chishti, N.D. Copyright 1988 by Healing Arts Press - Rochester, VT pp. 14 - 16 Internet Resources: A lengthy, comprehensive compilation of articles on Avicenna. An excellent introduction to Avicenna and his work. A rich assortment of articles, abstracts and links on Avicenna and his philosophy. Claims to be the official Avicenna website. NICHOLAS CULPEPER English Herbalist and Astrologer Nicholas Culpeper was born in 1616 in Surrey, England into an old noble family. His father died shortly before his birth; and so, his grandfather was the main formative influence in his upbringing. He did his university studies at Cambridge, where he studied for the priesthood, but his heart wasn't in it. Culpeper was in love with a rich heiress of whom his family disapproved, so they planned to marry in secret. On the eve of their elopement, his fiancee was struck dead by lightning, which sent Culpeper into a deep depression. Looking for something to dedicate his life to, Culpeper decided to study medicine, and apprenticed himself to an apothecary in the Bishopsgate district of London. Upon completing his training, he opened up his own pharmacy in a halfway house in Spitalfields, London.
  • 42. Culpeper was an herbalist who followed the classical medical precepts of Hippocrates and Galen. A medical populist, Culpeper's mission was to put medicine and natural healing back into the hands of the people. According to Culpeper, priests, lawyers and physicians were, by and large, a burden to society, and used Latin to keep their knowledge out of the hands of the public. To put medical knowledge and power back into the hands of the people, Culpeper wrote an unauthorized critical translation of The London Dispensatory in English. In so doing, he aroused the enmity of many powerful physicians, who tried to brand him as a quack and charlatan. Culpeper also translated Galen's Art of Physick from Latin into English. This work deals with the basic tastes, temperatures and energetics of medicinal substances, and how these properties produce the whole range of therapeutic actions associated with them. Culpeper's best known and loved work is his herbal, called A Complete Herbal, which has never really gone out of print since it was first published. It gives the astrological indications of every herb in terms of planets and signs of the zodiac. According to Culpeper, plants were able to channel and embody the subtle life energies of the planets, which were then consumed as food and medicine. Through an elaborate system of planetary sympathies and antipathies, he found the right herb or formula to treat the patient's illness. Culpeper was a staunch advocate of astrology and its usefulness in medicine. In Culpeper's words: "To such as study astrology, who are the only men I know that are fit to study physick(medicine), physick without astrology being like a lamp without oil." Culpeper was a great admirer of the life and work of the great English astrologer William Lilly. His advice to Culpeper was: "You as an apothecary and physician, you should consult your planetary influences in each patient, to regulate your prescription accordingly. In that case, I am persuaded that more immediate relief will in most cases be afforded the sick and languishing patient. Astrological science should be very useful in guiding your medical enquiries to produce the cure of overt and latent diseases." Culpeper's Herbal is a great resource and reference book. I highly recommend that you buy an expanded edition, which also includes Directions for Making Syrups, Conserves, &c. &c., The English Physician and Family Dispensatory, and A Key to Galen's Method of Physick. It's published by Meyerbooks in the United States and by Wordsworth Reference in the United Kingdom. click to zoom A Complete Herbal is Culpeper's treatise and alphabetical catalog of the medicinal plants of his native England, including their astrological correspondences and indications. Directions... is a general how-to guide for making traditional medicines. The English Physician and Family Dispensatory starts out with an introductory discourse on Culpeper's system of astrological medicine, then continues with his critical translation of the London Dispensatory; it contains many authentic and valuable traditional
  • 43. medicinal recipes. A Key to Galen's Method of Physick is Culpeper's translation and commentary on Galen's famous treatise on pharmacodynamics, including the Galenic degrees. Culpeper's health in later years wasn't good. He is thought to have gotten tuberculosis from a bullet wound in his shoulder that he received at the siege of Reading. The pressure of his studies and writing, combined with his galloping consumption, finally led to his death on January 10, 1654, shortly after completingThe English Physician. Acknowledgements: I am deeply indebted to Graeme Tobyn's excellent book,Culpeper's Medicine, which has an excellent biography of Nicholas Culpeper in the beginning of the book. It is the essential explanatory companion to Culpeper, for those who wish to understand his work better. Culpeper's Medicine: A Practice of Western Holistic Medicine Copyright 1997 by Shaftesbury: Element Books Internet Resources: I obtained the quotes from Nicholas Culpeper and William Lilly, and a lot of information for this article, from: There's an online edition of the expanded and enlarged edition of Culpeper's Herbal,complete with The English Physician and all the extra books, BASIC PRINCIPLES OF GREEK MEDICINE Seven Natural Factors Greek Medicine Wheel Four Basic Qualities Four Elements Four Humors Four Temperaments Individual Temperament Inherent Temperament Four Faculties Pneuma and Ignis Vital Faculty Natural Faculty Psychic Faculty Radical Moisture Pepsis Greek Chakras Generative Faculty Greek Medicine and Ayurveda Greek Medicine and Chinese Medicine THE SEVEN NATURAL FACTORS Standards of Health Before we can begin to understand and treat disease, which is a deviation from the normal, healthy state of the body, we must first have a clear and definite picture of exactly what constitutes its healthy, normal state. And so, Greek Medicine begins with a study of the Seven Natural Factors, which constitute the standards of health and normalcy for the human organism. These are: The Four Elements - what the body is made of. The Four Humors - the metabolic agents of the Four Elements, the proper balance and
  • 44. confluence of which constitutes health, and the imbalance of which constitutes disease. The Four Temperaments - the qualitative yardsticks by which health and homeostasis, or deviation therefrom, are measured; the basis of constitutional medicine. The Four Faculties - the basic functions of the organism, and the essential functions of Life. The Vital Principles - the energies and essences that give life to the organism. The Organs and Parts - the basic units or components of the body, and how they function. The Forces, or Administering Virtues - the four principal vectors of all bodily functions. When all the Seven Natural Factors are working together in a balanced, harmonious manner, there is health and homeostasis. When they aren't working together properly, there is dysfunction and disease. When any one of these Seven Natural Factors or their essential components ceases to function, there is death. THE GREEK MEDICINE WHEEL Many traditional healing systems have some kind of medicine wheel teaching, which relates the life and health of the individual to the universal life forces and cycles of the natural world. Greek Medicine also has a medicine wheel, through which its most basic and fundamental correspondences may be known. The Seasons of the Year The Greek Medicine Wheel starts inWinter, whose Cold, Wet weather produces excessive Phlegm, causing, colds, coughs and lung congestion. In Spring, the weather gets moderately Hot, or Warm, but still remains Wet, or Moist. Sap, the lifeblood of the trees, rises up to the leaves and branches; in our bodies,Blood also gets lively and exuberant, and rises to the surface. In Summer, the increasing heat evaporates the remaining moisture, making the weather Hot and Dry. The hot, dry conditions aggravateYellow Bile, making us feverish and irritable. In Fall, the weather cools off but the dryness remains, making Fall Coldand Dry. These climactic concitions aggravate Black Bile, which has similar qualities. Then, increasing Cold as Fallmoves back into Winter condenses the atmospheric moisture, making Winter again Coldand Wet. The wheel has come full circle. The Times of Day The waxing and waning light and heat of the 24 hour daily circadian cycle mimicks the seasonal changes of the year. And so, each quarter of the circadian cycle corresponds to a certain season of the year, with similar associations of humor and temperament. Winter corresponds to Midnight of the circadian cycle. And so, the six hour period surrounding midnight, from 9:00 PM to 3:00 AM, is Cold, Wet, and Phlegmatic in temperament. Spring corresponds to Sunrise of the circadian cycle. And so, the six hour period surrounding sunrise, from 3:00 AM to 9:00 AM, is Warm, Moist and Sanguine in temperament. Summer corresponds to Noon of the circadian cycle. And so, the six hour period surrounding noon, from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM, is Hot, Dry and Choleric in temperament.
  • 45. Fall corresponds to Sunset of the circadian cycle. And so, the six hour period surrounding sunset, from 3:00 PM to 9:00 PM, is Cold, Dry, and Melancholic in temperament. The Stages of Life Poetic or metaphoric analogies can be drawn between the seasons of the year and the stages of life, which have corresponding affinities of humor and temperament. Spring corresponds to Youth. Youthful bodies are Warm and Moist, are full of good, exuberant blood, and are constantly growing. Summer corresponds to Adulthood. These are the peak, full throttle years of life's zenith, with lots of Choleric drive and ambition. Fall corresponds to Maturity, or Middle Age. The light and heat of the sun have begun to wane, and so has the Life Force within us. A Melancholy, philosophical realization of the transitoriness of life dawns. Winter corresponds to Old Age which is Cold, Wet and Phlegmatic in temperament. The light and heat of the sun are at their lowest ebb, and so is the Life Force in our bodies. Finally, all light and life are extinguished. Then, some say that this cycle also repeats with the youthful rebirth of a new Spring. THE FOUR BASIC QUALITIES Yin and Yang, Greek Style A strong dualism runs through classical Greek science and medicine, which sees all cycles, manifestation and phenomena in the natural world as resulting from the dynamic interplay of opposite yet complementary forces and qualities. Although many such qualities may be observed interacting in Nature, Aristotle concluded that four of them, or two pairs of opposites, were more central and important than all the others: Hot, Cold, Dry and Wet. These he called the Four Basic Qualities. The Hot / Cold polarity is called active orprimary because it drives all change and manifestation and causes or produces the other two qualities. The Dry / Wet polarity is called passive orsecondary because they are usually caused by the active, primary qualities. Both Hot and Dry are qualities that the Chinese would call Yang. They are closely associated with each other because heat evaporates moisture, producing dryness. Both Cold and Wet are qualities that the Chinese would call Yin. They are closely associated with each other because cold condenses moisture, producing wetness. Understanding the Four Basic Qualities. The ancient Greeks had a different understanding of the Four Basic Qualities than we do today. It was less literal, and more figurative and poetic. The primary, active polarity of Hot / Cold is the easiest to understand, and refers to the relative
  • 46. level of energy or activity present in a system or entity. Hot denotes a high level of energy or activity. Hot activates, excites, expands, disperses, moves and circulates. Cold denotes a low level of energy or activity. Cold slows down, sedates, contracts, congeals and obstructs. The secondary, passive polarity of Dry / Wet is a bit more complex, and has both literal and figurative interpretations. Literally, Dry / Wet refers to the relative level of moisture present in a system or entity, with Dry denoting a low level or absence of moisture and Wet a high level or abundance of moisture. When flour is dry, it is a powder that easily disperses. Add water to it, and it sticks together as dough. Therefore: Dry also means separate, objective, discrete. Wet also means coherent, subjective, indiscrete. When a rawhide drumhead is Wet, it gets soft, malleable, flexible and lax in tone. When that drumhead is Dry, it gets hard, stiff, rigid, tight in tone, and withers, or shrinks. Mix a spoonful of salt into enough water, and it will completely dissolve. When the water evaporates under the hot sun, the salt will start to crystallize and come out of solution. And so, Wet is liquid or fluidic in its behavior, whereas Dry is solid and discrete. Temperament and the Four Basic Qualities Greek Medicine is based on the concept of temperament. Temperament is defined as the prevailing balance or makeup of qualities and attributes within a substance, system or entity. Greek Medicine measures conditions of temperament primarily in terms of the Four Basic Qualities. Greek Medicine defines eight possible conditions of temperament, four of them simple and four compound. In addition, there is a ninth, called balanced or equable temperament. The four simple conditions of temperament each involve only one of the Four Basic Qualities, as follows: Hot - Hotter than normal, but neither Wetter nor Dryer. Cold - Colder than normal, but neither Wetter nor Dryer. Dry - Dryer than normal, but neither Hotter nor Colder. Wet - Wetter than normal, but neither Hotter nor Colder. The four compound conditions of temperament each involve two of the Four Basic Qualities, as follows: Hot and Dry - Both Hotter and Dryer than normal. Hot and Wet - Both Hotter and Wetter than normal. Cold and Dry - Both Colder and Dryer than normal. Cold and Wet - Both Colder and Wetter than normal. Conditions of both Hot and Cold can't exist simultaneously, since these two qualities are polar opposites. For the same reason, neither can conditions of Dry and Wet coexist. Each of the four compound temperaments has associations with a certain element, humor and temperament, or constitutional type. Working with the Four Basic Qualities Because the Four Basic Qualities aren't static, but rather always changing, we can work with them. Here are a few simple, basic rules for working with the Four Basic Qualities: Like increases like. If we wish to increase a certain quality in the organism, we use medicines and treatments that have that quality. Opposites balance. If we wish to bring an excessive or aggravated quality back into balance, we use medicines and treatments that have its opposite yet complementary quality. Heat produces dryness. Moderate amounts of heat, applied over a short period of time will only increase heat and dissipate excessive cold. Intense levels of heat applied over a long period of time will also evaporate moisture, producing dryness. Cold condenses moisture. Moderate amounts of cold applied over a short period of time will only cool down the body and disperse excessive heat. Intense cold applied over a long period of time will also condense moisture, producing wetness. THE FOUR ELEMENTS
  • 47. What the Body is Made Of In classical Greek science and medicine, the Four Elements are the basic constituents of all matter. Everything in the universe is composed of the Four Elements, in varying proportions and amounts. The elemental composition of a substance determines its particular nature and attributes, properties and actions. The Four Elements are Fire, Air, Earth, andWater. We can see them as embodying the four basic states of matter: Fire - igneous, incandescent or metamorphic state Air - gaseous state Water - liquid state Earth - solid state Cosmology of the Four Elements The Four Elements formed the classical Greek conception of the universe, as follows: At the center of our world is the Earth, as the planet we live on, the ground and support beneath our feet. Because of Earth's great heaviness and density, all things gravitate towards it. Running over and around the Earth is Water, in the form of lakes, rivers, and oceans. Water fertilizes and impregnates the Earth, giving it Life. Over the spheres of Earth and Water is that of Air,the atmosphere in which we live, move and have our being. Air's essence is exchange, contact and movement. All living things need Air to breathe.
  • 48. And finally, Fire lights up the Sun, Moon, and stars in the celestial firmament. Fire has brilliance and spirit, and symbolizes the Life Force within us. The human body and each of its constituent parts is also composed of the Four Elements, in varying proportions. The basic distribution and arrangement of the elements in the human body, or microcosm reflects that of the macrocosm of Nature. Light and Heavy Elements Two of the elements, Fire and Air, are light, subtle and energetic. Both of these elements have Hot as their primary quality. Two of the elements, Water and Earth, are heavy, dense and substantial, or gross. Both of these elements have Cold as their primary quality. Fluidic and Discrete Elements The two elements having Wet as their secondary quality, Air and Water, are both fluidic in their behavior, taking the shape of their container and rushing in to fill every space or vacuum. Air is hot, light and flows upwards, whereas Water is cold, heavy and flows or sinks downwards. The two elements having Dry as their secondary quality, Fire and Earth, both have a tendency to separate things and make them discrete. Fire, being Hot, does this in an active, dynamic way, by refining, distilling and transforming. Earth, being Cold, does this in a passive, receptive way, by solidifying, condensing and coagulating. Extreme and Moderate Elements Fire and Water are the extreme elements, being purely Yang or Yin in their basic qualities, respectively. Fire is Hot and Dry, whereas Water is Cold and Wet. Because of their extreme qualities, both elements can destroy or overwhelm easily. Fire and Waterboth embody the Cardinal quality of being able to drive or initiate manifestation and change. In the human body, Fire and Water drive all the metabolic processes. Air and Earth are the moderate or mixed elements. Air, being Hot and Wet, is fluidic, subtle and Mutable in nature. Earth, being Cold and Dry, is heavy, solid and Fixed in nature. The Four Elements in the Human Body Each of the constituent parts of the human body is composed of the Four Elements, in varying proportions. Here is where each of the Four Elements is primarily found in the human body: Fire: The digestive enzymes and secretions, and all enzymes. Yellow Bile. The Innate Heat of metabolism and the Digestive Fire. The heart, liver and stomach. All active, muscular heat generating tissues; the muscles. The Fire of spirit and intelligence, and the sparkle in the eyes. Air: The lungs, chest and thorax. All the cavities and open spaces, which allow for movement and function. The blood and the Vital Force it carries. The arteries, which pulsate with Air, or pneuma. All hollow or porous tissues and structures, which are lightened, rarefied and refined by Air: the bones, connective tissue, and membranous structures. Points of exchange and contact: the lungs, kidneys and digestive mucosa. Water: All the vital fluids of the body, especially the clear fluids: phlegm, mucus, plasma, lymph and serous and interstitial fluids. The kidneys, bladder and urinary tract, which pass superfluous Water from the body. The mucosa of the digestive, respiratory and genitourinary tracts. The lymphatic system. The brain and spinal cord. Earth: All the dense, solid, deeper, more permanent parts of the body. Bones, joints and structural connective tissue. Nerves, bone marrow and nervous tissue. Teeth and gums. The hair and nails. Qualities, Actions and Correspondences of the Elements Each element has certain inherent qualities, which give rise to its properties and actions. Each element also corresponds to a certain humor, temperament and season of the year. The basic correspondences are as follows: Fire: Hot and Dry. The most active, energetic and volatile element, and the greatest emitter of energy. Light, rising and penetrating. Distilling, refining, extracting, digesting, metabolizing, transforming. Yellow Bile. The Choleric temperament. Summer. Air: Hot and Wet. The subtlest, most refined element. Flowing and fluidic, filling every vacuum. Exchange, movement and contact. Ascending, lightening, rarefying. Blood. The Sanguine
  • 49. temperament. Spring. Earth: Cold and Dry. The heaviest, densest, most solid element. Draws, retains, solidifies, coagulates, precipitates, sustains, supports, endures. Black Bile. The Melancholic temperament. Fall or Autumn. Water: Cold and Wet. The most passive, receptive element, and the greatest receiver and absorber of energy. Flowing and fluidic. Cools, moistens, lubricates, dissolves, cleanses, purifies, sinks downwards. Fertilizes and germinates as the Source of all Life. Phlegm. The Phlegmatic temperament. Winter. Ether, the Fifth Element Some Greek medical philosophers include a fifth element, which is Space, or Ether. It is the lightest, subtlest and most refined of all the elements. Plato called it Prima Materia, or the primal source, womb or matrix from which all matter arises and manifests. Ether could be called matter on the verge of manifestation, or the space that allows matter to exist. Like Earth, Ether is also Cold and Dry in its basic qualities. But contrary to Earth, Ether is extremely light, subtle and mobile. Some say that Ether corresponds to the Nervoushumor and temperament, which is the subtle counterpart of the Melancholic temperament and black bile. But for most practical clinical purposes, Ether and its Nervous humor and temperament are subsumed and included under Earth and its Melancholic humor and temperament. THE FOUR HUMORS Agents of Metabolism The Four Humors are the metabolic agents of the Four Elements in the human body. The right balance and purity of them is essential to maintaining health. The Four Humors and the elements they serve are as follows: BLOOD - AIR PHLEGM - WATER YELLOW BILE - FIRE BLACK BILE - EARTH All four of these humors, or vital fluids, are present in the bloodstream in varying quantities: Blood, or the Sanguine humor, is the red, hemoglobin-rich portion. Phlegm, or the Phlegmatic humor, is present as the clear plasma portion. Yellow Bile, or the Choleric humor, is present as a slight residue or bilirubin, imparting a slight yellowish tint. Black Bile, or the Melancholic humor, is present as a brownish grey sediment with platelets and clotting factors. Digestion: Origin and Metabolism of the Four Humors The Four Humors are responsible for the nutrition, growth and metabolism of the organism. They originate in the digestive process. In Greek Medicine, digestion happens in four stages: The First Digestion happens in the gastrointestinal tract, and produces chyle; its waste product is the feces, or stool. The Second Digestion happens in the liver, and produces the Four Humors. Its wastes are eliminated via the bile, urine and sweat. The Third Digestion happens in the blood vessels, and feeds the principal organs of the body. Its wastes are eliminated via the urine and sweat. The Fourth Digestion happens in the tissues, and is the final congellation of the Four Humors into living tissue. Its wastes are eliminated similarly to the Third Digestion. The Four Humors originate in the liver in the Second Digestion as follows: Blood, or the Sanguine humor, is the first to arise, and receives the richest, choicest share of nutrients. It is the most plentiful humor, and enters the general circulation. Phlegm, as Plasma or the Phlegmatic humor, is the second to arise and receives the next richest share of nutrients. It is also very plentiful, and enters the general circulation. Yellow Bile, or the Choleric humor, is the third to arise and receives a rather coarse, meager share of nutrients. It is not so plentiful. Only a slight residue enters the general circulation; the rest is stored in the gall bladder, its receptacle, to be used as needed. Black Bile, or the Melancholic humor, is the last to arise, and receives the coarsest, most
  • 50. meager share of nutrients. It is the least plentiful. Only a slight residue enters the general circulation; the rest is stored in the spleen, its receptacle, to be used as needed. The first two humors, blood and phlegm, are moist and flourishing, and are the metabolic agents of the Wet elements - Air and Water, respectively. Most of the nutrition, growth and metabolism of the organism depends on them. The last two humors, yellow bile and black bile, are dry and effete, and only needed by the organism in small amounts. They are the metabolic agents of the Dry elements Fireand Earth, respectively. Although only needed in small amounts, they are potent and essential catalysts where needed. Blood / Sanguine Humor / Air Blood is Hot and Wet, or Warm and Moist. It is the very essence of vitality and health, nutrition and growth. Blood is perfect nourishment perfectly digested. Its receptacle or home is in the arteries and blood vessels. Blood carries the Vital Force and Innate Heat,which power cellular metabolism. The essence of blood is exchange and contact, as it is the basic nutritional and metabolic currency of the organism. Blood has an Attractivevirtue, or force, since all cells, organs and tissues have an absolute need for it, and are therefore attracted to it. Phlegm / Phlegmatic Humor / Water The Phlegmatic humor is Cold and Wet. It includes not just phlegm, but all the other clear fluids of the body: mucus, saliva, plasma, lymph, and serous and interstitial fluids. Together, these fluids cool, moisten, nourish, lubricate, protect, and purify the organism. The Plegmatic humor has an Expulsive virtue, or force, which flushes out impurities, transports vital nutrients, and helps eliminate wastes. The home of the Phlegmatic humor is in the veins and lymphatics. The Phlegmatic humor nourishes the body on a deep and fundamental level. Yellow Bile / Choleric Humor / Fire The Choleric humor is Hot and Dry. It is produced by the liver and stored in the gall bladder. Bile has a hot, caustic nature and a Digestive virtue, or force, which gives it a strong affinity with the other digestive secretions of the middle GI tract. Fire and bile digest and consume, metabolize and transform. Digestively, bile powers digestion; digests, assimilates and excretes fats and cholesterol; and acts as a natural laxative to stimulate intestinal peristalsis and defecation. It also colors the stool brown. Systemically, Choleric residues in the bloodstream thin the blood, enabling it to penetrate through the finest capillaries; empowers the inflammatory response; and opens up the lungs and respiratory passages as a surfactant. Black Bile / Melancholic Humor / Earth Black Bile is Cold and Dry. Healthy black bile is a normal sediment of blood, or the Sanguine humor. Black Bile has a Retentive virtue or force, and a cooling, drying, astringing, precipitating, condensing, coagulating, solidifying effect on metabolism necessary for building the bones, teeth, and all dense, solid structural connective tissues of the body. Digestively, Black Bile awakens the stomach and appetite, solidifies the stool, and enables the digestive organs to hold on to their contents long enough to process them properly. Systemically, Melancholic residues in the bloodstream thicken the blood, enabling it to clot; this is vitally important in wound granulation, scar tissue formation, and all structural repair of the body. Black Bile also governs mineral metabolism and bone formation. The Psychological Effects of the Humors The Four Humors are not just gross, physical substances. They also pervade the whole organism as subtle vapors, even affecting the mind, thoughts, and emotions. And so, the Four Humors also have psychological effects, making them capable of affecting both body and mind: Blood promotes a feeling of joy, mirth, optimism, enthusiasm, affection and wellbeing. Phlegm induces passivity, lethargy, subjectivity, devotion, emotionalism, sensitivity and sentimentality. Yellow Bile provokes, excites and emboldens the passions. Being inflammatory, irritating and caustic, it provokes anger, irritability, boldness, ambition, envy, jealousy and courage. Black Bile makes one pensive, melancholy and withdrawn. It encourages prudence, caution, realism, pragmatism and pessimism.
  • 51. The Four Humors tend to have negative effects on the mind and emotions only when they're excessive or aggravated. Otherwise, they can also strengthen positive aspects of character. Confluence of the Humors Health is a harmonious balance and interworking of the humors. Although the Four Humors work together to ensure the optimum nutrition, growth and metabolism of the organism, healthy humors still maintain their own identity and functional integrity. When the humors are harmonious, balanced and working well together, that is a condition called eucrasia, or "good mixture". When the humors are unbalanced, aggravated, or out of sorts, that is a condition called dyscrasia, or "bad mixture". Internet Resources The Four Humors - part 1 The Four Humors - part 2 THE FOUR TEMPERAMENTS The Basis of Constitutional Medicine The Four Temperaments are the basic constitutional bodymind types of Greek Medicine. Each one is named after a certain humor, and is characterized by the predominance of that humor and its associated basic qualities. The Four Temperaments are the basic of all constitutional notions of diagnosis and treatment in Greek Medicine. Know your constitutional type and you know how to eat, live and medicate yourself properly for optimum health maintenance and disease prevention. Each of the Four Temperaments can be recognized by certain basic traits of physique, physiology, digestion and metabolism, personality and character. The Four Temperaments and their distinguishing traits are as follows: click to zoom Sanguine Temperament
  • 52. Humor: Blood Basic Qualities: Hot and Wet (Warm and Moist) Generally considered to be the most desirable temperament, since blood is the essence of vitality and health, but not without its drawbacks. Its traits are: Face: Oval or acorn-shaped face and head. Delicate, well-formed mouth and lips. Beautiful almond shaped eyes, often brown. An elegant, swanlike neck. Physique: In youth, balanced, neither too fat nor too thin. Moderate frame and build. Elegant, statuesque form, with ample, luxuriant flesh. Joints well-formed; bones, tendons, veins not prominent. Can put on weight past forty, mostly around hips, thighs, buttocks. Hair: Thick, luxuriant, wavy. Abundant facial and body hair in men. Skin: Pink, rosy, blushing complexion. Soft, creamy smooth luxurious feel. Pleasantly warm to the touch. Appetite: Quite hearty, often greater than digestive capacity. A predeliction for rich gourmet foods. The epicure. Digestion: Good to moderate; balanced. Can be overwhelmed by excessive food. Metabolism: Moderate, balanced. Bowel tone can be a bit lax. Digestive, respiratory, genitourinary mucosa can be problem areas. Predispositions: Metabolic excesses of the blood: uremia, gout, diabetes, high cholesterol. Intestinal sluggishness, putrefaction. Congested, sluggish liver and pancreas. Congested blood, bleeding disorders. Respiratory catarrh, congestion, asthma. Urinary conditions, genitourinary disorders. Excessive menstruation in women. Skin conditions, hypersensitivity, capillary congestion. Urine: Tends to be rich or bright yellow and thick. Stool: Well-formed, neither too hard nor too soft. Sweat: Balanced, moderate. Sleep: Moderate, balanced, sound. Can be some snoring. Dreams: Usually pleasant, of a charming, amusing, romantic nature. Travel, enjoyment, games, distractions. Mind: Faculty of Judgement well-developed. A synthetic intellect that likes to see the whole picture. An optimistic, positive mental outlook. Rather conventional and conformist; good social skills. Personality: Exuberant, enthusiastic, outgoing. Optimistic, confident, poised, graceful. Expansive, generous. Romantically inclined; loves beauty, aesthetics, the arts. Sensual, indulgent nature. Sociable, gregarious, lighthearted, cheerful. Choleric Temperament Humor: Yellow Bile Basic Qualities: Hot and Dry The Choleric temperament is the hottest, most active and catabolic of all. Its traits are: Face: Broad jaw. Sharp nose, high cheekbones. Sharp, angular facial features. Reddish face common. Sharp, fiery, brilliant, penetrating eyes. Physique: Compact, lean, wiry. Good muscle tone, definition. Prominent veins and tendons. Broad chest common. An active, sportive type. Weight gain usually in chest, arms, belly, upper body. Hair: Often curly. Can also be thin, fine. Balding common in men. Blonde or reddish hair common. Skin: Ruddy or reddish color if heat predominates; sallow or bright yellow if bile predominates. Rough and dry, quite warm. Appetite: Sharp and quick. Soon overcome by ravenous hunger. Fond of meat, fried foods, salty or spicy foods, alcohol, intense or stimulating taste sensations. Digestion: Sharp and quick. Tendency towards gastritis, hyperacidity, acid reflux. When balanced and healthy, can have a "cast iron stomach", able to digest anything. Metabolism: Strong, fast, active; catabolic dominant. Strong Innate Heat of metabolism. Liver and bile metabolism can be problematic. Digestive secretions strong, bowel transit time short. Adrenals, sympathetic nervous system dominant. Strong inflammatory reactions. Predispositions: Fevers, infections, inflammation. Hives, rashes, urticaria. Fatty liver, bilious conditions. Hyperacidity, acid reflux, inflammatory and ulcerative conditions of middle GI tract. Headaches, migraines, irritability. Eyestrain, red sore eyes. Purulent conditions. High cholesterol, cardiovascular disorders. Gingivitis. Bleeding disorders from excess heat, choler in the blood. Hypertension, stress disorders. Urine: Tends to be scanty, dark, thin. Can be hot or burning. Stool: Tends towards diarrhea, loose stools. Can have a yellowish color, foul odor.
  • 53. Sweat: Profuse, especially in summer, or with vigorous physical activity. Strong body odor. Sensitive to hot weather, suffers greatly in summer. Sleep: Often fitful, restless, disturbed, especially with stress, indigestion. Often tends to wake up early, or in the middle of the night. Dreams: Often of a military or violent nature. Dreams of fire, red things common. Fight or flight, confrontation. Mind: Bold, daring, original, imaginative, visionary. Ideation faculty well-developed. Brilliant intellect, sharp penetrating insight. The idea man who prefers to leave the details to others. Personality: Prone to anger, impatience, irritability; short temper. Bold, courageous, audacious; confrontive, contentious. Dramatic, bombastic manner; high powered personality. The rugged individualist and pioneer; thrives on challenge. The fearless leader. Seeks exhilaration, intense experiences. Driven, "Type A" personality. Prone to extremism, fanaticism. Melancholic Temperament Humor: Black Bile Basic Qualities: Cold and Dry The Melancholic temperament tends to be the most problematic, since it's contrary to the Sanguine. However, with proper management, Melancholics can also be healthy. Face: Squarish or rectangular head and face. Prominent cheekbones, sunken hollow cheeks common. Small, beady eyes. Teeth can be prominent, crooked or loose. Thin lips. Physique: Tends to be thin, lean. Knobby, prominent bones and joints common. Prominent veins, sinews, tendons. Muscle tone good, but tends to be stiff, tight. Rib cage long and narrow, with ribs often prominent. Can gain weight in later years, mainly around midriff. Hair: Color dark, brunette. Thick and straight. Facial and body hair in men tends to be sparse. Skin: A dull yellow or darkish, swarthy complexion. Feels coarse, dry, leathery, cool. Callouses common. Appetite: Variable to poor. Varies, fluctuates according to mental/nervous/emotional state. Digestion: Variable to poor; irregular. Digestion also varies according to mental/nervous/emotional state. Colic, gas, distension, bloating common. Metabolism: Often slow. Can also be variable, erratic. Prone to dehydration. Nervous system consumes many nutrients, minerals. GI function variable, erratic; digestive secretions tend to be deficient. Blood tends to be thick. Nutritional deficiencies can cause a craving for sweets, starches. Thyroid tends to be challenged, stressed. Predispositions: Anorexia, poor appetite. Nervous, colicky digestive disorders. Constipation. Spleen disorders. Nutritional and mineral deficiencies, anemia. Blood sugar problems, hypoglycemia. Wasting, emaciation, dehydration. Poor circulation and immunity. Arthritis, rheumatism, neuromuscular disorders. Nervous and spasmodic afflictions. Dizziness, vertigo, ringing in ears. Nervousness, depression, anxiety, mood swings. Neurovegetative dystonia. Urine: Tends to be clear and thin. Stool: Can either be hard, dry, compact; or irregular, porous, club shaped. Constipation, irritable bowel common. Sweat: Generally scanty. Can be subtle, thin, furtive, indicating poor immunity. Nervous stress can increase sweating. Sleep: Difficulty falling asleep, insomnia. Stress, overwork, staying up late aggravates insomnia. Generally a light sleeper. Dreams: Generally dark, moody, somber, disturbing. Themes of grief, loss common. Mind: An analytical intellect; detail oriented. Efficient, realistic, pragmatic. Reflective, studious, philosophical. Retentive faculty of memory well-developed. Thinking can be too rigid, dogmatic. A prudent, cautious, pessimistic mental outlook. Personality: Practical, pragmatic, realistic. Efficient, reliable, dependable. A reflective, stoic, philosophical bent. Can be nervous, high strung. Frugal, austere; can be too attached to material possessions. Serious, averse to gambling, risk taking. Can be moody, depressed, withdrawn. Can easily get stuck in a rut. Excessive attachment to status quo. Phlegmatic Temperament Humor: Phlegm Basic Qualities: Cold and Wet The Phlegmatic temperament is the coldest, most passive, energy conserving and anabolic. Its traits are: Face: Round face; full cheeks, often dimpled. Soft, rounded features. Double chin, pug nose common. Large, moist eyes. Thick eyelids and eyelashes.
  • 54. Physique: Heavy frame, stout, with flesh ample and well-developed. Often pudgy, plump or overweight; obesity common. Joints dimpled, not prominent. Veins not prominent, but can be bluish and visible. Lax muscle tone common. Feet and ankles often puffy, swollen. Women tend to have large breasts. Weight gain especially in lower body. Hair: Light colored, blondish hair common. Light facial and body hair in men. Skin: Pale, pallid complexion; very fair. Soft, delicate, cool moist skin. Cool, clammy perspiration common, especially in hands and feet. Appetite: Slow but steady. Craves sweets, dairy products, starchy glutinous foods. Digestion: Slow but steady to sluggish. Gastric or digestive atony common. Sleepiness, drowsiness after meals common. Metabolism: Cold, wet and slow. Conserves energy, favors anabolic metabolism. Congestion, poor circulation, especially in veins and lymphatics. Kidneys slow, hypofunctioning, inefficient. Adrenals and thyroid tend towards hypofunction; basal metabolic rate low. Metabolic Water drowning out metabolic Fire. Predispositions: Phlegm congestion. Water retention, edema. Lymphatic congestion, obstruction. Poor veinous circulation. Gastric atony, slow digestion. Hypothyroid, myxedema. Adrenal hypofunction. Weight gain, obesity. Frequent colds and flu. Chronic respiratory conditions, congestion. Swollen legs, ankles, feet. Cellulite. Poor tone of skin, muscles, fascia. Urine: Tends to be clear/pale and thick. Tends to be scanty in volume, with excess fluid accumulation in the body. Stool: Well-formed, but tends to be slightly loose, soft. Bowels tend to be sluggish. Sweat: Cool, clammy sweat common, especially on hands and feet. Sweating can be easy and profuse, especially with kidney hypofunction. Sensitive to cold weather; suffers greatly in winter. Sleep: Very deep and sound. Tends towards excessive sleep, somnolence. Snoring common; can be loud or excessive. Dreams: Generally very languid, placid. Water and aquatic themes common. Mind: Tends to be dull, foggy, slow. Slow to learn, but once learned, excellent and long retention. Patient, devoted, faithful. Faculty of Empathy well-developed. Sentimental, subjective thinking. A calm, good-natured, benevolent mental outlook. Personality: Good natured, benevolent, kind. Nurturing, compassionate, sympathetic, charitable. Great faith, patience, devotion; tends to be religious, spiritual. Sensitive, sentimental, emotional, empathetic. Passive, slow, sluggish; averse to exertion or exercise. Calm, relaxed, takes life easy. Excessive sluggishness, torpor can lead to depression. INDIVIDUAL CONSTITUTION AND TEMPERAMENT Knowing Your Type Each individual has an innate, natural balance or makeup of humors and qualities that is unique and personal to him or her. This is called an individual's constitutional nature and temperament. In Greek Medicine, to be healthy means to be totally in balance or in tune with one's constitutional nature and temperament. This condition is called being in temperament. Conversely, the further one strays from this harmonious, balanced state of being in temperament, the more out of balance and unhealthy one becomes. This state of being out of balance with one's innate constitutional nature is called a dystemperament. In Greek Medicine, the physician's job is to lead the patient back from a state of imbalance, or dystemperament, to one of balance, or being in temperament. The usual procedure is to start with the most recently acquired symptoms and conditions and backtrack to the oldest and most chronic, like peeling off the layers of an onion. It is possible to give some general standards of health, but they must be broad and flexible enough to include everyone. But when it comes to the particulars of exactly what constitutes perfect health for any given individual, it must be defined according to his/her individual constitutional nature and temperament. We all have our own unique capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses, and an individual mission and purpose. Just from obvious characteristics of physique and build, we can easily tell that not everyone was born with the potential to be a great athlete, for example. But it is possible for each person to find a state of health and balance in body, mind and spirit, by living and being in tune with one's individual constitutional nature and temperament. Mixed Temperaments
  • 55. The Four Temperaments are the basic constitutional types of Greek Medicine. In addition to these pure types, there are also mixed temperaments. Actually, pure types are relatively rare; the vast majority of us are of mixed temperament. The usual pattern is to be of dual temperament, with one that's strongest or primary and another secondary temperament of lesser strength. Sometimes these two temperaments will be fairly evenly balanced, or shift back and forth in their relative dominance in response to various factors and influences - dietary, lifestyle, climactic and so on. A few people might have three dominant temperaments of roughly equal strength. Then, the distinguishing feature isn't the three relatively strong temperaments, but the one remaining weak one. Like a four-legged table with one short leg, the weak temperament must constantly be strengthened and supplemented. To recapitulate, there are four basic possibilities for individual constitutional temperament according to Greek Medicine: simple temperament; dual temperament - primary and secondary; dual temperament - roughly equal; and triple temperament, with the remaining one weak. Assessing Your Constitutional Temperament To assess your individual constitutional nature and temperament, take a blank sheet of paper. On the left hand side, from top to bottom, list all the categories of traits used to describe the Four Temperaments. Then, across the top from left to right, put the headings of four different columns: S for Sanguine, C for Choleric, M for Melancholic, and P for Phlegmatic. Then, go through each of the categories to determine where you stand on each. If, for example, your nose and basic facial shape are Phlegmatic but your eyes and lips are of the Sanguine type, you would check both the P and S columns under Face. If your face is clearly of a pure single type, you would only have to check one column under Face. The same general procedure should be followed for each category. The most important traits for you to consider from a health and medical perspective aren't those concerned with mere surface appearances, but rather the deep and fundamental characteristics of physiology and metabolism, psychology and behavior. To be sure you get the right understanding and perspective, especially on these deep and fundamental points, it helps to go over this checklist with a good friend who knows you well. In tallying up the results, you may find that you've checked off items in multiple columns, or even in all four. However, you will find definite patterns of dominance and emphasis emerging. What if you're Sanguine in your facial features, but Melancholic in your appetite and digestion, and Phlegmatic in your sleep patterns? Don't worry - this "crazy quilt" pattern is actually quite common. Most of us are indeed a mixed bag. In Greek Medicine, knowing your individual constitutional nature and temperament is the most important first step on the path of health and healing. By knowing your individual temperament, you then know how to eat, exercise, sleep, rest, live and medicate yourself for optimum health maintenance and disease prevention. For the physician, knowing the patient's individual temperament means treating the person and not just treating the disease. INHERENT TEMPERAMENT Of the Organs, Tissues and Body Parts
  • 56. It's a physiological fact that all organs and organ systems of the body require certain gradients of temperature, moisture, pressure and so on to be able to function. If the body were perfectly homogeneous, it would be inert and lifeless, like a statue. And so, in Greek Medicine, the various organs, tissues and parts of the body differ from each other in their basic qualities, or inherent temperament. These differences or gradients of temperament enable the body to function. Even a cursory examination of the various organs, tissues and body parts will reveal that they have certain inherent traits which enable them to perform their functions. The bones, for example, are stiff and hard because they're Cold and Dry, which enables them to support the weight of the body. The liver, on the other hand, is warm, soft and squishy, and a dark, blood red color because it has to generate the blood and all the humors. The balance or makeup of inherent traits and qualities that an organ, tissue or body part has, which enable it to perform its functions is called its inherent temperament. As with the organism as a whole, the health of an organ, tissue or body part is measured by how in balance or in tune it is with its inherent temperament. Deviations from its inherent temperament compromise a part's health, vitality and immunity and leave it vulnerable to dysfunction and disease. Parameters of Inherent Temperament The Hot / Cold polarity refers to the relative level of heat and metabolic activity occurring in a body part. Parts with a Hot or Warm inherent temperament are either hot or warm to the touch or have a high level of metabolic activity. Parts with a Cold inherent temperament will either feel cool or cold to the touch or have a low level of metabolic activity. The Dry / Wet polarity refers to a part's relative moisture level. It also refers to a part's level of hardness or firmness versus softness, squishiness or laxness. Organs and parts that distill, extract, digest or refine need a certain dryness to be able to function. Organs and parts that mix, unite, dissolve, secrete, or generate things need a certain wetness to be able to function. Of all the body parts, Greek Medicine considers the skin to be the most inherentlyneutral and balanced in temperament. All the other organs, tissues and body parts are either Hotter or Colder, Wetter or Dryer than the skin. Now, let's look at the various body parts exhibiting extremes of temperament. They are as follows: Hot - the exhalation or outbreath is the hottest, being obviously hot to the touch. Theheart is considered to be the hottest internal organ, since it constantly beats, or pulsates. In heat, the heart is closely followed by the blood, which carries the Innate Heat. Close behind is the liver, a real hotbed of metabolic activity. Cold - The Phlegmatic humor, being the body's main coolant, is considered to be the coldest substance in the body. The hair comes next, since it consists of dead protein filaments, devoid of all metabolic activity. Next come the bones, with a very low level of metabolic activity, followed by the cartilage, which is softer, warmer, and more mechanically and metabolically active. Dry - Our Cold friends, the hair and bones, are also the dryest parts of the organism, being very hard and dense as well. The phrase "bone dry" is a common expression. The bones are followed by the cartilage, which is slightly smoother and softer, and therefore more moist. Next come the tendons and ligaments, which, as connective tissues, need a certain hardness, stiffness and durability to perform their functions. Wet - The coldest substance in the body, the Phlegmatic humor, is also the wettest, since it's the body's main lubricant. Slightly dryer, and therefore thicker and less dilute, but still quite wet, is blood, or the Sanguine humor. The liver is the wettest internal organ, because it has to generate the blood and the other humors. Also, the basic vulnerabilities of an organ or body part tell a lot about its inherent temperament. For example, the throat, which is constantly being bathed in the outbreath, is one of the warmest parts of the organism; therefore, it's very vulnerable to cold drafts and chills. The brain, besides being one of the wettest internal organs, is also one of the coldest; therefore, fevers and excessive heat, as well as dehydration, can seriously impair its functioning. Generally, a body part is most vulnerable to qualities that run counter to those it needs for optimal functioning. Temperament and the Four Humors Besides having their own inherent compound temperaments, the Four Humors also perform an important homeostatic function for the organism. All the Four Humors, working harmoniously
  • 57. together, give considerable stability and balance to the inherent temperaments of the organs, tissues and body parts with which they come into contact. In other words, the Four Humors hold the qualities and temperaments in place. The humors with which a body part constantly comes into contact also exert a great influence on its inherent temperament. For example, the walls of the arteries are hotter than those of the viens because arterial blood is hotter than veinous blood, which has been depleted of its metabolic energy. In Greek Medicine, every part of the body, including the Four Humors themselves, is subject to conditions of being either in temperament or in dystemperament. For example, a Hot dystemperament of the blood would be a fever or inflammation affecting the blood. A Chart of the Body Parts and Their Inherent Temperaments click to zoom What follows is a comprehensive chart of the various organs, tissues and body parts and their degrees of inherent temperament. The best way to present this is spatially, with the four cardinal directions corresponding to the Four Basic Qualities. Each quadrant of the chart represents one of the four compound temperaments: Choleric, Sanguine, etc... In the center is the skin. At the bottom is Hot, at the top Cold. At the left is Wet, at the right is Dry. The idea for such a chart is not my own. It comes from Graeme Tobyn's excellent book, Culpeper's Medicine. I have merely adapted it, adding a few extra organs, tissues and body parts. Inherent Temperament and Constitutional Temperament The above chart shows the inherent temperaments of the organs, tissues and body parts relative to each other; it is not absolute. The actual setpoints of normal inherent temperament can actually vary considerably in accordance with an individual's constitutional temperament. In someone of Choleric temperament, for example, all the actual setpoints would be hotter and dryer than in someone of a balanced, equable constitutional temperament. Often, the bodies of those of a certain constitutional temperament will emphasize parts having that temperament. For example, the bones, tendons and joints tend to be prominent in those of a Melancholic constitutional temperament because these parts are Cold and Dry. THE FOUR FACULTIES The Basic Functions of Life Galen was a brilliant physician and anatomist who contributed much to Greek Medicine's understanding of the organs and systems of the human body and how they function. His chief contribution in this area was his doctrine of theFour Faculties. According to Galen, the human body and all living organisms have to be able to do four basic things for themselves in order to live and survive: 1) They have to be able to vitalize themselves with the basic Life Energy necessary to function. 2) They have to be able to feed themselves and nourish, grow and regenerate their physical structure. 3) They must have consciousness and cognition, perception and awareness to be able to
  • 58. respond to their environment in an intelligent and timely manner in the interest of self preservation. 4) They must be able to reproduce themselves to further the continuity of Life and the propagation of their species. These four seminal ideas became the basis for his doctrine of the Four Faculties of the organism, which perform these four basic functions. Each of these faculties has a principal organ, which is its central control or processing unit, which in turn is served by subsidiary organs and vessels of the faculty. The Four Faculties of the organism, and their principal functions and organs, are as follows: Vital Faculty - Vitalizes the organism, enabling it to function; coordinates whole body responses. Governs respiration, circulation, cellular metabolism and the immune response. Principal Organ - Heart Natural Faculty - Feeds the organism, enabling it to grow and regenerate its physical structure. Governs digestion, metabolism, nutrition and growth. Principal Organ - Liver Psychic Faculty - Intelligence, awareness, perception. Stimulus and response. Enables the organism to respond to its environment in the interests of self preservation. Principal Organ - Brain Generative Faculty - Reproduction, procreation. Propagates the species in service of the continuance of Life. Principal Organ - Gonads The first three faculties are primary, because they're needed on a daily basis. The fourth faculty, the Generative Faculty, serves the purpose of procreation, which is not needed on a daily basis. To demonstrate the importance of the three primary faculties, let's consider a limb of the body, like a leg, for example: The Vital Faculty vitalizes that leg, giving it life. Without the Vital Faculty and its lifegiving blood supply, that leg would necrose and die within minutes. The Natural Faculty feeds that leg, nourishing it and regenerating its structure. Without the
  • 59. humors and nutrients it supplies, that leg would gradually atrophy and wither away over a period of days, weeks or months. The Psychic Faculty enables that leg to perform specialized movements like kicking and walking, and take us where we want to go. Through the Psychic Faculty, that leg becomes a useful instrument for the indwelling soul, or psyche. Principal Organs and Attendant Vessels The principal organs are the master organs, the central control and processing units, which are served by various subsidiary organs and attendant vessels. Those which come before the principal organ in functional order are called afferent vessels, whereas those that come after it are called efferent vessels. A chart of the Four Faculties, their principal organs, and the afferent and efferent vessels to them, would be as follows: Vital Faculty Principal Organ Heart Afferent Vessels Lungs and respiratory tract; diaphragm Veins and pulmonary vessels; lymphatics Efferent Vessels Arteries and capillaries Natural Faculty Principal Organ Liver Afferent Vessels Stomach and digestive tract Veins of hepatic portal system Efferent Vessels Inferior vena cava, gall bladder, spleen Psychic Faculty Principal Organ Brain Afferent Vessels Sense organs, sensory nerves Efferent Vessels Motor nerves, effector organs and muscles Generative Faculty Principal Organ Gonads - testes (male) ovaries (female) Afferent Vessels male - epididymus, vas deferens, seminal vesicles, prostate, urethra, penis female - fallopian tubes, uterus, cervix, vagina, vulvae Efferent Vessels Arteries and capillaries The Noble Organs Besides the principal organs of the Four Faculties, there are other important organs, which are also served by their subsidiary organs and vessels; these are called the Noble Organs. Some of the Noble Organs clearly pertain to one faculty, whereas others interface between multiple faculties. The main Noble Organs, the faculties they serve, and the organs and vessels that serve them, are as follows:
  • 60. Vital Faculty Lungs - served by the ribs, diaphragm and upper respiratory tract. Thymus Gland - served by the lymphatic system and lymphocytes. Natural Faculty Spleen - served by the stomach, colon, lymphatic and circulatory systems. Pancreas - served by the circulatory system, digestive tract. Kidneys - served by bladder, lower urinary tract; also interfaces with Vital Faculty. Psychic Faculty Sense Organs - eyes, ears, nose, tongue, skin - served by their sensory nerves. Generative Faculty Uterus - served by all the other organs and vessels of the female reproductive system; grows the foetus into the newborn. Breasts - The female breasts produce milk. The endocrine glands, which produce important hormones that regulate and govern important whole body responses, are also noble organs; most of them interface between multiple faculties and systems. Every organ, vessel or gland in the human body serves at least one of the Four Faculties. THE FOUR TEMPERAMENTS The Basis of Constitutional Medicine The Four Temperaments are the basic constitutional bodymind types of Greek Medicine. Each one is named after a certain humor, and is characterized by the predominance of that humor and its associated basic qualities. The Four Temperaments are the basic of all constitutional notions of diagnosis and treatment in Greek Medicine. Know your constitutional type and you know how to eat, live and medicate yourself properly for optimum health maintenance and disease prevention. Each of the Four Temperaments can be recognized by certain basic traits of physique, physiology, digestion and metabolism, personality and character. The Four Temperaments and their distinguishing traits are as follows: click to zoom
  • 61. Sanguine Temperament Humor: Blood Basic Qualities: Hot and Wet (Warm and Moist) Generally considered to be the most desirable temperament, since blood is the essence of vitality and health, but not without its drawbacks. Its traits are: Face: Oval or acorn-shaped face and head. Delicate, well-formed mouth and lips. Beautiful almond shaped eyes, often brown. An elegant, swanlike neck. Physique: In youth, balanced, neither too fat nor too thin. Moderate frame and build. Elegant, statuesque form, with ample, luxuriant flesh. Joints well-formed; bones, tendons, veins not prominent. Can put on weight past forty, mostly around hips, thighs, buttocks. Hair: Thick, luxuriant, wavy. Abundant facial and body hair in men. Skin: Pink, rosy, blushing complexion. Soft, creamy smooth luxurious feel. Pleasantly warm to the touch. Appetite: Quite hearty, often greater than digestive capacity. A predeliction for rich gourmet foods. The epicure. Digestion: Good to moderate; balanced. Can be overwhelmed by excessive food. Metabolism: Moderate, balanced. Bowel tone can be a bit lax. Digestive, respiratory, genitourinary mucosa can be problem areas. Predispositions: Metabolic excesses of the blood: uremia, gout, diabetes, high cholesterol. Intestinal sluggishness, putrefaction. Congested, sluggish liver and pancreas. Congested blood, bleeding disorders. Respiratory catarrh, congestion, asthma. Urinary conditions, genitourinary disorders. Excessive menstruation in women. Skin conditions, hypersensitivity, capillary congestion. Urine: Tends to be rich or bright yellow and thick. Stool: Well-formed, neither too hard nor too soft. Sweat: Balanced, moderate. Sleep: Moderate, balanced, sound. Can be some snoring. Dreams: Usually pleasant, of a charming, amusing, romantic nature. Travel, enjoyment, games, distractions. Mind: Faculty of Judgement well-developed. A synthetic intellect that likes to see the whole picture. An optimistic, positive mental outlook. Rather conventional and conformist; good social skills. Personality: Exuberant, enthusiastic, outgoing. Optimistic, confident, poised, graceful. Expansive, generous. Romantically inclined; loves beauty, aesthetics, the arts. Sensual, indulgent nature. Sociable, gregarious, lighthearted, cheerful. Choleric Temperament Humor: Yellow Bile Basic Qualities: Hot and Dry The Choleric temperament is the hottest, most active and catabolic of all. Its traits are: Face: Broad jaw. Sharp nose, high cheekbones. Sharp, angular facial features. Reddish face common. Sharp, fiery, brilliant, penetrating eyes. Physique: Compact, lean, wiry. Good muscle tone, definition. Prominent veins and tendons. Broad chest common. An active, sportive type. Weight gain usually in chest, arms, belly, upper body. Hair: Often curly. Can also be thin, fine. Balding common in men. Blonde or reddish hair common. Skin: Ruddy or reddish color if heat predominates; sallow or bright yellow if bile predominates. Rough and dry, quite warm. Appetite: Sharp and quick. Soon overcome by ravenous hunger. Fond of meat, fried foods, salty or spicy foods, alcohol, intense or stimulating taste sensations. Digestion: Sharp and quick. Tendency towards gastritis, hyperacidity, acid reflux. When balanced and healthy, can have a "cast iron stomach", able to digest anything. Metabolism: Strong, fast, active; catabolic dominant. Strong Innate Heat of metabolism. Liver and bile metabolism can be problematic. Digestive secretions strong, bowel transit time short. Adrenals, sympathetic nervous system dominant. Strong inflammatory reactions. Predispositions: Fevers, infections, inflammation. Hives, rashes, urticaria. Fatty liver, bilious conditions. Hyperacidity, acid reflux, inflammatory and ulcerative conditions of middle GI tract. Headaches, migraines, irritability. Eyestrain, red sore eyes. Purulent conditions. High cholesterol, cardiovascular disorders. Gingivitis. Bleeding disorders from excess heat, choler in the blood. Hypertension, stress disorders. Urine: Tends to be scanty, dark, thin. Can be hot or burning.
  • 62. Stool: Tends towards diarrhea, loose stools. Can have a yellowish color, foul odor. Sweat: Profuse, especially in summer, or with vigorous physical activity. Strong body odor. Sensitive to hot weather, suffers greatly in summer. Sleep: Often fitful, restless, disturbed, especially with stress, indigestion. Often tends to wake up early, or in the middle of the night. Dreams: Often of a military or violent nature. Dreams of fire, red things common. Fight or flight, confrontation. Mind: Bold, daring, original, imaginative, visionary. Ideation faculty well-developed. Brilliant intellect, sharp penetrating insight. The idea man who prefers to leave the details to others. Personality: Prone to anger, impatience, irritability; short temper. Bold, courageous, audacious; confrontive, contentious. Dramatic, bombastic manner; high powered personality. The rugged individualist and pioneer; thrives on challenge. The fearless leader. Seeks exhilaration, intense experiences. Driven, "Type A" personality. Prone to extremism, fanaticism. Melancholic Temperament Humor: Black Bile Basic Qualities: Cold and Dry The Melancholic temperament tends to be the most problematic, since it's contrary to the Sanguine. However, with proper management, Melancholics can also be healthy. Face: Squarish or rectangular head and face. Prominent cheekbones, sunken hollow cheeks common. Small, beady eyes. Teeth can be prominent, crooked or loose. Thin lips. Physique: Tends to be thin, lean. Knobby, prominent bones and joints common. Prominent veins, sinews, tendons. Muscle tone good, but tends to be stiff, tight. Rib cage long and narrow, with ribs often prominent. Can gain weight in later years, mainly around midriff. Hair: Color dark, brunette. Thick and straight. Facial and body hair in men tends to be sparse. Skin: A dull yellow or darkish, swarthy complexion. Feels coarse, dry, leathery, cool. Callouses common. Appetite: Variable to poor. Varies, fluctuates according to mental/nervous/emotional state. Digestion: Variable to poor; irregular. Digestion also varies according to mental/nervous/emotional state. Colic, gas, distension, bloating common. Metabolism: Often slow. Can also be variable, erratic. Prone to dehydration. Nervous system consumes many nutrients, minerals. GI function variable, erratic; digestive secretions tend to be deficient. Blood tends to be thick. Nutritional deficiencies can cause a craving for sweets, starches. Thyroid tends to be challenged, stressed. Predispositions: Anorexia, poor appetite. Nervous, colicky digestive disorders. Constipation. Spleen disorders. Nutritional and mineral deficiencies, anemia. Blood sugar problems, hypoglycemia. Wasting, emaciation, dehydration. Poor circulation and immunity. Arthritis, rheumatism, neuromuscular disorders. Nervous and spasmodic afflictions. Dizziness, vertigo, ringing in ears. Nervousness, depression, anxiety, mood swings. Neurovegetative dystonia. Urine: Tends to be clear and thin. Stool: Can either be hard, dry, compact; or irregular, porous, club shaped. Constipation, irritable bowel common. Sweat: Generally scanty. Can be subtle, thin, furtive, indicating poor immunity. Nervous stress can increase sweating. Sleep: Difficulty falling asleep, insomnia. Stress, overwork, staying up late aggravates insomnia. Generally a light sleeper. Dreams: Generally dark, moody, somber, disturbing. Themes of grief, loss common. Mind: An analytical intellect; detail oriented. Efficient, realistic, pragmatic. Reflective, studious, philosophical. Retentive faculty of memory well-developed. Thinking can be too rigid, dogmatic. A prudent, cautious, pessimistic mental outlook. Personality: Practical, pragmatic, realistic. Efficient, reliable, dependable. A reflective, stoic, philosophical bent. Can be nervous, high strung. Frugal, austere; can be too attached to material possessions. Serious, averse to gambling, risk taking. Can be moody, depressed, withdrawn. Can easily get stuck in a rut. Excessive attachment to status quo. Phlegmatic Temperament Humor: Phlegm Basic Qualities: Cold and Wet The Phlegmatic temperament is the coldest, most passive, energy conserving and anabolic. Its traits are: Face: Round face; full cheeks, often dimpled. Soft, rounded features. Double chin, pug nose
  • 63. common. Large, moist eyes. Thick eyelids and eyelashes. Physique: Heavy frame, stout, with flesh ample and well-developed. Often pudgy, plump or overweight; obesity common. Joints dimpled, not prominent. Veins not prominent, but can be bluish and visible. Lax muscle tone common. Feet and ankles often puffy, swollen. Women tend to have large breasts. Weight gain especially in lower body. Hair: Light colored, blondish hair common. Light facial and body hair in men. Skin: Pale, pallid complexion; very fair. Soft, delicate, cool moist skin. Cool, clammy perspiration common, especially in hands and feet. Appetite: Slow but steady. Craves sweets, dairy products, starchy glutinous foods. Digestion: Slow but steady to sluggish. Gastric or digestive atony common. Sleepiness, drowsiness after meals common. Metabolism: Cold, wet and slow. Conserves energy, favors anabolic metabolism. Congestion, poor circulation, especially in veins and lymphatics. Kidneys slow, hypofunctioning, inefficient. Adrenals and thyroid tend towards hypofunction; basal metabolic rate low. Metabolic Water drowning out metabolic Fire. Predispositions: Phlegm congestion. Water retention, edema. Lymphatic congestion, obstruction. Poor veinous circulation. Gastric atony, slow digestion. Hypothyroid, myxedema. Adrenal hypofunction. Weight gain, obesity. Frequent colds and flu. Chronic respiratory conditions, congestion. Swollen legs, ankles, feet. Cellulite. Poor tone of skin, muscles, fascia. Urine: Tends to be clear/pale and thick. Tends to be scanty in volume, with excess fluid accumulation in the body. Stool: Well-formed, but tends to be slightly loose, soft. Bowels tend to be sluggish. Sweat: Cool, clammy sweat common, especially on hands and feet. Sweating can be easy and profuse, especially with kidney hypofunction. Sensitive to cold weather; suffers greatly in winter. Sleep: Very deep and sound. Tends towards excessive sleep, somnolence. Snoring common; can be loud or excessive. Dreams: Generally very languid, placid. Water and aquatic themes common. Mind: Tends to be dull, foggy, slow. Slow to learn, but once learned, excellent and long retention. Patient, devoted, faithful. Faculty of Empathy well-developed. Sentimental, subjective thinking. A calm, good-natured, benevolent mental outlook. Personality: Good natured, benevolent, kind. Nurturing, compassionate, sympathetic, charitable. Great faith, patience, devotion; tends to be religious, spiritual. Sensitive, sentimental, emotional, empathetic. Passive, slow, sluggish; averse to exertion or exercise. Calm, relaxed, takes life easy. Excessive sluggishness, torpor can lead to depression. PNEUMA AND IGNIS The Energies of Life The human body and all its faculties, organs and systems function on energy, which is distilled, generated and supplied by the organism itself. Without energy to animate it, there is no life. There are two basic types of energy in the human organism: kinetic and thermal. Kinetic energy is responsible for all function and movement, whereas thermal energy is responsible for all digestion, metabolism and transformation. Life requires both kinetic and thermal energy. Greek Medicine calls kinetic energy Pneuma, or the Breath of Life. Pneuma is similar to what Chinese Medicine calls Qi and yoga and Ayurveda call Prana. Greek Medicine calls thermal energy Ignis, which is Latin for Fire. Ignis is similar to what Chinese Medicine calls Yang or Huo and to what yoga and Ayurveda call Agni. As they are generated, and subsequently flow and are distributed throughout the various faculties and systems of the organism, both Pneuma and Ignis assume various forms. The essence of these vital energies remains the same, but the functions they are adapted to perform change. All the major bodily functions have both a kinetic and a thermal aspect. Take digestion, for example: Its kinetic aspect is the churning and peristalsis of the stomach and intestines, whereas its thermal aspect is the distillation, generation and metabolism of the humors. The Three Forms of Pneuma Pneuma, or the Breath of Life, is initially extracted from the air we breathe by the lungs,which then send this raw pneuma to the heart. There, it is combusted and infused into theblood, assuming a very potent and concentrated form. This is the Pneuma zoticon, or Vital Force, which is the
  • 64. basic, primal form of pneuma in the organism. This Vital force is the pneuma of the Vital Faculty, where its main functions are to power the circulation of blood and cellular metabolism. This Pneuma zoticon is then changed into other forms of pneuma by the principal organs of the other faculties. In the liver, the Vital Force is changed into Pneuma physicon, or the Natural Force,which is the basic form of pneuma for the Natural Faculty. When the liver infuses this Natural Force into the Four Humors upon their generation, this Natural Force is then differentiated into four different subforms, called the Four Administering Virtues, which animate the humors and give them their respective functions and actions: Blood, or the Sanguine humor, is infused with the Attractive Virtue, or force. Yellow Bile, or the Choleric humor, is infused with the Digestive Virtue, or force. Black Bile, or the Melancholic humor, is infused with the Retentive Virtue, or force. Phlegm, or the Phlegmatic humor, is infused with the Expulsive Virtue, or force. In the brain, the Vital Force is changed into the Pneuma psychicon, or Psychic Force, which is the basic form of pneuma for the Psychic Faculty. You could also call it Nerve Force. Being closest to the psyche, or indwelling soul in its nature, the Psychic Force also has the attributes of intelligence, awareness, and consciousness. The Psychic Force is responsible for all sensation and perception, thought and cognition, and movement and response to stimuli. In the Generative Faculty, the basic, primal form of pneuma, the Vital Force, is used to spark and germinate a new life. The doctrine of the three forms of pneuma was first developed by Galen as an adjunct to his doctrine of the Four Faculties. In Hippocrates' day, there was just a general doctrine of pneuma, as the Life Force. The Three Forms of Ignis Ignis is responsible for all digestion, metabolism and transformation in the organism - in other words, pepsis. Like pneuma, ignis also has three basic forms in the organism. SinceAir is necessary to combust Fire, ignis is the product of pneuma. Ignis is first combusted in the heart, along with the Vital Force. There, it assumes its basic, primal form in the organism: the Ignis zoticon, or Innate Heat. This is the basic body heat emitted by all the organs and tissues of the body due to cellular metabolism. The Innate Heat, along with the Vital Force, is carried by the blood to all the organs and tissues of the body to power cellular metabolism. From there, throughout the organism, these two twin forces, ignis and pneuma, are never far apart. In the liver, the Innate Heat is converted into the Metabolic Heat, or Ignis physicon,which powers all pepsis in the Natural Faculty. Together with the Natural Force, the Metabolic Heat generates the Four Humors. The Metabolic heat cooks or concocts the humors in a process of pepsis, whereas the Natural Force gives the humors their functions and actions. Some say that there is another Fire in the stomach and duodenum called the Digestive Fire, or Ignis gastricon, which cooks or concocts the raw food juices into chyle. Then, the chyle is sent to the liver to be processed into the Four Humors. But others attribute the digestive power of these organs to the caustic, Choleric secretions they produce. In the brain, the Innate Heat is converted into the Psychic Heat, or Ignis psychicon, which powers all psychic pepsis, or the digestion, assimilation and processing of thoughts, ideas and experiences. The Psychic Faculty is the coldest in temperament of all the faculties, so the Psychic Heat is more subtle and latent than blatant or obvious. Nevertheless, the Psychic Heat, being a Fire principle, is highly developed in those of a fiery Choleric temperament, who have a penetrating insight and a great ability to distill the essential meaning and significance of various thoughts, ideas and experiences. In the Generative Faculty, the basic, primal form of ignis, the Innate Heat, is used as the catalyst to spark a new life. THE VITAL FACULTY The Source of Life The Vital faculty is the first and most important faculty because it gives the organism life. It is centered around the heart and lungs and includes the respiratory, circulatory and immune systems. Besides giving life to the organism and empowering cellular metabolism, the Vital Faculty also activates and coordinates responses of the organism as a whole to its environment. This includes the immune response. And so, the Vital Faculty acts as a central nexus for the whole organism.
  • 65. The Heart and Lungs The heart and lungs are the central core of the Vital Faculty, and work closely together. The lungs function like a bellows, pumping fresh, raw pneuma to the heart. This fans the flames of the heart, which acts like a furnace, combusting the raw pneuma into theVital Force and Innate Heat, which it infuses into the blood. The fresh blood, infused with these vital principles, is then pumped out to every cell, organ and tissue of the body via the arteries and the circulatory network. The Vital Principles: The Vital Force, Innate Heat and Thymos The Vital Faculty generates three vital principles, which bestow life, health and immunity upon the organism. These are: The Vital Force: The basic, primal form of kinetic energy in the organism, which powers all bodily movement and function. The Vital Force is then converted and specialized into other forms of pneuma or kinetic energy by the principal organs of the Natural and Psychic faculties. The Innate Heat: The basic, primal form of thermal energy in the organism, which powers all pepsis - digestion, metabolism and transformation. The Innate Heat is then converted and specialized into other forms of ignis or thermal energy by the principal organs of the Natural and Psychic faculties. Together, the Vital Force and Innate Heat power all cellular metabolism in the body. The Vital Force and Innate Heat then fuse together to create the thymos, which is the distilled essence of the Vital Faculty. Thymos, which means, "fierce, proud, bold" in Greek, is the immune force of the organism, and powers the immune response. The thermal aspect of thymos asserts the metabolic presence of the host organism, and so keeps parasites and microbes, with their foreign metabolisms, at bay. The kinetic aspect of thymos mobilizes the immune response and activates its biological intelligence. Like the Vital Force and Innate Heat, the thymos is also carried by the blood to every cell, organ and tissue of the body. The Circulatory Network The circulatory network is the great central highway of the Vital Faculty. Branching out from the heart in all directions, it is also called the vascular tree. The circulatory network includes the arteries, capillaries, veins and lymphatics. Since it branches out from the heart, the circulatory network pertains most to the Vital Faculty. However, it is also used by the Natural Faculty to transport the Four Humors. Blood, one of the Natural Faculty's Four Humors, is the physical vehicle used by the Vital Faculty to transport the Innate Heat, Vital Force and Thymos. The endocrine glands also use the circulatory network to disseminate hormones. All these factors, plus its ability to connect and integrate all parts of the organism, both superficial and deep, make the circulatory network a very useful and versatile system. The circulatory network has four gateways, or portals of entry and exit. These are thelungs, liver, kidneys and skin.
  • 66. The Vital Faculty and the Natural Faculty There is a natural feedback loop between the Vital and Natural faculties. It goes something like this: Since the Natural Force is derived from the Vital Force, and the Metabolic Heat from the Innate Heat, the Natural Force and Metabolic Heat produced by the Natural Facultycan only be as good as the Vital Force and Innate Heat produced by the Vital Faculty. Since the Natural Force and Metabolic Heat in the liver generate the humors, ultimately, the quality of humors generated can only be as good as the Vital Force and Innate Heatgenerated by the Vital Faculty. Inferior quality blood generated by an inferior quality Natural Force and Metabolic Heat, derived from an inferior quality Vital Force and Innate Heat, won't be a very good vehicle for carrying the Vital Force and Innate Heat to the Natural Faculty, resulting in the generation of an even lower quality of humors. This becomes a vicious circle, and also affects the quality of thymos generated, compromising immunity. Blood is the humoral link between the Vital and Natural faculties. Therefore, it's important to keep the blood pure, vital, and of high quality, to make it a better vehicle for the vital principles. The Vital Faculty and the Psychic Faculty The brain, or head thinks, and the heart feels. The heart feels what the head thinks, and ultimately all thoughts have their emotional and feeling repercussions on the heart. This is the mutual communication or feedback loop between the Psychic and Vital faculties, or head and heart. The essence of what the heart feels is embodied in the Vital Spirits that surround the heart. Expansive, joyful, noble feelings and emotions expand and strengthen the Vital Spirits, whereas base, ignoble, constrictive feelings and emotions contract and weaken the Vital Spirits. If the strength and quality of the Vital Spirits are good, plenty of good qualityVital Force, Innate Heat and Thymos will be generated in the heart, which will in turn have a beneficial vitalizing effect on the whole organism. The thoughts we habitually think and our prevailing mental outlook have a profound effect on the Vital Spirits, and on the quality of Thymos and other vital principles generated in the heart. Since the Thymos is responsible for the immune response, our habitual thoughts and attitudes can affect our immunity. And so, Greek Medicine was into psychoneuroimmunology long before it became the latest buzzword in holistic medicine. It's an accepted fact that our mental and emotional states affect our breathing patterns, and vice versa. If our mind is plagued by fear and anxiety, our breathing becomes rapid and shallow; a few long, deep breaths will calm the mind. The brain also needs a lot of fresh oxygen, or pneuma, supplied by the lungs, heart and Vital Faculty. If we're not breathing right, our brains cannot think and function at full capacity. THE NATURAL FACULTY Feeding the Body The Natural Faculty feeds and regenerates the physical structure of the body. It is responsible for all digestion and metabolism, nutrition and growth. The Natural Faculty is most developed in plants or vegetable life, which can make their own food. And so, the functions of the Natural Faculty are sometimes called the vegetative functions. The Liver The principal organ of the Natural Faculty is theliver, which is the master metabolic chemist of the bloodstream. The liver generates the Four Humors from chyle through the combined action of the Metabolic Heat and the Natural Force, which are the basic thermal and kinetic energies of the Natural Faculty. All the other organs and vessels of the Natural Faculty are ultimately the servants and attendants of the liver. The entire digestive tract exists to digest food and drink intochyle, which is then sent to the liver from the small intestine via the veins of the hepatic portal system. From the liver, the inferior vena cava takes the fresh humors to theheart, to be infused with the vital principles and pumped out all over the body. And so, a close relationship exists between the liver and the veins. In Greek Medicine, the veins serve the liver and the Natural Faculty, whereas the arteries serve the heartand the Vital Faculty.
  • 67. The Thermal Aspect of Digestion The thermal aspect of digestion is primary, for without it there woud be no digestion. In digestion, the organism uses its own Metabolic Heat to cook or concoct the food into chyle,and chyle into the Four Humors. In the First Digestion, the Digestive Fire in the stomach and small intestine concocts the raw food into chyle. The chyle is then sent to the liver to be concocted into the Four Humors by the Metabolic Heat in the Second Digestion. The subtler, more refined pepsis that occurs in the Third and Fourth digestions, through which the humors are transformed into living tissue, is actually called metabolism. Actually, metabolism is nothing more than micro-digestion, which is occurring all throughout the organism, all the way down to the cellular level. The essential action of heat in digestion works something like a refiner's or smelter's fire. The food, or raw ore, is consumed or digested and the humors, or pure metal, is distilled or extracted; then the dross, or waste products, are cast off. This is the basic process for all stages of digestion and metabolism. Something is consumed or digested, something is produced, distilled, or extracted, and some byproduct is cast off as unusable waste. The secret to proper digestion or pepsis lies in getting the heat level just right, and cooking the chyle and humors to perfection. Either overcooking or undercooking will result in the production of toxic humors that can poison or clog the organism. The Kinetic Aspect of Digestion The Vital Force enters the liver and is converted into the Natural Force, which animates all digestive function. The Natural Force and the Metabolic Heat together generate the Four Humors. Each one of the Four Humors is then infused with a certain Administering Virtue, which is a specialized form of the Natural Force. These Four Administering Virtues give their respective humors their basic functions in the digestive and metabolic process. The Sanguine humor is infused with the Attractive Virtue, or force, which enables an organ to attract or draw into itself that which it needs to process and nourish itself with. The Attractive Virtue is also responsible for our tastes and appetites, and the ability to assimilate nutrients. The Choleric humor is infused with the Digestive Virtue, or force, which enables it to consume and digest things. The digestive organs of the middle GI tract and their secretions are strong in the Digestive Virtue. The Digestive virtue enables an organ to digest or process things in the proper manner. The Melancholic humor is infused with the Retentive Virtue, which has a drying, condensing, solidifying effect on metabolism. The Retentive Virtue also enables an organ to hold on to the substances it has drawn into itself long enough to process them properly. The Phlegmatic humor is infused with the Expulsive Virtue, which enables it to expel, transport, smooth, lubricate, and wash away impurities. The Expulsive Virtue enables an organ to release its contents when the time is right to do so, and is necessary for all eliminative functions. So, the general digestive process or cycle is: each organ in turn attracts, digests and retains, and then expels its contents. The harmonious function of digestion depends on the proper balance and distribution of the Four Humors and their respective Administering Virtues, all working togaether in an orderly fashion. The balanced, harmonious function of all four Administering Virtues ultimately depends on the smooth, harmonious flow and functioning of the Natural Force in the liver. The basic functions of an organ are determined by its dominant humor and its Administering Virtue. For example, the stomach, which initiates the major part of digestion, is governed manly by the Choleric humor and its Digestive Virtue. In the colon, which absorbs fluids and electrolytes and solidifies the stool, the dominant humor is black bile, with its Retentive Virtue. However, all four Administering Virtues, in the right proportion, are necessary for the proper, balanced functioning of each organ. The Digestive Process Subtle vapors of black bile from the spleen enter the stomach to awaken the gastric secretions and the appetite, and one feels hungry. The tongue's taste buds also awaken, and the mouth secretes saliva, a Sanguine fluid that begins the digestion of carbohydrates. The tongue signals to the digestive organs what to secrete through its sense of taste.
  • 68. [ click to zoom ] In the upper digestive tract, from the mouthto the stomach, the Phlegmatic humor and itsExpulsive Virtue predominates. In the mouth, the teeth thoroughly chew or masticate the food with ample saliva to form a semiliquid bolus, which can easily be propelled down theesophagus to the stomach. In the middle digestive tract, or thestomach and duodenum, the Choleric humorand its Digestive Virtue predominates. Thestomach receives the food and initiates the major part of digestion with its caustic, Cholericacids and enzymes, which would digest the stomach itself if it weren't for its protective mucous coat, of the opposite yet complementary Phlegmatic humor. Residues ofblack bile in the stomach enable it to hold on to its contents long enough to process them properly. When the time is ripe, the pyloric valve opens under the action of the Phlegmatic humor and its Expulsive Virtue. In the duodenum, yellow bile is secreted into it from the liver and gall bladder. Yellow bile facilitates the digestion and absorption of fats, and also eliminates excess fats and cholesterol from the body. Bile also acts as a natural laxative, stimulating intestinal peristalsis. Then, the pancreas secretes its digestive enzymes and bicarbonates, which neutralize and tone down the caustic, acidic heat of the middle GI tract, giving the food and digestive juices a more balanced, Sanguine nature, which facilitates absorption. The digestion of food into chyle is completed in the small intestine. After the digestion of chyle is completed, the villi of the small intestine absorb its nutrients via the Attractive Virtue of the blood that runs through them. These nutrients are then sent to the liver for processing into the Four Humors. In the colon, black bile and its Retentive Virtue predominate as the remaining fluids and electrolytes are reabsorbed and the stool condensed and solidified. The Retentive Virtue of black bile enables the stool to be held until the time is right for defecation. The drying, hardening action of black bile is tempered and counterbalanced by the moistening, lubricating action of the Phlegmatic humor, which makes the stools soft enough to expel through its Expulsive Virtue. The presence of yellow bile, a natural laxative, tips the balance in favor of excretion. The Four Wastes Pepsis isn't complete until the final excretion of waste from the body. The elimination of wastes is usually the last step in a long chain of metabolic events in which many byproducts are reused and recycled. Finally, what can no longer be used is eliminated as waste. There are four major waste products of the body in Greek Medicine, which correspond to the Four Elements. Each is produced via the thermal energies and eliminated via the kinetic energies of its respective eliminative organ. Exhalation is the waste product of the Air element and the Vital Faculty. It's the exhaust of cellular metabolism and is eliminated via the lungs, through the process of gas exchange. Sweat is the waste product of the Fire element, and is eliminated through the skin, which is the largest eliminative organ of the body. Sweat is the body's main vehicle for eliminating excess heat; many fevers are broken by releasing a sweat. Urine is the waste product of the Water element, and is eliminated by the kidneys and urinary tract. Urine is the main liquid waste of the body.
  • 69. Feces, also called the stool or Alvine Discharge, is the waste product of the Earthelement, and is eliminated via the colon. Feces are the main solid waste of the body. Since elimination is the end result of the metabolic process, the waste products can yield many valuable clues about the condition of one's metabolism. Humorally, the organism will try to eliminate escesses and superfluities, whatever they may be, through the wastes. Analysis of the urine and stool are important diagnostic procedures in Greek Medicine. The right balance between the retention and evacuation of wastes is important to proper hygiene. The Digestive Tract, or Alimentary Canal The digestive tract is a great central tube running through the core of the organism, from mouth to anus. It's the Great Central Channel of the Natural Faculty, and most of the assimilation and elimination of substances by the organism takes place via this channel. Although it consists of many different organs, the digestive tract is actually one continuous tube. And so, an intricate network of reflex relationships exists between its various component orgns, through which one part affects others, and the whole of the digestive tract. This Great Central Channel is able to either assimilate or eliminate via both ends, which makes it very useful, both physiologically and therapeutically. Through the top end, or orally, one can ingest all manner of food, drink and medicine; one can eliminate via the top end either by expectoration, gargling or vomiting. From the bottom end, defecation is the usual means of elimination, although evacuations may also be therapeutic or procured, as in purgatives or enemas. Through enemas and suppositories, one may also assimilate via the bottom end. Many deep organs of digestion and metabolism, such as the liver, gall bladder, spleen and pancreas, pour their various digestive secretions into this Gret Central Channel. Therapeutically, their secretions can also become vehicles for the ripening and elimination of morbid humors and metabolic residues, or toxins. THE PSYCHIC FACULTY The Connecting Link Between Soul and Body The Psychic Faculty is so-called because it endows the body with consciousness, which enables it to be the physical vehicle for the indwelling soul, or psyche. This enables the organism to receive incoming sensory impressions and stimuli, perceive and cognize them, think and reason, and respond in an intelligent manner in the interests of self preservation and furthering one's aims, objectives and mission in life. The Psychic Faculty's functions are basically threefold: Sensory, cognitive or Intellective, andResponsive, or motor. These three basic functions then have their various organs and subdivisions.
  • 70. The Brain The brain is the principal organ or central processing and control unit of the Psychic Faculty. It is served by the nerves, or the neural network of the organism. The central nexus or switchboard of this neural network is the spinal column, from whence nerves branch out to all parts of the body. The spinal column and its energy centers are symbolized by theCaduceus, or the magic wand of Hermes. The nerves that serve the brain are basically of two types: afferent or sensory, which take sensory impressions and stimuli to the brain; and efferent, or motor, which carry the responses and commands of the brain out to the various muscles and effector organs. The Psychic Faculty as a whole has a Cold, Dry Melancholic nature and temperament. Its coldness makes it governed more by reason than by passion. Its dryness makes it capable of discernment, objectivity and self awareness. The nerves and nervous tissues are also Cold, Dry and Melancholic. The brain, however, has a wetter temperament than the nerves, which makes it, although cold and rational, Phlegmatic in temperament. The wetness of the brain gives it a certain receptivity and identification with its thoughts, perceptions and ideas. Physically, the wetness of the brain comes from the fact that it's bathed in a sea of cerebrospinal fluid. Greek Medicine also considers the head and brain to be one of the main accumulation sites for excess phlegm and dampness. The essence of the Psychic Faculty is communication, and the brain is its central switchboard. Through the brain and its neural network, the soul or psychecommunicates with the body and with its environment, or the outer world. The Psychic Force The Psychic Force is a highly specialized form or derivation of the Vital Force which has been highly refined by the brain to make it capable of being a vehicle for the conscious awareness of the soul, or psyche. From the brain, the Psychic Force flows outwards through the motor nerves and back inwards through the sensory nerves. Through the inherent virtues and qualities of its Psychic Force, the Psychic Faculty is closest to the soul in its basic nature.
  • 71. The Psychic Heat Because of the overall coldness of the Psychic Faculty, its kinetic functions predominate over its thermal functions, which are more latent and subtle. Nevertheless, a certain Psychic Heat exists, which enables the brain to digest, assimilate, cognize and process the experiences, energies, impressions, thoughts and ideas it receives. This ispsychic pepsis. The Psychic Heat is well-developed in those of a fiery Choleric temperament, whose brilliant intellects and penetrating insights can instantly get to the heart of the matter. Overwhelming or traumatic experiences that can't be properly processed lead to disorders of psychic pepsis, which are at the root of many, if not most, psychological disorders. The Intellective Functions The intellective functions of the Psychic Faculty lie closest to the soul in that they involve thought and reason, cognition and intelligence. The intellective functions, or faculties, are four in number, and correspond in their inherent temperaments to the Four Humors. The Ideation faculty is responsible for all thoughts, ideas, conceptualization, visualization and imagination. It is Hot, Dry and Choleric, and is most highly developed in Choleric types. It is located in the front of the brain. Ideation is always active and never sleeps, even when we're dreaming. The Judgement faculty is responsible for all reason, logic, discretion and judgement. It is Warm, Moist and Sanguine, and is most highly developed in the Sanguine temperament. Judgement is located in the middle part of the brain. It is asleep in dreams, which exhibit no discretion, and don't have to make sense. The Memory, or Retentive faculty is responsible for all memory and retention of experiences, facts, information and details. It is Cold, Dry and Melancholic, and is most highly developed in those of that temperament. It is located in the back of the brain, and is garbled and only partially active in dreams. The faculty of Empathy enables one to sympathize and connect with the thoughts, emotions and feelings of others. It is Cold, Wet and Phlegmatic, and is most highly developed in Phlegmatic types. Empathy is located in the core of the brain, or limbic system. It is the basis of all charity and compassion, love and devotion. The Sensory Functions The sensory functions of the Psychic Faculty are of two basic types: Common Senseand Special Sense. The faculty of Common Sense is like a great central sensorimotor switchboard, or like the central processing unit of a computer. It takes in data from all the five senses and puts together a picture or facsimile of the outer world and relays this to the intellective faculties of the brain, which use these pictures and data to reach a decision and act. The commands of the intellective faculties are then sent out via the faculty of Common Sense to the appropriate motor effector organs for the desired response. The faculty of Common Sense is also called the Mundane Mind, because its main function is to keep us in touch with the world around us. It also excels in basic learning and adaptation, and in the mastery of basic skills and competencies. The faculties of Special Sense are the five sense organs. Each one has its own particular affinities and correspondences of element, humor and temperament. These are as follows: The eyes, or Visual Faculty, is Cold, Wet and Phlegmatic in temperament, and belong to the Water element. Think of the eyes as pools of clear Water that reflect the light of the opposite yet complementary Fire element back to the brain. The eyeballs are filled with watery fluids, the Aqueous and Vitreous humors, which channel and focus light and visual images onto the retina. The ears, or Auditory Faculty, is Cold, Dry and Melancholic in temperament, and belong to the Earth element. The ears are like hollow caves and shells of solid, resilient material that resonate to and amplify sound vibrations in that subtlest of elements and contrary counterpart to Earth, Ether. Like a cavernous cave, the ears echo and amplify sound vibrations back to the brain. The nose, or the Olfactory Faculty, is Hot, Dry and Choleric in temperament, and belongs to the Fire element. Volatility is a key attribute of Fire, and a substance must have a certain volatility inherent in it to disperse through the atmosphere and be smelled. Like a burning stick of incense, Fire excites aromatic substances and disperses them through the atmosphere. With the olfactory receptors being so close to the brain, the sense of smell is the gateway to the
  • 72. mind. It is also our most primitive sense, and certain smells arouse strong subliminal memories, passions, emotions and states of mind. All this is amply exploited and made use of in aromatherapy. The tongue, or the Gustatory Faculty, is Warm, Moist and Sanguine in temperament, and belongs to the Air element. The Sanguine Attractive Virtue is fully embodied in the sense of taste, because when we say we have a taste for something, it means we're attracted to it, and have an appetite for it. The tongue has a close reflex relationship with the digestive organs, and signals to them what they need to secrete via its sense of taste. The sense of taste probably evolved as a kind of protective mechanism, to tell which substances were wholesome and good to eat, and which were noxious and not acceptable to the organism. The skin, or the Tactile Faculty, has no single affinity of element, humor or temperament because it encompasses them all. Considering the wide variety of sensory receptors in the skin, and the wide range of sensations it can experience through the sense of touch, how can it belong to any single one? The skin is also the most neutral and balanced in temperament, and therefore contains an equal proportion of all temperaments and qualities. The Psychic Faculty and the Natural Faculty As we have seen, one's constitutional temperament and dominant humor determine the relative strength and development of the various faculties of the mind and intellect. But acquired imbalances and aggravations of the Four Humors can also influence and unsettle the mind, as we saw in the section on The Psychological Effects of the Four Humors. The Psychic Faculty and the Vital Faculty The two way communication between the head, or Psychic Faculty, and the heart, or Vital Faculty has already been described under the Vital Faculty. So has the effect of our mental and emotional states on our breathing patterns. I wish to add here that yoga and other esoteric sciences have also known and utilized the tremendous capacity of the breath and breath cultivation to expand and deepen the powers of the mind and its ability to concentrate and cognize. Modern scientific research affirms this, and has found that the brain is one of the greatest consumers of oxygen in the human organism. THE RADICAL MOISTURE And the Lamp of Life Greek Medicine recognizes four basic vital principles that give life and health to the whole organism. The first three have already been discussed, and are products of the Vital Faculty: The Vital Force The Innate Heat Thymos The fourth vital principle is the quintessence or distillate of the Natural Faculty and its Four Humors. In many ways, it's the complement or counterpart of the first three vital principles. It's called the Radical Moisture. It could also be called the nutritive, hormonal essence of the organism. Genesis of the Radical Moisture In the Fourth Digestion, right before the Four Humors are congealed and converted into living tissue, an extremely refined essence of all of them is withheld from this process. The Radical Moisture is very precious, and only a few drops of it are distilled from each digestion. The Radical Moisture is circulated through the bloodstream and is distributed to all the principal and noble organs, which then circulate and distribute a portion of it to their subsidiary organs and attendant vessels. The reproductive organs or gonads of both sexes get a large share of the Radical Moisture. From this they produce the generative seed. The Radical Moisture is of a pale, creamy color. It is thick, rich, moist, oily, unctuous and has a mild, pleasant aroma. Its main taste is bland or mildly sweet, but with a slightly sour, acrid bite to it hints of all the other tastes are also present, since it's the quintessence of all the humors. Basically, the physical properties of the Radical Moisture resemble those of Royal Jelly, which is indeed the Radical Moisture of the queen bee. Properties and Functions of the Radical Moisture
  • 73. The Radical Moisture has several important and distinctive properties and functions: The Radical Moisture nourishes the organism on a deep and fundamental level. It gives nutritive power to the humors, especially the moist, flourishing Phlegmatic and Sanguine humors, which predominate in bulk and nutritive importance to the organism. The Radical Moisture guides the growth, development and maturation of the organism over the long term. These include sexual development and reproductive flowering or maturation. The other vital principles and the Four Humors handle the day-to-day functioning and nutrition of the organism, but the Radical Moisture guides it over the long term. The Radical Moisture gives nutritive finish, polish, completion and integrity to the organs and tissues. It also endows them with basic, nonspecific immune resistance. Immunologically, the Radical Moisture underlies humoral immunity, whereas Thymosempowers vital immunity, or the immune response. The Radical Moisture is the hormonal essence of the organism. It is centrally and deeply involved in all the anabolic growth processes of the organism, which are the function of the endocrine glands and their hormones. You could also call the Radical Moisture the vital marrow or sap of the organism. The Radical Moisture and its quality are responsible for our basic mental and spiritual traits. Besides growth and developmental disorders, defects in the Radical Moisture can create imbecility, mental retardation, and defects of character and intelligence. The Radical Moisture is the essence of the life lived, and what gives it purpose and direction. The Radical Moisture is the anchor that gives the functions of the other vital principles stability, focus, grounding and persistence. As the Yin anchor and complement to the other vital principles, the Radical Moisture is necessary to enable the organism to attain a quiescent state of sleep or rest. It also supports, and is regenerated by, the vegetative functions of the organism. The Radical Moisture forms the genetic code or procreative seed that is passed on from parent to offspring. At conception, each parent contributes a portion of their Radical Moisture to form a new life. In this sense, the Radical Moisture is the essence of the Water element, which is the original source of life. The Origin and Metabolism of the Radical Moisture The initial, most important and greatest portion of the Radical Moisture that we receive in life was given to us by our parents at the moment of conception. It determines the overall quality, character and longevity of our life. Over the course of our life, we replenish the Radical Moisture somewhat, but in a much more partial and imperfect way. The Radical Moisture that we replenish ourselves with after birth is the quintessence of the Four Humors, or the end product of digestion and metabolism. To ensure optimum quantity and quality of the Radical Moisture, we must eat a balanced, wholesome, nutritious diet, and we must keep our digestive systems and pepsis functioning optimally. The Radical Moisture has a symbiotic relationship with the Innate Heat, which it needs to function and unfold properly, much as Fire releases the fragrance of incense, or the petals of a flower unfold under the lifegiving heat of the sun. But the Radical Moisture is also like the oil in a lamp, and the Innate Heat like the lamp's flame. The flame lives by consuming the oil, and will eventually consume it entirely. Such, regrettably, is the inherent nature of life. Nevertheless, there's still a lot we can do to conserve our precious Radical Moisture and prolong the quality and longevity of life: Eat well and digest well, since the replenished Radical Moisture is the quintessence of the Four Humors and the Natural Faculty. Avoid undue stress, overwork, worry, anger, or anxiety, as well as staying up late and "burning the midnight oil", as these unduly consume the Radical Moisture. Sexually speaking, a man loses the most Radical Moisture in ejaculation, whereas a woman loses the greatest amount through gestation and childbirth. Learning Tantric techniques of withholding ejaculation and achieving a Non Ejaculatory Male Orgasm (NEMO) during sexual relations is a great boon to male longevity, especially in middle age and beyond. For women, optimal nutrition during pregnancy and nursing, as well as family planning, help conserve the Radical Moisture.
  • 74. Metaphor: The Lamp of Life The Radical Moisture is the oil, and the Innate Heat is the flame. These two complementary vital principles form the basis for an important metaphor in Greek Medicine: the Lamp of Life. The burning of the lamp's flame is analogous to the basic evolution and progression of a man's life, which happens in four basic stages, as follows: When the lamp is first lit at conception, the flame is small but disproportionately bright for its size. It grows quickly and steadily, most quickly at first but more slowly later on, until the flame reaches its peak of heat and light. This stage is analogous to the Sanguine growing years of gestation, infancy, childhood andyouth. The flame is small because it's dampened by a lot of Radical Moisture, or oil, and is only warm, not hot. The growth rate of the flame is most rapid at first, during gestation, but gradually slows down in its growth rate as the full flame of adulthood draws closer. In adulthood, the lamp's flame has reached its maximum size and peak output of light and heat. The flame and its oil are both abundant, and in equilibrium. These are theCholeric full throttle years of life's zenith, full of ambition and drive. The strength and vigor of the body are at their maximum. In maturity, or middle age, the lamp's flame begins to dwindle, and its light and heat output aren't what they used to be. Neither is the oil supply, or vital reserves of Radical Moisture that the flame feeds on, what it used to be. The flame starts to crackle with dryness. These are the years of declining strength, vigor and resiliency, when aMelancholic, philosophical sense of the transitoriness of life dawns. In old age, the end draws near, and the lamp's flame begins to flicker and sputter as the oil levels get critically low. The flame's light and heat output are negligible and inconsistent. The Phlegmatic years of old age are coldest and lowest in life energy. When the oil supply is totally exhausted, the lamp runs dry and its flame is finally extinguished. So now, when some senile, decrepit character in a Shakespearean play gasps on his deathbed, "Alas! The lamp of my life has almost run dry!", you'll know that he wasn't just picking his poetic allusions at random. He was merely using the prevailing medical metaphor of his time. THE IMPORTANCE OF PEPSIS Digestion and Metabolism We've all heard that old health food slogan, "You are what you eat." But how true is it? As important as good, healthy food is to good health, Greek Medicine says that it's only half the story. The other half of the equation is the strength and quality of your pepsis, or digestion and metabolism. To revise the health food saying, you aren't exactly what you eat. More precisely, you are what you can digest, assimilate and metabolize properly from what you eat. The Five Stages of Pepsis The process of pepsis is like a chain reaction. There are five basic links in this chain, or five stages in the process of pepsis. They are: Ingestion is the initial intake of food and drink. This also includes our appetites and tastes for foods, which influence food selection.
  • 75. Digestion is the breakdown of food into its constituent nutrients. The Ignis, or Fire principle, is used to cook, distill or ripen the food to release its nutrient constituents. Assimilation is the absorption or incorporation of nutrients into living organs and tissues. For this to happen, a transformation must occur, which again involves Ignis, or the Metabolic Heat. Metabolism encompasses the totality of all biochemical reactions or transformations occurring within the organsim. Every step in the metabolic process requires Ignis; at each step something is kept and used and something is cast off as being unusable. Elimination is the final step in the process of pepsis. It may be excretion from a cell, organ or tissue, or it may be the final elimination of wastes from the organism. Pepsis is incomplete until final elimination has occurred. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link; so it is with the process of pepsis. Forpepsis to be perfect and complete, all its five stages must function properly. The Nature and Functions of Ignis Ignis is the Fire principle of the body, and has many forms within the organism. In theVital Faculty, Ignis manifests as the Innate Heat and Thymos, which confer energy and immunity on the organism. In the Natural Faculty, Ignis manifests as the Digestive Fireand the Metabolic Heat, which digests the food into chyle, concocts the humors, assimilates and metabolizes them into living tissue, and neutralizes and eliminates the toxins and wastes. If the Ignis is strong, the body will be energetic, immunity will be good, pepsis will be balanced and efficient, and toxins and wastes will be promptly and properly eliminated. If the Ignis is weak, the body will be tired, immunity will be poor, appetite and digestion poor or erratic, and toxins and wastes will accumulate. In nature, Fire can be destructive. But when tamed as Ignis in the healthy body, it manifests the qualities of intelligence, lightness, dryness and clarity. One of the main secrets of good health and longevity is keeping a healthy, well-balanced Ignis. A healthy, balanced Ignis assures proper, normal pepsis in all its stages. An unhealthy, unbalanced Ignis will manifest problems or dysfunction in one or more of the five stages ofpepsis: Ingestion - A healthy, balanced Ignis will give us the instincts we need to make the right food choices, and a calm, balanced appetite that assures good, sensible eating habits. An unbalanced Ignis will pervert the appetite and our food choices, and manifest either as poor appetite or as a sudden, ravenous hunger that encourages binge eating and discourages sensible eating habits. Digestion - Proceeds smoothly and efficiently with balanced Ignis. Bloating, gas, distension, colic, discomfort or pain common with unbalanced Ignis. Assimilation - With balanced Ignis, there's good healthy tissue nutrition and nutrient metabolism. With unbalanced Ignis, assimilation disorders, nutritional excesses or deficiencies, or food sensitivities or allergies may develop; degenerative changes set in. Metabolism - With healthy, balanced, Ignis, metabolism is efficient and body weight optimal. With unbalanced Ignis, metabolic disorders, emaciation or obesity may develop. Elimination - With healthy Ignis, wastes are eliminated efficiently, and toxins easily burned off or neutralized. With unbalanced or weak Ignis, toxins and wastes accumulate in the body. Toxins, or Crudities The secret to proper pepsis lies in getting the heat level just right, and in cooking or concocting the humors to perfection. If the Ignis or heat is too high, the food will get charred or burned, leaving a toxic residue that is something like ash. If the Ignis is too low, excessive cold, wet, raw humors and phlegm will accumulate, forming a kind of toxic sludge that obstructs or impedes normal body functioning. Either way, the resulting toxins, called crudities, are poorly digested or undigested metabolic residues that can't be properly assimilated and integrated into the organism, and so impede its functioning. Toxins are sticky, turbid, foul, noxious, heavy, inert and irritating. Periodically, it's good to fast and cleanse the body of toxins. But there are two great secrets to keeping them from being created in the first place: First, always eat in accordance with your Ignis, and never eat more food than your Digestive Fire can efficiently handle. Secondly, eat a balanced diet to keep your Ignis balanced, healthy and well regulated. Ignis and the Four Temperaments
  • 76. Just as there are Four Temperaments, there are also four basic types of Ignis that one can have. Each of the four temperaments has its own type of Ignis, which governs its basic patterns of appetite and digestion. Each type of Ignis tends to produce an overabundance of the humor associated with its temperament. Each type also has its own particular problematic foods, which tend to aggravate and unbalance the Ignis even further. Often, these problematic foods are the very ones craved by the Ignis type in question, which tends to create a vicious circle of aggravation and imbalance. The practitioner of Greek Medicine should familiarize himself well with these four basic types of Ignis. Not only will they help him to better understand and treat digestive and metabolic disorders, but they're also very good indicators of constitutional nature and temperament. Besides indicating the constitutional type of the individual, these four Ignis types also indicate acquired disorders or imbalances of digestion associated with aggravations of the type's associated humor and its temperament. The manifestations of Ignis associated with these acquired conditions will tend to be more transitory in nature, and emphasize the dysfunctional patterns of the respective Ignis type. The type of Ignis manifesting in an individual's digestion will usually be reflected in the general patterns and behavior of Ignis throughout the organism. Thus, the cellular metabolism of the Vital Faculty will reflect the digestive metabolism of the Natural Faculty, and exhibit the same basic patterns and tendencies. Ignis Cholerica: Sharp and Quick Strong, powerful Ignis digests and metabolizes things very quickly. Can eat a huge meal and be ravenously hungry an hour later. When functioning well, digestion is quick and efficient, can handle most anything. The proverbial "cast iron stomach". With quick metabolism, weight gain is slight to moderate, usually appearing past middle age. When dysfunctioning, digestion may be quick, but it won't be good. Tends towards ulcers, gastritis, heartburn, hyperacidity, acid reflux. There can also be the sudden onset of ravenous hunger. Stools tend to be soft or loose, often foetid or smelly, especially with dysfunction. Intestinal transit time tends to be short. Craves intense taste sensations: salt, hot spices, fried foods, vinegar, sharp aged cheeses, hard liquor. But these foods should be avoided, as they tend to aggravate the Choleric Ignis evenfurther. Needs to take care to eat calmly and moderately, and not be so driven by their ravenous appetites. Ignis Phlegmatica: Slow and Lethargic Slow, low level Ignis and digestion. When functioning well, digestion is slow but steady. When dysfunctioning or aggravated by phlegm and dampness, Ignis gets sluggish and lethargic, producing sluggishness, bloating, lethargy, drowsiness after meals, heavy head and limbs. Problematic foods are sweets, starches, dairy, farinaceous or glutinous foods; but these are often the very foods craved. Needs to reduce, eliminate phlegm with heating, drying foods and hot, pungent spices. Caloric needs are slight, since metabolic rate is low. When Phlegmatic Ignis is functioning well, stools are solid, bulky, well-formed, may be slightly soft. Intestinal transit time tends to be slow. When malfunctioning, stools can be excessively soft or loose; in extreme cases, pieces of undigested food may be present. Prone to weight gain, obesity due to low metabolic rate. Cellulite, lipomas, soft nodules may appear as organism tries to peripheralize unmetabolized Phlegmatic residues. Ignis Melancholica: Nervous and Irregular Ignis variable, sometimes high, sometimes low, fluctuating according to mental/nervous/emotional states, with moodiness, depression lowering and nervousness, agitation raising Ignis. Digestive irregularity produces colic, gas, distension, bloating, irritable bowel. Nervous, sour stomach also common. Intestinal immunity tends to be poor, with intestinal flora imbalances common. Needs to make meals a happy, joyous occasion, free from undue worry, anxiety, stress. This also includes excessive worry and fuss about their food. Problematic foods include astringent foods, some proteins, nightshade vegetables: beans, soy, nuts, tomatoes, eggplant, etc... Old, dry, stale foods, cold foods, rancid or fried foods also
  • 77. bad. Pungent, sweet, aromatic spices aid the Melancholic digestion. Prone to nutritional deficiencies: anemia, hypoglycemia, dehydration, mineral imbalances, etc... due to erratic digestion. Can crave sweets, starches as quick energy boosts due to underlying malnutrition and devitalization. Needs a nutritious, wholesome diet, also high in fiber. Of all Ignis types, finds it hardest to be purely vegetarian. Stools usually hard, compact due to coldness, dryness. Prone to constipation or alternating constipation / diarrhea with irritable bowel. Stools can also be gassy, porous with wind, flatulence. Ignis Sanguina: Balanced to Relaxed Midway between Choleric quickness and Phlegmatic slowness; balanced. Not as strong as Choleric, can be overwhelmed. Prone to excesses of appetite due to Sanguine Attractive Virtue. Can overwhelm digestive capacity with overconsumption of sweet, rich, creamy, fatty food, leading to liver congestion, intestinal putrefactions. Light, easy to digest foods should be stressed, Sanguine Ignis is generally the most balanced and desirable, and is problem free when good, sensible eating habits are followed. With dietary excess, it can become too relaxed, even sluggish. Working with Ignis The cardinal rule of all constitutional management of diet is: Always eat in accordance with your Ignis and its type. Never give your Ignis more than it can handle. Although the inherent strength of Ignis can be unduly diminished by chronically underfeeding it, overfeeding and overwhelming the Ignis is much more common and problematic, and leads to autointoxication, or the generation and accumulation of toxins and morbid superfluous humors. Never eat when you're tired, angry, emotionally upset, or when you're not hungry. At these times, the Ignis is likely to be weak or unbalanced. Many people have constitutions of mixed temperament; their Ignis and pepsis will also be of mixed quality, changing in its predominant symptoms and manifestations depending on what they eat and how they take care of their Digestive Fire. Working with Ignis through diet and lifestyle modification is one of the main methods of constitutional improvement in Greek Medicine. With improved Ignis and pepsis comes increased health, vitality, immunity and longevity. Ignis and the Four Stages of Life In the metaphor of the Lamp of Life, we saw that the flame of Ignis does not remain constant throughout the lifespan of the individual, but changes in its quality and intensity. Therefore, it must be fed differently in the different stages of life. In the Sanguine growing years of childhood and youth, which are Warm and Moist, we must eat a more moistening, nutritious diet to feed the demands of rapid growth. Still, the stomach and digestion have some delicacy to them, and should not be overwhelmed. Children and youths endure fasting with the most difficulty, especially long fasts. In the Hot, Dry Choleric years of adulthood, the stomach and digestion are usually at their strongest and most vigorous, and able to handle most anything. Because the body has stopped growing, short fasts are OK, but long ones are borne with difficulty, and not recommended. In the Cold, Dry Melancholic years of maturity and middle age, the metabolic rate slows down, and our caloric needs decline. The digestion generally gets more fussy and delicate, and food allergies and sensitivities may develop. Food should be modest in quantity but high in quality, and in micronutrients. Middle aged people generally tolerate fasting the best, and benefit from it the most. In the Cold, Wet Phlegmatic years of old age, a light, easy to digest diet is essential. Meals should be sensibly planned and regular. The overall health of old people is generally too delicate to endure long fasts, although short ones are OK. DID THE GREEKS HAVE CHAKRAS? One of the well-known and salient features of yogic philosophy is its doctrine of the sevenchakras, or spinal energy centers. The chakras are also the focus of many forms of holistic healing practiced today. But did the ancient Greeks have any notions of the chakras or any chakra system? The answer is yes. Classical Greek ideas about the chakras are contained in the writings of Plato, and alluded to in the teachings of Pythagoras and in the Hermetic traditions of Western esotericism.
  • 78. Plato and the Chakras click to zoom The clearest Greek ideas on the chakras come from Plato, who writes about them in his dialogue Timaeus. Basically, Plato considered the chakras to be subtle organs that the soul, or psyche uses to relate to the gross physical body. According to Plato's philosophy, the soul has three basic parts, or levels of expression: Nous or Logos - This is the highest part or level of soul expression, which Plato called the psyche, or immortal soul. Its attributes are reason, wisdom and spiritual insight. It finds expression through the Crownand Brow centers. Thymos - This is the middle level of soul expression, or what Plato called the mortal soul. Its basic attributes are passion, fight and drive. It finds expression through the middle three chakras: the Throat, Heartand Gastric centers. Epithymia - This is the level of desire and instinct, and is the lowest level of soul expression. It is also concerned with basic survival needs and appetites, and finds expression through the two lowest chakras: theGenerative and Root centers. Obvious parallels can be drawn between Plato's three levels of soul expression and thethree Gunas of yogic philosophy, as well as the ego, id and superego of Freudian psychology. The correspondences are: Nous, Logos - the Sattva Guna and the superego. Thymos - the Rajas Guna and the ego. Epithymia - the Tamas Guna and the id. The Greco-Roman Chakras Classical Greek and Roman ideas about the chakras can be summed up as follows: The Crown Center Greek: Koruphe Latin: Vertex Plato said that humans stand upright because the divine consciousness incarnate in their brains is naturally attracted to the heavens, and to God. The crown center has also been depicted as a nimbus or halo around the heads of saints and spiritual adepts in Greece as far back as the 3rd century BCE. Hindus call it Sahasrara, or the Thousand Petaled Lotus. The Brow Center Greek: Enkephalos Latin: Cerebrum This center Plato considered to be the seat of the psyche, or immortal soul, which the Romans called the genios or anima. In Homeric times, the heart was considered to be the seat of the soul or consciousness in man, but by Plato's and Hippocrates' day, the head or brain was seen as the seat of
  • 79. the soul and rational mind. The physical substance seen to embody the essence of the soul was the marrow or cerebrospinal fluid. The Brow Center and all the chakras are rich in this sap or marrow, from which emanates their spiritual energy. As the seat of the rational mind, the Brow Center was seen to exert a controlling or restraining action on all the lower chakras. The Sanskrit name for this chakra, Ajna,means, "Command Center". The Throat Center Greek: Trachelos Latin: Collum Plato called this chakra the isthmus or boundary between the psyche, or immortal soul, and the mortal soul, or thymos. It allows for communication between the two, between the reason of the mind and the passions of the body, but forms a kind of filter or purifier to only allow refined spiritual energy to ascend to the head. The Throat Center is the psychosomatic link between mind and body. The Sanskrit name for this chakra, Vishuddha,means, "With Purity", which is an apt description. The Heart Center Greek: Phrenes Latin: Cor This chakra contains the thymos, which Plato identified as the higher part of the mortal soul. This thymos is also the essence of the Vital Faculty, the heart and lungs, which concerns pneuma, the Breath or Spirit. In Homer's time, it was considered to be the seat of all thought, feeling and consciousness. By Plato's time the Heart Center had become the seat of the passions, emotions and feeling mind, whereas the Brow Center was the seat of the rational mind and soul. In Plato's system, a Midriff Partition, which manifests physically as the diaphragm, exists between the Heart Center and the three lower centers, which are concerned primarily with the body and its needs. Being the first of the chakras that are truly concerned with spirit and the higher life of man beyond the needs of the body, a kind of spiritual rebirth takes place in the Heart Center. The Sanskrit name for this chakra,Anahata, means, "unstruck", referring to the spiritual sounds and music heard here. The Gastric Center, or Solar Plexus Greek: Gaster Latin: Abdomen Located in the solar plexus, between the diaphragm and the navel, the Gastric Center is the seat of the lower part of the mortal soul, or what Plato called the Appetitive Soul. The Appetitive Soul is the source of our appetites and desires, and says, "Feed me!" It is the seat of the Fire element, which consumes and digests food in the process of pepsis. It's also the seat of personal power, ambition and drive, which seeks to conquer all and assimilate it into oneself. The Sanskrit name for this chakra, Manipura, means, "Jewel City", since it sparkles with the fire of a million jewels. The Generative Center Greek: Gonades Latin: Genitalia This is the center of the Generative Faculty and procreative function. Plato says that in this center is made "the bonds of life which unite the Soul with the Body." This is the desire of life for Life, which draws a new soul into physical embodiment. Powerful forces and drives, transcending the boundaries of personal consciousness, motivate this center. The ancient Greeks considered semen to be a kind of cerebrospinal sap or spiritual essence that was passed down the spine and into the womb to produce a new life. The Sanskrit name for this chakra, Swaddhisthana, or, "One's Own Dwelling", aptly describes it, since many, preoccupied by their sexual feelings, spend a lot of time dwelling here. The Root Center Greek: Hieron Osteon Latin: Os Sacrum The Greek and Latin names for this center mean, "sacred bone", since it was believed that the sacral bone was the center of the whole skeleton, and that the whole body could be regenerated from this bone. The Root Center is located at the base of the spinal column, which the ancient Greeks called Hiera Syrinx, or the "Holy Reed", or tube; this corresponds to the Sanskrit Sushumna channel. This center is the seat of consciousness in its most primitive form, which is our basic survival instincts, or a clinging on to life. The Sanskrit name for this center, Muladhara, means, "Root Support", since, energetically, this chakra supports all the others. Besides these seven spinal energy centers, the ancient Greeks recognized several peripheral, lesser energy centers in the hands, thighs, and knees. These parts were believed to contain a high
  • 80. concentration of sap or marrow, or the Radical Moisture, and hence spiritual energy as well. Modern physiology recognizes the presence of various endocrine glands which secrete potent vital essences called hormones, located at or near the spinal energy centers. No doubt the ancient Greeks and Hindus sensed this intuitively. Acknowledgements: I am greatly indebted to John Osopaus for his excellent article on this subject on the website: , entitled, "A Greek System of Chakras" for the information presented here. THE GENERATIVE FACULTY Sexuality and Reproduction The Generative Faculty rules the male and female reproductive systems and governs sexual relations and procreation. Unlike the three primary faculties, the Generative Faculty isn't absolutely necessary on a day-to-day basis, but comes into play only during sexual relations, procreation, and the gestational phase of the life cycle. Therefore, it's the most specialized of all the faculties. The Gonads The gonads are the principal organs of the Generative Faculty. The male gonads are thetestes, and the female gonads are the ovaries. In both sexes, the gonads produce the reproductive seed. In the male, the testes produce sperm and in the female, the ovaries produce the ovum, or egg. When the procreative seed of both sexes unite during the sexual act, there is conception. The procreative seed of both sexes is made from the Radical Moisture, which is drawn from the endocrine glands, which are rich in Radical Moisture, or hormonal essence. The gonads are themselves endocrine glands, and are also the center or focal point of theGenerative Center, or chakra. Ultimately, all the other organs and vessels of the Generative Faculty, in both the male and female reproductive systems, exist to guide the procreative seed of both sexes to the point of union or conception, which is the female uterus, or womb. All the subsidiary organs and vessels of the male reproductive system serve to channel and condition the sperm and spermatic fluid into the female. The Uterus, or Womb What distinguishes a woman from a man is that she has a womb: she's a "womb-man". The female reproductive system is distinctively different from that of the male in that it contains a secondary principal organ, or noble organ: the uterus, or womb. The uterus' product is the embryo, which grows into the foetus, and finally into thenewborn. It is the organ of conception, gestation and childbirth, which are the dominion and responsibility of the female. Archetypally, the womb is the essence of the female principle: the Sacred Space, vessel, or chalice; human life's first home, a protective cocoon in which the foetus grows until it's ready to be released out into the world at birth. It's also the special psychic function of the woman to draw souls into embodiment during gestation, and to remain very nurturing and receptive to the child's needs, particularly during infancy and early childhood. Because sexual union basically happens inside the female, women are generally much more receptive, subjective and inwardly directed than men in their basic approach to sexuality and sexual relations. Men, on the other hand, are more outwardly directed in a quest to find the right partner, the missing other half. The Reproductive Life Cycle A tree grows to maturity from a little seedling or sapling. When it has reached a certain level of maturity, it begins to flower and produce fruit. So it is with the human being. The action of the Innate Heat of metabolism working upon the Radical Moisture as he/she grows to maturity will eventually produce an unfoldment or flowering of his/her reproductive potential. The point at which this flowering happens is called puberty, which begins the reproductive phase of the human life cycle. The Radical Moisture inherent in the individual that flowers at puberty was mostly inherited from one's parents at the moment of conception. Each parent contributed an equal portion of their reproductive seed, generated from their own inherent Radical Moisture, to form the new life.
  • 81. For the man, the onset of puberty happens with the first ejaculation, or seminal emission; with the woman, it happens with menarche, or the onset of her first monthly menstrual period. Other signs presage and announce the onset of puberty as well. These concern the development of secondary sexual characteristics in both sexes, which Greek Medicine considers to be a manifestation of the abundant superfluence of the Radical Moisture, which is spilling over, as it were. These secondary sexual characteristics also become a potent source of attraction between the sexes. The reproductive phase of the life cycle continues as long as the organism has a sufficient abundance of the Radical Moisture to pass on to their offspring. But, as we saw in the metaphor of the Lamp of Life, the inherent supply of Radical Moisture eventually dwindles, to the point where there isn't enough to spare. When this happens, the woman undergoes menopause, and the man's semen becomes sterile and unable to conceive. Since the fertility and reproductive capacity of both sexes is intimately tied to the quality and quantity of the Radical Moisture, following the principles of moderation and balanced, sensible living in one's sexual relations helps conserve and preserve the Radical Moisture. Since the man loses most of his Radical Moisture in ejaculation, sexual overindulgence and profligacy are most harmful and depleting for the male; learning to control or withhold ejaculation during sexual relations with Tantric techniques helps preserve youthful vitality and virility and extends the lifespan. Since women lose most of their Radical Moisture during gestation and childbirth, optimal nutrition during pregnancy and nursing, as well as family planning, are important. In both sexes, there is considerable individual variation constitutionally regarding native endowment of Radical Moisture. The greater the endowment, the greater the sexual and reproductive capacity, and the greater the overall level of fertility; the lesser the endowment, the more diminished and feeble this capacity will be. So, there are no hard and fast rules as to exactly what, or how much, constitutes sensible sexual relations and what constitutes overindulgence. Each man or woman must listen to his or her own body and its needs. The Sanguine Nature of Sexuality and Reproduction In many different ways, sexuality and reproduction have an overwhelmingly Sanguine character. Let me explain: First of all, there are obvious associations of season and life stage, as depicted in the Greek Medicine Wheel. In springtime, the Sanguine season, a young man's (and woman's) thoughts turn to love and romance. Enjoying sexual relations requires a certain youthful exuberance and vitality of spirit, even if you're not that young. The Sanguine principle of abundance endows us with the capacity to enjoy sexual relations, and provides us with a surplus that we can then pass on to our offspring. This is the guiding principle at work behind the reproductive phase of the life cycle. In sexual relations, Nature's strategy for assuring procreation and the survival of the species is by designing overabundance into the process. Millions more sperm are ejaculated during the sexual act than the one that finally fertilizes the egg. Many female eggs are washed away in the monthly menstrual cycle without being fertilized over the course of a woman's lifetime. The Sanguine principle of growth is also very prominent in procreation and gestation. The gestational phase of the human life cycle is the most Sanguine, since the growth rate is higher than it will ever beduring the rest of the individual's life. The female reproductive system is also very Sanguine, since the woman sheds blood every month during menstration. The health of the female reproductive system is only as good as the health of the blood. The Sanguine Attractive Virtue is amply embodied in sexuality and reproduction, which is Life's attraction to Itself. The essence of sexuality and reproduction is attraction and union. Sex and romance are associated with the Sanguine good life. A man and woman go out on a date, go to a restaurant and eat a big, sumptuous meal. Then, when fresh blood from that meal has fully sated their veins, they discharge the superfluity by engaging in sexual relations. The Reproductive Process Although they hadn't discovered genes and chromosomes, the ancient Greeks realized that both parents contributed a portion of their essence, or Radical Moisture, through their procreative seed, since the traits of both parents could be observed in the offspring. Some ancient authorities believed that the new life came solely from the male seed, or spermatic fluid, whereas the female's contribution was often seen to be just the menstrual blood, which they considered to be merely a passive substrate. More progressively minded physicians realized that the female must also contribute a
  • 82. procrative seed, and not just menstrual blood. Semen was seen to be like a catalyst or enzyme that curdled menstrual blood to form the nascent features of the developing embryo. Over the course of the gestational period, the woman saves the blood she would have excreted in her monthly periods and uses it to feed the rapidly growing foetus. Moisture, or the Wet quality, was seen to provide the embryo/foetus with the potential and capacity for growth. The Innate Heat sparked into the new life at conception activates this moisture and growth potential, and the more moisture there is to be consumed, the quicker the growth. The new life is never more moist, and growth never more rapid, than right after conception. From that point onward, the Innate Heat, by its very nature, steadily consumes more and more of the Radical Moisture, and the inherent moisture of the organism, until it is finally exhausted in Old Age, which leaves us totally withered and dry. So, life is basically a drying out process. The growing foetus inside the womb doesn't yet have his/her own immune system, since their Vital Force and Thymos are totally supplied through the mother's blood. Only when the newborn takes his/her first breath at birth do they start to generate their own Vital Force and Thymos, and hence their own independent selfhood and immune system. At birth and with the first breath, the Vital Faculty of the newborn begins its own independent existence and function. And since the Vital Faculty is the first among faculties, all the other faculties of the baby's organism develop and unfold from there. The Generative Faculty is the last faculty to develop and become fully functional. GREEK MEDICINE AND AYURVEDA Of all the traditional medical systems being practiced today, Greek Medicine has the most in common with Ayurveda. Both systems are constitutionally based, and deal with the relative balance of certain vital fluids or humors. Each humor or dosha has its own basic constitutional type, and mixed types exist. Humors and Doshas The first big problem we confront in comparing Greek Medicine to Ayurveda is that there are four Greek humors , but only three doshas in Ayurveda. Which is which, and what about the fourth humor? The first key involves the definition of the Ayurvedic term, dosha, which literally means, "fault". The three doshas, or pathophysiological principles of Ayurveda, primarily describe three basic ways in which a perfectly balanced constitution may be "tipped" and predisposed towards certain kinds of pathologies. The second key comes from Galen, who considered blood, or the Sanguine humor, to be the most inherently faultless and perfect, being made from perfect nourishment perfectly digested. In Greek Medicine, blood is considered to be the very essence of health, youth and vitality. The third key comes from Sushruta, an ancient Ayurvedic authority on medicine and surgery. In the Sushruta Samhita, he states that blood, which is usually considered to be adhatu, or tissue type in
  • 83. Ayurveda, could be called the fourth dosha. So blood, or the Sanguine humor, is the fourth dosha. But of the other three, which is which? The most obvious correspondence is between phlegm and Kapha. Cold and Wet are two important qualities of Kapha, which shares the cooling, moistening, nourishing and lubricating functions of the Phlegmatic humor. Similarly, in its Hot nature and association with fevers, inflammation, bilious pathologies and the like, there is a close resemblance between Pitta and the Choleric humor. Like the Choleric humor with its Digestive Virtue, Pitta also governs digestion, metabolism and transformation. The correspondence that seems the most shaky and tenuous is the only one that remains. How can Vata, derived from the light, subtle Ether and Air elements in Ayurveda, correspond with the Melancholic humor, which is the metabolic agent of the heavy, gross Earth element? But when one looks at their basic attributes, as well as the pathological predispositions or faults of Vata and black bile, the similarities are overwhelming, and vastly outweigh the differences. Of all the doshas, Vata, like Melancholy, is the one most prone to pathology and disease. Qualitatively, the pathological predispositions are also overwhelmingly similar: nervous, colicky digestive disorders; nervousness, insomnia, wasting disorders, nutritional deficiencies, arthritis and rheumatism and neuromuscular disorders. Coldnes and Dryness, as well as the astringent taste, are also key attributes of Vata. Vital Principles, Ayurvedic and Greek There's also a great similarity between the various vital principles in both the Greek and Ayurvedic systems: Pneuma, or the Breath of Life and its Vital Force, are clearly the equivalents of prana andvayu in Ayurveda. They form the basis of all kinetic function in the organism. Ignis, or the Innate Heat of metabolism also clearly corresponds to Agni in Ayurveda. They provide the basic thermal energy behind all pepsis, or digestion, metabolism and transformation in the organism. Similarly, the Radical Moisture corresponds to Ojas. Both give nutritive integrity, finish and polish to the organs and tissues, and underly humoral immunity and the nonspecific immune resistance of the organism. Both are contained in the procreative seed of both sexes in very concentrated form. And both are the distilled endproduct of digestion, nutrition and metabolism. The only vital principle remaining is Thymos, or the immune force that powers the immune response. My best guess is that its functions would come under the dominion ofprana in Ayurveda. What can I say, except that the Greeks loved the number four, and the Hindus the number three! Therapeutic Similarities Since both Ayurveda and Greek Medicine are constitutionally based, it's not surprising that improving basic constitutional strength, resilience and resistance to disease should be a very important therapeutic objective in both systems. The methods and modalities employed are also quite similar: diet is first and foremost, followed by simple herbal remedies, lifestyle modification, massage and bodywork, hygienic purification treatments and exercise/gymnastics/yoga. Being humorally based, both systems consider self-poisoning, or autointoxication with toxic metabolic residues and superfluous morbid humors to be the primary cause of all disease and pathology, for which they prescribe various hygienic purification treatments and regimes. The Ayurvedic word for toxins, ama, means, "crude" or "raw" - residues from faulty or incomplete pepsis that haven't been properly integrated into the body and its functioning, and therefore impede it. The word ama has its equivalent in the word "crudities", a common term for toxins in Greek Medicine. GREEK MEDICINE AND CHINESE MEDICINE
  • 84. click to zoom With Greek Medicine and Chinese Medicine, the parallels are a bit more remote, both geographically and conceptually. Nevertheless, there are similarities, and quite a few. Since both Greek Medicine and Ayurveda are humorally based, there's a stronger material slant or emphasis to both systems. Chinese Medicine, at least from a more cursory, superficial perspective, seems to be mainly about energy and function. Nevertheless, a lot of Chinese Medicine does involve vital essences and bodily fluids like blood and phlegm. So Greek Medicine and Chinese Medicine do actually have quite a lot in common. Balance and Homeostasis Perhaps the greatest similarity of overall philosophy and approach between Greek Medicine and Chinese Medicine is their emphasis on maintaining homeostasis, or a dynamic equilibrium between opposite yet complementary qualities and forces. This is beautifully embodied in the Chinese concept of Yin and Yang, and has its equivalent in the Greek medical doctrines of temperament and the Four Basic Qualities. Qualities and Temperament in Chinese Medicine Like Greek Medicine, Chinese Medicine is also involved wiht the study of qualitative environmental influences like heat, cold, moisture and dryness on the human body and its constituent parts. This involves the doctrine of the Six Pernicious Influences, or exogenous pathogenic factors: heat, cold, dryness, dampness, wind and summer heat. Anatomy and Physiology: Chinese versus Greek
  • 85. Chinese Medicine divides the major internal organs into deep, solid Zang organs and hollow, visceral Fu organs. This concept is roughly equivalent to the Greek division of the internal organs into the deeper, more important principal and noble organs and the attendant vessels, or the organs that serve them. In the Chinese system, it works out to a nice, neatly divided schema of twelve organs - six of themZang and six of them Fu. In Greek Medicine, the principal / noble organs and their attendants aren't so neatly arranged. Some of Chinese Medicine's Zang / Fu organ pairs actually do have a functional principal / attendant relationship, like the kidneys and bladder, or the liver and gall bladder. In other pairs, like the heart and the small intestine, the relationship is more one of systematic convenience or resonant affinity by element. Humors in Chinese Medicine From a cursory, superficial examination of Chinese Medicine, it may appear that it has nothing to do with the Four Humors. But surface appearances can be misleading. Although Chinese Medicine has no obvious, systematic presentation of the humors, they are still very much a part of its practice. Many syndromes of organ disharmony involve phlegm, for instance; pathologies of blood are also part of the clinical picture. There are herbal pills to regulate and promote the flow of bile, and formulas to eliminate wind, which is probably Chinese Medicine's closest thing to melancholy, or black bile. The Vital Principles in Chinese Medicine Chinese Medicine also concerns itself with the vital principles - precious energies and essences that give life to the organism. Perhaps the best known is Qi, which is Chinese Medicine's equivalent of pneuma and the Vital Force. Qi also has the same associations with the breath. The Jing, or essence, is Chinese Medicine's equivalent of the Radical Moisture. And functionally, Shen, or the spiritual essence stored in the heart, is quite similar to what Greek Medicine calls the Vital Spirits. The rough equivalent of the Innate Heat in Chinese Medicine would be Yang or the Ming Men Huo, or the Life Gate Fire, which is stored inthe kidneys, not the heart. Elements, Greek and Chinese The Chinese Five Elements aren't really elements in the Greek or Western sense of the word. In Greek Medicine, the Four Elements are the basic constituents of matter. In Chinese Medicine, the Five Elements, literally Wu Xing, or the "Five Goings", are more dynamic and energetic in nature, and are really the Five Phases of Energy Transformation. Nevertheless, there are some interesting parallels that can be drawn between the two systems. Of the Chinese Five Elements, three bear the same names as their Greek counterparts: Fire, Earth and Water. The remaining two, Wood and Metal, are different. It's in the first three that the similarities lie. In the Chinese system, Fire is the energy of transformation. That's essentially what Fire, the most dynamic and energetic of all the elements, is all about in the Greek system: digestion, metabolism and transformation. The Chinese Fire element is centered in theheart and pericardium; in Greek Medicine, the Innate Heat, the most basic and primal manifestation of the Fire element in the human body, is also centered in the heart. In the Chinese system, the energy of Earth draws things in towards the center. Earth's organ,
  • 86. the spleen, holds things in and prevents them from escaping. In the Greek system, the Earth element's humor, black bile, which is stored in the spleen, has a Retentive Virtue that holds things in. In the Chinese system, the kidneys are the principal organs of the Water element. In the Greek system, the kidneys produce urine, which is the waste product of the Water element, and the body's main form of liquid waste. Therapeutic Philosophy Chinese Medicine, like Greek Medicine, is deeply committed to using natural medicines and treatments, and to working with Nature to strengthen and aid the inherent constitutional resistance and recuperative powers of the organism. Both Chinese and Greek medicine have gained a reputation for the safe, gentle, yet effective nature of their treatments. PHYSIOLOGY - A Review of Organs and Systems Respiratory System Circulatory System Immune System Digestive Tract Auxiliary Organs of Digestion Kidneys and Urinary Tract Brain and Nervous System Mind: Consciousness, Perception, Sensation Endocrine System Male Reproductive System Female Reproductive System VITAL FACULTY: RESPIRATION The Source of Pneuma The Vital Faculty is the first and most important faculty to the life and health of the organism. And the Vital Faculty and its functioning all starts withpneuma, which the lungs and the respiratory tract extract from the air we breathe. The Lungs and Respiratory System All the vital functions run on pneuma, and the lungs and respiratory tract are the original source of pneuma in the body. Pneuma and its Vital Force make possible the combustion of the other two vital principles: the Innate Heat and Thymos. [ click to zoom ] Since pneuma is the source of all the vital functions, the more powerful and efficient we can make our respiration, the more Vital Force, Innate Heat and Thymos will be generated. This benefits all the other vital functions - circulation, immunity and cellular metabolism, which in turn benefits the whole organism. The lungs and respiratory tract are the seat, or home, of the Air element and its pneuma in the organism. The essence of the Air element is exchange and contact. Through the lungs and respiratory tract, we are in constant contact with the ambient air through gas exchange and the constant flow of pneuma into the body. Since they must be in constant contact with the outer environment, the lungs and respiratory tract are quite sensitive and vulnerable to a whole host of climactic factors and exogenous pathogenic influences. These include variations in air temperature, moisture or pressure; particulate matter; and
  • 87. microbes. Like the Air element, the lungs and respiratory tract have a Mutable nature, because they're always having to adapt to environmental changes and influences. The whole lungs and respiratory tract can be seen as one big inverted tree, with its roots in the ambient air and its terminal branches in the alveoli of the lungs. The alveoli, being the basic functional units of respiration and gas exchange in the organism, are like the leaves. The rooting of the tree in the ambient air shows how dependent we are on the air we breathe for our very survival. For the purposes of anatomical study, we can divide the respiratory tree into various parts, but actually, they are one contiguous whole. Greek Medicine divides the respiratory tract into upper and lower parts, with the lungs, starting with the bronchii, as the lower respiratory tract and the various auxiliary organs and passageways as the upper respiratory tract. The lungs are a noble organ of the Vital Faculty, whereas the respiratory tract consists of the various attendant vessels of the lungs, which are both afferent (taking fresh air in) and efferent (exhaling stale air out). Since the lungs and upper respiratory tract are one contiguous whole, conditions of humor and temperament in the lungs will also affect the upper respiratory tract, and vice versa. The Lungs The lungs are two pinkish, spongy organs, located on either side of the heart, that fill the bulk of the thoracic cavity. They are honeycombed with numerous bronchioles and alveoli. This resilient sponginess gives them the ability to exhale air when compressed and suck air back in when allowed to re-expand. In Greek Medicine, the lungs function as a bellows, pumping fresh air, or pneuma, to the heart, which combusts and infuses the pneuma into the blood as the Vital Force and Innate Heat, to power cellular metabolim. The lungs and heart work closely together, with the lungs as the bellows that fans and stokes the heart - furnace. In addition to feeding and replenishing the vital principles generated in the heart, the lungs also serve to fan the heart to cool it down somewhat, and keep it from overheating. In exhalation, the lungs also act as the exhaust valve that sucks impure, sooty vapors and stale air out from the heart, which is like the engine of a car. Because the lungs and heart work so closely together, their vital functions are intimately connected. The rhythmic puffing of the lungs as a bellows is reflected in the rhythmic pulsating of the heart as it contracts and expands in systole and diastole. This rhythmic pulsation of alternating contraction and expansion is even considered to be an inherent functional characteristic of pneuma itself. Even the peripheral arteries, which carry freshpneuma-infused blood to the extremities, pulsate due to the pneuma they contain. In temperament, the lungs are only very slightly cold, but are moderately to quite wet. The lungs require a considerable amount of moisture to function, since the air they breathe exerts a considerable drying effect. Not only must gas exchange in the alveoli take place in an aqueous medium, but the delicate respiratory passages need adequate moisture to keep them from getting red, dry, irritated or inflamed. Excessive dryness can damage the lungs, and the whole respiratory tract. This inherent wetness gives the lungs a Phlegmatic temperament, which also makes them vulnerable to accumulations of excess phlegm. And so, the lungs are one of the main accumulation sites for excess phlegm. Since the lungs are almost neutral in their inherent temperature, they are equally vulnerable to injury by excessive cold as well as by excessive heat. Excess cold will greatly and quickly increase phlegm congestion, and also tighten and constrict the lungs, inducing spasmodic coughing. Excess heat, often in the form of a fever, will overly dry out the lungs, leaving the respiratory passages red, irritated and inflamed and making their phlegm secretions too thick, sticky and hard to expectorate. A slight residue of the Choleric humor is present in the pulmonary mucous secretions, where it acts as a surfactant to keep these secretions from getting too sticky. This surfactant, plus the constant circulation of Vital Force and pneuma in the lungs through respiration keeps the delicate respiratory passageways open, and keeps them from collapsing or sticking together. In the blood going to the lungs, Choleric residues enable the blood to penetrate into the fine capillaries to reach the alveoli and get oxygenated. The lungs, being inherently moist in temperament, eliminate not only stale gases, but superfluous moisture as well. And so, the lungs are one of the main organs for eliminating excess moisture from the body; the others are the skin, which sweats, and the kidneys, which pass urine. This common function of eliminating superfluous fluids and moisture gives the lungs, skin and kidneys strong reflex relationships with each other.
  • 88. Besides superfluous moisture, the lungs can also exhale vaporous residues from other morbid or superfluous humors from the body. The sweet-smelling breath of diabetics is well-known. Foul vapors from superfluous or morbid humors can also contribute to bad breath. Avicenna believed that the lungs had very little inherent moisture of their own, but rather that they retained the moist vapors of the various humors circulating through them. In Greek Medicine, the lungs also receive a lot of phlegm that drains down into them from the head and brain. The lungs have several protective mechanisms to cleanse themselves of harmful or superfluous secretions, irritants and phlegm. Microscopic hairs, or cillia line the respiratory passages, helping us to expectorate phlegm and sweep out debris. However, coughing is the most important of these protective cleansing mechanisms. Whenever there is an obstruction or irritation of the lungs' respiratory passages, their natural reflex reaction will be to relieve or expel it through coughing. Occasional or moderate coughing is only natural, and should not be suppressed. But habitual, frequent or excessive coughing indicates some kind of respiratory imbalance or pathology, or the abnormal accumulation of phlegm and/or irritants. If excessive coughing becomes chronic or prolonged, it can exhaust the lungs, and irritate and inflame the delicate respiratory passages. At this point, therapeutic intervention becomes necessary, to remove the root cause of the coughing problem. Phlegm and irritants are removed with expectorants and expectoration. Bronchiodilators are used to open up constricted respiratory passages. Respiratory tonics and restoratives are given to deepen and strengthen the respiratory function in deficient or consumptive coughing. If the coughing is due to excessive smoking, quitting is advised. The lungs are enclosed in the pleura, which bathes them in an internal sea of pleural fluid. The pleura keep the lungs from overheating, and also protect them from excessive wear and tear against the ribcage during the respiratory process. Reflex Relationships of the Lungs to Other Organs The lungs, being so central and important to the life, health and functioning of the entire organism, have important reflex relationships with many other organs. Because the lungs are the source and origin of pneuma in the body, which the heart combusts into the Vital Force, which the liver converts into the Natural Force and the brain converts into the Psychic Force, the lungs and respiratory function have a profound impact on the functioning of all the body's faculties and organ systems. Deep, full breathing vitalizes the brain and improves the functioning and perceptive abilities of the mind and spirit. This fact is well-known by yogis and spiritual adepts, who practice special breathing exercises to deepen their meditation. Proper respiration and an adequate supply of pure, fresh air is also important to optimalstomach and digestive functioning. This is also a well-known fact. The most important reflex relationship of the lungs is with the heart. Greek Medicine recognizes the intimate relationship between our breathing patterns and our heartbeat and circulatory rhythms. When we exercise, our heart rate increases in response to the oxygen/pneuma debt incurred by the muscles and tissues; the lungs must also breathe more heavily. Both our heartbeat and breathing patterns are strongly influenced by our prevailing mental and emotional states. The lungs are the apex of an internal organ pyramid encompassing the whole torso. The lungs sit on top of the diaphragm, which is the large respiratory muscle that expands and contracts the thoracic cavity in inhalation and exhalation, respectively. Right underneath the diaphragm sit two important digestive organs, the stomach and the liver,whose condition and functioning strongly impact the lungs and their respiratory function. In addition, the diaphragm and lower ribs, or hypochondriac region, is also the accumulation site for a lot of aggravated choler, melancholy and psychosomatic stress and tension, all of which can impede or inhibit optimal respiratory function. The stomach is connected to the lungs via the gastropulmonary reflex. Through this reflex, emesis, or therapeutic vomiting, can be used to clear the lungs of excess phlegm. Many expectorants also cleanse phlegm from the lungs by mildly stimulating this reflex.. By this same reflex, a lot of excess phlegm generated due to faulty or incomplete digestion in the stomach finds its way into the lungs. A stomach that's overly full can also inhibit proper breathing. Similarly, if the liver is excessively clogged or congested, the respiratory function will also be inhibited or impeded. If there is stagnant melancholy or vital energy in the liver, the chest will be stuffy, respiration will be impeded, there will be tightness and constriction under the lower ribs, and much sighing. Sitting right underneath the stomach as the foundation of the torso's internal organ pyramid lie the intestines, especially the colon, or large intestine. If the colon is stuffed, clogged or congested
  • 89. by chronic constipation and the normal downwards discharge of its waste products blocked, the free descent of the lungs and diaphragm in respiration will also be inhibited or impeded. The lungs and colon also have a close reflex relationship due to their similarities of function. Both organs absorb vital substances into the body while discharging harmful wastes; in this sense, the lungs and colon are mirror images of each other. Also sitting under the diaphragm at its back side, and therefore affecting the lungs and respiratory function, are the kidneys and adrenal glands. If the kidneys and adrenals are weak or devitalized, the lungs will be unable to inhale deeply, fully and completely. Many forms of chronic asthma, consumptive coughing or respiratory weakness involve weak kidneys and adrenals. The kidneys and lungs both play important roles in regulating body fluid metabolism. The lungs and the skin also share a close reflex relationship. Both are in constant contact with the ambient air and external environment. Both organs also breathe, or have a respiratory function. And both the lungs and skin, as well as the kidneys, play important roles in regulating the fluid balance of the organism. The lungs and skin, both in intimate contact with the outside world, are symbiotically linked together in the surface complex; what affects the one will also affect the other. When exogenous pathogenic factors invade the surface of the organism, the pores of the skin will close as a protective response. With the closed skin pores unable to release their excess moisture via sweating or subtle transpiration, the excess fluids back up into the lungs and congest them as phlegm, provoking coughs, sneezing and an upper respiratory tract infection. The Upper Respiratory Tract The upper respiratory tract consists of the various subsidiary organs and passageways that channel air into and out of the lungs. These passageways also condition and filter the incoming air, and give it sufficient warmth and moisture to facilitate gas exchange in the alveoli, and to keep the lungs from drying out. The upper respiratory tract also includes the larynx, which is the organ of vocalization and speech. The vocal function is dependent on a steady, well-regulated outflow of breath from the lungs. The brain is Phlegmatic in temperament, like the lungs. The brain and head are accumulation sites for excess phlegm, from where it drips down into the throat, pharynx and bronchii in post nasal drip. Phlegm congestion in the lungs and respiratory tract is often connected with phlegm congestion in the head, making it stuffy, sluggish and groggy, clouding the mind and thinking. Now, let's look at the upper respiratory organs one by one: Nose: The nose is the external entrance to the respiratory tract, and is the first organ to condition the incoming air. Because the nasal passages warm, moisten and filter impurities out of the air, breathing is best done through the nose. Because the nose is the upper end of the respiratory tract and the lungs its bottom end, the nose has a strong reflex relationship with the lungs. You can often tell the condition of the lungs by looking at the nose. If the nose is congested with phlegm, so will be the lungs; if it is red, swollen or inflamed, so will be the lungs. The nose also reflects the condition of the heart and the blood vessels and capillaries that serve it. A swollen, bloodshot nose shows excessively dilated blood vessels due either to alcoholism or circulatory system disease. The nose is also an outlet for releasing excess phlegm congestion in the head and sinuses. The nose is also where the brain and Psychic Faculty connect with the respiratory tract and Vital Faculty. The sense of smell, being our most primitive sense, is very instinctual, and strongly affects the mind and subconscious. The nose is thus the gateway to the brain and mind. Sinuses: The sinuses are closely connected with the nose, and have an important reflex relationship with the stomach. Choleric irritability, inflammation and congestion of the gastric mucosa is often linked with chronic or allergic sinus congestion and inflammation. The sinuses support the nose in helping the respiratory tract condition and adjust to changes of temperature, pressure or moisture in the ambient air. Throat and Pharynx: The throat is very warm in temperament, since it's constantly being heated by the hot exhalation, or outbreath. This makes it very susceptible to colds and chills, which produce hoarseness and a scratchy sore throat. The throat and pharynx are also vulnerable to catarrh and mucus congestion caused by post nasal drip and phlegm and moisture descending from the head and sinuses. The throat is where the upper respiratory and the upper digestive tract converge. As the top end of the digestive tract, the throat has a reflex relationship with the colon; congestion and toxicity in the
  • 90. colon, or bottom end of the digestive tract, is often associated with a sore throat, or congestion and toxicity at its top end. Ears and Eustachian Tubes: The ears are a sense organ of the Psychic Faculty, but the eustachian tubes connect them with the throat and upper respiratory tract. The function of the eustachian tubes is to facilitate swallowing and to use swallowing to equalize pressure within the ears and auditory aparatus. Upper respiratory tract infections can sometimes spread through the eustachian tubes to the ear, especially in children. Larynx: The larynx, the organ of voice and speech, is an efferent, expressive organ of the Psychic Faculty. Nevertheless, they're located at the top end of the trachea in the respiratory tract, right underneath the epiglottis, and function on exhaled air from the lungs. Like the throat, the pharynx is also quite warm in temperament, and easily injured by cold and chills. They're also vulnerable to fatigue, irritation and inflammation from screaming, yelling, or other forms of vocal straining; if this stress becomes chronic, nodes can form on the vocal cords. Imbalances of humor and temperament affecting the throat and pharynx will also affect the larynx. Trachea: The trachea, or windpipe, branches off from the esophagus right above the larynx. The epiglottis is the flap that closes off the trachea when we swallow food and drink. When the epiglottis dysfunctions, food goes down the wrong way, and the lungs, as a protective reflex, cough up the offending foreign matter. Bronchii: The bronchii are where the trachea splits into two branches, each of which goes to either lung. The lower respiratory passages in each lung branch out from the bronchii like a tree. The Psychosomatic Aspect of Respiration Breath, or pneuma, is energy; breath is Life. Your breathing patterns, or how you use and relate to your breath, shows how you relate to Life and its Vital Force. Many people have quite constricted or shallow breathing. Psychosomatically, they have some blockages or inhibitions about filling themselves too full of Life. Full, proper, deep breathing is diaphragmatic or abdominal breathing. But many people hold a lot of psychosomatic stress and tension in their diaphragm, making it unable to descend deeply or fully enough to permit complete abdominal breathing. Cramped or constricted breathing can also come from feelings of being smothered, overwhelmed or crowded out of one's psychic space. Respiration needs space within which to function; the phrase "breathing room" is very apt indeed. Sometimes, even serious respiratory conditions like asthma can come from a feeling of being smothered. Respiration is rather unique as a physiological function because, although it's usually automatic, or autonomic, it holds the distinction of being able to be brought under a considerable degree of conscious control. Our mental and emotional states usually exert a great degree of influence on our breathing patterns, which is usually unconscious and automatic, or mostly so. But through self cultivation and awareness, we can learn to bring our breathing patterns under our conscious control and consciously regulate our mental and emotional states through our breathing. If you feel afraid, anxious or nervous, for example, your breathing tends to get rapid and shallow. By consciously breathing more deeply and slowly, we can do a lot to mitigate or reduce that fear or anxiety. In The Traditional Healer's Handbook, Hakim G. M. Chishti gives various traditional correspondences in Greek/Unani Medicine between breathing patterns and the emotional states that generate them: Anger makes the respiration sudden and forced, and favors exhalation over inhalation. Joy and Delight are associated with gentle and gradual breathing rhythms, and also favor exhalation over inhalation. Fear and Terror, like anger, make the respiration sudden and forced, but unlike anger, favors inhalation over exhalation. Gloom and Depression, like joy, make the breathing gentle and gradual, but unlike joy, favor inhalation over exhalation. The first step in controlling your mind is learning to control your breathing. Yogis and spiritual adepts have known and practiced this for centuries. VITAL FACULTY: HEART AND CIRCULATION Bringing Life to the Whole Body The circulatory system is the central network of the Vital Faculty, and the heart is its core. Since all the body's organs and tissues need a fresh blood supply, the circulatory system pervades the whole
  • 91. organism. The cardiovascular system consists of theheart (cardio) and its vascular network of blood vessels - the efferent arteries that carry blood away from the heart, and the afferent veins that return blood to it. The heart and its vascular network form one seamless, interconnected whole. The circulatory system is a broader term, because it also includes the nodes and ducts of the lymphatic system. Greek Medicine calls this broader circulatory system thecirculatory network, or Intermediate Channel, because it connects all parts of the organism, both superficial and deep, as its great central transportation network. The Heart: King of Organs In Greek Medicine, the heart is the most important organ in the body. Avicenna considered the heart to be supreme, and stated: "There is one organ in the body which, if it is well, the whole body is well; and if it is ill, the whole body is ill. And that organ is the heart." Being essentially a muscular organ and very active and dynamic, the heart is the hottest organ in the body. In Greek Medicine, the heart's left ventricle is the central, primary seat of the Innate Heat in the organism. To cool down all this heat and protect and insulate the heart, which is constantly heaving and pulsating, from friction and wear and tear, the heart is encapsulated by the pericardium and bathed in an internal sea of pericardial fluid. This also keeps the heart from overheating. Being so hot in temperament, the heart is very vulnerable to excesses and inuries of cold and cold, Phlegmatic vapors. As hot as it is, the heart is also vulnerable to fevers and excesses of heat, which agitate and disturb its Vital Spirits, causing restlessness, mania, insomnia, night sweats and delirium. Modern medicine sees the heart as essentially nothing more than a very powerful, sophisticated pump. But Greek Medicine sees the heart as being much more; it's also closely allied to the brain and mind, in that it's the seat of sentiments, emotions and feelings, which are called the Vital Spirits. The heart is also a furnace that combusts and infuses the Vital Force and Innate Heat into the blood with every heartbeat. It takes raw pneuma from the lungs and converts it into a very potent, concentrated form, the Vital Force, or Pneuma zoticon, which can actually be used by the body. The nature and quality of one's feelings and emotions, or Vital Spirits, have a profound impact on the nature and quality of the Vital Force produced in the heart, which in turn combusts the Innate Heat and Thymos. The Vital Force and Innate Heat are then converted into the Natural Force and Metabolic Heat in the liver, which then generate the Four Humors. And so, one's feelings and emotional life are central and important to one's heart, vital principles and overall health. Positive, noble, expansive, uplifting emotions expand and strengthen the heart and Vital Faculty, whereas negative, constrictive, ignoble or base emotions weaken them. In Greek Medicine, it's quite possible to die from a broken heart. In regulating our mental, emotional and spiritual states, the lungs work closely with the heart;
  • 92. there's a great degree of mutual influence and interaction between our breathing and circulatory patterns. When we get fearful or anxious, not only does our breathing get shallow and rapid, but our heartbeat speeds up as well. Because the heart is so exquisitely sensitive and responsive to our mental, emotional and spiritual states, Greek Medicine considers it to be the seat of the lower or sentimental mind. The higher mind, seated in the brain and Psychic Faculty, is cold, objective and rational; the lower mind, seated in the heart, is hot, subjective and passionate. To live a truly satisfying, constructive and self-fulfilled life, there must be a harmonious balance, a working relationship between head and heart. Denying either one in favor of the other is negative and destructive. The heart is like a great internal Sun, constantly radiating and sending out the lifegiving Vital Force and Innate Heat through the blood to every cell, organ and tissue in the body. But even as it sends this blood and its lifegiving forces out, its own need for them is considerable; the heart itself must be nourished by an abundant supply of fresh blood, with its Vital Force and Innate Heat. Any significant diminishment in either the quantity or quality of any of these vital factors will weaken the heart; a critical shortage or blackage of them could prove fatal. The heart must constantly bathe itself in a rich sea of blood to keep functioning; and so, it's a very Sanguine organ. The main blood vessels that the heart uses to feed itself are the coronary arteries. A decrease of Vital Force and/or Innate Heat in the heart blood causes cyanosis; decreased circulation or stasis of heart blood is angina; and a total cessation of blood supply to the heart muscle is cardiac ischemia or a myocardial infarction. A deficiency of heart blood could be called cardiac anemia. In addition to the usual signs of anemia, such as pallor, dizziness, and low energy, there will be certain heart-specific signs, like anxiety, insomnia, palpitations, and restless, dream-disturbed sleep. The heart, being the most important organ in the whole body, is a prime recipient of theRadical Moisture, which is the anchor that grounds and holds all its vital principles and functions in place, keeping thems from spending themselves prematurely. Residues from this Radical Moisture in the heart give a special richness, fulness and perfection to the blood as it's pumped out, enhancing its ability to nourish the organs and tissues. The Radical Moisture also gives the heart and its vital principles a certain functional reserve capacity. The symptoms of deficient Radical Moisture in the heart include palpitations, insomnia, night sweats, restlessness, and a tendency to be easily startled or excited. Avicenna believed that the Vital Force in the heart was strongly attracted to aromas. Strongly aromatic substances like musk, camphor, saffron and aloeswood have a beneficial effect on the flow and distribution of the vital forces in and around the heart, and throughout the whole circulatory system. Many, if not most, of the natural cardiac drugs in Greek Medicine are strongly aromatic, and also exert a beneficial effect on the mind and consciousness. The traditional Greek physician assesses heart function through a wide variety of different signs. Of these, the most important is the pulse, which is considered to be a direct extension of the heartbeat itself. As the heart beats, so beats the pulse, and abnormalities and irregularities of the pulse indicate similar dysfunctions of the heart. Breathing patterns and aerobic capacity also tell us a lot about the heart, since the heart and lungs are so closely connected. The complexion of the skin tells a lot about the overall quality of the blood and its perfusion through the capillaries; the face and countenance tell a lot about the condition of the heart's Vital Spirits. The overall shape and movement of the chest during respiration also yield their clues, as does listening to the heart with a stethoscope. Reflex Relationships of the Heart to Other Organs The heart is linked to the vascular network as one seamless, interconnected whole, and hence to every other organ and tissue in the body. Therefore, pathologies and conditions of humor and temperament affecting the blood vessels also affect the heart, and vice-versa. Although the vascular network connects the heart to every other organ and tissue in the body, some organs are much more closely linked to the heart than others. These are chiefly the four gateways or portals to the circulatory network, or Intermediate Channel: the lungs, liver, kidneys and skin. The heart and lungs work closely together as partners in the operation of the Vital Faculty. The lungs supply the heart with the raw pneuma it needs to function and generate the vital principles. The lungs function like a bellows, fanning the flames of the heart furnace and sucking out the stale air as exhaust. The lungs are connected to the heart via the pulmonary artery and vein, two of the largest
  • 93. blood vessels in the body. The heart and liver work closely together as the principal organs of the Vital and Natural faculties. Since the largest vein in the body, the Inferior Vena Cava, passes through the liver to pick up fresh humors before returning to the heart, the liver is associated more with the veins, whereas the heart, with its constant pulsation, expresses itself mainly through the arteries. The humors from the liver are activated by the vital principles in the heart, which makes them more usable by the organs and tissues. The liver also functions as a reservoir for surplus blood. The Vital and Natural faculties are interdependent, and form a mutual feedback loop. The quantity and quality of the vital principles generated in the heart determine the quantity and quality of the Natural Force and Metabolic Heat generated by the liver, which then refine and generate the Four Humors. The quantity and quality of the Four Humors, as well as those of the Radical Moisture, the quintessence of all the humors, in turn nourish and vitalize the heart. Humoral imbalances like high blood cholesterol due to Choleric/bilious congestion of the liver, injure the heart and blood vessels. The heart and kidneys have a close relationship, since the kidneys regulate the total volume of blood the heart has to pump through the excretion of urine. This regulation of blood fluid volume also has a profound influence on blood pressure. The heart and kidneys are also very closely connected via the arterial circulation. After fresh blood is pumped out of the heart and into the abdominal aorta, one of the first places it goes is to the kidneys to be filtered and purified. Through a number of important hormonal feedback mechanisms, the kidneys have a profound influence on blood pressure and vascular dynamics. They also regulate the balance of several important minerals in the bloodstream, like sodium, potassium and calcium, which are necessary for proper heart function. On top of the kidneys sit the adrenal glands, which secrete adrenaline, an important stimulator of the heartbeat and cardiac function. Adrenocortical hormones regulate the balance of vital nutrients and electrolytes in the bloodstream, which also impact heart health. Adrenaline is also involved in the sympathetic fight-or-flight response to stress, which places a considerable burden on the heart. And so, stress management is an important key to heart health and longevity. The skin, which is fed by the capillaries at the peripheral end of the circulatory system, has an opposite yet complementary relationship to the heart, which is the circulatory system's center. The more blood diverted to the skin, capillaries and exterior, the less remains in the heart and interior, and vice-versa. Exuberance of the blood and the Vital Force radiating outwards from the heart to the periphery causes the skin to blush. If the organism wants to conserve heat, it shunts blood towards the heart and interior; if it wishes to disperse and release excess heat, it diverts blood towards the skin and periphery. The Circulatory System, or Vascular Network The circulatory system consists of the various attendant vessels that serve the heart. These are basically of four kinds, each with its own nature and temperament, and each performing a different function for the organism. These are the arteries, capillaries, veinsand lymphatics. The Arteries: Sanguine - Vital Faculty The arteries serve the Vital Faculty, and are channels for its Vital Force, Innate Heat and Thymos. Arterial blood is bright red because it has been infused with these vital principles. The Vital Force radiates blood outwards from the heart, and guides its circulation throughout the organism. The Innate Heat gives arterial blood the energy to drive cellular metabolism. Because the arteries carry pneuma, or the Vital Force, they beat and pulsate, just like the heart. The speed and rhythm of the arterial pulse accurately reflects, in real time, the beating of the heart. Rhythmic pulsation is a characteristic shared by all organs and vessels involved in the generation or transmission of pneuma. These include the lungs, heart and arteries. The bright red arterial blood is warm, moist and Sanguine in temperament. Veinous blood, which has been drained of its vital energies, is cold in temperament. The temperament of the arterial walls is quite different from that of the arterial blood they carry. Arterial blood is very warm, but the arterial walls much less so. And whereas arterial blood is quite moist, the arterial walls are moderately dry, which gives them firmness and palpability, and enables them to resist the pressure of arterial blood. Arterial pressure and dynamics are mainly regulated by the heart and kidneys. The heart regulates arterial pressure by the volume and force of its contractions. The kidneys regulate arterial
  • 94. pressure by regulating blood fluid volume, and by several important hormonal feedback mechanisms. The kidneys are a prime recipient of the arterial blood output of the heart. The more vigorous the circulation of arterial blood through the kidneys, the better they can function. The arteries take fresh, oxygenated blood to the organs and tissues that need them. The only exception to this rule is the pulmonary artery, which takes spent veinous blood back to the lungs to be re-vitalized and re-oxygenated. The Capillaries: Choleric - Fiery Exuberance The terminal ends of the arteries are the capillaries. The capillary beds are where the actual exchange of vital energies and nutrients with the organs and tissues takes place. Although capillaries can be found all throughout the body, the majority of them are found in the surface and periphery. This gives the capillaries a general affinity with the peripheral circulation to the head, hands, feet and extremities. If the peripheral circulation is strong and healthy, the capillary circulation will usually be as well. To enable the blood to penetrate and circulate through the fine capillaries, residues of the Choleric humor are needed. And so, the capillary circulation in general has a fiery, Choleric character. The vitality and vigor with which the blood circulation penetrates and extends outwards into the peripheral arteries and capillaries is a good measure of the overall health and exuberance of the circulation. Since a vast network of capillary beds underlies the skin and its pores, the peripheral capilaries are associated with sweating and the flushing of blood towards the body's extrerior to cool it off in hot weather. In cold weather, when body heat needs to be conserved, blood circulation is shunted away from the peripheral capillaries to warm the interior, or vital core of the organism. Exercise and physical activity, which generate a lot of heat in the circulatory system, open up the capillary circulation, and can even create new capillaries. Regular aerobic exercise strengthens not only the heart and lungs, but also the arteries and capillaries. The overall health of the peripheral and capillary circulation is especially important to the functioning of the brain, eyes and retina, lungs and kidneys, and feet and extremities. The aging process and certain chronic diseases like diabetes will produce degenerative changes in these organs and body parts. The physician examines certain parts of the body where the capillaries are particularly visible to observe the condition of the peripheral and capillary circulation, and the overall health of the circulatory system. These areas include the conjunctiva, tip of the nose, earlobes, fingernails and fingertips. Certain conditions will make the capillaries particularly visible on the skin and in these areas. Usually, this indicates a generalized excess, aggravation, or engorgement of blood in those of a Sanguine temperament or disposition. It can also be seen in cases of alcoholism, consumptive low grade fevers, and heart or circulatory disease. The Veins: Melancholic - Natural Faculty In Greek Medicine, the veins serve the liver and Natural Faculty. Their main function is nutrient transport. The veins of the hepatic portal system take nutrient rich blood from the intestines to the liver for processing into the Four Humors. If the blood circulation in the hepatic portal system is stagnant or congested, a condition known as portal hypertension, the absorption of nutrients from the digestive tract will be compromised. Since the hepatic portal veins are afferent vessels supplying the liver, liver congestion can also produce backup or reflux portal hypertension, as well as hemorrhoids. After the liver generates the humors, they are released into the general circulation via the Inferior Vena Cava, which passes through the liver on its way back to the heart. In the heart, the humors are activated by the vital principles, which increases their bioavailability. Being rich in pneuma, the arteries pulsate; being depleted of pneuma, the veins don't. Since the blood pressure in the veins is much lower than in the arteries, veinous blood return to the heart is assisted by a network of one-way valves. In all respects, the arteries and veins are complementary opposites. For the circulatory system to be healthy, its complementary arterial and veinous halves must be balanced, and work harmoniously together. Of the peripheral veins, those supplying the extremities are the most important. Poor veinous return from the extremities is associated with the formation of clots, or embolisms, as well as swelling, edema, numbness or mortification of the extremities. If the veinous return from the extremities is poor, the arterial blood supply to them will be compromised by reflux action.
  • 95. Being colder than arterial blood, veinous bood is cold, wet and Phlegmatic in temperament. Functionally, veinous circulation has an affinity with the circulation of lymph and interstitial fluids. Where veinous return is compromised, particularly in the extremities, there will also be lymphatic swelling, congestion and edema. Also, the lymphatic circulation drains back into the veinous system via the subclavian vein before reaching the heart; this strengthens the functional interdependence of the veinous and lymphatic systems, which both return vital fluids to the heart. The walls of the veins themselves are cold and slightly to moderately dry, which makes them Melancholic in temperament. With veinous circulation being slower and more passive, clots and embolisms can form, particularly in the deep veins of the extremities, and especially when the blood is unduly thickened by excesses and aggravations of black bile. Portal hypertension is another veinous pathology that is often of a Melancholic nature. The Lymphatics: Phlegmatic - Expulsive Virtue The lymphatic system is cold, wet and Phlegmatic in temperament. So much of the Phlegmatic humor in our bodies is composed of lymph that it's sometimes called the Lymphatic humor. The function of the lymphatic system is to recycle plasma and interstitial fluids that have escaped from the vascular portion of the circulatory system back into the blood vessels. Plasma and interstitial fluids become lymph as they're funneled back through the network of lymph vessels and nodes, which eventually return them back into the veinous circulation. Since the lymph drains back into the veinous circulation, poor veinous return can lead to lymphatic congestion and stagnation. Since the lymph drains back into the subclavian veinvia the thoracic duct located behind and between the lungs, phlegm congestion in the lungs leads to lymphatic congestion and stagnation and swelling and edema, particularly in the upper body. The lymphatic system, being Phlegmatic in temperament, also has an Expulsive virtue and function. And so, one of the main functions of the lymphatic system is to cleanse and wash away impurities from all parts of the organism. Since the purification of the organism also has a beneficial effect on its immunity, this Expulsive function of the lymphatic system is closely related to its immune function. To purify the lymph, there are several lymph nodes located throughout the body. Their concentration is particularly high in parts of the body that come into frequent contact with exogenous substances or impurities: the throat (tonsils), intestines (Peyer's patches and appendix), neck (submandibular, cervical and subclavian lymph nodes), chest and armpits (mammary and axillary lymph nodes) and groin (inguinal lymph nodes). If the physician suspects sepsis or infection, he palpates the surrounding lymph nodes to see if they're tender or enlarged. These lymph nodes and lymphatic tissue also contain high concentrations of white blood cells, or leukocytes, which not only neutralize and consume debris and impurities, but also pathogenic microbes. And so, the lymphatic system also has an important immune function. By far, the largest lymphatic organ is the spleen, which is the central hub of the lymphatic system. The spleen consumes, neutralizes and digests the most obstinate debris and particulate matter out of the blood and lymph, using the chelating action of its black bile. Like the liver, the spleen also functions as a reservoir of surplus blood, to be drawn upon when needed. The health of the lymphatic system depends on regular exercise to stimulate its circulation. Since both the lymphatic and veinous circulations are passive, both are dependent upon adequate exercise and physical activity to keep them healthy. Massage, especially with medicated oils, is also very beneficial. Circulatory System Health The greatest enemy of healthy circulation is stagnation, or stasis. Stagnation is usually the result of sedentary habits and lifestyle. Conversely, adequate exercise is the greatest friend and ally to circulatory system health, since activity and movement stimulate circulation. Besides increasing the aerobic activity of the heart and lungs and the vigor of the arterial and capillary circulation, exercise is crucial in stimulating veinous and lymphatic return, since the circulation in both these systems is passive. Massage is a form of passive movement that enhances and stimulates veinous and lymphatic return. Massage with medicated oils is doubly beneficial, since the aromatic essences they contain stimulate circulation and help purify the lymph. Diet is also important in maintaining and enhancing circulatory system health. Adequate fiber intake keeps the portal circulation healthy, and keeps the veinous blood there from getting too thick
  • 96. and congested with excessively dense concentrations of nutrients to flow smoothly and efficiently to the liver for processing. Probably the worst dietary abuse you can give your circulatory system is to eat rancid or toxic fats. The worst offenders are fried foods, rancid oils, hydrogenated or trans- fats, and saturated animal fats. According to Greek Medicine, rancid, toxic fats lead to the formation of morbid, toxic forms of yellow and black bile produced by charring, or excessive oxidation. In modern medical terms, they lead to pathogenic oxidative processes and the creation of harmful free radicals, which injure and harden the arteries and lead to the formation of arterial plaque. There are Four Temperaments, each with its own characteristic predispositions towards certain circulatory system pathologies: Choleric types tend to suffer from bilious pathologies producing high cholesterol and arterial plaque, as well as disorders of excessive exuberance, heat, pressure and/or inflammation in the blood and blood vessels. These include arterial hypertension, or high blood pressure; hemorrhaging and excessive or easy bleeding; arterial aneurysms and ruptured blood vessels; and phlebitis, or inflammation of the veins. Sanguine types usually suffer from a generalized congestion or engorgement of excessive blood in their blood vessels and capillaries. Some pathologies like diabetes can have negative, degenerative repercussions on the circulatory system, such as high cholesterol and hyperlipidemia, and especially capillary degeneration. Gout and uremia often cause inflammatory changes in the capillaries and blood vessels. Circulation in general can become sluggish. Those of a Phlegmatic temperament are predisposed to excesses and aggravations of the lymphatic system, and lympohatic stagnation, toxicity, congestion or obstruction, which is generally called lymphatism. Poor veinous return and a generally lax blood vessel tone tend to make their overall circulation sluggish. These conditions are usually aggravated by their preferred dietary abuses: excessive consumption of sweets, dairy products and starchy or glutinous foods. Melancholic types tend to suffer from thick blood that is excessively prone to embolisms and clotting, due to a generalized excess of black bile in the bloodstream. This predisposes them to veinous pathologies and varicose veins; deep vein thrombosis; and cerebro- and cardio- vascular accidents caused by clots and embolisms, as well as the apoplexy that often accompanies these conditions. Arterial plaque and hardening of the arteries caused by toxic, oxidated forms of yellow and black bile is a general predisposition that Melancholics share with Cholerics. A generalized hardening or sclerosis of the circulatory system as they age can also aggravate their predisposition towards stiff joints, arthritis and rheumatism. Since the circulatory system pervades the whole organism, putting your circulatory system back in order means putting all aspects of your diet, hygiene and daily regimen back into balance. This means following the necessary dietary, hygienic, and lifestyle guidelines for your constitutional nature and temperament. Acknowledgements The quotation of Avicenna about the heart is courtesy of The Traditional Healer's Handbook by Hakim G. M. Chishti, page 238. Copyright 1988 by Hakim G. M. Chishti. Published by Healing Arts Press, Rochester, Vermont VITAL FACULTY: IMMUNITY Protecting the Organism from Diseasae The immune system can't be localized to any organ or part of the body; the immune system is everywhere. Since exogenous pathogenic factors can attack from any quarter, the whole body must be protected. The immune system defends the Self, or individual organism, from the not-self, or foreign invaders that threaten to attack it. What gives the organism, or physis, the unique stamp of its individuality is its genetic code, or the fact that all its cells, organs and tissues are descended from a single parent cell: the fertilized egg. Immunity and the Four Faculties Immunity is a joint effort encompassing all parts of the organism. Although each of the three primary faculties plays its part in immunity, the Vital Faculty is first and foremost among them, because it coordinates the immune response. Vital Faculty: Vital Immunity and the Immune Response
  • 97. The Vital Faculty coordinates the immune response, which is the vital, active, energetic manifestation of immunity in the organism. Vital Immunity takes the lead in protecting the organism, and all other aspects of immunity work together to support the vital immune response. Since attacks and invasions of exogenous pathogenic factors can come from any quarter, the Vital Faculty utilizes its circulatory network, which pervades the entire organism, to coordinate the immune response. This cirdulatory network is the central nexxus of the Vital Faculty, and of the immune system. The basic immune force of the organism which empowers and coordinates the vital immune response is the Thymos. Thymos means, "proud, bold, fierce" in Greek, which aptly describes its aggressive, defiant attitude as it actively protects the organism from infection and disease. Thymos is the distilled essence of the vital principles, born of the fusion of the Vital Force and the Innate Heat. Its kinetic aspect is the motive force and biological intelligence that empowers and coordinates the immune response. Its thermal aspect asserts the metabolic presence of the host organism, which keeps exogenous microbes and pathogens, with their foreign energies and metabolisms, at bay. Thymos is produced in the Thymus gland, the master gland of the immune system, and fed to the heart, from where it is circulated to every organ and tissue in the body. Each principal or noble organ receives its fair share of Thymos, and distributes portions of it to all its subsidiary organs and attendant vessels. Optimum Vital Immunity depends on the inherent strength and vigor of the supporting vital functions: respiration, circulation and cellular metabolism. Of these, the primary and most important one is respiration; the more completely and efficiently the lungs can infuse oxygen, or fresh pneuma, into the blood, the healthier and more vigorous will be the immune response. Optimum Vital Immunity also depends on the quality and purity of the humors, especially the blood, which is the vehicle for Thymos and the other vital principles. In this, there's a mutual feedback and influence loop between the Vital and Natural faculties; Natural derivations of the vital principles help generate the humors, which in turn act as physical vehicles for the vital principles. In modern medical terms, Vital Immunity is roughly equivalent to cellular immunity, or phagocytosis and the activity of leukocytes, or white blood cells, in defending the orgnism against sepsis and infection. The T-cell lymphocytes, produced by the Thymus gland, are the leaders and teachers of the other white blood cells, and embody the active biological intelligence that coordinates the immune response. Natural Faculty: Humoral Immunity The Natural Faculty confers Humoral Immunity on the organism. Humoral Immunity supports Vital Immunity as the basic nutritive integrity of the organs and tissues and the nonspecific immune resistance of the organism to infection and disease. Humoral Immunity is a product of the Radical Moisture, which is the distilled essence of the Natural Faculty and its Four Humors. The Radical Moisture bestows nutritive fullness and integrity to all the organs and tissues of the body, and to the Four Humors, especially the moist, flourishing Phlegmatic and Sanguine humors. In the Fourth Digestion, a special highly potent and refined essence of all the humors is withheld from the organs and tissues; this is the Radical Moisture. From the liver, it is sent to the heart and then circulated to all the organs and tissues of the body. Each noble or principal organ gets its fair share, and then distributes portions of it to its various subsidiary organs and attendant vessels. In Greek Medicine, immunity has two opposite yet complementary halves. The active, energetic half is Vital Immunity. Humoral Immunity is its passive, nutritive, Yin complement, and supports Vital Immunity as its material foundation. In the healthy immune system, Vital Immunity and Humoral Immunity work closely together, hand in hand, mirroring the close cooperation between the Vital and Natural faculties. But in certain immune disorders, this harmonious cooperation begins to break down, and the immune system starts to attack itself. Since the Radical Moisture is the end product of pepsis, or digestion and metabolism, a strong, efficient digestion is essential to optimal Humoral Immunity. The diet must also be balanced and have sufficient richness and variety; diets that are unbalanced, or too slender and restricted, deplete Humoral Immunity. Since the Radical Moisture tends to decline as we age, particularly past middle age, so does our Humoral Immunity. In modern medical terms, Humoral Immunity refers to the formation and synthesis of immune globulins and antibodies. The nutritive integrity of the organs and tissues and their nonspecific
  • 98. resistance to infection and disease comes mainly from the immune globulins, the most important of which is gamma globulin, produced by the liver. The action of antibodies is more specific, to attach themselves to particular antigens and microbes. Psychic Faculty: Psychoneuroimmunology The Psychic Faculty contributes to, or detracts from, immunity, since positive, cheerful thoughts and attitudes strengthen immunity, whereas negative, gloomy ones and the stress and depression they generate depress or deplete it. This fact has been demonstrated, measured and proven by modern medical science; this is what modern holistic medicine calls psychoneuroimmunology. Modern medicine explains the psychic dimension of immunity in terms of white blood cell activity and immune globulin formation. Chronic stress and worry also exhaust the adrenal glands, which support the vital immune response. Greek Medicine explains it energetically and vitalistically. Positive, expansive, uplifting and noble thoughts and the feelings and emotions they generate strengthen and expand the Vital Spirits in the heart, whereas negative, constricting, ignoble thoughts, feelings and emotions weaken the Vital Spirits. As the Vital Spirits go, so goes the generation ofThymos and the other vital principles in the heart, and hence the health, quality and vigor of the vital immune response. Hygienic Immunity: Toxins, Temperament and Terrain Hygienic Immunity depends on proper hygiene, which creates both inner and outer bodily cleanliness and an equable balance of the humors and temperaments. Hygienic Immunity is much more emphasized in Greek Medicine than it is in modern medicine. A body that's clean and in balance with itself is better able to heal itself and fight off disease. Pathogenic parasites and microbes feed on toxic metabolic wastes and morbid, superfluous humors. A body struggling under a heavy toxic load won't have a healthy or vigorous immune response. Hygienic Immunity is doubly important in today's world of environmental pollution and a refined, denatured, devitalized food supply. With so many exogenous threats, we must give our immune systems every advantage by keeping the body clean and healthy. Hygienic Immunity is compromised by imbalances of humor and temperament, which invite microbes and pathogenic factors of a similar nature to that of the imbalance to invade the organism. Since the humors hold the qualities and temperaments in place, imbalances of temperament are usually rooted in humoral imbalances. Modern medicine is enamored with the germ theory of disease; microbes have been blamed for everything from the common cold to cancer. While Greek Medicine doesn't deny that microbes are involved in infectious diseases, it sees morbid imbalances of humor and temperament as being the primary predisposing factor. This is the biological or metabolic terrain, and a pathogenic microbe can easily infect a body whose morbid, toxic terrain is hospitable to it. If the terrain is clean and balanced, immune resistance will be strong, and the microbe won't be able to gain a foothold. Many people suffer from chronic, low grade infections with vague, nebulous symptoms, which are due to a morbid, toxic terrain and compromised immunity. If allowed to persist, these infections will drain the host vitality and immunity even further. The microbe involved may be a bacteria, virus, yeast or fungus. Microbes are opportunistic, and one way or another, the right one will arise to exploit the inherent weaknesses of the host's morbid, toxic terrain and its immune vulnerabilities. A rather bizarre corollary of the immunological concept of the ground or terrain is the theory of pleiomorphism. It maintains that pathogenic microbes are able to "shapeshift" and change form in response to changes in their biological environment. A bacteria may become a yeast, virus or fungus and then return to its original form in order to survive or elude treatment. This is one explanation why chronic infections can be so difficult to eradicate. Although pleiomorphism may seem like a "twilight zone" concept on the fringes of reality, many on the cutting edge of holistic medicine now believe in its validity. To remedy defects in Hygienic Immunity, we must cleanse the body, both inwardly and outwardly, and put all its humors and temperaments back into balance. Then, immunity will improve, and the organism can fight off infection. This may come in the form of a dramatic healing crisis, or it may happen naturally and gradually. The Four Elements and Immunity
  • 99. Since immunity is a joint effort of the whole organism, each of the Four Elements and their respective humors play their part. These elemental manifestations of immunity are as follows: FIRE: Ignis, Pepsis, Inflammation and Fever The fiery aspect of immunity depends on having a good Ignis, or Innate Heat of metabolism. If the host metabolism is strong, foreign microbes will be held at bay. If pepsis and the digestion and metabolism of the humors is strong, toxic residues and morbid, superfluous humors won't accumulate so easily, which benefits Hygienic Immunity. Having a healthy, adequate secretion of caustic, Choleric stomach acid is crucial to the overall health and immunity of the entire digestive tract. Stomach acids kill foreign microbes that would otherwise cause fermentations and putrefactions in the gut. The inflammatory response, which is made possible by Choleric residues in the bloodstream, is the main fiery manifestation of immunity. The four main signs of inflammation are Rubor (redness), Calor (heat), Dolor (pain) and Tumor (swelling). To these basic four, Galen added a fifth: limited mobility. But this can be seen as the result of the histamine-induced swelling. The inflammatory response is like a smelter's fire, purifying the affected area of debris and pathogenic matter and setting the stage for healing and regeneration. It's a natural protective response of the organism to trauma, infection or chronic irritation. In the healthy organism with a normal immune system, inflammation resolves into healing and regeneration, but in certain immune disorders, inflammation can become chronic and unresolved. Inflammation is localized heat, but when heat spreads through the circulatory system and goes systemic, it becomes a fever. In Greek Medicine, fever is seen as a natural protective reaction of the organism, a form of systemic pepsis in which the body raises its level of metabolic heat to digest and consume superfluous pathogenic matter. The fire of fever was seen to be such a powerful purifying force that Hippocrates once said that, if allowed to create or provoke a fever, he could heal any disease. Many fevers are broken through sweating. Sweat, the waste product of the Fire element, releases excess heat from the body. AIR: Blood, Pneuma, Vital Immunity and the Surface Complex The blood must be kept pure and free-flowing if it is to be a suitable vehicle for theThymos and the other vital principles in their activation of the immune response. Stagnant, toxic blood isn't vital and lively, and has a low level of cellular immunity; it's also prone to sepsis and putrefaction. The respiratory capacity and efficiency of the lungs determines how well the blood is infused with fresh oxygen and pneuma, or the Vital Force; the greater the oxygenation of the blood, the better the immune response will be. Air immunity is Vital Immunity. The lungs work closely together with the skin, which also breathes through its pores, as the surface complex. This surface complex forms the outermost protective barrier of the organism against pathogenic invasion. When the surface complex is under attack, the skin's pores will close off against the invader, and transpiration fluids will back up into the lungs, causing coughing and lung congestion. If someone sweats too easily, or has a constant thin, furtive sweat, it's often a sign of a weak Vital Immunity and surface complex. Exogenous pathogens at the surface level of the organism are released through sweating. WATER: The Lymphatic System and the Mucosal Barrier The lymphatic system is the Water element's main organ of immunity. Its Expulsive virtue and function purifies the organism and all its vital fluids; this purifying action benefits Hygienic Immunity. The lymphatic system also benefits Vital Immunity by producing lymphocytes, or white blood cells that fight infection in the immune response. Throughout the body, there are lymph nodes that filter and purify the lymph. The lymphatic ducts carry lymph to the lymph nodes, where high concentrations of lymphocytes consume all offending microbes and pathogenic matter. These lymph nodes and patches of lymphatic tissue are most densely concentrated where the challenges of sepsis and infection are the greatest: the throat (tonsils), the intestines (Peyer's patches and appendix), the neck (submandibular, cervical and subclavicular lymph nodes), the breasts and armpits (mammary and axillary lymph nodes) and the groin (inguinal lymph nodes).
  • 100. The largest lymphatic organ in the body is the spleen, which is the central hub of the lymphatic system. Through the chelating action of its black bile, the spleen cleanses the blood and lymph of particulate debris and microbes, and so greatly benefits immunity. You may be able to live without a spleen, and your immune system may still be able to function, but its functional reserve capacity will be severely depleted. When a severe immune crisis comes along, those without a spleen may not be able to cope. The heart, lungs and brain are each enclosed by protective sacks in an internal ocean of serous fluid which also forms an important immune barrier around these organs. The mucous secretions of the respiratory, digestive and genitourinary mucosa also have a cleansing Expulsive virtue, and form important immune barriers against the invasion of exogenous microbes and pathogenic matter. The health, balance and immune viability of these mucous secretions is strongly influenced by the overall balance of humors and the biological / metabolic terrain of the organism. EARTH: Cysts, Opsonization and Intestinal Flora The Earth element's Retentive virtue can be seen in the process of cyst formation,which is a protective response of the organism to isolate and marginalize pathogenic matter by encapsulating it in a sack or coccoon of fibrous tissue. The action of Earth can also be seen in opsonization, which is the binding or coagulation of antibody to antigen; this marks the pathogenic invader, making it heavy, bulky, and easy to target and destroy. Closely related to opsonization is chelation, or the binding of certain substances to pathogenic matter to render it inert and fit for explulsion. Through the chelating action ofblack bile, the spleen filters and cleanses the blood and lymph of all microbes, debris, pathogens and particulate matter. The colon, which makes the earthy excrement, feces, is like a garden that growsintestinal flora. If the overall biological and metabolic terrain of the organism is good, beneficial probiotic flora will grow and flourish; if this terrain is morbid and unbalanced, pathogenic microbes and parasites will take over. In protecting the health, hygiene and proper eliminative functioning of the digestive tract, the state of our intestinal flora has a profound impact on our overall immunity. The Four Temperaments and Immunity Since immunity is both physical and psychological, Greek Medicine sees a deep connection between immunity and the Four Temperaments, or bodymind types. Each of the Four Temperaments has its own characteristic patterns and predispositions of immunity in both function and dysfunction. These are: Choleric: A strong Innate Heat, and a tendency to manifest strong fevers and inflammatory reactions. When functioning properly, a strong Ignis and pepsis produce a good ability to neutralize and eliminate toxins; immune reactions are swift and decisive. When imbalanced or dysfunctional, the Innate Heat goes into overdrive, feeding an agitated, hyperactive Thymos, predisposing the immune system to hyperreactivity, chronic inflammation and various allergic or autoimmune reactions. Over time, a hyperactive Ignis and Thymos start to consume the Radical Moisture, aggravating immune system hyperreactivity, chronic inflammatory and autoimmune conditions. The sharp, caustic, irritable Choleric disposition is reflected in this type's immune function. Sanguine: Generally the most balanced, healthy immune function of all. Blood, Sanguine's dominant humor, is the vehicle for the Vital Faculty, which coordinates the immune response. Blood's moderate heat is conducive to a balanced Innate Heat andThymos; blood's moderate moisture gives Sanguines a good supply of the Radical Moisture. This balances both Vital and Humoral Immunity. Psychologically, the joyful, optimistic, sociable outlook of Sanguines is conducive to optimal immunity. However, the Sanguine immunity does have its vulnerabilities. The lungs and respiratory tract can be a sensitive problem area in some individuals, prone to congestion and catarrh. The Sanguine pepsis can be overwhelmed by overeating, leading to metabolic wastes and toxins that can compromise immunity. Excess superfluities of blood can congest and stagnate, compromising its Thymos and immune function. Putrefactions of blood and other humors, caused by excessive warmth and moisture, as well as congestion and stagnation, are another Sanguine vulnerability. Phlegmatic: Strong Water and weak Fire, weak Innate Heat. Pepsis and the neutralization of toxins tends to be weak and deficient, compromising Hygienic Immunity. Metabolic residues, especially excess phlegm, which increases vulnerability to colds and respiratory infections. These respiratory healing crises are often the way the organism cleanses itself of accumulations of excess
  • 101. phlegm. Since moisture and anabolic processes predominate in the Phlegmatic constitution, the Radical Moisture is abundant, and Humoral Immunity tends to be strong. These factors, which support the nonspecific immune resistance of the organism, are the Phlegmatic type's greatest strength. Excess phlegm in Phlegmatics tends to impede the flow of Thymos and the other vital principles, making the vital immune response slow and sluggish. Lymphatic congestion and obstruction can also impede the purification and circulation of lymph and other vital fluids, causing toxicity in the organism that can also compromise immunity. Melancholic: Since black bile is contrary to blood in its basic qualities, the Melancholic immunity is generally the poorest. Melancholic coldness doesn't favor sufficient Innate Heat and Thymos; neither does Melancholic dryness favor the Radical Moisture and basic Humoral Immunity. The digestive tract and its functioning is a key problem area for Melancholics. Because digestion tends to be weak or faulty, the Radical Moisture, its end product, tends to be deficient. Intestinal immunity also tends to be poor, making probiotics and the cultivation of beneficial intestinal flora a key concern. When the Melancholic type takes care of himself, immunity manages to remain modest yet passable. But if the diet, digestion and metabolism aren't well-regulated, morbid, toxic forms of black bile can accumulate, which can derange the immune system and further consume the Radical Moisture, bringing digestive and respiratory allergies and autoimmune disorders. The moody, morose Melancholic mental and emotional outlook doesn't favor healthy immunity either. Austerity, loneliness and withdrawal also take their toll, and deplete immunity. Immunity and the Four Stages of Life The immune system is usually at its most vulnerable in the very young and the very old. In the very young, the immune system is still growing and developing; in the very old, the immune system is degenerating. The foetus doesn't have its own immune system, otherwise it would reject its mother. The immune system is activated, along with the Vital Faculty, when the newborn takes his/her first breath. Since the immune system was nonexistent before birth, it must grow and develop very quickly during infancy and early childhood. From birth until age seven are the critical years, when the child's sense of selfhood is developing, along with his/her immune system. Fortunately, Nature has provided an important and valuable way for the mother to nourish and aid the growth of her baby's immune system. It's called breast feeding, which is immunologically vastly superior to synthetic baby formulas. Particularly important is thecolostrum that flows in the first few days after birth; it's incredibly rich in nutritional immune factors. After infancy and breast feeding, the child's immune system must be exercised and programmed through actual contact with various microbes and pathogenic factors to acquire immune resistance. During this process, the child will inevitably catch some colds, respiratory infections, and even some childhood diseases. But this natural way of exposure is the best way to exercise and develop immunity, and ultimately there's no substitute for it. By young adulthood, the flame of Ignis has reached its peak output and efficiency, and so has the immune system. During the Melancholic years of maturity and middle age, the flame, and the immune system, start to decline, and immune vulnerabilities start to creep in. In old age, the reserves of Radical Moisture get very low, and immune decline accelerates into degeneration. In old age, the immune system is so delicate and vulnerable that what would have been an ordinary cold in one's prime can become full-blown, life-threatening pneumonia. Other degenerative disorders of the immune system, like rheumatoid arthritis, are also common. To the immune system, life is a battle that must be fought. In the course of life's battle, there may be some blows that will knock the immune system for a loop, but Nature has provided it with the means of recovery and regeneration. Modern Medicine and the Immune System From the natural, holistic perspective of Greek Medicine, modern medicine has several treatments and practices which, immunologically, are questionable at best, and downright dangerous at worst. In general, these practices either weaken or suppress the immune system on the one hand, or pervert or unnaturally stimulate it on the other. The modern medical establishment hails vaccination as one of the great advances of modern medicine in combatting the scourge of infectious and childhood diseases. But this practice is questionable and mixed in its effects at best.
  • 102. Although vaccination does stimulate and program the immune system to produce antibodies against various potentially life threatening diseases, it does so through routes of exposure that are basically unnatural. Many holistic physicians claim that vaccination unnaturally hyperstimulates the immune system; they cite the rapidly increasing incidence of autoimmune disorders in aging baby boomers, who were the first recipients of mass vaccinations. And adverse or debilitating reactions to vaccinations are quite common. Vaccination also provides the pharmaceutical companies that make the vaccines with a great marketing vehicle. For every new dreaded disease that comes along, they can create and sell a new vaccine. Rather than develop an endless array of specific immunizations, Greek Medicine prefers to strengthen and assist host immunity and the cathartic and immune responses of the organism by natural means. These include herbal medicine and hygienic purification treatments. Homeopathy is another great way to stimulate the immune response naturally, especially in colds, flu and childhood diseases. Antibiotics, once the wonder drugs of modern medicine, are starting to show their shortcomings. Originally meant to be used only in life threatening infections, antibiotics are now vastly overused. This overuse and overexposure has led to the rise of "superbugs" resistant to multiple antibiotics. Since antibiotics were developed from fungi, they can also cause secondary fungal or yeast infections. The current abuse and overuse of antibiotics has also allowed our natural immune defenses to weaken and atrophy. And there's a lot of immune suppression going on in modern medicine also. Massive immune suppression keeps an organ transplant recipient from rejecting the transplanted organ. But this is ultimately a value judgement: when our very life is at stake, most of us would choose life over our immune systems. But a lot of the immunosuppressive treatments of modern medicine are largely unnecessary. In autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, for examp9le, modern medicine has no better solution than to suppress all immune responses of the organism, both good and bad. But many medicinal herbs are powerful immunomodulators that strengthen healthy immune responses while reducing destructive allergic and autoimmune responses. Unlike dead chemicals, herbal medicines are living substances, endowed by their Creator with the biological intelligence of Life. Keeping the Immune System Healthy Naturally The best way to keep your immune system healthy is to do it naturally - in diet, lifestyle and medication. Fortunately, Greek Medicine offers many ways to do this. To improve your Vital Immunity and keep it healthy, you must exercise the Vital Faculty regularly. Aerobic exercise is the best way to do this, and will better oxygenate the blood to vitalize the immune response. It also helps to breathe plenty of fresh air, and to have your living quarters well ventillated. Eating a diet of blood building foods and drinking blood cleansing herbal teas regularly help to keep the blood healthy. Sweats and saunas open up the peripheral circulation, and also cleanse the blood. The best way to ensure healthy Humoral Immunity is to eat a sufficiently generous and varied diet. Dietary deficiencies and imbalances can lead to deficiencies of important nutritional immune factors. Certain herbal tonics and superfoods nourish the Radical Moisture that underlies Humoral Immunity. These include Royal Jelly and Spirulina. Proper stress management is essential for keeping both Vital and Humoral immunity healthy. Keeping regular, sensible hours, getting sufficient sleep and rest, and doing stretching, relaxation and meditation are all good practices in this regard. Hygienic Immunity is improved by periodic fasting, cleansing and purification treatments. To keep its immune function in good order, the human organism needs to be cleansed and overhauled periodically. Think positive thoughts and maintain a healthy mental attitude. Stay socially committed and involved at home, at work, and at play. Find and pursue a constructive and worthwhile life purpose. And above all, don't give up hope and sink into despair. Use natural herbal medicines whenever possible, and take herbal teas and tonics regularly. Avoid taking synthetic pharmaceutical drugs unless absolutely necessary. Literally hundreds of medicinal herbs have some beneficial effect on immunity, although some, like Echinacea or Goldenseal, are superstars in this regard. Live a life of harmony and balance, following all the guidelines for your constitutional type, or
  • 103. temperament. When the humors and temperaments are all in balance, so is the organism. And when the whole organism is in balance, so is its immunity. NATURAL FACULTY: DIGESTIVE TRACT The Alimentary Canal Running right down the center or core of the body, from mouth to anus, is a big hollow tube called the digestive tract, or Alimentary Canal. Because most of the substances that are assimilated into, and eliminated from, the body do so via this great tube, it could also be called the Great Central Channel. For the purposes of anatomical study, we divide the digestive tract into segments, which we call organs, but in reality, all are interconnected, and form one long, seamless tube. At certain points, like the stomach, the tube is wider; at other parts, like the pyloric and ileocecal valves, it's quite narrow. At still other points, like the biliary and pancreatic ducts, other tributary tubes feed various substances into it. The entire digestive tract and all its organs are afferent attendant vessels of the Natural Faculty. Their main purpose is to digest food and drink into chyle, whose nutrients are then absorbed from the intestines via the veins of the hepatic portal system and sent to the liver, the principal organ of the Natural Faculty, for processing into the Four Humors. The unusable residues, or waste, are then eliminated via the tube's bottom or anal end asfeces, or solid waste. The usual flow of materials through the Alimentary Canal in the digestive process is from top to bottom, or mouth to anus. The food bolus and juices are squeezed and propelled downwards via the rhythmic muscular contraction of peristalsis. In Greek Medicine, the smooth, coordinated functioning of the digestive tract and its organs is the result of the harmonious cooperation of the Four Administering Virtues,which are specialized derivations of the Natural Force arising in the liver. These four forces, or virtues, in their usual sequence, are: Attractive, Digestive, Retentive, and Expulsive. When the digestive tract is functioning properly, everything flows smoothly, from top to bottom. Dysfunction arises when things don't flow smoothly, producing obstruction, blockage, or reflux. These give rise to the familiar symptoms of colic, gas, distension, bloating, regurgitation, etc... Because the entire digestive tract is one seamless, interconnected whole, many close reflex relationships exist between its various organs. Problems or dysfunction arising in one part of the Alimentary Canal will affect or have repercussions on all the others. The Alimentary Canal is amazingly versatile in that in can both assimilate and eliminate from both its top and bottom ends. Elimination from its top end occurs through vomiting, or emesis. Assimilation from its bottom end can occur through enemas and rectal administration. This makes it very useful and versatile therapeutically. The Alimentary Canal is also the main route of detoxification for the organism. Phases of Digestion Holistically speaking, the entire digestive process can be divided into four broad phases, each with its own predominant humor and temperament: In the upper digestive tract, from the mouth through the esophagus, digestion is primarily Phlegmatic. Food is masticated and mixed with phlegm and saliva to reduce it to a watery, semiliquid state, as all subsequent digestive reactions must occur within an aqueous medium. In the middle digestive tract, or the stomach and duodenum, digestion is primarilyCholeric. Hot, caustic secretions rich in the Choleric digestive virtue, like stomach acids and bile, predominate, and most of the digestion, or nutrient breakdown, occurs here. Below the duodenum, in the small intestine, digestion is predominantly Sanguine, or moderate and balanced, in temperament. Bicarbonate buffers from the pancreas cool down the excessive heat and acidity from the middle digestive tract and facilitate nutrient absorption, which occurs through the Sanguine Attractive virtue. In the large intestine, or colon, digestion is predominantly Melancholic in temperament, as the stool is solidified in the descending colon through the drying action of the black bile sent to it from the spleen, and most of the remaining fluids and electrolytes are reabsorbed back into the organism. The Organs of the Digestive Tract Let's take a closer look at the organs of the digestive tract, from mouth to anus, and how they work according to the principles of Greek Medicine:
  • 104. Mouth The mouth's basic temperament and function is Phlegmatic, since it mashes and liquefies ingested food and drink, facilitating its expulsion or passage down the digestive tract. Theteeth masticate or pulverize the food so its nutrients are more accessible to the digestive enzymes. The tongue manipulates and churns the food mass until it's thoroughly mixed with phlegm and saliva. The mouth secretes phlegm and saliva. Phlegm reduces the food to a semiliquid state, providing an aqueous medium for nutrient digestion and absorption. Saliva is warm, moist and Sanguine in temperament, and begins the digestion of carbohydrates and the sweet taste, absorbing caloric energy orally and sublingually. This initial caloric absorption exerts an immediate energizing and restorative effect. Tongue The tongue is a mirror of our internal organs, especially the organs of the digestive tract. The tongue's overall condition and appearance reflects that of the digestive organs. The art of interpreting these signs is called tongue diagnosis. The tongue is also a sense organ, whose sense of taste is essentially Sanguine in character. Of all the tastes, the sweet taste is the most nourishing and Sanguine. Through its sense of taste, the tongue detects the relative concentrations of various nutrients in the food, and signals to the digestive organs which digestive juices and enzymes to secrete. The taste of french fries, for example, will tell the gall bladder to secrtete a lot of bile. Teeth and Gums Greek Medicine, as a holistic healing system, sees the health of the teeth and gums as being intimately connected to the health of the rest of the digestive tract, and to that of the organism as a whole. The teeth, as osseous tissue, reflect the overall state of the bones and the soundness of their mineral metabolism. The health of the teeth and gums, and of the whole oral cavity, is strongly influenced by the biological and metabolic terrain prevailing in the rest of the organism, particularly in the stomach. Chronic imbalances of humor and temperament in the stomach are linked to imbalances of bacterial flora in the mouth that can cause or aggravate tooth decay, gingivitis, or periodontal disease. Choleric imbalances in the stomach and systemically are linked to red, sore, inflamed bleeding gums. Hyperacidity of the salivary secretions can aggravate tooth decay. If inflammatory and abscess conditions penetrate into the alveolar bone, the teeth can get painful and loose. Phlegmatic imbalances lead to gums that are too swollen, bloated and lax, enabling food particles to penetrate under them. Melancholic imbalances can aggravate atrophied, receding gums and the formation of excessive bacterial plaque. Conventional dentistry stresses maintaining local oral cleanliness and hygiene. To this, Greek Medicine adds maintaining a sound mineral metabolism, digestion, stomach function, and an overall balance of the humors and temeraments. Throat and Esophagus The functions of the throat and esophagus are to swallow the food bolus and propel it downwards towards the stomach. The pharyngeal cavity in the back of the mouth is the vestibule that forms the common junction of the digestive and respiratory tracts, and is affected by imbalances and pathologies of both systems. The epiglottis covers the trachea or windpipe and closes it when we swallow, so that the food bolus passes down the esophagus and into the stomach. Once the food or drink passes the epiglottis, its propulsion downwards towards the stomach is done by automatic peristalsis. The cardiac orifice lies at the bottom of the esophagus at the entry to the stomach. The bottom end of the esophagus also passes through the diaphragm on its way to the stomach. Hiatal hernia is a condition in which the upper part of the stomach protrudes upwards through the diaphragm, causing frequent regurgitation of the stomach contents into the esophagus. It is commonly associated with Choleric conditions of the stomach like gastritis, hyperacidity and acid reflux, which can erode the mucous lining of the esophagus, as can bulemia, with compulsive vomiting. Melancholic conditions of the esophagus are mainly the holding of excessive nervous stress and tension in the esophagus. Powerful emotions can also produce a lump in the throat. Constitutionally, some are prone to hold excessive nervous tension in the throat and esophagus, especially those of a
  • 105. Melancholic temperament, or with aggravated melancholy. Globus hystericus is a condition in which excess phlegm, combined with excess melancholy due to nervous stress and tension, combine to produce the sensation (not real) of something stuck in the throat. Phlegmatic conditions of the esophagus are usually associated with Phlegmatic excesses in the stomach, lungs and respiratory tract. Excess phlegm can congest the throat and esophagus, causing heaviness and oppression. Cold, Phlegmatic excesses in the stomach can cause watery regurgitations into the throat and esophagus. Like the stomach, the throat and esophagus are frequently affected by psychosomatic stresses, psychological issues, and nervous tension. Chief among these are stuffing and swallowing negative emotions and problems with communication or speaking one's truth. The throat and esophagus are closely connected with the Throat Center, or chakra. Stomach The stomach lies at the center of the digestive tract, and is the first organ to initiate digestion in a big way. The main temperament of the stomach is Hot, Dry and Choleric, and its digestive function is due to hot, caustic stomach acids. These Choleric gastric juices would digest the very stomach itself if it weren't for its protective mucous coaating of the opposite yet complementary Phlegmatic humor. The thermal aspect of digestion in the stomach is called the Digestive Fire, which has a close relationship with the Metabolic Heat in the liver. This Digestive Fire is inherent in the acidic gastric secretions. The kinetic aspect of digestion in the stomach is its motility and churning of the food juices in digestion. For its kinetic function, the stomach is the main recipient of the Natural Force in the liver and its Four Administering Virtues. For proper kinetic stomach function, there must be balance and harmony between the stomach and the liver. If the Natural Force in the liver is stagnant and congested, the kinetic functioning of the stomach will often be as well. Residues of black bile from the neighboring spleen enter the stomach to stimulate and awaken the gastric secretions, and one feels hungry. The Choleric Digestive virtue of the gastric secretions "cooks" or digests the food. When the stomach has thoroughly processed the food, the pyloric valve lets it out in a controlled, regulated fashion. Black bile in the stomach, with its Retentive virtue, constricts the pyloric valve and favors retention of the gastric contents, whereas phlegm in the stomach, with its Expulsive virtue relaxes or dilates the pyloric valve, favoring their expulsion or release. Proper stomach function and the right balance between retention and expulsion depends on the right balance of black bile and phlegm. Since the stomach is the central organ of the digestive tract and the First Digestion, which happens within the Alimentary Canal, proper digestion depends on proper stomach function. If the stomach doesn't do its job right, then nothing that happens thereafter n the First Digestion will be quite right. The overall strength, vitality and vigor of the First Digestion depends on that of the stomach. To strengthen digestion, we must strengthen the stomach. If the stomach does not initiate digestion properly, poorly or incompletely digested food will tend to stagnate, ferment and putrefy in the intestines, a condition known asalimentary toxemia. Alimentary toxemia may be caused either by overwhelming the stomach with more food than it can handle, or by an inherent weakness or dyspepsia of the stomach itself. Choleric conditions of the stomach are chiefly gastritis, hyperacidity, acid reflux and gastric ulcer. These are usually seen in those of a Choleric temperament, but may also be caused by dietary abuses of a Choleric nature. Phlegmatic conditions of the stomach are chiefly dyspepsia, gastric atony, or a slow, sluggish, weak digestion, as well as stomach hypoacidity. Excess phlegm in the stomach generated by dietary abuses or a cold, weak digestion are often transferred to the lungs via the gastropulminary reflex. Watery regurgitations from the stomach can also occur. Melancholic conditions of the stomach are chiefly a sour or nervous stomach and gastric colic, gas, distension and bloating. Excesses of melancholy disrupt the stomach function and the smooth, orderly flow of the Natural Force through the stomach. This can lead to stomachaches or a wide variety of gastric reflux disorders, such as burping, belching, hiccups, and eructations or regurgitations. Sanguine conditions of the stomach are chiefly due to excessive appetite and gastric overload. These include various types of gastrointestinal fermentations and putrefactions. Reflex Relationships of the Stomach to Other Organs
  • 106. Being so central and important to the digestive process, the stomach has many important reflex relationships with other organs. These are chiefly as follows: The lungs are connected to the stomach via the gastropulmonary reflex. By means of this reflex, excess phlegm in the stomach often finds its way into the lungs. By this same gastropulmonary reflex, emesis or therapeutic vomiting can eliminate excess phlegm from the lungs and respiratory tract. If the stomach is overly full, it will impinge on the diaphragm, inhibiting full and deep breathing. The proper kinetic functioning of the stomach depends on an adequate supply of the Natural Force, which is derived from the Vital Force, and ultimately from the lungs. And so, proper breathing and sufficient fresh air are important for optimum stomach functioning and proper digestion. The liver's Metabolic Heat, which concocts the humors in the Second Digestion, is the source of the Digestive Fire in the stomach. And so, these two fires are closely connected; as one goes, so usually goes the other. Similarly, the stomach's kinetic functioning is dependent on the Natural Force from the liver. Imbalances, disharmonies or stagnation of the liver's Natural Force will often create functional disturbances of the stomach. The liver's receptacle is the gall bladder, which empties into the duodenum. Choleric or nervous, irritable, spasmodic conditions of those organs, being adjacent to the stomach, can also affect it by reflux action. The intestines are closely related to the stomach, with the latter being the cause and the former being the effect. If the stomach doesn't do its job properly, its problems and dysfunctions are passed on to the intestines in the digestive process. The colon and the stomach also have a close reflex relationship. Black bile from the spleen is important in regulating the functioning of both organs. While the stomach is the big initiator of the First Digestion, the colon finishes it; and so, in many ways, the functions of these two organs are the reverse of each other. For example, the stomach dumps many fluids and secretions into the GI tract, whereas the colon reabsorbs these fluids back into the organism. If the colon is stagnant, toxic or congested, so often is the stomach, with indigestion and acid reflux common. Duodenum The duodenum is only about a foot long, but in all the things it must do, and all the digestive secretions it must receive, at the right time, and in the right amnount, the duodenum is a crucial segment of the digestive tract. The liver and gall bladder secrete yellow bile, which is the vehicle for both absorbing and eliminating fats, into the duodenum. The pancreas must secrete its digestive enzymes and alkaline bicarbonates into the duodenum soon after the stomach's contents exit the pyloric valve; the stomach acids must be buffered and neutralized by the pancreatic juices. The taste of digestion in the stomach is sharp and sour, due to the strong acids there. When these acids are neutralized by the alkaline pancreatic secretions, salts are created, which give digestion in the duodenum a salty taste. The bile secreted by the liver and gall bladder also contain bile salts. A salty balance between acid and alkaline is a key to the healthy functioning of the duodenum. The duodenum is vulnerable to Choleric pathologies, since it receives both Choleric stomach acids as well as bile. Most typically, these are duodenal ulcers. If black bile is involved, these ulcers tend to be chronic and indolent. Because the duodenum is full of moving parts and ducts, which function in a smooth, coordinated manner with their secretions, it's quite vulnerable to nervous, colicky conditions as well. These conditions include biliary dyskinesia, and irritation, inflammation and spasm of the pancreatic and common bile ducts. Colicky, nervous or spasmodic conditions of the duodenum, which are often transferred to it via the organs and ducts that empty into it, can also affect the pyloric valve and stomach by reflux action. Small Intestine The main function of the small intestine is the absorption of nutrients from the first digestion by the villi. These are sent via the veins of the hepatic portal system to the liver for processing into the Four Humors. By this time, the food juices have been thoroughly mashed, liquefied and digested into a rich, creamy nutrient soup called chyle. Pepsis, or digestion, continues in the small intestine, alongside the absorption of nutrients, but it isn't as Choleric as it was in the stomach. Because the food juices have been buffered by the alkaline pancreatic juices, the heat of pepsis in the small intestine is milder and more Sanguine in temperament. Sanguine processes of exchange and contact also govern nutrient absorption.
  • 107. From the villi of the small intestine, nutrients from chyle are absorbed and sent to the liver via the veins of the hepatic portal system. If the veinous blood circulation in the hepatic portal system is stagnant or congested, a condition called portal hypertension, the assimilation of nutrients will be compromised, and intestinal function will be slow and sluggish. If the liver is stagnant or congested with excesses of blood or any other humor, the portal circulation will suffer backup or reflux congestion. Sometimes the portal circulation itself can be stagnant, congested or obstructed. In these cases, excess black bile, which can unduly thicken the blood, is often the culprit. Obstructions of black bile can severely compromise the hepatic portal circulation and impair the overall nutrition of the organism. The Colon, or Large Intestine In the colon, the remaining fluids and electrolytes are reabsorbed into the organism by the Retentive Virtue, astringent taste and drying action of black bile. Black bile's drying action also thickens and solidifies the stool, which enables the colon to hold onto it until the time is right for excretion or defecation. Actually, three different humors, working together in the right harmony and balance, are all essential for normal, healthy defecation and colon function. If any of them is deficient, excessive or otherwise aggravated, colon function will suffer. Black bile thickens and solidifies the stool, reabsorbs fluids, moisture and electrolytes, and maintains adequate intestinal constriction or tone. If black bile is excessive or aggravated, the stools will be too hard and dry, and difficult to eliminate; there is also likely to be constipation. Aggravations of black bile can also cause gas, bloating, colic and flatulence. Phlegm and its moisture keeps the stools soft enough to enable them to be expelled through defecation. The colon also has a mucous coat that protects and lubricates it, and facilitates the passage and excretion of the stool. Healthy colon function depends on a proper balance between black bile's dryness and phlegm's wetness. If phlegm is excessive or aggravated, the stools can be excessively soft, loose or watery; copious phlegm may also be present in the stools, or they will be soft, mucilaginous and mucoid. Bowel tone can also be excessively bloated, loose or lax. Supporting the normal Phlegmatic secretions and lubrication of the colon is its share of the Radical Moisture; in older people, whose Radical Moisture is depleted, the colon gets dry, and intestinal lubricants and stool softeners are often needed. Yellow bile colors the stools brown and acts as a natural laxative, stimulating peristalsis and the defecation reflex. Yellow bile steps into the balance between black bile and phlegm and tips the scales in favor of excretion, or defecation. If yellow bile is excessive or aggravated in the colon, the stools will tend to be soft and loose; they will also tend to be smelly, and may be hot or burning upon defecation. Intestinal transit time tends to be short, as peristalsis is hyperstimulated by the excessive yellow bile. The colon and its bacterial flora form the backbone of what is called intestinal immunity. Feces are the solid waste product of the Earth element, and growing beneficial intestinal flora, or bacteria, in them is like cultivating a beautiful, sweet-smelling garden, with the harmful, putrefactive bacteria being like stinking, unsightly weeds. By preparing or ripening the stool for elimination, beneficial intestinal flora help maintain colon hygiene and regularity. Constitutionally speaking, those of a Melancholic temperament generally have the most problems with cultivating beneficial intestinal flora and maintaining intestinal immunity. Otherwise, dietary abuses such as poor or irregular eating habits, poor food selection or combining, insufficient dietary fiber, or overeating and the intestinal congestion, fermentation and putrefaction it causes are usually to blame. Reflex Relationships of the Colon to Other Organs In the body, the colon functions somewhat like the roots of a tree and the ground it is planted in. If this terrain is morbid or toxic, toxins will be absorbed through these roots to poison the whole organism. And so, Greek Medicine emphasizes the importance of colon health and hygiene, and recommends periodic cleansing of the colon with enemas and colonics. The colon is a nervous reflex organ, with reflex relationships to virtually every organ in the body. But since the whole digestive tract is interconnected, and the colon is its end, base or foundation, its closest reflex relationships are with the other digestive organs. If the colon's normal downward flow of peristalsis and defecation isn't functioning properly, and it is congested or constipated, there will be backup, stagnation, or reflux signs and symptoms throughout the digestive tract. These can include esophagitis, acid reflux, sour stomach, abdominal distension and bloating,
  • 108. and much more. If the colon is morbid and toxic, there can also be toxicity and congestion in the throat, and frequent or recurring sore throats. If the colon is stagnant or constipated, the lung and respiratory function is also often weak, and full inhalation compromised or inhibited. Anus and Rectum The anus and rectum constitute the bottom end of the colon, and of the entire digestive tract. Here, at the bottom end of the descending colon, the fecal matter is hardest, densest, and most subject to congestion and impaction. Here also is the greatest risk for polyps, tumors, and abnormal growths. Here, at the anus, is the Spinal Energy Center that the ancient Greeks called the Hieron osteon, or the sacrum, or sacred bone. It is also known as the Root chakra. It is the seat of the Earth element and its humor, black bile. Chronic excesses and aggravations of black bile in the colon can lead to arthritic disorders in the pelvic and lumbar area. The most common anal/rectal disorder is hemorrhoids, followed by anal prolapse. Anal prolapse, as well as hemorrhoids, can be caused by chronic constipation and too much straining at the stool. The hemorrhoidal veins that swell and itch in hemorrhoids are part of the hepatic portal system. And so, conditions like portal hypertension and a congested liver are usually the root cause of hemorrhoids, and dealing with these underlying conditions is necessary if any lasting relief or improvement is to be made. NATURAL FACULTY: AUXILIARY ORGANS OF DIGESTION Noble Organs of Digestion and Metabolism In modern medicine, the digestive organs that don't form part of the digestive tract are called auxiliary organs of digestion. Their chief role in the digestive process is seen to be the secretion of bile and other digestive juices into the GI tract. In Greek Medicine, the digestive tract isn't seen to be the center of the digestive system. Rather, the GI tract is seen to be a long chain of afferent attendant vessels whose sole collective function is to provide the liver with the raw nutrients it needs to generate the Four Humors in the Second Digestion, which is the heart of digestion and metabolism in the human organism. And so, far from being mere auxiliary organs, the liver, the principal organ of the Natural Faculty, and its various associated organs that store and process the humors in various ways, are all considered to be noble organs in Greek Medicine. These organs, and their basic roles and functions, are as follows: Liver: Principal organ of the Natural Faculty; generates the Four Humors in the Second Digestion. Gall Bladder: The liver's assistant; storage receptacle for yellow bile. Spleen: Storage receptacle for black bile; filters and purifies the blood and lymph; regulates and supports digestion, metabolism and immunity. Pancreas: Closely associated with the spleen as an important supporter and regulator of digestion and metabolism. Liver As the principal organ of the Natural Faculty, the liver generates the Four Humors, which are the main agents of nutrition and metabolism in the organism. Since the liver's generation of the Four Humors in the Second Digestion is so important and central, all other organs of the Natural Faculty ultimately exist to support and serve the liver. Since the most important and bounteous humor that the liver produces is blood, it is predominantly Hot, Wet and Sanguine in temperament. Like the spleen, the liver can also function as a storage vessel for surplus blood. In the healthy liver, blood predominates, but in disorders and imbalances of the liver, other humors, like phlegm or black or yellow bile, can get excessive, or aggravated. Since the liver generates the humors, it is profoundly affected by excesses, deficiencies, or other aggravations of any of the Four Humors. The liver lies in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen underneath the lower ribs, on the right side. Swelling or congestion of the liver, from any humoral excess, will cause fullness and distension underneath the lower ribs, particularly on the right side. In extreme cases, an enlarged liver will actually protrude as a painful and tender mass from underneath the ribs into the abdominal cavity. As an auxiliary organ of digestion, the liver's main digestive secretion is bile,
  • 109. or yellowbile. Besides being a vehicle for the absorption and elimination of fats and cholesterol, bile stimulates intestinal peristalsis and the defecation reflex, and colors the stools brown. If the stools are unduly light or pale in color, the bile flow from the liver and gall bladder is obstructed or insufficient. The liver's bile flow is also one of the main vehicles for the general detoxification of the organism. Bile eliminates heavier, or fat soluble wastes from the body. Unfortunately, modern dietary abuses, like excessive meat consumption and oily, greasy, fried foods, aggravate, obstruct or congest the bile, causing jaundice, biliousness, and fatty degenerative changes in the liver. Toxic or rancid fats produce morbid, charred, or oxidated forms of yellow and black bile. The liver is a Hot organ, second only to the heart in heat. It generates the Metabolic Heat, which it derives from the Innate Heat of the Vital Faculty, which it uses to concoct the Four Humors. And so, the liver is very prone to excesses of heat and choler, which can vary in acuteness and severity according to the constitution of the individual and the nature of the disorder. The symptoms involved can include headache, migraines, dizziness, vertigo, anger, irritability, red sore eyes, giddiness and nausea. If bile congests the liver and backs up into the blood, a condition called jaundicedevelops. The key symptoms are an abnormal yellowing of the eyes and complexion, pain fullness and distension under the ribs, poor appetite, indigestion and malaise. Greek Medicine distinguishes two types of jaundice. Yellow jaundice is caused by a congestion of yellow bile; the complexion is a bright yellow, and the symptoms tend to be hotter and more vehement. Black jaundice is caused by a congestion of black bile; the complexion is a dark or dull yellow, and the symptoms tend to be more passive and indolent. A torpid liver is one that's swollen and congested with excess phlegm or dampness. Liver metabolism and the generation and flow of the humors through the liver becomes slow and sluggish. Congestion of the liver produces backup or reflux congestion in the hepatic portal system, and in the bowels and gastrointestinal tract. The liver can also be torpid and congested with excess blood. In the initial stages, this may resemble the general sluggishness of phlegm congestion, but as the blood congestion gets more severe, it will develop into full-blown blood stasis, with additional signs and symptoms, like a sharp pain under the ribs, spider angiomas in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen, and a purple or violet speckled tongue body. Melancholic conditions of the liver, or aggravations of black bile, involve black jaundice, neurovegetative dystonia, anorexia, indigestion and portal hypertension. Aggravated melancholy gets under the ribs, producing distension in the hypochondriac area. A nervous, colicky stomach and digestion is also part of the clinical picture, since the liver generates the Natural Force and sends a large portion of it to the stomach; its smooth, orderly flow can be disrupted by excesses and aggravations of black bile. Aggravations of black bile in the liver and hepatic portal system can also compromise the generation of the humors and the overall metabolism and nutrition of the organism. Reflex Relationships of the Liver to Other Organs Because the liver is such an important organ, it naturally has many close reflex relationships with other organs. Being the principal organ of the Natural Faculty, the closest and most important relationships it has are with the other organs of digestion and metabolism. All the organs of the digestive tract, or Alimentary Canal, are afferent attendant vessels and subsidiary organs to the liver. Their main function is to produce chyle, whose nutrients are extracted and sent to the liver for processing into the Four Humors. For details on these relationships, see the preceding page. The veins of the hepatic portal system carry these nutrients to the liver for humor generation. The veinous blood of the Inferior Vena Cava picks up the humor-enriched blood and sends it to the heart, where all the humors are activated, vitalized and made more bioavailable to the organs and tissues. So many veins are so important to the liver that Greek Medicine says that the veins serve the liver and the Natural Faculty. The liver and the heart are both important sources of body heat in the organism: the heart generates the Innate Heat of cellular metabolism, whereas the liver generates the Metabolic Heat of digestive metabolism. The liver nourishes the blood and its humors, whereas the heart circulates them. The heart rules the arteries, and the liver rules the veins. The liver sits right under the diaphragm, the main muscle of respiration, on the right side. And so, the liver can affect the lungs; if the liver is toxic or congested, it will impinge on the diaphragm and inhibit the fulness of breathing.
  • 110. The gall bladder is an efferent attendant vessel and the receptacle for excess yellow bile, to be used as needed in the digestive process. Similarly, the spleen is the receptacle for excess black bile, to be used as needed. Without the gall bladder and the spleen to act as receptacles for these effete humors, they would flood and poison the organism. The spleen also helps the liver in its detoxification function and, like the liver, also stores excess blood. As unusable byproducts of humor generation in the digestive process, the liver sorts out the urinary humors and sends them to the kidneys to be eliminated via the urine. In modern medicine, the liver produces urea, a byproduct of protein metabolism, which is sent to the kidneys to be eliminated via the urine. The liver, as a storage receptacle for excess blood, has a special relationship with theuterus and female reproductive system, which excretes blood every month in the menstrual cycle. The liver, which generates the blood and all its humors, profoundly affects the female reproductive system and menstrual cycle, which also act as vehicles for eliminating superfluous, excessive or morbid humors. To be healthy, every part of the body needs to be adequately fed and nourished. Since the liver is the central "kitchen" that feeds the whole organism, there's no part of the body that isn't affected by the liver. Spleen The spleen opposes the liver on the left side, just lateral to the stomach, underneath the lower ribs. Although the liver is quite Hot and Wet, the spleen is cooler and dryer, being only moderately warm and moist. In addition to hotter vascular tissue, the spleen contains a lot of lymphatic tissue, which makes its temperament cooler. In traditional Greek Medicine, the spleen is mainly a storage receptacle for black bile, to be used as needed. Strategically located just lateral to the stomach and superior to the descending colon and splenic flexure, the spleen is important in the functioning of both organs: Subtle vapors of black bile from the spleen pass through the stomach walls and stimulate the gastric secretions, awakening the appetite. Similarly, black bile from the spleen solidifies the stool in the descending colon through its cooling, drying astringent action. The spleen is also an important filter and purifier of the two most important humors in the overall nutrition and metabolism of the organism: blood and lymph. The spleen does this through a process of digestion (Natural Faculty) and through the chelating action of black bile. And so, morbid microbes and particulate debris (Earth element) are removed from the Sanguine and Phlegmatic humors. With these two important humors purified, digestion, metabolism and the assimilation of nutrients is a lot better and more efficient. By purifying the blood and lymph, the spleen also aids immunity and the vital functions. Like the liver, the spleen is also a storage vessel for surplus blood. It's also a recycler for the Sanguine humor, breaking down old, worn out red blood cells. In a Melancholic vein, the spleen also recycles old blood platelets, which are responsible for blood clotting, which pertains to the function of black bile. Some authorities on Greek Medicine say that black bile, the last humor to arise, isn't generated in the liver, but rather in the spleen. Since normal black bile is considered to be a sediment of blood, or the Sanguine humor, its generation could fit right in with the spleen's function of decomposing and recycling old red blood cells and platelets. Because the spleen's normal or inherent temperament isn't as hot as that of the liver, it isn't as prone to disorders of excess heat and choler. The spleen's cooler temperament, plus its function of filtering and purifying the moist, flourishing Phlegmatic and Sanguine humors, makes it more prone to accumulations of excess dampness and moisture. Because the spleen is the storage receptacle for black bile, it is particularly vulnerable to excesses and aggravations of that humor. This can cause poor appetite, anorexia, malaise, black jaundice, a colicky, spasmodic digestive tract, giddiness, nausea and vomiting (also from heat and choler in the spleen), and even intestinal blockage if the black bile aggravation is severe or acute enough. The Retentive Virtue of the black bile stored in the spleen works to hold things in, to make sure that things stay in their proper places. A weakness of the spleen and its black bile can manifest as easy or excessive bleeding, bruising or hemorrhaging; excessive menstruation, threatened miscarriage or difficulty holding a pregnancy to full term; or prolapse of the anus, rectum, stomach, uterus or other organs. Gall Bladder
  • 111. The gall bladder is the liver's attendant vessel, in that it is the storage receptacle for yellow bile, which is produced by the liver. The gall bladder stores the bile to be used as needed. If an apple is eaten, not much bile is needed, but if some greasy fried food is eaten, a lot of bile will be needed all at once; and so, the gall bladder dumps it into the digestive tract. A lot of surgery-prone doctors make the case that the gall bladder is a vestigial organ, and not very necessary or important. Actually, nothing could be further from the truth. Without a gall bladder, one cannot have normal, optimal digestion and metabolism of fats. The liver produces bile slowly, gradually and constantly, and then excretes it down the common bile duct to the gall bladder, which takes in the yellow bile via its Attractive Virtue. The gall bladder is fed on fats and bile, and its nature is very bilious. A natural, balanced, high quality fat intake will produce healthy bile and a healthy gall bladder. Conversely, toxic or rancid fats, or excessive cholesterol and animal fats, will produce toxic, morbid, charred forms of yellow and black bile that will damage and sicken the gall bladder. Excessive heat in the bile will lead to ulcerous and inflammatory conditions of the gall bladder; bile that's too hot can also get too dry, leading to gall stones. Morbid admixtures of toxic black bile in the bile can also harden it into gall stones, or lead to nervous, colicky, spasmodic conditions of the gall bladder. Unfortunately, the gall bladder is the organ that suffers most from the bilious abuses of the modern fast food diet. A chronically abused gall bladder can be like a ticking time bomb that could erupt into a surgical crisis quite suddenly. This is a common argument, albeit a negative one, for surgical removal of the gall bladder as a form of "preventive mdicine". The gall bladder and the common bile duct empty into the duodenum. If the gall bladder is congested, colicky or spasmodic, these conditions are easily transferred to the duodenum, stomach or small intestine. Nervous, colicky or spasmodic conditions of the gall bladder can affect the entire digestive tract by reflex and/or reflux action. Pancreas In Greek Medicine and other traditional medical systems, the pancreas and its functions get lumped together with those of the spleen. Anatomically, these two adjacent organs look quite similar, and both cradle the stomach, a major digestive organ. Because they cradle the stomach, traditional medical theorists reasoned that they are important regulators of digestion, assimilation and metabolism. Nevertheless, it is possible to look at what modern medicine has discovered about the pancreas and its functions from the holistic perspective of Greek Medicine. Here, we find that the pancreas is an important balancer and regulator of many aspects of digestion and metabolism.This central role in the digestive and metabolic process makes the pancreas the endocrine gland associated with the Gastric Center, or chakra, seat of the Appetitive Soul, whose concern is feeding the body. The pancreas has both exocrine secretions that balance and regulate digestion, as well as endocrine secretions that balance and regulate metabolism. These are the two complementary sides of the Natural Faculty and its functioning. Besides containing several important digestive enzymes, the exocrine digestive secretions of the pancreas balance the pH of the lower digestive tract, buffering the stomach acids to create a mild, Sanguine environment that makes nutrient assimilation possible. The endocrine secretions of the pancreas, insulin and glucagon, balance and regulate the metabolism of carbohydrates, the main food and energy currency of the organism. This supply and demand for, craving and need of, power and energy, is the core psychosomatic function of the pancreas' Gastric Center, or chakra. This energy supply and demand function of the pancreas involves not just the digestive metabolism of the Natural Faculty, but also the cellular metabolism of the Vital Faculty. The pancreas shares pretty much the same natue, temperament and predispositions as does the spleen; their basic functions also have quite a bit in common. And so, conditions that affect the spleen also often affect the pancreas as well. In balancing and regulating the digestion and metabolism of the whole organism, from a holistic perspective, the spleen and pancreas are twin organs that are generally treated together. NATURAL FACULTY: KIDNEYS AND URINARY TRACT Regulating Fluid Balance, Eliminating Liquid Waste The urinary tract consists of the kidneys and all the subsidiary organs and attendant vessels that serve them, including the ureters, bladder and urethra. Providing energetic support for the kidneys
  • 112. are the adrenal glands, a secondary noble organ of the urinary system. The kidneys and urinary tract belong to the Natural Faculty, since they regulate fluid metabolism and produce liquid waste. But the kidneys and adrenals also interface with the Vital Faculty and its energetic and circulatory functions. And so, the kidneys and adrenals sit right underneath the posterior end of the diaphragm, which divides the sphere of the Vital Faculty in the thoracic cavity from that of the Natural Faculty in the abdomen. The kidneys and adrenals are located in the small of the back, and control the lumbar spine. The main metabolic function of the kidneys is to produce the urine, and to regulate fluid and electrolyte balance. The various attendant vessels channel, store and excrete the urine. As a waste product, urine is an important indicator of the overall metabolic balance of the organism, and the various imbalances and disorders that can occur therein. Uroscopy,or the traditional art of urine analysis, is an important diagnostic technique in Greek Medicine. Kidneys The kidneys are the principal organs of the urinary tract. They are essential to life, and are therefore one of the most vital and important organs of the body. The primary functions of the kidneys are metabolic: to regulate body fluid metabolism and electrolyte balance, and to produce urine, the main liquid waste of the body. And so, the kidneys belong to the Natural Faculty. In producing urine, or liquid waste, the kidneys are assisted by the liver, the principal organ of the Natural Faculty. The liver sorts out the urinary humors as waste products of digestion and sends them to the kidneys for excretion. In modern medicine, the liver produces urea, which it sends to the kidneys for excretion as uric acid in the urine. Uric acid, which colors the urine yellow, is Choleric or bilious in nature, and is originally a product of the liver. The yellowness of the urine is a good indicator of the Innate Heat of the kidneys' urine metabolism. The darker the shade of yellow, the greater is this metabolic heat, and the more wastes are being ripened and eliminated in the urine. Conversely, paleness or transparency of the urine is a sign of coldness. In the kidneys, the metabolic balance between the Cardinal Fire and Water elements plays out in urine production and body fluid regulation. Fire circulates, assimilates and metabolizes Water; Water cools down the organism and contains Fire, holding it in check. Fire and Water drive body fluid metabolism. By what the kidneys pass off in the urine, we can tell a lot about what has been left behind in the organism. The kidneys also pass off humoral excesses and superfluities in the urine. For example, if the kidneys pass copious amounts of urine, we know that there must be a deficiency of remaining fluids, or a Dry condition prevailing in the organism. Conversely, with oliguria, excessive fluids are retained, and a Wet condition prevails in the body. In both the above conditions, the urine is usually watery and pale, indicating a Cold condition of deficient metabolic heat, or Fire. With oliguria, it is excessive Water drowning out Fire; with polyuria, it is a weak Fire unable to assimilate and metabolize Water. The former condition is Phlegmatic, whereas the latter is Melancholic. The metabolic heat of the kidneys concocts the urine until it's ready for excretion. Whatever humors or substances are being eliminated via the urine, their clarity is a sign that they've been properly concocted or ripened. Cloudy urine indicates that the metabolic residues of some humor, often Cold, Wet and Phlegmatic in nature, hasn't been properly ripened by the kidneys' metabolic heat. The kidneys are much more than a simple eliminative organ; actually they sift and balance out fluids, electrolytes and wastes in a process of initial elimination and selective reabsorption. The metabolic heat, or Fire principle working within the kidneys gives them the biological intelligence necessary to know which substances to eliminate and which to retain or reabsorb. Like any other metabolic organ, the kidneys have the Four Administering Virtues working within them: The Attractive Virtue draws wastes and superfluous humors from throughout the organism into the kidneys for elimination. The Digestive Virtue, working with the metabolic heat of the kidneys, sifts out the wastes and superfluities, preparing the urine for excretion. The Retentive Virtue enables the kidneys and the urinary bladder to hold on to the urine until the time is right for excretion. Working with the metabolic heat of the kidneys, the Retentive Virtue also reabsorbs what needs to be retained.
  • 113. The Expulsive Virtue enables the kidneys and urinary tract to eliminate the urine when the time is right. Most kidney and urinary tract disorders involve functional disturbances in one or more of these Four Administering Virtues. The kidneys are also closely connected with the heart and Vital Faculty, and have a strong vital function. After leaving the heart via the abdominal aorta, one of the first places fresh arterial blood goes is to the kidneys to be filtered and purified. The vital function of the kidneys involves their role in regulating arterial blood pressure and vascular dynamics. The heart influences arterial blood pressure through the force and volume of its contractions. The kidneys regulate blood pressure by controlling the total fluid volume in the circulatory system. And so, the kidneys are the target of several hormonal feedback mechanisms aimed at regulating blood fluid volume and vascular dynamics. The kidneys and heart form a mutual feedback loop. Adequate vigor and vitality in the heart's contractions is necessary to send enough blood to the kidneys for filtration and urine production. If the kidneys aren't doing their job properly, and are excreting too much urine, or too little, the heart's job is made harder. Adrenal Glands Energetically supporting the kidneys and their vital function are the adrenal glands,which sit right on top of each kidney. In addition to stimulating the vital function of the kidneys, the adrenal glands also stimulate the heart. Through the adrenal glands, the vital connection between the heart and kidneys and the whole energetic system of the body is strengthened. The adrenal glands also play a key role in the vital energetic response of the organism to stress, physical activity and exertion, and in the immune response. Undue stress, fatigue, or immunological challenges to the organism will exhaust the adrenal glands, and also the vital functioning of the kidneys and the entire urinary tract. In coping with the vital energetic needs of the organism and the demands of stress, the adrenal glands have two parts: The medulla, whose function is vital and energetic; The cortex, whose function is nutritive. The adrenal medulla secretes adrenaline, which mediates the active, energetic, short term "fight, fright, flight" response to stress. The heartbeat and pulse rate quicken, and blood is diverted to the limbs and periphery. The sympathetic nervous system, which mobilizes the body for action, is stimulated at the expense of the parasympathetic nervous system and the vegetative functions. The adrenal cortex secretes adrenocortical hormones, which enrich the blood with additional minerals and carbohydrates to help the organism meet the nutritive demands of long term stress. They also exert a restorative and antiinflammatory effect, and favor the retention of valuable minerals and electrolytes by the kidneys. In their general action, nature and temperament, the medulla is Choleric and thecortex is Sanguine. To have healthy adrenal glands, these two halves must be balanced. The inherent strength and resiliency of the adrenals underlies the strength and resiliency of the urinary function and the whole organism, as well as supporting a healthy and robust male sexual function. When the body gets chronically or extremely fatigued and exhausted, the kidneys and adrenal glands get extremely devitalized. The chief signs and symptoms are: pain and weakness in the lower back, loins, thighs, knees and lower body; urinary weakness and debility; polyuria and nocturia; and impotence and male sexual dysfunction. Relationships of the Kidneys and Adrenals to Other Organs The kidneys and adrenals are the principal organs of the urinary tract. All the vital principles - the Vital Force, Innate Heat, Thymos and Radical Moisture - are first received by the kidneys and adrenals and then distributed to their attendant vessels, principally theurinary bladder. Immunity is also conferred from the kidneys and adrenals outwards, whereas infectious challenges to the urinary tract usually proceed from the more peripheral and superficial attendant vessels inwards. In men, the kidneys, adrenals and urinary tract have a very close relationship, both functionally and anatomically, with the male reproductive system. For this reason, they are often referred to together as the male genitourinary tract. The male sexual function is only as strong, robust and resilient as the kidneys and adrenal glands. By stimulating the sympathetic nervous system, the adrenal glands and their adrenaline
  • 114. promote mental clarity and alertness. The brain fatigues more easily when the adrenal glands are exhausted. Of the sense organs, the adrenals have a strong relationship with the eyes, or Visual Faculty. Strong adrenals support visual clarity and healthy eye function, and visual fatigue, blurriness and eyestrain set in when the kidneys and adrenals get tired. Degenerative changes like cataracts have been linked to those of the kidneys and adrenals, particularly a decline in their Radical Moisture. The adrenals secrete adrenaline, which stimulates the heart beat and circulation through the Sympathetic nervous system. By exhausting the adrenals, chronic stress is also a big contributor to heart disease. Sitting right below the diaphragm, or breathing muscle, the kidneys and adrenals have a close relationship with the lungs and respiratory function. If the kidneys and adrenals are strong, respiration will be deep and profound. If the kidneys and adrenals are weak or exhausted, respiration will be shallow and feeble; in addition, there may often be a weak, chronic consumptive cough or asthmatic condition, which is often congenital. By regulating body fluids through excretion, the kidneys have a close relationship with the lungs and skin, which also release moisture. If the kidneys aren't eliminating sufficient fluids, superfluous phlegm and moisture can back up into the lungs, causing coughing and congestion. Hypofunctioning kidneys can also cause the skin to sweat too easily and profusely, in an effort to eliminate the fluids and toxins that the kidneys aren't excreting. The kidneys and adrenals govern the low back, hips, thighs and loins, and knees. Pain or weakness in these areas is often associated with exhausted or devitalized kidneys and adrenals. In addition, the kidneys have a close relationship with the soles of the feet. If the feet get cold or wet, those with weak kidneys will urinate a lot. Those with weak kidneys and adrenals often suffer from cold hands and feet. Conditions of the Kidneys and Urinary Tract Urinary disorders can be broadly differentiated according to the principles of humor and temperament, with the nature of the disorder providing the key as to how to treat it. Urinary disorders of a common temperament or type will have a common character to their signs and symptoms, and recurring themes. The basic urinary signs associated with the Four Basic Qualities are as follows: Hot: Generally, the hotter the condition, the darker the urine color will be. Hot urine can also be burning. Cold: Generally, the colder the condition, the paler the urine color will be. Dry: Generally, a dry temperament shows up as thin urine. If dryness and dehydration are severe, the urine volume will also be reduced, as the body is trying to conserve fluids. Wet: Generally, a wet temperament shows up as thick urine. If the wetness is so severe that the body is overflowing with excess Water, there will tend to be copious or frequent urination, as in diabetes. Otherwise, edema and water retention are associated with oliguria, or deficient urination. Although numerous variations and complexities of urinary conditions and their signs and symptoms exist, the basic urinary signs of the Four Temperaments are as follows: Sanguine: bright yellow (warm) and thick (moist) Choleric: dark yellow (hot) and thin (dry) Melancholic: pale or clear (cold) and thin (dry) Phlegmatic: pale or clear (cold) and thick (wet) Cloudy or turbid urine can indicate insufficient metabolic heat to properly ripen the urinary wastes. Choleric conditions of the kidneys and urinary tract generally involve acute or severe infection, irritation, inflammation or cyst formation. The more serious Choleric conditions involve the kidneys themselves. The signs and symptoms of a Choleric urinary tract infection will often be acute or vehement. Choleric urinary conditions can also involve hot, bilious pathologies of the liver, which will turn the urine a deep, dark yellow or brownish color. The kidneys must assume the added toxic burden of a bilious liver. Choleric urinary tract infections can also be chronic or recurring, involving aesthenic deficiency heat and dryness. The Radical Moisture and the nutritive integrity of the bladder and its delicate mucosa are consumed, creating chronic irritation and inflammation. This condition can often be quite latent and asymptomatic until triggered or aggravated by certain diuretics or genitourinary tonics,
  • 115. usually of a heating or stimulating nature; such medicines are contraindicated in these conditions. Basic urinary signs: Dark yellow urine, which may have a reddish or brownish tint. The urine texture will be thin. The urine can feel hot or burning if the heat is severe. If dryness is severe, the urine volume will be reduced. Sanguine conditions usually involve urinary putrefaction and the accumulation of excess heat and moisture in the bladder - the basic urinary tract infection. They can also involve the urinary manifestations or complications of metabolic excesses affecting the blood, which is, of course, a much more serious condition. Diabetes melitus is a condition in which excess sugar and the Sanguine sweet taste builds up in the blood and spills over into the urine. In addition to all the other complications of diabetes, there will be frequent copious urination and great thirst. The sweet taste is Wet in temperament, and all this excess moisture spills over into the urine. Uric acid diathesis is a predisposition to build up too much uric acid in the blood, and usually affects those of a Sanguine temperament. Associated with uremia and gout, it also has urinary signs and symptoms: urinary weakness or debility, chronic irritation and inflammation of the urinary passages, and a chronic itching or pruritis in the groin area. Uric acid is a breakdown product of protein metabolism, and these conditions are associated with the overconsumption of protein-rich foods. Basic Sanguine urinary signs: Bright yellow urine with thick texture and viscosity. With urinary debility, there may be frequent, copious or dribbling urination. Phlegmatic conditions of the kidneys and urinary tract are those of coldness and a deficient metabolic heat, and the resulting buildup of excess moisture. The urine will be pale or clear, indicating an insufficient heat and ripening of uric acid and other metabolic wastes for excretion. The urine will be thick. The usual pattern in Phlegmatics is oliguria, or insufficient urination, allowing excess fluids and lymph to build up and stagnate in the organism. But other conditions, likediabetes insipidus, in which copious amounts of clear, watery, tasteless urine are passed, are due to a deficient metabolic heat of the kidneys unable to reabsorb and remetabolize fluids back into the organism. Associated with a low output of antidiuretic hormone (ADH) by the pituitary, diabetes insipidus, especially with thin urine, is Melancholic. The moisture of the Phlegmatic temperament and the Expulsive Virtue of its humor tend to make the bladder muscles and urinary sphincters too relaxed. This can result in frequent urination, urinary dribbling, or poor bladder control. Water sinks, and the accumulation of excess Phlegmatic fluids in the pelvis, groin and urinary tract can often cause moist, clammy skin and weeping, eczematous skin conditions in these areas. The heaviness of excess phlegm and dampness can often cause a bearing down sensation in the groin and urinary tract, and weeping urination. White, cloudy urine often indicates a Phlegmatic condition of the urinary tract. It indicates that the metabolic heat of the kidneys is insufficient to properly ripen humoral residues, especially phlegm. Melancholic conditions of the kidneys and urinary tract are many and diverse in their causes and clinical manifestations, and can be quite chronic and difficult to treat. They can be grouped into several different categories, as follows: Chronic aesthenic or devitalized conditions of the kidneys, adrenals and urinary tract, usually associated with chronic prostration and fatigue. Undue stress, fatigue or overwork will aggravate them or bring them on, whereas rest and regeneration will relieve or ameliorate them. Nervous, colicky, spasmodic or allergic conditions of the urinary tract involving imbalances, reversals or obstructions in the normal flow of functional energy through these organs. These often have a strong psychosomatic component, and are aggravated by undue stress, worry, anxiety or inhibitions; in the male, these can often have a strong sexual component, affecting the genitourinary tract as a whole. Ignoring or repressing the natural urge to urinate can also aggravate these conditions. Conditions involving obstruction, blockage, stenosis (narrowing) or lithiasis (stones) affecting the urinary tract, as well as sand and gravel in the urine. In men, an enlarged prostate is a Sanguine condition of excessive growth that produces a Melancholic condition of stenosis or constriction of the bladder and urinary passages. To relieve the frequent urination and the nervous, colicky urinary symptoms that accompany this condition, the prostate must be shrunk, preferrably by natural means.
  • 116. Arthritic or rheumatic conditions of the low back, pelvis, hips and knees, associated with chronic aesthenia and devitalization of the kidneys and urinary tract. Polyuria, nocturia or copious urination, letting go of too many fluids, resulting in a Dry condition in the organism. A low metabolic heat of the kidneys unable to reabsorb and metabolize the needed fluids, plus a general devitalization of the kidneys and bladder and insufficient Vital Force to properly retain the fluids. The basic urinary signs of a Melancholic condition are pale, clear urine, indicating coldness and a low metabolic heat of the kidneys. In addition, the urine is often thin, indicating dryness. Melancholic urinary conditions involving aesthenia, fatigue or devitalization of the kidneys and urinary tract often represent the final stage in a three step progression of pathology: Sanguine: A simple urinary tract infection - putrefaction from excess heat, dampness and stagnation. Choleric: Acute flareups or chronic heat starts to consume the Radical Moisture and compromise the nutritive integrity of the bladder and urinary mucosa, causing dryness and inflammatory changes. Melancholic: Chronic urinary heat and irritation, and the resulting aesthenia of the urinary organs creates nervous, irritable, colicky, spasmodic, or allergic complications and poor urinary immunity. Conclusion: The Waters of Life The kidneys and urinary tract are the seat of the Water element in the human body. For proper urinary health, we must keep these Waters of Life flowing smoothly. PSYCHIC FACULTY: THE BRAIN AND NERVOUS SYSTEM The nervous system and its nerves have long been a mystery. Being similar in appearance to veins or sinews, nerves were often confused with these structures. But it soon became apparent that nerves carried consciousness (sensory) and volition (motor). In Homer's time, consciousness was thought to reside in the heart, but by Hippocrates' day, the brain, or encephalon was recognized as being its seat. Galen established that the root and origin of the nerves was in the brain. From the brain, the spinal cord extends downwards into the body as the nervous system's central trunk, or nexus, from whence branch out the spinal nerves, like an inverted tree, to innervate every part of the body. By severing various spinal nerves in apes and other test animals, Galen mapped out thedermatomes, or regions of the body innervated by each spinal nerve. Avicenna describes the various nerves of the body at length in his Canon of Medicine. In his day, only seven cranial nerves had been discovered. The nerves were seen to be of a single, homogeneous tissue type, essentially made up of the same stuff as bone marrow and resembling it in general texture and appearance. Like the marrow, they were also seen to originate inside the bones - the cranium and spinal vertebrae. Being cold, dry and Melancholic in temperament, it was recognized that the nervous tissue, like the bones, grew and regenerated very slowly, if at all. Being Melancholic in temperament like the bones, the nerves are also vulnerable to Melancholic or nervous pathologies: nervous, aesthenic or spasmodic afflictions, and neuromuscular disorders. The nerves were seen to carry the Psychic Force, also called the Animal Spirits, or simply Spiritus - an energy so ethereal and refined as to be the very essence of consciousness itself. To conduct Spiritus with such lightning-like speed, the nerves were long thought to be hollow, like the arteries or veins. It was a long time before scientific research finally dispelled the notion. The functioning of the nervous system and the flow of its Spiritus was magical and mysterious. Likewise, the various abberations of consciousness and dysfunctions of the nervous system were equally mysterious and difficult problems to solve. Quite early on, powerful medicines, usually of botanical origin, were discovered which had a profound effect on the Psychic Faculty and nervous system. Tincture of Belladonna,applied topically, could dilate the pupils of the eyes. Mistletoe was a powerful antispasmodic and anticonvulsant that could treat and prevent epileptic seizures. Henbanehad powerful antispasmodic effects on the muscles and bowels. The powerful effects of these medicines couldn't be explained by the usual laws of taste and temperament alone, as they seemed to have a magical special potency. Perhaps the most famous of these wonder drugs was Opium, or Papaver somniferum,the sleep inducing poppy. Even though it was a powerful painkiller, Galen was fully aware of its addictive
  • 117. nature, and considered it, at best, to be a mixed blessing. Because of the powerful nature of these drugs, overdosing can be fatal; therefore, they should only be used under professional supervision. The Brain The head leads, and the body follows. And inside the head as its kernel or nucleus lies the brain, or Enkephalos in Greek. The head and its brain, being at the top of the body and nearest to heaven, are the organs of the Soul, or psyche. The brain is the principal organ of the Psychic Faculty, and all the various nerves and organs of this faculty, which is basically the nervous system, exist to serve it. The brain is a temperate organ, being only slightly cold. Therefore, it is equally vulnerable to excessive heat and fevers as it is to cold and chills. Heat aggravates and excites the mental functions, causing agitation and delirium, whereas cold depresses the mental functions, causing sluggishness and lethargy. The brain is moderately moist by nature, making it a Phlegmatic organ. Although excessive phlegm and dampness can oppress the brain and mental functions, by far the greater danger is from dryness and dehydration. The inherent wetness of the brain is, according to Greek Medicine, the source of its great sensitivity and powers of perception. The watery, Phlegmatic nature of the brain is further enhanced by the fluid-filled ventricles which permeate it, and by the meninges which encase it. In traditional Greek Medicine, the ventricles of the brain serve as channels or passageways for the flow of its Psychic Force, or consciousness. Loss of consciousness occurs when these passageways are blocked or obstructed. Because of its Phlegmatic nature and temperament, the brain gives off various watery, Phlegmatic distillations and exudations from time to time, according to Greek Medicine. These include a runny nose, nasal and sinus congestion, and post-nasal drip. These conditions can create inflammatory congestions called catarrhs, which literally means, "flowing down". The sensory nerves are receptive, afferent attendant vessels of the brain, which receive sensory data and impressions. The motor nerves are emissive efferent attendant vessels of the brain, which execute responses to stimuli. Although the sensory functions of the brain are served primarily by the sense organs of sight, touch, taste, smell and hearing, the brain, being the most Phlegmatic and sensitive by nature, is the ultimate sense organ. According to its nature, it will spontaneously delight in certain sensations and be revolted by others. The Faculty of Common Sense in the brain pieces together a composite picture or facsimile of the outer world from information fed to it by the sense organs, which it uses to cognate and act. The Alexandrian anatomists Herophilus and Erasistratus, through their dissections, made great discoveries about the brain and how it worked. They mapped out its basic parts and structure, its ventricles, and the like. They postulated that man's superior intelligence came from the greater number of folds or sulci in his cerebral cortex. They also established that the left side of the brain controls the right side of the body, and vice-versa. Galen advanced the understanding of mental disorders, and was a pioneer in this field. Relationships of the Brain to Other Organs The brain, through the nervous system, is related to every other organ, tissue and part of the body. Although early physiologists like Galen could vaguely intuit the profoundness and pervasiveness of this inter-relationship, it was left to modern medicine to thoroughly map out its full extent. Most proximally, the brain, seated in the center of the cranial cavity, governs the head and its sensory organs and orifices: the eyes, ears, nose, mouth and tongue. By examining the condition of these sensory orifices, the astute physician can tell a lot about the brain, since conditions of humor and temperament affecting the former often affect the latter. Nerves go directly from these sense organs to the brain. The Psychic and Vital faculties are connected via the mutual feedback loop between head and heart, described in the Psychic Faculty page under Basic Principles. In return, the heart and its peripheral circulation vitalize the brain by pumping pneuma rich blood up to it. Pumping fresh blood all the way up to the brain requires good vigor and robustness of the heart. Of all the organs, the brain is one of the greatest consumers of oxygen/pneuma, and poor cranial blood supply is a major cause of brain fatigue. The brain and heart are also partners in the maintenance of consciousness, according to Greek Medicine. The heart is the seat of the emotional or Vital mind. Like the brain's ventricles, the heart
  • 118. also has subtle passageways that are channels for the flow of spirit and consciousness. Loss of consciousness can occur when the harmonious flow and communication of spirit or consciousness between the brain and heart, assisted by the lungs, is obstructed or disrupted. Supporting the heart and strengthening the vigor of its contractions are the adrenal glands. Having a good peripheral and cranial circulation depends, to a large measure, on the strength of the adrenals. The adrenals also support the sympathetic nervous system,which heightens mental alertness. Adrenal exhaustion is a major underlying cause of brain fatigue. The soundness of the brain and the strength and clarity of its mental functions also depend in large measure on a sound, balanced stomach and digestion. A stomach plagued by indigestion and a disharmony of its humors will similarly weaken, unbalance, agitate and disturb the mind. Underlying and supporting the stomach and its functioning is the colon, or large intestine. and the intestines in general. If the intestines are a cesspool, a condition known as alimentary toxemia, the mind and its thoughts and overall disposition will be similarly morbid and disturbed. And, when all else fails, don't forget to breathe! Healthy, optimal respiration underlies all healthy brain function, since the lungs are the source of all pneuma in the body. Yogis and spiritual adepts use special breathing exercises to heighten and expand their mental and spiritual powers. The Nervous System Extending downwards and outwards from the brain, the nerves that serve it are basically of two types: Afferent sensory nerves, whose greater sensitivity and receptivity come from being softer and moister in temperament; Efferent motor nerves, whose active, emissive nature and function come from being harder and dryer in temperament. Most of the sensory nerves, especially those going to the sense organs, lie quite close to the brain itself, and extend directly from it. The main exception is the sense of touch, which pervades throughout the whole body. The brain and spinal cord constitute the central nervous system; encased in fluid-filled meninges, its nature is softer, moister, and more sensitive, subjective and Phlegmatic. The nerves of the peripheral nervous system, which branch out from the spinal cord, are harder, dryer, and more active and objective. The nervous system can be further subdivided into conscious or voluntary versusautonomic, or the automatic, involuntary functions lying below the threshold of consciousness. Early physiologists like Galen knew something of the autonomic nervous system and its functioning: Galen discovered its Sympathetic branch, and so named it because he felt that it conveyed the sympathies, as when the heart jumps for joy. However, it was left to modern medicine to thoroughly discover and map out the full extent of autonomic nervous control over key bodily functions like digestion, respiration, heartbeat and circulation. Traditional Greek physicians had previously attributed them to the direct action of pneuma and other vital principles, as well as the Four Humors and their respective Administering Virtues. The autonomic nervous system is divided into two complementary halves: Sympathetic and Parasympathetic. It is in balancing these two Yang and Yin halves of the autonomic nervous system that herbal medicine and other holistic healing modalities have their greatest value. The Sympathetic nervous system is the Yang half of the autonomic nervous system, and mobilizes the body for action. It is centered in the Sympathetic chain ganglia that line both sides of the spinal column, and is closely connected with the adrenaline "fight-fright-flight" response. Under Sympathetic influence, the heart beats faster and harder, the respiratory rate increases, the blood vessels constrict and blood is shunted outwards towards the muscles, extremities and periphery. Muscle tone tightens, and mental alertness increases. The Parasympathetic nervous system supports and promotes the anabolic and vegetative functions of the organism, which favor rest, relaxation and regeneration. It is divided into two halves, and is the Yin complement of the Sympathetic. The Vago-parasympathetic nervous system prepares the body to relax and receive. It has a restorative effect on the heart and vascular system, and stimulates the vegetative and assimilative functioning of the digestive organs. It is centered in the Vagus nerve, which descends from the brain through the throat and down into the chest and abdomen. The Sacro-parasympathetic branch prepares the body to relax and release, and governs the eliminative functions: urination, defecation, ejaculation and childbirth. It is centered in the Sacral
  • 119. nervous plexus. The moist Phlegmatic and Sanguine temperaments favor the Parasympathetic branch, whose restorative and anabolic functions depend on and favor a bountiful supply of the Radical Moisture. The Phlegmatic temperament favors an excess or preponderance of the Parasympathetic function, whereas the Sanguine is more balanced. The dry Choleric and Melancholic temperaments favor the Sympathetic branch. In Cholerics, the Sympathetic hyperstimulation tends to be more acute and vehement, whereas in Melancholics it's more chronic and aesthenic, associated with neuraesthenia and a deficiency of the Radical Moisture. In today's stress-ridden world, hyperstimulation or aggravation of the Sympathetic nervous system to the detriment of the Parasympathetic is by far the greater problem. It is behind many of the chronic degenerative diseases seen today: heart disease, insomnia, palpitations, high blood pressure, ulcers, colitis, gastritis, indigestion, adrenal exhaustion and so on. This Sympathetic dominant imbalance is most commonly seen in two forms: Neuraesthenia is a generalized exhaustion and wasting away of the nerves, and is associated with nervousness, palpitations, insomnia, tremors tics and spasms, neuralgias and the like. Sympathetic hyperactivity depletes the Radical Moisture and nutritive integrity of the nervous system and its nerves. Neurovegetative dystonia pertains mainly to the digestive organs and a compromising of their blood supply and vegetative functioning, and underlies many of the common nervous, colicky, spasmodic, irritable or ulcerous digestive complaints. It often starts with eating while tired, stressed, emotionally upset or on the run. In managing and balancing these two complementary halves of the autonomic nervous system, diet, nutrition and medication alone are not enough. Management of lifestyle factors and living habits like activity and rest, sleep and wakefulness, and perturbations of the mind and emotions is also important. Conditions of the Brain and Nervous System The brain, and hence the whole nervous system, can be influenced by the morbid vapors of excessive or aggravated humors, which lead to various syndromes of disharmony or dysfunction. Each of the Four Temperaments is most prone to aggravations of its corresponding humor. These humoral syndromes produce both psychic and physical manifestations, as follows: Phlegmatic: Sluggishness, torpor, passivity, and somnolence prevail. Senses dull, mental alertness falters, reflexes slow. Drowsiness, somnolence especially problematic in early mornings, after meals, in evenings after a hard day's work. Head often heavy, with a sense of pressure as if a thong were wrapped around it, is quite common. Nose and sinuses often watery and congested, eyes can water or tear easily, ears can easily get congested or stopped; can also be excessive salivation. In severe cases, dizziness and vertigo, faintness, wooziness, or even syncope or loss of consciousness can occur. Sanguine: Excess blood can also produce drowsiness, lethargy, due to moisture of Sanguine humor. May also be frequent yawning, a feeling of pressure behind the eyes, headache. Excess blood can also be let off as nose bleeds, although this can also be caused by excess heat and choler in the blood. The eyes can develop problems like swelling, conjunctivitis. Mind often given over to sensuality, idle pleasures and distractions. Sanguine conditions like high blood pressure can predispose one to various cranial disorders, like apoplexy, aneurysms, stroke and cerebrovascular accidents. Choleric: Hot, choleric vapors can rise from the liver to disturb the head and brain. Signs and symptoms: tension in neck and shoulders, vehement headaches or migraines, nosebleeds, visual disturbances and photophobia, red sore bloodshot eyes, vertigo, ringing in the ears. The mind will be angry, irritable, moody or impatient. The face will often be bright red. Severe aggravations of heat and choler, often associated with the delirium of a high fever, can provoke giddiness, nausea and even dry heaves. This condition can often generate internal wind, causing mania, deviation of the eyes mouth and tongue, apoplexy, convulsions and syncope. Melancholic: The syndromes and disorders associated with the Melancholic disposition are many and varied; the Melancholic temperament is often called the Nervous temperament. They include the following: Neuraesthenia: Weak, frayed nerves; an exhausted brain and nervous system. Excessive thinking and worrying drains valuable minerals, electrolytes and Radical Moisture from the brain and nervous system. Signs and symptoms: nervous agitation, hyper-reactivity; being easily startled; chronic stress, insomnia; tremors, tics, spasms and neuralgias; dizziness, tinnitus, vertigo; a thin,
  • 120. furtive sweat that's aggravated by nervousness. Neurovegetative dystonia: A hyperstimulation of the Sympathetic nervous system to the detriment of the Parasympathetic digestive and vegetative functioning. Signs and symptoms: poor appetite, chronic indigestion; various nervous, irritable, spasmodic or colicky digestive disorders of the Melancholic type. Cerebrovascular disorders: Infarction or poor blood circulation and oxygen/pneuma supply to the brain. Clots and embolisms, causing cerebrovascular accidents. Hardening and stenosis (narrowing) of the cerebral arteries and blood vessels, increasing the risk of embolism or hemorrhage. Poor cerebral blood supply, since the Melancholic temperament is contrary to the Sanguine. Fainting, syncope, loss of consciousness: Usually preceded by a feeling of dizziness, lightheadedness due to Melancholic dryness. This is contrary to the wet heaviness of the head experienced in the Phlegmatic and Sanguine types. Melancholic cranial syndrome: Similar in many ways to the Choleric type, but not as hot, acute or vehement. Headaches, migraines are chronic and recurring, but pain, giddiness and nausea aren't as intense; instead of photophobia, visual floaters are more common. Eyes, instead of being red and sore, are only dry, irritated or scratchy. Instead of acute spasms and convulsions, chronic or recurring tremors, tics or spasms. Dizziness, tinnitus or vertigo may be present, but not as acute or vehement. Mental outlook: Pensive, moody, morose - contrary to robust wellbeing of the Sanguine. A vague feeling of malaise and "hypochondria" - pain, fullness and distension under lower ribs, which can constrict chest and breathing, and disturb stomach and digestion. This is due to the accumulation of excess black bile in the liver and underneath the lower ribs. Such are the basic conditions of the brain, mind and nervous system associated with the Four Humors and their respective temperaments. But morbid humors can combine to create other signs, symptoms and syndromes. For example, wind stemming from the Nervous humor can team up with phlegm to create a very fine phlegm that can mist or block the sense organs and their orifices, creating hallucinations, visual or sensory obscurations and disturbances, convulsions, fainting or syncope. The Mind and Its Disorders The brain is the physical organ of the supra-physical mind, which is the subtle vehicle for the indwelling Soul. All consciousness and volition reside ultimately in the Soul. In its dealings with the phenomenal universe and the physical world, the Soul uses the subtle mind, which in turn uses the physical brain and nervous system. The brain and mind work through several different faculties, which I have described in the page on the Psychic Faculty in the Basic Principles section. These faculties fall into three different categories: Sensory: sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch; the Faculty of Common Sense. Intellective: Ideation, Judgement, Memory, Empathy Motor: the motor nerves and their muscles and effector organs According to Medical Astrology, the mind functions at three different levels, each of which could be called a different faculty, or mind: The Mundane Mind, symbolized by Mercury in the natal horoscope. The lowest level of mind, incorporating the Faculty of Common Sense. A big sensorimotor computer, collecting sensory data, processing and tabulating it, and responding to it, mainly through conceptualization, intellect, speech, communication, manipulation, digital dexterity. Through practice and memorization, the Mundane Mind masters basic skills and competencies, which is its greatest strength. The Mundane Mind doesn't perceive outer reality directly, but rather through the medium of the five senses. The Faculty of Common Sense puts together an inner mental facsimile or composite picture of the outer world by piecing together incoming sensory data in the right way. Mental health results when the Mundane Mind's inner facsimile of the outer world is clear, orderly and accurate, and when the mind is able to distinguish clearly between its own creations and outer reality. Mental illness results when these facsimiles become garbled, confused and unclear, or when the inner world of imagination or fantasy intrudes on the outer world. The Mundane Mind is basically amoral; technical facility, or how to do things, is its only concern. Mercury is the god of thieves, con-men and tricksters. The Mundane Mind is easily influenced by its associates and surroundings, for good or ill. This lower mind is a great servant but a bad master, and needs guidance from the higher levels of mind and Soul. The Higher Mind or Philosophical Mind is symbolized by Jupiter in the natal horoscope as the guru, guide or wayshower. Its chief concern is philosophy, morals and ethics, in following that which
  • 121. is right and true towards the path of one's Highest Good. The Mundane Mind asks only if something can be done, and how; whether or not somethingshould be done, and why, is the concern of the Higher or Philosophical Mind, which speaks to us through our conscience. Modern man faces many moral and ethical dilemmas that are clearly posing a great challenge to his Philosophical Mind.. Clearly, modern technology has run amok, and not everything that can be done should be done. Sophisticated high technologies come easily, and are a dime a dozen compared to the moral and ethical development and maturity necessary to apply them in an appropriate, constructive manner for the greater good of mankind. The Spiritual Mind is that which is closest to Soul in its nature. It sees the grand panorama of life and destiny, the whole picture, and knows things by direct perception. Information comes to it in sudden flashes of cognition or insight. Its essence transcends logic, and could be called intuitive, or noetic. The Spiritual Mind is the source of all true genius and revelation, and is symbolized by Uranus in the natal horoscope. In the vast majority of mankind, the Spiritual Mind is relatively latent, subliminal and undeveloped. This is actually a blessing, because many individuals don't have the necessary development and strength of the other mental levels to withstand the power of the Spiritual Mind which, if unchecked, can easily unground and overwhelm, creating spiritual disorientation and vertigo. As unique individuals, we all have our own particular strengths and weaknesses, gifts and impediments when it comes to these three levels of mind. Mental health and wellbeing come when all three levels of mind are working together in a harmonious, balanced fashion; mental disorders come when this harmonious working relationship is disturbed. The Mundane Mind will experience confusion, delusion or incompetency; the Philosophical Mind will suffer moral or ethical misgivings, or crises of conscience or purpose; and the Spiritual Mind can get ungrounded or unbalanced, and upset or overwhelm the lower levels. Many mental and emotional disorders have their origin in overwhelming, traumatic experiences that the mind and its faculties are unable to process or digest properly. These could be called disorders of psychic pepsis. The mind gets stuck in psychic indigestion and is unable to move on until these traumatic experiences are properly processed or resolved. According to their individual constitutional makeup, each person will experience mental disorders or imbalance in their own particular way. The typical parameters for the Four Temperaments are as follows: Choleric: Mania, delirium; mental agitation and an inability to attain mental peace and composure. Irascibility, irritability, negativism, hypercriticalness. Violent or abusive tendencies. Hyperactivity. A bombastic hyperemissiveness, unable to be receptive and a good listener. Fanaticism, extremism, paranoia. Sanguine: Excessive joy and euphoria. A blind, mindless addiction to the pleasure principle. Inability to withstand hardship, deprivation, delayed gratification. Inability to give prolonged attention and concentration to the serious concerns of life. An endless search for distractions. Self gratification at the expense of others. Melancholic: Excessive isolation and withdrawal. An excessively cautious, prudent outlook; getting too easily fearful, circumspect or discouraged. Passive, reclusive paranoia. Obsessive, rigid or dogmatic thinking. Easily startled or frightened. Self-alienation, denial of one's feelings. Depression, hypochondria, malaise. Hoarding, miserliness, misanthropy, suspicion; inability to trust others. Phlegmatic: Mental torpor, passivity, sluggishness, depression. Unrealistic, passive fantasies, illusions, delusions. Hyper-receptivity, hypersensitivity, indecisiveness, inability to take action. Weakness of will. Excessive tearing, drooling, salivation. Visual and auditory hallucinations. Inability to distinguish inner fantasy from outer reality. Poor or slovenly hygiene habits. As mental disease progresses and one's mental condition deteriorates, things tend to gravitate towards the Yin and Yang extremes of the Choleric and Phlegmatic types listed above. Traditionally, mental disorders were often attributed to possession by spirits, which were typically either violent, irritable and abusive (Choleric type) or passive, reclusive and delusional (Phlegmatic type). The mind is a great servant, but a terrible master. Its purpose is to serve Soul in Its life experience, spiritual growth and unfoldment. Mental disorders start the moment the mind takes over and takes direction and control away from the Soul. As mental disease progresses, Soul has no choice but to stand by and watch the mind self-destruct as its mental karmas and predispositions play themselves out. Mental health and hygiene depend on knowing one's individual mental nature and temperament well enough to wisely avoid life activities, experiences, environments and challenges that would be too
  • 122. unsettling, unbalancing or overwhelming to one's psychicpepsis. Life experiences, environments and activities are the food of the Psychic Faculty, and good mental hygiene depends primarily on a healthy balance of lifestyle factors. MIND: CONSCIOUSNESS, PERCEPTION, SENSATION What is consciousness? That question has fascinated man from the remotest antiquity up until the present, and has been the domain of not just physicians, but philosophers and metaphysicians as well. Call it Spiritus, Anima, Animal Spirits, or what you will, its essence has baffled even the best medical minds as they tried to make out its mysteries - its movement, phenomena, modus operandi, its states and permutations. States of consciousness are ultimately real only for their experiencer; that is the philosophical doctrine known as solipsism. When it comes to the state of the patient's mind and consciousness, even the most astute physician must remain an observer on the outside looking in, carefully noting its effects in the patient's outward behavior, signs and symptoms, and by what the patient tells the physician that he/she senses or feels. A key precept in Greek Medicine and other holistic healing systems is this: Illness or disease starts the moment the patient feels or senses that something is out of order, amiss, or not quite right. "It's all in the mind" is not a valid excuse to avoid due treatment of the patient, because mind and body are interconnected, and essentially one. The whole human being exists and functions on many levels - spiritual, energetic, emotional, subtle, as well as physical. And all these levels interface, interpenetrate and influence each other. When it comes to mind, consciousness, and the subtle side of man, Greek Medicine differentiates between disorders that are organic in origin, having a physical or structural basis, and that which is: ephemeral - originating in or pertaining to the vital or energetic functions; hysterical - originating from mental or emotional agitation or disorder. The subtle or energetic levels of reality coexist and interpenetrate with the physical. The Four Humors are not just physical entities, but also exist on a subtle level as semi-gaseous vapors. Similarly, the natural medicinal substances used in Greek Medicine also have their subtle energetic effects and influences. Physical medicines can be used to treat subtle energetic disorders of the mind and spirit as well. A case in point is globus hystericus, or the feeling of something being stuck in the throat when, in fact, no such physical object exists. According to Greek Medicine, it's a subtle, energetic obstruction caused by a conglomeration of hysterical, agitated vital energy and subtle phlegm stuck in the throat. Although the obstruction exists on a subtle, energetic level, it can be treated by physical medicines and remedies with strong subtle energetic effects that work in the right way to disperse the blockage. Another case in point is epilepsy and other convulsive disorders involving seizures and loss of consciousness. According to Greek Medicine, most involve subtle forms of phlegm obstructing the ventricles in the brain for the flow of consciousness, as well as the subtle orifices of the heart. Dramatic improvements in such conditions can often be made with medicines that are able to dissolve or disperse this subtle phlegm. Many of the medicinal substances that dissolve subtle phlegm in and open the subtle channels and orifices of the brain and heart are strongly aromatic in nature, since the volatile nature of such aromatics penetrates into the subtle realms. Smelling salts will revive consciousness in fainting and syncope. Other such super-aromatics include Camphor and Borneol, Benzoin, Musk and Castoreum. Musk comes from the scent glands of the Musk Deer; Castoreum comes from the scent glands of a beaver. Another medicinal herb that's not aromatic, but which nevertheless has a strong special potency on the subtle energetic level is European Mistletoe, or Viscum album. In 19th century England, it was used successfully as a treatment for epilepsy, or the Falling Sickness; it's also a very powerful hypotensive medicine in high blood pressure. European Mistletoe is a very potent medicine, and an overdose can be fatal; therefore, professional supervision is advised as to the proper administration and dosage. Yes, Greek Medicine has a healthy respect for the subtle, energetic side of life in its therapies and treatments. Even though we can't see it, we know that this subtle dimension is there because we can feel and observe its effects.
  • 123. Galen: Pioneer in the Medicine of Consciousness Claudius Galenus, or Galen, was the greatest physician of the Roman Empire and lived, wrote and practiced in the second century AD. Among his countless other illustrious achievements, Galen was a great pioneer in the medical understanding of the mind and consciousness, and in the diagnosis and treatment of mental and nervous system disorders. Many of his findings and observations in this field are still accepted as being true and valid today, and form the basis for our current medical understanding of these conditions. Galen is probably the most famous for the advances he made in the understanding and treatment of epilepsy, or the Falling Sickness. Previously, it had superstitiously been called the Divine Disease, since its seizures seemed to be the result of possession by supernatural entities. Galen's most famous epileptic patient was a young boy who complained that, before he had a seizure, he felt that a cold wind was rushing through his body. From this case, Galen coined the term Aura, or literally, "Air", which is the premonitory initial phase of the epileptic seizure. He found that, if treated promptly in this initial Aura phase, a seizure could often be stopped or prevented. The symptoms of the Aura, Galen observed, were often projected out onto the abdominal viscera as giddiness, nausea, or a gastric complaint. When it came to epileptic seizures, Galen distinguished two types: tonic seizures, characterized by rigidity and a greatly increased muscle tone of the body and limbs; andclonic seizures, characterized by rhythmic motions and twitchings, salivation, foaming at the mouth, and tongue biting. Galen felt that epileptic seizures were caused by an intensive irritation of the brain and an obstruction of its channels and ventricles by a very subtle form of phlegm. Seizures and convulsions can be broadly differentiated into two basic types: The Yang or Sympathetic dominant type, often called the Closed Syndrome: tense, rigid muscle tone, clenched teeth, deviated tongue and mouth, eyes open and staring with eyeballs rolled downwards, retention of excreta. The Yin or Parasympathetic dominant type, often called the Open Syndrome, orCollapse: loss of all muscle tone, open mouth, closed eyes, loss of control and escape from bowel, bladder and excreta. Syncope, or loss of consciousness Galen felt was primarily due to a loss of the integrative vital functioning between the heart, brain and lungs. Coma was a deeper loss of consciousness, which Galen divided into two major types: Sleeping Coma - a deep unconsciousness, with the eyes closed. Sleepless Coma - a deep unconsciousness, but with the eyes open. Catalepsy, Galen noted, was a semi-comatose condition in which the facial features twisted into a quizzical expression with the eyes open, the body was seized with muscular stiffness and a titanic or hysterical rigidity. Febrile delirium and tremors are also possible. Delirium, Galen noted, was of two types: Paraphrosyne, or delirium without fever, characterized by hallucinations, erroneous reasoning of the paranoid type, and behavioral disturbances; and Phrenitis, in which the delirium was caused by irritation of the brain by the toxins of a fever. Phrenitis was always associated with a fever. Galen also observed that dementia, or mental deterioration, is of several different types and levels of severity. From mildest to most severe, these are: Lethargos, from where we get the word lethargy, is a mild clouding and deterioration of the mind and its functions of memory, learning and cognition. Morosis, related to the word morose, is a mild form of dementia characterized by a general deterioration of mental activities. True dementia is distinguished by a serious impairment of memory and a loss of judgement. Karos is a deep sleep, with eyes closed, characterized by a loss of intellectual functions. Unlike apoplexy, or loss of consciousness due to stroke, there can be complete recovery from Karos. Galen advocated many different modalities in the treatment of mental and psychological disorders. He used sedatives, physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, heat packs and sunbathing. He prescribed psychotherapy and counseling to heighten the reasoning abilities of the patient and increase his/her powers of self control. For mild psychological disorders, he recommended occupational therapy, lectures, educational, creative and recreational activities and travel. He advised physicians to be kind to, and not be critical of, patients with depression. Many of Galen's methods and therapies are still followed today. For the information presented in this section on Galen, I am deeply indebted to the following web page, which I would recommend reading:
  • 124. Element and Temperament in Sensory Function and Dysfunction Greek Medicine has certain basic notions regarding the physiology of the sensory organs and how they work, and also about their basic nature and temperament. The element, nature and temperament of each sense and its organ becomes the basis for understanding not only how it functions properly in health, but also in understanding its prime vulnerabilities and how it dysfunctions in disease. The basic correspondences of the sense organs to the Four Elements and their temperaments in Greek Medicine are as follows: WATER - COLD and WET - EYES - Visual Faculty EARTH - COLD and DRY - EARS - Auditory Faculty AIR - HOT and WET - TONGUE - Gustatory Faculty FIRE - HOT and DRY - NOSE - Olfactory Faculty TOUCH - SKIN - Tactile Faculty - an equal blend of all elements and temperaments The Cold elements, Water and Earth, are Yin in nature - receptive, or reflective. Although it can be said that receptivity is the basic nature of sensation itself and the sensory organs in general, The Eyes and Ears, or Sight and Hearing, are especially so. The eyes receive light and visual images as the Moon is reflected on a clear mountain lake. The ears receive and reflect sound waves and channel them to the brain just like an ethereal echo is bounced off a mountain peak. The Hot elements, Air and Fire, are Yang in nature - expansive, penetrating, stirring things up. Their associated senses and sense organs function better with heat, and need a certain amount of heat to function properly. The tastes and flavors of a hot meal are much more vivid and robust than those of a cold one. Smells and aromas diffuse and spread faster in hot weather, and with heat, than with cold. The senses of the cold elements, sight and hearing, are much more clear, linear and objective; they are the mediums for receiving and processing huge amounts of information and data about the outer world. The senses of the hot elements, taste and smell, tend to be more vague, nebulous and subjective; they could also be called more primitive and instinctual. The sense of Touch, the fifth sense, cannot be assigned to a single element or temperament because it encompasses them all. This is particularly true when one considers the sheer variety of sensory impressions received through our primary tactile organ, the skin. Also, each of the other sense organs - the eyes, ears, nose and tongue - have a sense of touch inherent in them. Even the internal organs have a certain rudimentary sense of touch, for they can feel heat or inflammation, as well as pain, pressure and distension. When it comes to pathology and dysfunction, each sense organ is most vulnerable to conditions and pathogenic factors of its own inherent temperament, as well as those whose nature and temperament run contrary to it. For example, the eyes are most vulnerable to moist, congestive Phlegmatic conditions, as well as contrary Choleric conditions of heat and inflammation, and so on. However, each sense organ is by no means immune to conditions of other natures and temperaments as well. Since the first four sense organs, whose natures are more specialized, are each located in various cranial orifices, their condition will always be strongly influenced by, and reflective of, conditions of humor and temperament prevailing in the brain, which is adjacent to them. Their relationship to the brain is a two way street: ingoing as sensory portals of the brain, and outgoing as diagnostic indicators of brain condition. Each of the sense organs is an exquisitely sensitive conglomeration of nerve endings, which give them various nervous reflex relationships to other organs and parts of the body. These reflex relationships generally follow connections of anatomical structure, or even similarities of form and appearance. This gives many of the sense organs great usefulness as diagnostic indicators. EYES: The Visual Faculty (Water) The eyes, receiving the visual images created by fiery light, belong to the opposite yet complementary Water element. The eyes are like placid pools of water reflecting the moon in the night sky. The eyeballs are filled with the clear, watery vitreous and aqueous humors, which serve to channel light and focus visual images onto the retina. The eyes cleanse themselves by secreting tears, a clear Phlegmatic fluid whose watery Expulsive Virtue helps to flush out toxins, debris and irritants from the eyeballs and their sockets. If there are debris or irritants present, tearing is a natural protective response of the eyes to cleanse themselves, and should be encouraged, and not suppressed. However, eyes that tear too easily, constantly, or at the slightest provocation generally indicate
  • 125. excesses of the watery Phlegmatic humor in the head, brain and cranial area. In simple Phlegmatic plethoras of the head and cranium, cold weather and chills will provoke excessive tearing, but in more complex or allergic conditions like hay fever, pollen and other allergens are the key offenders. The eyeballs in their sockets or settings present us with a series of concentric rings, circles or mandalas. Along the outer rim of the orbital sockets are the eyebrows; within them, framing the eyes themselves, are the eyelids. Then, there's the sclera, or the whites of the eyeballs. Inside the sclera, the corneal layer is glassy and transparent, revealing the iris, colored blue or brown, or some other related color; and the innermost pupil and lens, which is the actual portal for receiving light and visual images. If the sclera of the eyes are red and bloodshot, the presence of excess heat is indicated. If the heat is in the blood, a Sanguine condition, there will be a profusion and engorgement of the blood vessels of the sclera. With hot, Choleric vapors disturbing the head and eyes, the redness of the sclera will be more nebulous and diffuse. The eyes have a special reflex relationship with the liver, especially in hot, toxic or bilious conditions affecting that organ. These will usually make the eyes red, sore or inflamed. Acute heat and choler in the liver will irritate and inflame the eyes. Chronic heat will lead to degenerative, aesthenic conditions of the liver, and start to consume its Radical Moisture; these often produce dryness and sensitivity in the eyes, which is a Melancholic condition. Cataracts, usually seen in the elderly, are associated with degenerative, aesthenic conditions and a depletion of the Radical Moisture of the liver and kidneys. The conjunctiva are clear membranes extending from the eyelids to cover the exposed parts of the eyeball. They may become red and inflamed, a condition known as conjunctivitis, which usually involves excess heat, as well as excess phlegm and dampness. Involving both heat and moisture, conjunctivitis may also be caused by congestion of blood around the eyes, which may be relieved by cupping on the cephalic veins on the back of the head. The iris is a mesh of muscular tissue, a colored ring that relaxes to dilate the pupil and let more light into the eye in dark environments, and constricts to narrow the pupil to let less light into the eye in bright light. Eye or iris color is determined largely by hereditary and genetic factors, and there are two basic colors: blue and brown. The other eye colors that are seen - grey, green or black - are variations and permutations of these two basic colors. The iris also contains a high concentration of nerve endings, which gives it close reflex relationships to every other organ and tissue in the body. Iridology is a diagnostic art that studies these relationships and reads the patterns appearing in the iris fibers to pinpoint pathologies occurring elsewhere in the body. Migraines are severe, one-sided headaches associated with Choleric or Melancholic aggravations of the liver and gall bladder, and often produce visual disturbances. In vehement, Choleric migraines, the disturbance is usually photophobia, or a hypersensitivity of the eyes to light. In more indolent, aesthenic Melancholic migraines, shifting visual patterns, or floaters, will often be seen. In Greek Medicine, certain fine, ephemeral types of phlegm and Phlegmatic vapors can mist the eyes and obscure the vision, causing blurred vision or visual hallucinations. These conditions are usually associated with chronic Phlegmatic conditions of the head and cranium. The eyes also have a close reflex relationship with the adrenal glands. Chronic stress affecting the adrenal glands is often associated with eyestrain and visual weakness, which are often aggravated by fatigue. Weak adrenals often lead to weak eyes and poor vision. The eyes don't do well with the application of medicated oils to them, but delight in the application of eyewashes made from soothing astringent and antiinflammatory herbs like Rose petals or Eyebright. The ancient Greeks called washes and lotions applied to the eyes by the generic name of collyrium. Fine powders of healing substances like Myrrh can also be blown into the eyes through a little tube. Also used in ancient Egypt, Greece and the Orient is kohl, a kind of black, soot-based preparation applied to the rims of the eyelids to cool and refresh the eyes and protect the vision. There are many different ways and recipes for preparing kohl, but usually some cooling herb like Sandalwood is burned into soot and mixed with some oil like Castor oil. Kohl became the basis for our modern mascara, but originally its purpose was also medicinal, and not just cosmetic. The optic nerves are thick and tubular, and extend from the eyes directly to the brain. They were originally believed to be hollow, to allow for the passage and channeling of light to the brain in vision. Galen, and later Avicenna, noted that the optic nerves crossed at theoptic chiasma; they reasoned that the composite three dimensional image taken from both eyes was inwardly focussed at this point. They also believed that this crossing enabled one of the eyes to see better and more
  • 126. powerfully if the other eye was closed, blind or injured. The two eyes that see this dualistic physical world are but outer manifestations of the singular spiritual eye or Third Eye, which is the Brow Center, or chakra, the mental command center of thought, cognition and perception. So strong is this connection between thought and vision that we proclaim, "I see" when we have mentally grasped or understood something. EARS: The Auditory Faculty (Earth) To the ancients, sound vibrations originated in the most subtle of all the elements, Ether, and were transmitted or carried through the Air. The auditory apparatus of the inner ear consists of hard, resilient structures like hammers, anvils and shells, or conches, which are rich in the Earth element. These resilient structures capture the sound, amplify it, and reverberate it to the brain. The gross, dense Earth element is used to reflect ethereal sound vibrations in the light, subtle Air element. All throughout the ears and their auditory apparatus, we can see the balance and interplay between the Air and Earth elements. The eustachian tubes connect the inner ear to the throat, and serve to equalize air pressure in the head and auditory apparatus through swallowing. Inflammation, swelling or congestion can block the eustachian tubes and create earaches and ear infections. The senses of sight and hearing are the two highest sensory faculties possessed by man, and are responsible for the processing of more information and intelligence than any of the other senses. They are also the closest to the Soul, whose main senses are also visual and auditory, to see the Light and hear the subtle vibrations of Spirit. To mystics and spiritual adepts, the spiritual vibrations and Music of the Spheres is more than just mere metaphor, but an actual experience that produces Divine Bliss. The sense of hearing is more active and dynamic than the sense of sight; the active, creative aspect of our relationship with sound is the Faculty of Speech, centered in the tongue and throat. And so, both hearing and speech have an intimate connection with the Throat Center, or chakra; the former faculty is receptive, and the latter is emissive. Connecting these emissive and receptive faculties in the throat and ear are the eustachian tubes. Mystics and spiritual adepts have long known that certain sounds, not just when heard, but when properly chanted or intoned, are very healing and restorative, and help to awaken certain energy centers, or chakras. The open vowel sound AH, as in father, activates the Heart Center; the vowel EE, as in see, is focused up into the Pineal gland and Brow Center, or Third Eye, to awaken the Soul. On a spiritual level, music can be an incredibly healing and transformative experience, not just for the receptive listener, but also for the creator, or musician. So felt Pythagoras, whose name is often invoked by music therapists. Belonging as they do to the Earth element, the ears have a Melancholic nature and temperament. This makes them especially vulnerable to excesses and injuries by cold, dryness and wind, conditions which often prevail in the Fall or Autumn, but which can also be seen in other seasons, like the spring. The ears are also vulnerable to other Melancholic pathologies involving hardening, ossification, narrowing, stenosis and the deposition of excess wax and other accretions. These pathological changes can also rob us of our sense of hearing, especially as we grow older, as their nature tends to be chronic and degenerative. Also, a gradual drying out and depletion of the Radical Moisture as we age, or in various aesthenic conditions, generally of a Melancholic nature, can lead to tinnitus, or ringing in the ears. More acutely and vehemently, ringing in the ears can also be caused by aggravations of heat and choler. Due to their Melancholic nature and temperament, the ears are easily injured by dryness, but delight in medicated oils and substances of a rich, unctuous nature, which are restorative, and can soften and dissolve accretions of wax and other substances. And so, Greek Medicine doesn't recommend ear coning, a popular treatment for removing excess wax from the ears, as it tends to be overly drying and depleting of the Radical Moisture. Much more beneficial for removing ear wax and treating earache is the application of warm medicated oils into the ear, such as Castor Oil or Saint John's Wort oil. Earaches and ear infections can be a troublesome problem, especially in young children, whose eustachian tubes aren't angled as steeply as an adult's making it easier for throat infections to spread into the inner ear. In treating the secondary ear infection, one should also treat the primary throat or respiratory infection. Try gargling with salt water or herbal teas like Sage, Thyme or Agrimony. Whatever is put in the ear should not be cold; it should also not be wet. If water gets trapped in the ear, you must try to get it out. First, try tilting your head towards the affected ear and jumping up and down vigorously. Then, if that doesn't work, take the hollow stem of an Anise or Fennel plant and insert a wick of oiled, spindled cotton into one end of the tube, while putting the other end in the
  • 127. ear. Ignite the wick and the flame will create a vacuum that will suck out the remaining fluid. The ear is drained and detoxified by the submandibular lymph nodes lying behind the jaw and under the ear lobe. First, massage them well with Swedish Bitters, or Mentholatum balm, and then with Castor oil, to deobstruct and draw out toxins. In ear infections, these lymph nodes will often be swollen or tender. The ear, even externally, is richly innervated with nerve endings; in terms of reflex relationships, the ear is a microcosm of the whole body. Within the structure of the outer ear is portrayed the whole body, in inverted foetal position. Ear reflexology is the art of using the micro-trigger points on the outer ear, both diagnostically and therapeutically. NOSE: Olfactory Faculty (Fire) The nose is much more than just a simple sense organ. It is also a gateway to the mind and spirit, since its openings, sinuses and inner passages lie directly underneath the center of the brain. The sense of smell is quite primitive and instinctual, and many fragrances evoke strong mental, emotional and spiritual responses in the mind via the brain. These responses can also be strongly colored, conditioned or programmed by previous life experiences, even early childhood impressions that we have long ago forgotten. The art of using fragrances therapeutically, usually by bringing about beneficial changes and reactions in the mind and spirit, is the art of aromatherapy. Certain common fragrances can be used to heal or balance aggravations of the humors and temperaments: Choleric: Rose, Jasmine, Sandalwood - cooling and sedating Sanguine: Basil, Peppermint, Fennel - gently soothing and dispersing Melancholic: Jatamansi, Patchouly, Vetivert - calming and sedating Phlegmatic: Clove, Cinnamon, Allspice - stimulating, invigorating The nose is the upper end of the respiratory tract, and has a strong relationship with the lungs. The sinuses inside the nose are very strongly influenced by the air we breathe - its temperature, pressure, humidity and purity. The nasal passages and sinuses are very vulnerable to pollutants in the air, both gaseous and particulate, which can produce inflammation, catarrh and allergic reactions. The sinuses, both frontal and maxillary, have a strong reflex relationship with the stomach. If the stomach is chronically irritated or upset, there can be chronic nasal allergies, rhinitis and sinusitis by reflex action. Toxicity in the colon can lead to swelling and inflammation, or pustules in the nares, or sides of the nose lateral to the nostrils. The inherent temperament of the nose and its sense of smell is fiery and Choleric. Choleric residues in the blood help keep the sinuses and nasal passages open, and the Innate Heat of the nose warms the incoming air as the sinuses and nasal passages filter it. Yet the nose is also vulnerable to Phlegmatic conditions of catarrh and congestion because of its proximity to the brain, a Phlegmatic organ. Phlegmatic excess and congestion can be provoked either by exogenous factors like cold, damp weather, or by endogenous factors, like Phlegmatic distillations from the head and brain, or from the lungs and respiratory tract. The health of the nose and its delicate mucosa result from a delicate balance of the Choleric and Phlegmatic humors. Enough phlegm is needed to keep the nasal mucosa moist enough to adequately moisten, filter and condition the incoming air, which exerts a drying influence. Enough Choleric residues are needed to keep the nasal passages open and free of clogging or congestion. Too much heat and choler in the nose and the nasal mucosa will get too hot, dry and irritable. With excessive heat and choler in the cranial blood, there can be nosebleeds. Nosebleeds can also result from dry, cracked or ruptured nasal mucosa. If there is Sanguine congestion in the nose, its tip will swell and get bloodshot, with spider angiomas from engorged capillaries clearly visible. This is often associated with alcoholism, or with angina and heart problems caused by blood congestion around the heart. Nosebleeeds can also be caused by excess blood being let off through the nose - a spontaneous form of bloodletting. Of all the senses, the sense of smell is probably the most subject to attenuation. In other words, when we smell certain odors constantly, or on a regular basis, we quickly grow used to them. The sense of smell also strengthens and enhances the sense of taste. If our nose is blocked and congested and we're not able to smell our food, we usually won't be able to taste it so well, either. The nose is also a convenient orifice for the administration of medicines in the form of nose drops or snuffs. Although alcoholic tinctures or extracts may be administered nasally, fluid extracts or medicated oils are preferable to use as nose drops. Nose drops may be used as nasal decongestants, or to affect the mind and spirit, as well as the head and cranium.
  • 128. TONGUE: The Gustatory Faculty (Air) The sense of taste, centered on the tongue, is Sanguine in nature and temperament, and belongs to the Air element. The Sanguine Attractive Virtue is inherent in the sense of taste; when we're attracted to something, we say that we have a taste for it. The sense of taste probably evolved as a survival mechanism, to enable the body to test or sample a substance before ingesting it fully. If something elicits a revulsive response from the tongue, chances are that it's poisonous, noxious, or not that wholesome to eat. Conversely, something that tastes truly wholesome and delicious is probably nutritious and good to eat. The sense of taste samples the biochemistry and nutritive content of the food being eaten and signals this information to the digestive organs, so they know what kinds of digestive juices and enzymes to secrete, and how much. If the tongue tastes butter, for example, it will signal to the gall bladder to release a lot of bile to digest the fats. Because of the signaling between the tongue and its sense of taste and the digestive organs, there exist numerous close reflex relationships between the tongue and the internal organs, principally the digestive organs. And so, the condition and appearance of the tongue reflect the prevailing conditions in the digestive organs. The conditions affecting the internal and digestive organs can be read through the tongue, which is the art of tongue diagnosis. The Sanguine sense of attraction is the sense of taste, and no taste is more appealing, embodying the Sanguine Attractive Virtue, than the sweet taste. To begin digestion of the sweet taste, saliva is secreted. Saliva's nature and temperament is Sanguine, with its wetness dissolving or semi-liquefying the food, and its heat being present in the enzymatic activity of the ptyalin it contains. The carbohydrates and sugar that saliva begins to digest and absorb into the body is the basic fuel for cellular metabolism, which is the chief concern of the Sanguine Vital Faculty. Various traditional medical systems have systems of taste nomenclature and differentiation that fit in with their basic theoretical structures and concepts. Since Greek Medicine has Four Temperaments, it has eight tastes - two for each temperament. The Aristotelian philosopher and natural historian Theophrastus designated eight tastes: Sweet, Unctuous, Pungent, Acrid, Sour, Salty, Bitter and Astringent. Each taste has its own particular alchemy, initiating certain chemical reactions on the tongue and its taste buds, and certain biochemical and metabolic reactions and processes throughout the organism. The two Sanguine tastes are Sweet and Unctuous. These two tastes are the most nutritive and anabolic in nature. The Sweet taste is the most desirable and loved, embodying the Sanguine Attractive Virtue. It is the most nourishing, signifying the presence of carbohydrates and sugar, which is the basic fuel for cellular metabolism, which is the chief concern of the Vital Faculty. Complex carbohydrates that provide deep, balanced, sustained nutrition to the organism are mildly sweet or bittersweet. Refined sugars that are strongly sweet are unduly stimulating and unbalancing to the metabolism and the body's energy economy, somewhat like throwing gasoline on a fire. Overconsumption of sweets is like stifling the body's metabolic fire with too much fuel, which allows the sweet taste to build up to morbid levels in the organism, as in diabetes. The sweet taste has a soothing, relaxing, mollifying nature; sweet herbs and substances make bitter or unpleasant medicines more palatable, or smooth out any harsh or undesirable effects. The Unctuous taste is also sometimes called rich, oily or fatty. It is very nutritive and anabolic, and hence Sanguine. Perhaps the foods that best embody the unctuous taste are meats, or viands. Being Sanguine in nature and taste, unctuous meat breeds abundant blood, but consumed to excess, can lead to excessively thick, stagnant or toxic blood, or to metabolic excesses of the blood uremia, gout and high cholesterol. The richer and more unctuous the meat, especially red meat, the greater is its propensity to cause these metabolic imbalances. Rich, creamy desserts and sauces also embody the unctuous taste. The two heating Choleric tastes are Pungent and Acrid. Actually, these two tastes are quite similar. Pungent, also called piquant or spicy, is the hottest, most Choleric taste. It stimulates the Innate Heat of metabolism, increases circulation and digestion, and disperses blockages. The pungent taste is also drying in nature, and tends to dry up or dissolve excess phlegm, moisture and dampness. In excess, the Pungent taste can aggravate not only heat but also dryness, which can lead to not only Choleric excess, but aggravations of Melancholy as well. Excessive consumption of hot, spicy foods can cause undue irritation and irritability of the stomach and bowels. Aromatic or fragrant is simply a milder version of pungent. Instead of being strongly heating
  • 129. and dispersing, aromatic substances are mildly warming and invigorating. Many common cooking spices like Oregano, Basil or Cardamom are aromatic. Acrid, the other heating Choleric taste, is actually another variation on Pungent. Acrid, also called harsh, is rough and sharp, incorporating a tangy, biting edge. The Acrid taste is also heating and drying like Pungent, but more drying and less heating. It can also be irritating if consumed to excess. Bamboo shoots or green potatoes have an acrid taste. The two tastes associated with the Phlegmatic humor and temperament are Sour andSalty. They have profound effects on the fluid metabolism of the body. Salty indicates the presence of mineral salts, which act as an osmotic magnet to attract and hold fluids in the body; and so, the salty taste is wet or moistening. The salty taste, however, is also heating and stimulating to anabolic activity; strongly salty substances can also be irritating, as in rubbing salt on a wound. Excessive salt consumption aggravates heat and choler in the liver and congests it with bile and toxins; also, the functioning of the kidneys, which control body fluid metabolism, is impaired. Excess salt consumption also causes excessive thirst, which in turn leads to excessive fluid consumption and water retention and edema. Arthritic and rheumatic conditions can also be aggravated by excessive salt consumption. Sour is wet and Phlegmatic in nature because its immediate effect is to increase various fluid secretions like saliva, phlegm and stomach acids. In excess, however, sour can aggravate acidity and the Choleric humor and temperament. The sour taste also has a cutting, thinning, attenuating effect that can cut through thick, tough, obstinate obstructions of phlegm and other humors. In excess, Sour's acidity can also be corrosive, aggravating dental sensitivity and the like. The Bitter and Astringent tastes are both cooling, drying and Melancholic in temperament. Yet despite this general similarity, their alchemy on the tongue and in the body are actually quite different. The Bitter taste is sedating, anti-inflammatory and detoxifying. Many bitter herbs, also called aperitifs, or bitter tonics, are cholagogues that stimulate the secretion of bile, and also improve appetite and digestion. By decongesting and detoxifying the organism, bitter tonics correct a faulty digestion and metabolism. In general, the bitter taste enhances the cleansing and detoxifying processes of the organism, and is therefore the least nutritive and anabolic of all the tastes. Used to excess, the bitter taste can aggravate nervousness and melancholy, causing giddiness, nausea, a depressed appetite and a generalized wasting away of the flesh, as well as a loss of libido. Bitter, being contrary to Sweet, is the least desirable taste, and therefore tends to be avoided or underconsumed. Nevertheless, a healthy balance of all the tastes in the diet is necessary for optimum health. The Astringent taste is binding, in that it tightens up and improves the tone of the organs, muscles and tissues of the body. Astringent's binding action is also consolidating, enhancing the Melancholic Retentive Virtue to hold in and prevent the undue leakage or escape of various secretions or excretions from the body, like sweat, blood, urine, feces (diarrhea), and semen (ejaculation). the Astringent taste is also rough and drying, and will dry up and absorb any excessive fluids. The excessive use or abuse of the Astringent taste can aggravate melancholy, causing intestinal colic, griping, constipation, stiffness, tension and a wasting away of the flesh. Astringent foods and medicines should be used lightly, or with great care in those of a Melancholic temperament, or with aggravated melancholy. The tongue sends taste signals to the whole organism, and the body responds by reflex action. The tastes of natural herbs and medicines are part of their energetic signature, which initiates healing responses from the organism. META - FACULTY: THE ENDOCRINE SYSTEM The endocrine system can best be described as a meta-faculty, because the real job of the endocrine glands, working together as a whole, is to unite and integrate all the major faculties and organ systems of the body into one seamless whole. These ductless glands secrete their hormones directly into the bloodstream, utilizing the Vital Faculty's circulatory network to penetrate throughout the organism and reach any target, local or distant. Nevertheless, some endocrine glands pertain more to a single faculty or organ system, whereas others interface between multiple systems, and are multifaceted in their functions. As a whole, the function of the endocrine system is to integrate the response of the whole organism to its environment, from short term nervous and immunological responses to long term growth and developmental changes.
  • 130. A precise knowledge of the endocrine glands, their secretions and how they function is a comparatively recent discovery of modern medicine. Nevertheless, the precepts of Greek Medicine can be applied to approach the endocrine glands and their physiology from a traditional holistic perspective. The Endocrine Glands and the Radical Moisture According to Greek Medicine, the basic stuff of the endocrine glands and their secretions is the Radical Moisture, also called the vital sap, marrow or essence of the organism. It could also be called the hormonal essence. Throughout the individual's lifetime, the Radical Moisture feeds and nourishes the organism on a deep and fundamental level, guiding it through the slow changes of growth, development and maturation. Its long slow decline through middle age and beyond is one of the central factors responsible for the aging process. Constitutionally, individual endowments of the Radical Moisture vary greatly, both in quantity and in quality. Gametes, genes and heredity are one aspect of the Radical Moisture, contributed equally by both parents and passed on from generation to generation. Like any other organ, tissue or part of the body, the endocrine system as a whole, or individual glands, may be stronger or weaker, larger or smaller, as endowed by hereditary or constitutional factors. After birth, the Radical Moisture, through the action of the Innate Heat of metabolism and the Vital Faculty, begins to unfold like the petals of a rose in the hot midday sun. What was potentially contained in seed form in one's inherited endowment of the Radical Moisture begins to manifest and be activated as the growth and developmental changes of youth, puberty and adolescence unfold. Imbecility, retardation and other growth and developmental disorders are due to either quantitative or qualitative defects or deficits in the Radical Moisture. In puberty and adolescence come the secondary sexual changes in both sexes. In men, the voice deepens, the penis enlarges, facial hair appears, and the muscles grow and develop. In women, pubic hair appears as the female genitals grow and develop; also, the hips widen, and the breasts grow and develop. These secondary sexual characteristics are due to the flowering and proliferation of the Radical Moisture, which now becomes plentiful enough to pass on through the reproductive process and the creation of offspring. After reaching the apex of a full flowering in young adulthood, the Radical Moisture begins to decline in middle age and beyond, as the very same Innate Heat of metabolism that caused its blossoming and proliferation now begins to consume it. Modern medicine confirms this fact, since there is a universal, global decline in all the endocrine hormones and secretions as we age. The Radical Moisture begins to dry up; accordingly, aging is essentially a drying out process, as the flesh begins to waste and atrophy and the skin starts to wrinkle and wither. Although a universal, gradual decline in the Radical Moisture is responsible for the aging process, this decline can be extended and made even more gradual if we treat our endocrine glands right to conserve our Radical Moisture. This includes sexual chastity and moderation, stress management, eating right, getting adequate sleep and rest, and generally living a balanced and well-regulated life. Certain herbs and tonics can be used to enhance or replenish the Radical Moisture to a limited extent, and are therefore useful in life extension and retarding the aging process, but most important are the dietary and lifestyle factors listed above. The Endocrine Glands and the Spinal Energy Centers, or Chakras To the classical Greek philosophers, physiologists and physicians, the ductless endocrine glands were indeed a mystery. But what the hermeticists and other esoteric philosophers noticed was that many, if not most of them, were located at or near certain subtle Spinal Energy Centers, or chakras: Koruphe (Crown Center) - Pineal Gland Enkephalos (Brow Center) - Pituitary / Hypothalamus Trachelos (Throat Center) - Thyroid Gland Phrenes (Heart Center) - Thymus Gland Gaster (Gastric Center / Solar Plexus) - Pancreas Gonades (Generative Center) - Gonads Hieron Osteon (Root Center) - Adrenals They then reasoned that the function of the associated endocrine gland must have something to do with the spiritual, psychological, psychosomatic and physiological functions attributed to the chakra, or energy center.
  • 131. Plato saw the Spinal Energy Centers, or chakras, as being the subtle organs of the Soul in establishing dominion over the mind and body. The Soul, said Plato, manifests in three forms, or exists at three different levels of expression. The highest level of Soul expression Plato termed Nous or Logos; the highest form of the Soul he called the Psyche, or Immortal Soul. The Psyche has its seat at theEnkephalos, or Brow Center; its associated endocrine gland is the Pituitary / Hypothalamus, which is the master gland of the endocrine system. The middle or intermediate level of Soul expression Plato termed Thymos; its middle level of Soul expression was what he called the Mortal Soul, which masterminded the body and its life expression through the Vital Faculty. Its seat is at the Phrenes, or Heart Center; its associated endocrine gland is the Thymus gland. The lowest and most primitive level of Soul expression Plato termed Epithymia, which has to do with our basic survival drives and instincts. This most primitive level has its seat at the Hieron Osteon, or Root Center; its associated endocrine glands are the Adrenals. When we look at things from the perspective of the body and its basic constitutional strength, stamina, resilience and resistance to disease, then the most important chakra is the Root Center, and the most important endocrine glands are the Adrenals. The Adrenals form the basic energetic support or foundation for the entire organism. The Spinal Energy Centers or chakras, the ancient philosophers and physicians recognized, were places where the Radical Moisture, the vital sap of the organism, or the hormonal essence, was especially abundant. Wherever there were large concentrations of this vital essence, this Radical Moisture, there was also a high level or concentration of psychic or spiritual energy. As physical manifestations of this abundant Radical Moisture at the chakras, there was often an abundance of hair on the body, as in the head hair over the Crown Center. Also, pubic hair and the appearance of the secondary sexual changes of puberty and adolescence that were mentioned earlier center around the Spinal Energy Centers, or chakras. For more information on Greek Medicine and the chakras, please read my Greek Chakras page under Basic Principles. The Endocrine Glands Each endocrine gland is involved with regulating certain physiological functions through one or more of the Four Faculties, and through various organ systems of the body. The functions of the various endocrine glands can often be seen in their anatomical form, structure, or location in the body; in Nature, form follows function. The nature and temperament of an endocrine gland and its hormonal secretions can also be analyzed according to the traditional physiological principles of Greek Medicine. Each endocrine gland, and each hormone has its own nature and temperament. What follows is a description of the various endocrine glands, from head to toe, according to Greek Medicine: Pineal Gland The Pineal gland, or body, has been, and continues to be, the most mysterious of the endocrine glands, although a lot more is known about it now. Its main known secretion ismelatonin, which plays an important part in regulating our sleep / wake cycles, and in enhancing the restorative nature of sleep and dreams. Melatonin is closely related to serotonin, which supports our mood levels and fights depression. If serotonin levels are low, so will be melatonin, usually. Melatonin production increases during the dark hours of the day to bring on drowsiness and sleep. This sedative action makes melatonin's effect predominantly Phlegmatic. Increasing levels of darkness are transmitted from the eyes to the Hypothalamus, and from there to the superior cervical ganglia of the Sympathetic Nervous System, which then stimulate the Pineal gland to secrete melatonin. The Pineal gland is located behind the two cerebral hemispheres, behind and slightly superior to the Hypothalamus, which lies underneath the brain at the center of the cranial cavity. In yogic philosophy, this is the approximate location of the Bindu chakra, which has a lunar nature and influence, and a restorative, anabolic effect. Pituitary / Hypothalamus
  • 132. In the center of the cranial cavity, right in the middle of the underbelly of the brain sit the Pituitary and Hypothalamus. This location puts it right behind the Brow Center, or Third Eye chakra, which Plato considered to be the seat of the Psyche, or Immortal Soul. In ancient times, the exact function of the Pituitary / Hypothalamus complex was unclear; many classical physicians felt that the Pituitary, sitting between the brain and the interior nasal cavity, might be a receptacle and escape valve for excess phlegm from the brain, which allowed it to flow down into the nose and pharynx as nasal discharge, catarrh and post nasal drip. But now, we know that the Pituitary and its control module, the Hypothalamus, are the two master glands of the endocrine system, which regulate and control the activity of all the other glands. And so, directly or indirectly, there is no faculty or organ system that the Pituitary and Hypothalamus do not affect in some way. Just as Plato's Psyche, or Immortal Soul controls and directs the mind and body as its vehicles for expression, so do these two master glands control the whole endocrine system, and through it the whole bodymind complex. The Pituitary gland secretes eight different hormones, with a wide variety of different target organs and effects, and hence a wide array of differing natures and temperaments. But overall, the general character and influence of the Pituitary is anabolic and nutrient enriching, energy conserving and growth promoting. These attributes, plus the Pituitary's proximity to the brain, a Phlegmatic organ, tip the scales to make its overall nature and temperament Phlegmatic. However, the natures and effects of the individual hormones released by the Pituitary are as follows: Human Growth Hormone (HGH): Sanguine - anabolic, nutrient enriching, growth promoting. Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH): Choleric - stimulates the production and release of Thyroid hormones, which raise the basal metabolic rate, increasing both the Innate Heat of the Vital Faculty and the Metabolic Heat of the Natural Faculty. Adrenocorticotropic Hormone (ACTH): Sanguine - stimulates the release of adrenocortical hormones, principally the glucocorticoids, enriching the nutrient content of the blood and its caloric potential. Prolactin: Phlegmatic - stimulates the production of milk, a white, Phlegmatic exudate and anabolic, nutrient dense food in the breasts of nursing mothers. Lutenizing Hormone (LH) and Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH): Phlegmatic / Sanguine - control the female reproductive cycle and ovulation, which make conception, pregnancy and motherhood possible; tied in with the monthly lunar cycle. Antidiuretic Hormone (ADH): Phlegmatic - conserves water and clear Phlegmatic fluids in the organism by preventing their excessive or undue release by the kidneys. Oxytocin: Melancholic / Phlegmatic - its Nervous/Melancholic effect is to stimulate uterine contractions in labor, expelling the foetus; its Phlegmatic function is to stimulate the secretion of milk in lactation. If one looks at the Pituitary gland from an astrological perspective, it seems to be quite like a central Sun, controlling its various target organs and glands, which are like its orbiting planets, through its various hormonal secretions. Psychosomatically, a mental attitude of confidence, calm and poise is most conducive to the balanced, harmonious functioning of the Pituitary. Thyroid The Thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland that straddles the Adam's apple in the hollow of the throat. It is the endocrine gland associated with the Throat Center or chakra, and is psychosomatically connected with issues involving speech, communication, and speaking one's truth. Physiologically, the Thyroid is like the master thermostat of the organism. It sets the Innate Heat of the Vital Faculty through the basal metabolic rate, which is the basic speed and heat level of cellular metabolism. This also determines how quickly carbohydrates and calories are burned for energy. In terms of the Natural Faculty, the Thyroid also controls and sets the rate of liver metabolism, or its Metabolic Heat, which concocts all the humors. If Thyroid output is low, the liver will get slow and sluggish, toxins will accumulate, and bile production and metabolism will suffer, leading to constipation and a sluggish digestion and bowels. Metabolically, the basic influence of the Thyroid and its hormone, Thyroxin, is hot, catabolic and Choleric. The more Thyroxin released, the hotter and faster the metabolic rate and the burning of calories for energy; conversely, the lower the Thyroid output, the lower or slower the metabolic rate, and the colder the body. The ideal is to have the Thyroid thermostat set just right. Hypothyroidism, or low Thyroid output, is distinguished by several outward signs:myxedema water retention with puffiness of the skin, facial edema and deep, sunken eyes. Hypothyroidism is basically a Phlegmatic condition, with a low Innate and Metabolic Heat, hypofunctioning kidneys and
  • 133. a consequent retention of bodily fluids. But it is also a condition of poor elimination and liver function, with toxic buildup and obstinate constipation. Hypothyroidism is quite common and widespread, and many people have borderline low Thyroid output. Thyroid function can also be compromised or injured by heavy metals, radioactivity and environmental toxins. Hyperthyroidism, or high Thyroid output, is distinguished by exopthalmia - large, protruding "bug eyes". Excessive Thyroid hormone floods the body and ratchets up the metabolism into overdrive. To the extent that Hyperthyroidism is a hot, hypermetabolic state, it could be called a Choleric condition, but it's not that simple. More importantly, Hyperthyroidism is an aesthenic Nervous/Melancholic condition, with high nervous stress and tension, a thin furtive nervous sweat, insomnia and a rapid consumption or wasting away of the Radical Moisture and the bodily tissues. It isn't as common and prevalent as Hypothyroidism, but it's quite a problem when it does occur. The Melancholic character of the Thyroid is underscored by the fact that it is often metabolically challenged in those of a Melancholic temperament. Psychosomatically, the Thyroid is also associated with rigid, dogmatic attitudes and reclusive, misanthropic tendencies. Parathyroids The Parathyroid glands are four little buttons that sit on the backside of the Thyroid. They secrete Parathyroid hormone, which helps regulate calcium metabolism. When blood calcium levels fall too low, Parathyroid hormone is released, which takes calcium out of the bones and puts it back into the blood. When blood calcium levels get too high, Calcitoninis secreted by the parafollicular cells of the Thyroid to take calcium out of the blood and put it back into the bones, which act as a calcium bank, or reservoir, for the whole organism. Together, the Thyroid and Parathyroid glands regulate calcium metabolism. This fact strengthens their overall Melancholic nature and temperament, since calcium is one of the Earth minerals whose metabolism is traditionally associated with black bile. Thymus Plato believed that the Heart Center, or chakra, was the seat of the Mortal Soul, which he called Thymos. Moved by strong sentiments, passions and emotions, the Mortal Soul is all fight and desire, expressing itself as the will to live. In Greek Medicine, this Thymos that fights for our will to live is also the immune force of the organism, and the essence of the Vital Faculty. The Thymos powers the immune response. Psychosomatically, positive, noble, uplifting thoughts and emotions that strengthen the heart and its Vital Spirits also strengthen the Thymus gland, and with it the Thymos and the immune response. Conversely, negative, ignoble, degrading or constrictive thoughts and emotions that weaken the heart and its Vital Spirits also weaken the Thymus gland, as well as the Thymos and immune response. Above all, a spiritual attitude of Self love and self acceptance is important for the healthy, optimum functioning of the Thymus gland. Since the Thymus gland, and hence immunity, thrive with a hopeful, positive, optimistic attitude, the Thymus gland is Sanguine in nature. In keeping with its Sanguine character, the Thymus gland is usually big throughout the Sanguine growing years of childhood and youth, and then shrinks and atrophies in adulthood and beyond, for reasons that aren't entirely clear. Pancreas The Pancreas, sitting right underneath the stomach and behind the navel, is the endocrine gland associated with the Gastric Center, or Solar Plexus. This chakra is the seat of what Plato called the Appetitive Soul, whose chief concern is to make sure that the body gets fed. And so, the chief endocrine function of the Pancreas is to regulate the blood levels of glucose, the main carbohydrate food and energy currency of the organism. Since the Natural Faculty's job is to feed the organism, the Pancreas, in both its digestive and endocrine functions, pertains most centrally and directly to the Natural Faculty, and works closely with the liver, its principal organ, to regulate blood sugar levels. But since glucose, or blood sugar, is the main caloric fuel for cellular metabolism as well, the Pancreas also interfaces with the Vital Faculty. The Pancreas regulates blood sugar through two important hormones that work on the blood in opposite yet complementary ways to maintain a balance, or homeostasis: Insulin, whose effect on blood sugar is catabolic, or consuming, and Melancholic, or depleting. When blood sugar levels get too high, insulin is released by the Pancreas, which facilitates
  • 134. the uptake or absorption of blood sugar by the cells to be burned for energy. Glucagon, whose effect on blood sugar is anabolic, enriching and therefore Sanguine. When blood sugar levels get too low, glucagon is released by the Pancreas, which signals to the liver to convert more glycogen into glucose and release it into the bloodstream, increasing the caloric potential and energy availability. Since blood sugar regulation is such an important and crucial concern for the health and wellbeing of the entire organism, many other organs and endocrine glands play secondary or supporting roles as backup mechanisms in this vital process. And so, blood sugar problems or imbalances, whether high, as in various types of diabetes, or low, as in hypoglycemia, seldom involve just pancreatic secretions of insulin and glucagon alone, but affect other organs and glands as well. The main ones are as follows: The liver acts as the main storage bank or reservoir for glucose, in the form of glycogen, for the whole organism. When blood sugar is too high, the liver converts the excess glucose into glycogen; when it is too low, glucagon signals to the liver to convert it back into glucose and release it into the bloodstream. If the liver is toxic or damaged, its capacity to balance or moderate blood sugar levels through the storage and release of glycogen may be reduced or compromised, which tends to destabilize or raise blood sugar levels. Diabetes usually involves insulin failure by the Pancreas. In type I diabetes, which is often congenital, the problem is usually a deficiency or lack of adequate insulin production. In type II diabetes, insulin is produced, but due to various factors, often linked to dietary abuse and consequent weight gain, insulin resistance develops, which makes insulin less effective in doing its job of increasing glucose uptake or absorption and utilization by the cells. In both types, the end result is the same: high blood sugar. Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, usually involves hyperinsulinism, or the secretion of too much insulin by the Pancreas. Usually, too many sweets are eaten, causing a blood sugar rush; the Pancreas then over-reacts, dumping too much insulin into the bloodstream, which leads to too much cellular uptake of glucose and a consequent plummeting of blood sugar to dangerously low levels. The blood sugar roller coaster ride of hypoglycemia often progresses, as it gets more chronic, into the insulin resistance that's usually responsible for type II diabetes. The Adrenal glands often jump into the act as heroic rescuers of blood sugar levels when they get dangerously low. Adrenaline can raise blood sugar levels over the short term as part of the "fight, fright, flight" response to stress, which in this case is blood sugar stress. If blood sugar instability due to stress gets too chronic, the adrenocortical hormones often kick in, particularly the glucocorticoids, which raise blood sugar levels. Adrenocortical hormone involvement is often a secondary contributing or aggravating factor in type II diabetes. According to Greek Medicine, the sweet taste is not only the most nourishing and anabolic, but it's also the most quickly assimilated and utilized. Eat a candy bar or down a little soda pop and your blood sugar levels are skyrocketing within minutes. The excessive consumption of sweets and sugar is like pouring gasoline on the body's metabolic fire; it flares up suddenly, but then quickly dies out. Therefore, it behooves us to use the complex carbohydrates of whole grains, tubers and root vegetables as our main energy source, since they are burned or metabolized in a stable, balanced manner by the organism. Adrenal Glands Sitting as caps or crowns on top of each kidney are the Adrenal glands. Their core function is to act as energetic supports to enhance several important physiological functions, and help the organism fight fatigue and cope with the demands of stress. Functionally, the Adrenal glands are closely linked to the Root Center, or chakra, which is the basic energy support and reservoir for the entire organism. The basic temperament of the Adrenal glands is Hot or heating, to stimulate and energize several key physiological and metabolic functions, and to help the organism meet and adapt to the demands of stress. In this, the Adrenal glands are divided into two parts: a Medulla and a Cortex. The Adrenal Medulla is Choleric and catabolic in its influence, and mobilizes the organism to meet the short term demands of acute stress through the adrenaline "fight, fright, flight" response. Blood sugar rises, heart rate increases, peripheral circulation increases, muscle tone and tension increases, as does mental alertness and stimulation. The Adrenal Cortex is Sanguine and anabolic in its effects, enriching the blood with extra minerals and glucose to help the organism meet the energetic and nutritive demands of chronic, habitual or long term stress. The adrenocortical hormones, besides enriching the blood, also
  • 135. decrease swelling and inflammation; their anabolic action speeds healing and regeneration. The Adrenal glands are strategically designed and placed by Nature's Creator to play an important and central role in stimulating and enhancing the functioning of all four faculties: Vital, Natural, Psychic and Generative. For the Vital Faculty, the Adrenals lie right underneath the diaphragm, the breathing muscle and floor of the thoracic cavity on which the heart and lungs sit, to support and energize both these organs. The Adrenals enhance respiration and lung function and deepen inhalation; Adrenal insufficiency is often involved in many cases of chronic or congenital asthma or bronchitis. Adrenaline is a powerful stimulant to the heartbeat. And the adrenaline short term response to stress enhances and supports the Vital immune response. For the Natural Faculty, the Adrenals sit right on top of each kidney, and enhance and support kidney function and urine metabolism and production; the kidneys are only as strong and resilient as the Adrenal glands that support them. Lying right behind the Pancreas, the Adrenal glands, through their hormones, support the Pancreas in regulating blood sugar levels, as we have seen. For the Psychic Faculty, the Adrenals and the kidneys sit right astride the spinal column, which is the central conduit and nexus of the nervous system. Adrenalinestimulates mental alertness and enhances the functioning of the Sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system, which is adrenergic, or adrenaline dependent. Theadrenocortical hormones favor the vegetative, anabolic functioning of theParasympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system. The health and balance of the Adrenals and the nervous system are closely linked. For the Generative Faculty, particularly in the male, the Adrenal glands provide vital energetic support for male sexual function and response. The Adrenals also support healthy urinary function, which is closely linked with the sexual and reproductive functioning of the male reproductive system. If you take good care of your Adrenal glands, they'll take good care of you. This is done mainly by stress reduction, and living a balanced, well-regulated lifestyle and mental/emotional life. If you don't take care of your Adrenal glands, various syndromes of imbalance or dysfunction could develop: Adrenal exhaustion is the most common and generalized of these syndromes. It is usually caused by chronic or recurring flareups of Choleric anger and temper, extreme stress or shock, chronic exhaustion and fatigue, or irregular dietary and lifestyle habits that put your Adrenals on a wild roller coaster ride. The chief signs and symptoms are extreme exhaustion and fatigue, moodiness and irritability, pain and/or weakness in the lower back, loins and knees, urinary debility, cold hands and feet, and impotence and declining virility in men. Sexual overindulgence can also exhaust the kidneys and Adrenals. If chronic stress is unresolved, the Adrenal Cortex may compensate by producing too much cortisol, which has a Sanguine effect of pumping too much sugar and other nutrients into the blood. This is Cushing's syndrome, which is characterized by weight gain in the paunch, buttox and loins, glucose intolerance and rising blood sugar levels, elevated blood pressure, osteoporosis, possible kidney stones, menstrual irregularity in women, and chronic emotional stress and irritability. A moon face and buffalo hump on the back of the neck are also common. Many middle aged women, and men as well, with a weight problem, hypertension and/or type II diabetes are suffering from this syndrome. Conversely, Addison's Disease is a nervous/aesthenic Melancholic condition caused by a deficient output of adrenocortical hormones. It's characterized by copious, dilute urine, with consequent fluid loss and dehydration. There can also be hypoglycemia caused by a hypersensitivity to insulin. There will be weakness, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, and diarrhea, as well as an intolerance for cold weather, and rheumatic and muscular aches and pains. Recovery from stress, injury and infection will also be compromised. The complexion tends to be dark and swarthy, with blackish freckles and blue-black discolorations around the nipples, mouth, rectum, scrotum in males, and vagina in females. Gonads The gonads are the endocrine glands that produce the hormones responsible for the secondary sexual changes of puberty and adolescence, as well as the reproductive seed in both sexes. They also secrete hormones which, in conjunction with those of the pituitary, regulate the female reproductive cycle. The gonads in men are the Testes, which secrete testosterone. The female gonads are the Ovaries, which secrete estrogen and progesterone. The gonads are functionally associated with the Generative Center, or chakra, called Gonades in Greek. The gonads are located near the
  • 136. Root Center at the base of the spine. The full flowering of the Radical Moisture that takes place at puberty and adolescence in both sexes manifests secondary sexual changes in both men and women. Through procreation, the genes and seed of both parents, as well as the quintessence of their Radical Moisture, are passed on to the offspring. The gonads are unique among endocrine glands in that they're not absolutely necessary for the day-to-day functioning of the organism, but are necessary only for procreation. And procreation isn't something that must continuously occur, but only at certain special times and reproductive phases of the overall life cycle. And so, the gonads remain dormant and undeveloped during childhood and youth, only to be awakened at puberty by hormonal signals from the Pituitary, the master gland of the endocrine system. In spiritual and esoteric physiology, the Root and Generative centers are very closely linked, as are the Brow and Crown centers in the head and cranium. Physically, this linkage can be seen in the fact that the Adrenal glands produce small, supplementary amounts of the sexual hormones estrogen and testosterone. The gonads and their functions will be covered in the following pages on the male and female reproductive systems, since they are the principal organs of the Generative faculty. THE MALE REPRODUCTIVE SYSTEM The Generative Faculty or reproductive system in the male is closely intertwined with the urinary system, both functionally and anatomically. So close is this relationship that the male reproductive system is often referred to jointly as the genitourinary tract. The male gonads, or testes are the principal organs of the reproductive system in the male. They produce the male reproductive seed, calledsemen, or sperm. The subsidiary organs and attendant vessels of the male reproductive system - the epididymus, vas deferens, seminal vesicles, prostate, urethra and penis - all serve to channel and condition the sperm on its ejaculatory journey into the female womb. Male reproductive health and optimal sexual functioning depend on the balanced, harmonious
  • 137. interworking of multiple faculties and organ systems. Because the male reproductive system is so closely linked with the urinary tract, urinary health is important for optimum sexual health in the male. But other organ systems also play a major role: the heart, circulation and Vital Faculty; and the Psychic Faculty, particularly the balanced, harmonious functioning of the Sympathetic and Parasympathetic branches of the autonomic nervous system. In short, a man is sexually healthy when his overall health is functioning optimally. With its holistic approach to integrating the health and functioning of the entire organism, Greek Medicine is eminently suited to helping the male achieve optimum sexual health and performance. The Urinary System and Male Sexual Health Since the urinary tract and reproductive systems are so closely intertwined in the male, the condition of the kidneys, Adrenals and urinary tract impacts greatly on male sexual function, and viceversa. The two cannot be separated. The overall level of sexual virility, stamina and performance in the male is only as good as the strength and resilience of the kidneys and Adrenal glands that sit on top of them. Actually, the bottom line is the strength and resilience of the Adrenals, which not only control the health and vitality of the kidneys and urinary function, but are also vital to the overall vitality, tone and balance of the heart and circulatory system, as well as that of the autonomic nervous system, which are both crucial to optimum sexual performance in the male. No man can enjoy optimum sexual performance and stamina if his Adrenal glands are weak and exhausted. The Adrenal glands are involved in the adrenaline "fight, fright, flight" response to stress and physical challenge and exertion. Closely related to this is the stimulation of sexual arousal, and erectile function. How strongly and intensely a man can attain and maintain this state of arousal and erection, and how much pleasure and performance he can give his partner, all depend on the strength and vitality of his Adrenals. Anatomically, the urinary and male reproductive tracts converge at the Prostate gland, and they are fully fused at the urethra, which serves as the channel for both urination and ejaculation. The condition of the bladder, which sits right on top of the Prostate, has a major impact on the health and functioning of the latter, and vice versa. Psychosomatically, the issues and emotions that impact negatively on urinary function also tend to have a similar depressive or disruptive effect on male sexual function as well. Melancholically, the main ones are anxiety, insecurity, emotional inhibition and nervous stress. Cholerically, anger, frustration and resentment are the main issues. Phlegmatically, issues with excessive passivity, docility or resignation, as well as plain lethargy, can depress or dull the male sexual response, although these aren't as problematic. Physically, the urinary, adrenal and male reproductive systems can all be depleted or exhausted by exertion beyond one's capacity or conditioning. Conditions of both adrenal/urinary and male sexual exhaustion share many signs and symptoms in common: pain and/or weakness in the knees, loins and lower back; tinnitus, or ringing in the ears; nocturia, or getting up at night to urinate; urinary dribbling and debility; cold hands and feet; and extreme fatigue, or prostration. In short, any adverse condition, imbalance or dysfunction of the urinary tract will have an adverse effect on male sexual health and reproductive function. Because the kidneys, adrenals and urinary tract play such a central and important role in the physiology and metabolism of the entire organism, other faculties and organ systems are also bound to be affected. The main urinary conditions, or syndromes, and their impact on the male reproductive system, by temperament, are as follows: Sanguine: Chronic or recurring urinary tract infections can rob both the urinary and male reproductive systems of the vitality and immunity they need for optimum functioning. Catarrh of the delicate genitourinary mucosa can lead to sexual irritability and hypersensitivity. Uremia and gout, caused by uric acid diathesis, or a buildup of uric acid in the body and the genitourinary tract, can cause or aggravate inflammation of the genitourinary mucosa, as uric acid is a caustic irritant. Diabetes, which weakens both the kidneys and adrenals as well as circulatory tone and vascular dynamics, is often associated with impotence and erectile dysfunction. Choleric: Urethritis, or inflammation of the urethra, can produce irritability and hypersensitivity during the sexual act. Prostatitis can cause both painful and urgent urination as well as painful ejaculation on intercourse. These conditions are often caused or aggravated by sexual frustrations, anger or resentment towards one's mate or partner. Sexual erythrism is a condition in which the genitourinary mucosa become irritable and inflamed by excessive sexual activity, passion or desire. Melancholic: Excessive nervous tension, stress and anxiety can interfere with proper urinary and
  • 138. male sexual function. Aesthenic, burned-out states caused by chronic physical exertion, overwork, or excessive sexual activity can deplete both the vital function and Radical Moisture of the kidneys, adrenals and male genitourinary tract. Phlegmatic: A cold, weak deficient urinary metabolism will allow excess phlegm and dampness to accumulate in the pelvic organs and urinary tract, making the tone of the sexual organs and their musculature too lax and weak, impairing sexual stamina and ejaculation control. Mucous cystitis, or congestion of the bladder mucosa with excess phlegm, can make the bladder too sensitive and irritable, interfering with sexual performance. The Male Gonads, or Testes The principal generative organs in the male are the male gonads, or testes. They produce the sperm or semen, which is the procreative seed of the male. In the sperm, or semen, is the essence of the male parent, all his genetic traits and information. Being the distilled essence of the male parent, the sperm is so refined and potent as to be capable of activating and catalyzing the germination of a new life. In Greek Medicine, the sperm is seen as being a further distillation or refinement of the Radical Moisture, which is in itself the concentrated essence of the Natural Faculty and its Four Humors. Thus, the fertility of the male, and the reproductive viability of his sperm, are ultimately dependent on the quality and quantity of his Radical Moisture. Whatever nourishes, replenishes, enhances, protects or conserves this Radical Moisture benefits male fertility. For spermatogenesis or sperm production to happen, the testes must be kept at a temperature that is slightly lower than body temperature. This is because the male sperm is slightly colder in temperament than the female ovum, or egg, which is generated inside the body. And so, slightly before birth, the testicles of the male offspring, which originally occupied a position analogous to those of the ovaries, descend into the scrotum, which is a pouch outside the body, in the groin. In the ejaculation of semen, or the spreading of his seed in the procreative process, the male is, by Nature, very prolific and generous. Although only one spermatocyte gets to fertilize the female egg, enough spermatozoa are released in the average ejaculation to create millions of new lives, if each one were to find and fertilize its own egg. In Greco-Roman mythology, this incredibly prolific generosity of the male procreative principle is symbolized by Zeus or Jupiter, the father of the gods. His amorous liaisons, and the offspring that issued from them, were many and legion. Taking biology as natural philosophy, it could be argued that the prolific generosity of the male in procreation, which is there to ensure the propagation and continuation of the species, naturally inclines him towards promiscuity and polygamy. The female principle, on the other hand, is more naturally inclined towards fidelity and exclusivity, since she produces her ova one by one and must nurture and grow the fertilized egg in her womb, and nurse and raise the resulting offspring. But this is a matter of philosophical speculation, and is heavily influenced by one's personal conscience and religious creed. Sexual Moderation and the Radical Moisture Since the sperm is made from the Radical Moisture, and millions of sperm are released with each ejaculation, it follows that ejaculation depletes a considerable portion of a man's Radical Moisture. A man loses the most Radical Moisture in ejaculation, whereas the woman loses it not in the sexual act, but in gestation, nursing and childbirth. To prevent the undue wasting of a man's seed, most of the world's traditional cultures and religions have created moral and ethical codes of conduct that favor the stability, exclusivity and commitment of family life. This wasting of a man's seed includes not only excessive or indiscriminate sexual relations, but masturbation as well. Moral, ethical and religious codes aside, each man must arrive at a sensible sexual economy that takes into account his personal constitutional nature and temperament, as well as his character and personality. The goal is to lead a happy, healthy, productive and fulfilling life. To achieve moderation, each man must listen to his own body. Due to individual constitutional differences, some men are endowed with a much greater sexual capacity and quantity of the Radical Moisture than others. So, what may be excessive sexual activity for some may be within the bounds of moderation for others. Since the Radical Moisture tends to dwindle in middle age and beyond, most men need to be more judicious about their sexual relations as they age, and cut back on their ejaculatory sexual activity to
  • 139. conserve their Radical Moisture in the interests of maintaining their health and longevity. Sexual relations may still be enjoyed while conserving the Radical Moisture by learning Tantric sexual techniques of ejaculation control. Sexual virility and fertility are basically warm, moist and Sanguine in nature. It therefore follows that the net effect of ejaculation, which drains or depletes the male of a considerable portion of this procreative endowment or potential, must be of the contrary Melancholic temperament, which is Cold and Dry. After the climax of ejaculation, the male loses energy and goes off to sleep; this energy loss shows a cooling influence. Energetically, the semen contains a considerable portion of the Innate Heat and Vital Force. And because ejaculation also depletes a considerable portion of a man's Radical Moisture, it is also drying. The chief signs and symptoms of excessive sexual activity and ejaculation in the male are: listlessness, fatigue, prostration; pain and/or weakness in the low back, loins and knees; urinary weakness and debility; tinnitus, or ringing in the ears; and nervous agitation and insomnia. Since the brain and nervous tissue are heavily dependent on an adequate supply of the Radical Moisture, extreme or persistent sexual excesses are traditionally said to result in nervous disorders like mental disturbances, depravity or imbecility. The unbalancing, Melancholic effect of ejaculation is increased or aggravated in masturbation, because the man deprives himself of the subtle moistening, grounding, Yin influence of a female partner. Greek Medicine also warns against the dangers of excessive sexual denial and total abstinence, for both men and women. The denial of the natural urge for sexual expression, release and discharge allows morbid, prurient warm, moist Sanguine vapors to build up in the reproductive organs and pelvic area, which can then even rise to agitate and disturb the mind. This stagnation and congestion of Sanguine life essence is damaging to body, mind and spirit. Before committing to a celibate lifestyle, one should look within and ask oneself if one is truly suited, both psychically and physically, by one's constitutional nature and temperament, to such a life. Generally speaking, those of a Melancholic temperament are most suited to a celibate lifestyle, but simply being Melancholic by nature is no guarantee of success. Although sexual abstinence may be useful or even necessary at certain times in one's life, most notably childhood, very few people are truly suited to total, permanent celibacy. Most of us have something within us that needs to be complemented or fulfilled by a mate or life partner. Prostate After the testes, the Prostate is the most noble organ of the male reproductive system, because it secretes the prostatic fluid. The prostatic fluid gives spermatic fluid the right consistency and vitalizes the sperm as they are ejaculated, enhancing their ability to swim up the female womb to fertilize the egg. Overall, you could say that prostatic fluid has an Expulsive virtue and function. The Prostate gland is soft and moist. Its blood supply is poor, and its overall level of metabolic activity is low. These factors, plus the lubricating, Expulsive virtue and function of its main product, prostatic fluid, gives the Prostate gland a Phlegmatic temperament. The Prostate gland is also sensitively placed at the critical junction of the urinary tract and the male reproductive system, where the seminal tubules enter into the urethra, right below the bladder. This makes the health and condition of the Prostate important for optimal urinary and sexual function in the male. The Prostate gland acts as a kind of switching valve to close off the urinary flow and allow the semen to pass in the ejaculatory climax of orgasm. Given its great functional importance in the male sexual response, plus its watery Phlegmatic nature and temperament, it's not surprising that the Prostate is a sensitive receptacle for sexual feelings in the male. Psychosomatically, emotional scars from traumatic, difficult or painful sexual relations and encounters are stored here, and can even eventually manifest as physical wounding and dysfunction. Prostatitis is an infection or inflammation of the Prostate. Its chief symptom is difficult or painful ejaculation. Infections and inflammatory conditions from adjacent urinary organs like the bladder or urethra can also spread to the Prostate. Prostate enlargement or Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy (BPH) is a common genitourinary disorder in mature or elderly males. Its key signs and symptoms are urinary - excessively frequent, urgent urination; urinary dribbling and debility; nocturia, or getting up at night to urinate; slow, difficult urination; and retention and incomplete voiding of urine. Paradoxically, the cause is Sanguine in nature - excessive growth or enlargement of the Prostate caused by a localized buildup of heat and dampness - but the effect on the urinary passages is a Melancholic one of constriction, narrowing and
  • 140. stenosis. The cause of BPH is usually dietary - too many fatty, rich foods, and not enough fiber. Fortunately, there are many fine herbal medicines and remedies that will shrink the Prostate if it is enlarged. These are superior to conventional pharmaceutical drugs, which produce many debilitating side effects, often sexual. Also, many diuretic remedies to cleanse and soothe the urinary passages in urinary tract infections will also have a beneficial, remedial effect in prostatitis. Urethra Since the male has a much longer urethra than the female, it's quite vulnerable to infection and inflammation, which is urethritis. Besides being vulnerable to exogenous pathogenic microbial infections, the male urethra is psychosomatically vulnerable to chronic irritation and inflammation from sexual anger, rage, resentment or frustration with one's mate or partner. This is because the urethra and the surrounding penis is where the male plugs into the female. Penis The penis is the main erectile organ of the male, which allows for penetration into the female during the sexual act. The corpus cavernosum, or cavernous body, lies inside the shaft of the penis. It is like an expanding sponge honeycombed with numerous capillaries, which fill or engorge with blood during male arousal, enlarging the penis and stiffening the male member. Since the corpus cavernosum is honeycombed with numerous capillaries, the power and efficacy of a man's erection, which is basically a Sanguine process of blood engorgement, is dependent on the overall health and vitality of the man's peripheral and capillary circulation. The peripheral circulation diverts blood towards the periphery, chiefly the five main limbs: the head, the two arms, and the two legs. The male has an extra, albeit smaller, limb - his penis. The shunting of blood towards the periphery, including the penis, during the heat of sexual excitation and arousal, is mediated by the Adrenal glands and the adrenaline response. Besides its circulatory component, the adrenal mediated male sexual response has its Psychic or nervous dimension of arousal and stimulation of the Sympathetic nervous system. This Sympathetic arousal can become too brief and constricting if not accompanied by a complementary toned and balanced arousal of the Parasympathetic nervous system, which allows for sustained arousal and capillary dilation, and continued Sanguine engorgement of the penis with blood. Sustained arousal and erection depend on a healthy tone and balance of the Sympathetic and Parasympathetic halves of the autonomic nervous system. In men of an overly Phlegmatic condition, or in those with a tendency towards diabetes, the delicate mucosa of the glans penis can become too moist, soft and tender, leading to mucosal erosion or rupture during the sexual act. This condition is called balanitis. Besides taking the appropriate dietary measures of reducing one's intake of sweets and phlegm-forming foods, bathing the glans penis in a concentrated infusion of Camomile once or twice daily is an effective remedy for this condition; lubricants can also solve the problem. The Psychic Dimension of the Male Sexual Response For men, the sexual response is just as much psychological as it is physical. The male sexual response will often be dulled or weakened if boredom or lack of sexual interest or inspiration with one's partner set in. Something is needed to rekindle the erotic interest. In diagnosing impotence, the physician must distinguish between primary impotence, which is due to physical or organic disorder or dysfunction, and secondary impotence, which is mainly psychological or psychosomatic in origin. Primary and secondary impotence need not be mutually exclusive, as minor physical defects, dysfunctions or shortcomings can be complicated or aggravated by secondary psychological or psychosomatic factors, making the problem much worse than it actually needs to be. The main psychological factors that can depress or disrupt normal healthy male sexual response are fears, anxieties, nervous tension and stress, insecurities and inhibitions. These are often connected with the sexual act itself, as in performance anxiety. Sometimes a man may, for various reasons and complexes, find his mate or partner threatening or intimidating. While the physical aspect of the man's sexual function and response can often be strengthened or enhanced as well, the main focus or mode of treatment for secondary impotence must be spiritual and psychological. Getting the man to relax and unwind, through things like a massage or a warm bath, is always beneficial. So is exploring one's senses and sensuality through long, leisurely, extended foreplay; get out of your head and reconnect with your body. In short, whatever gets the man to
  • 141. relax and drop or go beyond his fears, anxieties and inhibitions will bring relief. Energetically, fears and inhibitions, stresses and anxieties, will impede the free flow of the Vital Force, and with it the circulation of blood, to the lower Root and Generative centers, or chakras. The simplest remedial measure when you find this happening is to breathe deeply, way down into the abdomen, pelvis and groin; this has an immediate calming effect, and is often sufficient to restore normal sexual function and response. Yogic breathing, meditation and visualization practices are often very helpful in cultivating male sexual energy and potency, and in overcoming psychological obstacles to healthy, happy, fulfilling sexual relations. Conclusion: Sex and the Whole Man It's undeniable that a passionate, fulfilling sex life is vitally important to a man's overall health, happiness and zest for life. But still, it's only a part of the whole picture, as disorder and dysfunction in other areas of a man's health can be a source of just as much pain and suffering. Health and happiness are incomplete if any part of the picture is dysfunctional or defective. Traditional holistic healing systems like Greek Medicine excel at restoring normal, healthy sexual function and response to a man's body through natural means of treatment, and have a well-deserved reputation for doing so. Herbal tonics like Ginseng have a legendary fame and mystique for their remarkable ability to restore and enhance a man's sexual potency. Although there is nothing wrong with specialization, there are some practitioners who exploit this reputation, giving herbal tonics to treat male impotence and sexual dysfunction only, while resorting to conventional allopathic treatments for all other maladies and afflictions. This one-sided exploitation not only cheapens the intrinsic value and worth of Greek Medicine, but also betrays a lack of faith and conviction in the natural holistic healing principles upon which the traditional medical system was founded. Even herbal sexual tonics need to be administered according to the traditional constitutional precepts of Greek Medicine, and not hawked to all and sundry like online Viagra. THE FEMALE REPRODUCTIVE SYSTEM On the female falls the major part of the reproductive process; in fact, this is the way it is in most species. The male merely fertilizes the female egg, or ovum, with his sperm to conceive or germinate a new life. The female must grow and develop that new life; birth it, or bring it into the world; and then wean and nurture the newborn until he/she is able to take care of him/her-self. Accordingly, the male reproductive system is a relatively simple affair focused solely on impregnating the woman. The female reproductive system, on the other hand, is much more complex, and, besides the ovaries, or female gonads, which produce the female procreative seed, contains some other important auxiliary organs as well. These are chiefly the womb or uterus, and the female breasts. In the reproductive process, the masculine principle is what initiates, germinates and conceives a new life, but the female principle is that which nurtures and grows the new life, bringing it into full fruition, manifestation and embodiment. That's because the masculine pole of creation is the Spirit, which quickens the flesh, whereas the feminine pole is that of matter, the flesh, and the body. The Female Gonads, or Ovaries
  • 142. The female gonads are the ovaries; they produce the ovum, or egg. There are two ovaries, one on each side of the uterus. Every month, an ovum, or egg, is released from one of the two ovaries, which travels down the fallopian tubes to be fertilized. If fertilization does not occur, the egg is lost in the menstrual discharge. Like the male sperm, the female ovum, which contains her genetic information, is the ultra-refined essence of her Radical Moisture. But unlike the male, who loses a considerable portion of his essence with each ejaculation of millions of sperm, Nature has designed the female to be much more conservative of her vital essence in the reproductive process. The female usually loses only one egg during each menstrual cycle. Rather than at ovulation and conception, the woman loses most of her Radical Moisture in gestation and childbirth. In gestation, the menstrual blood that would have been lost in menstruation, and much more, goes to nurture and grow the embryo or foetus within the womb. A general comparison of the female body in relation to the male shows that she is more inherently moist than the male. In other words, her flesh is softer and more corpulent, with a greater percentage of adipose tissue, which is moist and Phlegmatic in temperament. Nature has designed a woman's body to be more anabolic and energy and nutrient conserving. It naturally follows, then, that a woman is endowed with a greater supply of the Radical Moisture than a man. A woman has no need to be judicious in her sexual activity to conserve her Radical Moisture, like men, but there may be other reasons - moral, ethical, hygienic and immunological - for her to do so. Women who have borne many children may wind up with the signs and symptoms of Radical Moisture depletion. Generally, their bones and/or teeth may become soft or brittle, or subject to osteoporosis. Again, this all depends on the constitutional endowment of the woman's Radical Moisture. The Female Menstrual Cycle Every month, a woman menstruates, or sheds blood to cleanse her womb. It is through the monthly menstrual cycle that a woman becomes fertile, and able to conceive. The length of the normal menstrual cycle is 28 days, or four weeks. This is the approximate length of the monthly cycle of lunar phases. Actually, it's the mean or average between the sidereal lunar
  • 143. cycle of 27 days and the synodic lunar cycle, or cycle of the lunar phases, which lasts about 29 days. Archetypally, the menstrual cycle is patterned after the changing phases of the Moon. It starts at the first day after menstruation stops with a growing phase of estrogen induced proliferation and the Sanguine engorgement of the uterus with blood. This two week growth period corresponds to the waxing of the Moon, which is initially Sanguine in temperament. Then, at the middle of the month, when the uterine lining is at its peak of fecundity, ovulation occurs, and the egg is released. This is the period of maximum fertility, which corresponds to the Full Moon. Just as the Moon stands directly opposite the Sun when she is full, ovulation is triggered by the release of Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) andLutenizing Hormone (LH) by the Pituitary, the central Sun and conductor gland of the endocrine system. FSH ripens the follicle to produce the egg, and LH transforms the follicle, after it has released the egg, into a corpus luteum, or yellow body, which producesprogesterone, which maintains the uterine lining in a fertile, receptive state. Progesterone dominates in the second half of the menstrual cycle, when the womb is awaiting implantation of the fertilized egg. The uterine lining remains thick, fertile and developed as both estrogen and progesterone are secreted, with the latter dominant. Similarly, the Moon retains most of her light for a full week past the Full Moon. This post ovulation phase of the menstrual cycle corresponds to the third lunar phase, which begins at the Full Moon, which has a Melancholic nature and temperament; similarly there is, in the uterus, the earthy focus on implantation and the retention of the fertilized egg. Then, usually in the final 3 to 5 days of the menstrual cycle, if implantation of a fertilized egg fails to happen, both estrogen and progesterone levels plummet. The uterine lining, which had been built and maintained by these hormones throughout the cycle, begins to self destruct, and the flow of menstrual blood begins. This phase corresponds to the Dark Moon, and the final waning away of the Moon's light, which happens at the end of the final lunar quarter. The final expulsion of the uterine lining reflects the Expulsive Virtue of the Phlegmatic temperament of the third lunar quarter. Although I have correlated the phases of the female reproductive cycle and their temperaments to those of the lunar phases, it must be remembered that not all women will begin their own personal menstrual cycle right at the New Moon, ovulate right at the Full Moon, and menstruate in the final phase of each lunar cycle. But women whose menstrual cycle is a regular 28 days will always begin and finish menstruating at certain points in the lunar cycle, and ovulate around a certain point which is roughly opposed to the points of menstruation; these personal set points will vary with each individual woman. Menstruation may be ugly, messy and inconvenient, and for the unfertilized egg, it's a tragic funeral and burial. But it clears the slate clean, and allows the reproductive fertility process, or cycle, to begin anew, with a new opportunity for fertilization, implantation and pregnancy. Humorally and metabolically, the monthly menstrual cycle is a great opportunity for the woman's body to clean house. The female body utilizes the uterus and vagina as eliminative organs to expel excessive, superfluous or morbid humors. The premenstrual period, between ovulation and menstruation, is when these humoral superluities build up, creating, according to their inherent nature and temperament, the signs and symptoms of PMS, or Premenstrual Syndrome, which can be differentiated into various types. The catharsis of menstruation finally brings relief as all the humoral superfluities are released. A woman who is completely healthy and totally in balance humorally and metabolically will not experience any undue signs or symptoms of premenstrual pain, distress or discomfort. But unfortunately, such harmony and balance is rarely seen nowadays, and some form of PMS is the norm. The astute physician of Greek Medicine will always ask a female patient about her monthly menstrual periods. The monthly period, like nothing else, is a revealing, informative window on the overall state of a woman's humors and metabolism. Like any bodily product, secretion or exudate, the menstrual discharge and its release are dependent on the ripening action of the Metabolic Heat of the liver. Normally, the cycle is 28 days in length, but excessive heat can speed up the menstrual cycle, whereas deficient metabolic heat can lengthen, slow down, or drag out the cycle. The liver metabolizes not only the Four Humors, but also steroid-based hormones like estrogen, which are fatty substances, through the bile. Unlike the conventional medical approach of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), the Greek physician prefers to work naturally with the woman's Natural Faculty by normalizing liver metabolism with herbal medicines. Then, the woman's own body will reestablish its own natural, inherent balance of hormones. In terms of Dry and Wet, the main vector or continuum is the volume of the menstrual flow. A
  • 144. copious menstrual flow is basically Wet in temperament, whereas a scanty or absent flow is basically Dry. I say basically here because there are many other factors that can alter the volume and consistency of a woman's menstrual discharge. Food and nourishment are moistening, whereas physical activity and exertion, as well as nutrient deficiency or depletion, are drying. Women who undergo fasting, or extreme physical exertion, such as marathon running, will often have missed periods, as will women who are anemic, or who are otherwise suffering from serious nutritional deficiencies. In Greek Medicine, premenstrual syndrome and menstrual disorders are differentiated into four basic types or patterns, according to the classical precepts of humor and temperament. Each woman, according to her constitutional nature and temperament, has a basic affinity or predisposition towards a certain type. However, acquired conditions and imbalances of humor and temperament can also be reflected in a woman's current premenstrual and gynecological signs and symptoms. The basic types of PMS are: Sanguine: Heavy or excessive menstrual bleeding; possible bleeding or spotting between periods. Symptoms of Sanguine plethora before periods: lassitude, heavy limbs, much yawning or sighing, headache, pressure behind the eyes. A certain type of anemia, or thin blood, caused by deficient residues of black bile in the bloodstream can also cause excessive or prolonged menstrual bleeding, which is usually of a bright or pale red color; since this is a deficiency condition, there will usually be fatigue and devitalization after the period. With a true excess of blood, a heavy menstrual period will not produce fatigue or devitalization, but rather relief. Phlegmatic: Considerable water retention before periods. Weeping, emotional hypersensitivity. Thin, watery menstrual discharge. Dull aching pains, bearing down feeling in sacrum and groin. Hypersensitivity to cold, vulnerability to chills. Periods can be longer than normal 28 days. Possible leucorrhea, white discharge. Choleric: Menstrual bleeding can be profuse with excess heat and choler in the blood. Anger, impatience, irritability. Blood clots with sharp, stabbing pains in pelvic area, which are relieved after clots are passed. Possible constipation from retention of excess heat and bile in the bowels, which is relieved with the period. Possible fibroids and uterine cysts. Periods can be shorter than the normal 28 days. Melancholic/Nervous: Severe spasms and abdominal cramping. Headaches, melancholy, mood swings. Appetite irregularities, food cravings. Thick menstrual flow of a dark color; can be scanty, or with clots. Menstrual periods can be irregular. Possible premenstrual constipation and irritable bowel. Just as all people, including women, can be of constitutionally mixed types, these four basic patterns or types of premenstrual syndrome can also be mixed. A woman's current premenstrual signs and symptoms can also reflect a mixture of aggravated or unbalanced humors in terms of acquired conditions. The Uterus, or Womb The female reproductive system has an additional noble organ besides the female gonads, or ovaries. It's the uterus, or womb, which is what makes a female distinctively a woman, or "wombman", and able to bear children. Greek Medicine sees the inherent temperament of the uterus as being warm, moist andSanguine. In fact, the uterus periodically sheds blood every month in the female menstrual cycle. Estrogen builds up the uterine lining and engorges it with blood, and progesterone maintains this proliferation and engorgement in a steady state until implantation, and throughout pregnancy, along with estrogen. Being Sanguine in temperament, the uterus was traditionally seen to be the seat of strong emotions and passions, and of sexual feelings in the female. Sexual abstinence wasn't considered to be healthy for a woman, because it allowed prurient warm, moist vapors to build up in her uterus, and then rise up to and perturb her brain. The Attractive Virtue of the uterus, which enables it to receive and hold onto the fertilized egg in implantation, comes from the richness of its blood supply. The uterus' blood supply, and its fertility and fecundity, are rooted, on a deeper and more fundamental level, in the Radical Moisture. The initial fertility and viability of the female egg comes from her endowment of the Radical Moisture, but the ability to receive the implanted fertilized egg and hold the pregnancy to term comes from the uterine blood supply and the strength of its Attractive virtue. Traditionally, the male sperm or semen was seen as the catalyst that germinated and sparked a new life. The uterus and its menstrual blood were seen as the passive medium, matrix or substrate
  • 145. that was worked on by the male semen, in much the same way that stomach enzymes from a cow curdle milk into cheese. And so, male sperm was seen to curdle the uterine blood into a little foetus, or embryo; the blood from what would have been subsequent menstrual flows then goes to feed its growth and development into the newborn. However, there were also those who recognized that the female played a more active role in parentage and heredity than merely providing the passive substrate for the germination of the foetus and the newborn. They recognized that the genetic traits of the mother were also passed on to the offspring, and therefore theorized the existence of a female gamete or ovum, even though its existence was less overt and obvious than that of the male sperm. Traditionally, the uterus was seen to be a mobile, or movable organ. The uterus can be retroverted, or tilted backwards; or it can be prolapsed, or sunken down, for example. The uterus was said to be attracted to pleasant, fragrant aromas and repelled by stinky, unpleasant ones. So, if the uterus was prolapsed, for example, it could be redrawn upwards by applying fragrant rose oil to the nostrils and a crushed clove of garlic or chunk of stinky Asafoetida resin into the vagina or groin. Because it must shed blood every month in the menstrual cycle, the uterus is very vulnerable to accumulations and congestions of stagnant blood. Stagnant blood clots, creating sharp, stabbing pains in the pelvic and uterine areas, which are relieved once the clots are passed in the menstrual discharge. Most herbs that activate and improve the circulation of blood also encourage the flow of suppressed menses. If stagnant blood becomes chronic, it can develop into gynecological cysts and tumors. The uterus is also very vulnerable to cold and chills, which can initiate or aggravate menstrual cramping. A woman should take care to avoid undue exposure to cold and chills during the premenstrual period, which also includes the consumption of ice cream and ice cold drinks. The Female Breasts The female breasts are for nursing the newborn, and secrete milk, which is concocted from the blood and phlegm humors by the breast. Lactation is triggered by labor and delivery in the new mother, so there is a close reflex relationship between the uterus and the female breasts. There's also a close relationship between the breasts and the stomach, as well as the liver, as these are all organs that feed and nourish the body. Toxicity and congestion of the liver will produce swollen, tender breasts. If this toxicity and congestion become chronic, fibrocystic breast disease, and even breast cancer, can develop. Black bile is the usual culprit, and women of a Melancholic temperament are more prone to developing these disorders. Astrologically, the breasts, as well as the stomach, are ruled by the Moon and the sign of Cancer; being a soft, moist mass of glandular and adipose tissue, the basic temperament of the breasts is Phlegmatic. Women of a Phlegmatic temperament tend to have the largest breasts, followed by those of a Sanguine temperament. A good, healthy balance of all four humors in the bloodstream makes for the best tasting, most wholesome milk in the nursing mother. Excess bile makes milk that is too thin, yellow and sharp in taste. Excess phlegm makes the milk very thick, white and sour in taste. Excess black bile will make the milk very thick, white and scanty in volume. A good, healthy supply of blood is necessary to produce an abundant flow of milk. Deficient blood is the most common cause of insufficient lactation, but bad temperament of the blood or an inability of the breasts to concoct the blood into milk due to an engorgement of the breasts with excessive blood can also cause this condition. Women of a moist Phlegmatic or Sanguine temperament generally have the most abundant lactation. Breast feeding is the natural, superior way to nurse a baby. Most importantly, it provides the baby with a great wealth of immune factors for his/her rapidly developing immune system. Especially important and vital is the colostrum that flows from the mother's breasts during the first few days after birth. If the breasts are producing too much milk, this is usually a sign that there may be some suppressed menses, or that the menses aren't flowing properly. The right herbal tonics and emmenagogues to get the menses flowing properly will usually correct this condition. Pregnancy, Gestation and Childbirth Pregnancy brings about many changes in a woman's overall physiology and metabolism. Right after becoming pregnant, a woman's overall temperament becomes more Phlegmatic as the blood thins and increased plasma and serous fluids enter the bloodstream and circulatory system. This change can be hard to adjust to, and cause what's called morning sickness, whose symptoms are
  • 146. generally worse in the early morning upon arising, when the Phlegmatic humor and temperament are usually at their highest. Typically, heaviness, sluggishness, dizziness, lassitude and nausea are felt, which are the general symptoms of a Phlegmatic excess, or plethora. These classic symptoms of excess phlegm and dampness are generally most pronounced in women of a moist Phlegmatic or Sanguine temperament. In women of a dry Choleric or Melancholic temperament, the giddiness and nausea will be more pronounced, as well as possible headaches, migraines, moodiness, poor appetite or indigestion. Typically, morning sickness goes away within a week or so, as the woman's body adjusts to these humoral and metabolic changes. The common saying is that, in pregnancy, a woman must eat for two. But this statement can be misleading, and can lead to overeating and unnecessary weight gain during pregnancy. Rather than simply double the total volume of the food eaten, the effort should be focused on improving the overall quality and nutrient density of the food eaten - its content of vitamins, minerals and protein. Calcium intake is especially important. The eating habits should be regular, with a good three square meals per day. The caloric needs of the growing embryo/foetus are not that great, so only a slight increase in caloric intake is needed; loading up with lots of carbohydrates and calories is not advisable. The most problematic part of pregnancy is usually the first three months, or the first trimester. This is when spontaneous abortions or miscarriages are most likely to occur. The right herbal tonics and superfoods can enhance pregnancy and the retention/stability of the embryo/foetus, as well as the general nutritional staus of both mother and foetus. The wrong herbs can endanger pregnancy, and possibly even abort it; these are generally herbs which are hemolytic, or blood thinning; strongly stimulant; or strong harsh laxatives and purgatives. If in doubt, check with a qualified herbalist; generally, it's better to stick to the milder herbs and spices. The anatomical changes of pregnancy are primarily caused by the rapidly growing foetus and the expanding womb. The uterus starts out as about the size of a pear, right in the lower pelvic cavity, over the pubic bone, and grows to fill the whole front of the abdominal cavity, extending beyond the navel, even all the way to the lower tip of the breastbone. The expanding uterus puts pressure on many organs and organ systems. The expanding uterus presses downwards on the bladder, decreasing its holding capacity and increasing the frequency and urgency of urination. The kidneys and urinary tract also take on the added burden of eliminating the metabolic wastes of the foetus. The expanding uterus puts pressure on the stomach and intestines. Constipation and bowel troubles are generally more common during pregnancy. These problems should be treated conservatively with the right dietary adjustments, and with mild bulk laxatives; strong or harsh laxatives should be avoided. In the latter stages of pregnancy, the rising and expanding uterus may put undue pressure on the heart, lungs, diaphragm and breathing aparatus. Heart or respiratory problems may appear or become aggravated towards the end of a pregnancy. Posturally, the added weight of the foetus may accentuate the normal lumbar curvature, a condition known as lordosis. Postural stresses may also aggravate hemorrhoids or varicose veins, particularly with prolonged standing. Many pregnant women who are heavily laden with child will walk with a waddling gait. The term of the normal pregnancy is about 9 months. It may be more, or it may be less. The exact timing of a birth is a matter of the incarnating soul's destiny. The ability to hold a pregnancy to full term depends mainly on the fecundity of the mother, and her endowment with uterine blood and the Radical Moisture. Women of a Melancholic temperament, or those with aggravations of black bile may suffer from an excess of the Retentive Virtue, and not be able to deliver a baby in a prompt, timely manner. For obstructed labor, taking a vigorous laxative like Castor oil or administering an enema may solve the problem, and provoke delivery. Whatever the speed or timing of labor and delivery, it must be remembered that each woman will do it in her own sweet time, and according to her own body's natural rhythm. Wherever possible, childbirth should be done naturally, and surgical intervention kept to a minimum. Although deplorable, there have been cases of a doctor choosing to do a Caesarian delivery merely because he got impatient and tired of waiting. Doulas and Midwives: Servants of the Mother
  • 147. In traditional cultures, experienced women were always used to assist and facilitate births. The best people to assist with and deliver a baby, it was reasoned, were older women who had actually been through the birthing process itself. Both Hippocrates and Galen advocated the use of Doulas and midwives in the birthing process. A midwife is a woman who is professionally trained to deliver babies. She may work in a hospital, clinic or birthing center, or she may even deliver babies in the mother's home. A good midwife will be able to recognize the warning signs for the complications of labor, and have training in how to handle the more common ones. She will also have access to medical intervention if necessary. Many women who are registered nurses are also certified midwives. A Doula is a birthworker or birthing assistant; her job is to assist the mother and the person who's delivering the baby, whether they be a doctor, nurse or midwife, providing physical, moral/emotional, and informed choice support for the mother during the birthing process. A Doula will also coach a woman through the preparations for childbirth; a post-partum Doula will counsel the new mother on proper nutrition and breastfeeding, and help the mother's family make the transition of accommodating the new arrival. The word "Doula" comes from ancient Greek, in which it means "servant", or even "slave". Doulas are the servants of the mother. If a difficult birth and delivery are expected, it is generally best to have a doctor deliver the baby in a hospital. But if a normal, uncomplicated delivery is expected, midwives and Doulas are generally the best way to go. Childbirth is, above all, a natural process, and should not be complicated by needless medical or surgical intervention. Studies have shown that the use of Doulas and midwives tends to shorten the duration of labor and make it less painful and difficult; it also tends to lower the incidence and necessity for medical and surgical intervention. After birth, the use of Doulas and midwives lessens the incidence of postpartum depression, and increases the probability that the mother will breast feed her baby. For more information on Doulas, contact Doulas of North America (DONA) at: HYGIENE - The Art of Health Preservation The Six Hygienic Factors Ambient Air Diet: Food and Drink Exercise and Rest Sleep and Wakefulness Retention and Evacuation of Wastes Perturbations of the Mind Emotions and Organs Sexual Relations and Hygiene The Greco-Roman Bath Greek Oral Hygiene Fasting and Purification DISCLAIMER: The above material on Hygiene is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease. THE SIX HYGIENIC FACTORS The Origins of Health and Disease Hygiene is the science of self healing. It is the art of personal health maintenance and disease prevention. Greek Medicine is, at its core, basically just an elaborate and sophisticated system of hygiene. In proper hygiene practices, Greek Medicine sees the foundation of all good health. In improper or faulty hygiene, Greek Medicine sees the origin of most disease. The art of hygiene is basically twofold, like the two sides of a coin. On the one side, you must give your body all the good things it needs: a pure, wholesome, nutritious diet; appropriate and adequate physical activity and exercise; sufficient sleep and rest; and a healthy, constructive daily routine and lifestyle. On the other hand, you must remove from the body all the wastes and pathogenic matter that it coesn't need, by keeping it clean, boith inside and out. Galen's Four Basic Things
  • 148. Galen elaborated on this even more, and expanded these two categories to four. The art of hygiene, he said, consists of four basic kinds of things: Things to be administered - a pure, healthy, nutritious diet and the right kinds of herbal tonics and nutritional supplements. Things to be done - appropriate exercise and physical activity; getting adequate sleep and rest; a healthy, constructive daily routine; appropriate sex relations Things to be applied - regular bathing and cleansing of the body; anointing the body with aromatics, unguents and medicated oils. Things to be removed - cleansing and purifying the body of accumulated wastes, toxins and morbid humors. Keep these four basic kinds of things in good order and you will enjoy excellent health. Let them get out of order and you will fall prey to illness and disease. The Six Hygienic Factors Greek Medicine has identified six basic areas or factors which, if kept in good order, build health and which, if allowed to fall into disorder, lead to illness and disease. They constitute the basis of all health management and disease prevention in Greek Medicine, and are as follows: 1) Ambient Air 2) Food and Drink 3) Exercise and Rest 4) Sleep and Wakefulness 5) Retention and Evacuation of Wastes 6) Perturbations of the Mind and Emotions Because these six factors are not essentially inherent to the body and its nature, they are sometimes called the Six Non-Natural Factors. Because they concern important aspects of hygiene, I call them the Six Hygienic Factors. The proper management of these six factors constitutes the entire art of hygiene in Greek Medicine. To recapitulate on the Six Hygienic Factors and what they entail: Ambient Air: The impact of one's habitat and dwelling place on one's health. The influence of geographic, seasonal, climactic and environmental factors on one's health. The art of proper breathing. The basis of all public health and environmental medicine. Food and Drink: The basics of a healthy diet, proper food selection and healthy eating habits. Constitutional management with diet. Not just what you eat, but also when, where, how and how much. Exercise and Rest: The value and importance of proper exercise. The classical Greek science of exercise and physical culture. The different types of exercise, and selecting the right one. How to design a safe, effective, sensible and appropriate exercise routine and regimen. Finding the right balance between exercise and rest. Sleep and Wakefulness: The importance and value of adequate sleep in health maintenance. Designing a healthful daily routine that balances adequate, sound, restful sleep with appropriate, constructive wakeful activity. Harmonizing one's personal sleep / wake cycles with the rhythms of Nature. Retention and Evacuation of Wastes: Recognizing and cultivating the right balance between waste retention and waste evacuation. Building healthy bowel habits. Maintaining urinary health. Recognizing, preventing and treating autointoxication. Simple hygienic cleansing measures. Perturbations of the Mind and Emotions: The impact of our mental and emotional states on our health. Constitutional management of the mind and emotions. Appropriate, satisfying, affectionate and constructive sexual relations. The Four Doctors Another fourfold way of looking at the art of hygiene is in terms of the Four Elements. Your body needs the daily attention and ministrations of these Four Doctors: FIRE: Doctor Sunshine AIR: Doctor Fresh Air WATER: Doctor Pure Water EARTH: Doctor Healthy Diet States of Health and Disease
  • 149. Most people casually assume that you're either healthy or you're sick. Greek Medicine maintains that, besides these two extremes, there are also various intermediate states in which one is neither totally sick nor totally healthy. Here are the main possibilities as Greek Medicine sees them: Absolute, Radiant Health: Much more than the mere absence of symptoms; perfect health, boundless energy, endless joy, satisfaction and peace of mind. Average Health: The mere absence of any overt signs and symptoms of dysfunction or disease; otherwise, the individual doesn't feel especially energetic, joyful or healthy. Minor Complaints: Troubling symptoms, discomforts and minor dysfunctions start to appear and drain the inherent vitality and resilience of the organism. Most people take painkillers and other palliatives so they can go their way and be about their business. Mixed Illness and Health: The individual is neither wholly sick nor totally healthy; health and illness are intermingled in equal proportions. Convalescence: The individual is convalescing from a major illness; his/her condition is still fragile and delicate, and recovery isn't yet complete. Full-Blown Disease: All the signs and symptoms of an overt, full-blown disease are fully manifested, and the individual is suffering from a major illness. The Art of Hygiene exists to take you, as much as your inherent capacity for health will allow you, to the top of this scale - to absolute, radiant health. Hygiene is much more than just the mere avoidance of disease; it is the cultivation of perfect health. AMBIENT AIR Environmental Medicine The human organism can live for a few days without water, and for several days without food. But deny it air and its lifegiving pneuma, and the body will die within minutes. Because the air we breathe is so vitally and immediately important to the health of the entire organism, Ambient Air is the first of the Six Hygienic Factors to consider. Air and its pneuma are the essential food for the Vital Faculty, which gives life to the whole organism. Because the Vital Faculty supports and underlies the health and functioning of the entire organism, our overall health and vitality can only be as good as the quality and quantity of the air we breathe. The air we breathe is all around us. And so, the hygienic factor of Ambient Air includes many other factors and considerations - climactic, seasonal, geographic and environmental. It forms the basis of classical Greek environmental medicine and public health. Because the air we breathe is free and invisible, it's so often taken for granted. But the discerning physician, in assessing the patient's health, will always inquire about his/her living environment and the air he/she breathes. Dwelling Place and Living Environment The site or location of one's house or dwelling is an important factor in considerations of ambient air. Above all, balance and the Golden Mean between extremes is desired. The home or dwelling should be well ventillated and not stuffy, but neither should it be exposed to wind, drafts, or chills. It shouldn't be on a high, windy ridge, but neither should it be totally enclosed or surrounded by high walls that shut out all light and fresh air. The ideal dwelling place should receive a moderate amount of sunlight, not too glaring or direct, and tempered by an adequate amount of refreshing shade for contrast. There should be sufficient light, and not too much shadow and gloom. The temperature of one's dwelling should be moiderate. There should be adequate heating and warmth during the winter months, and protection from cold drafts and chills. In the summer, it shouldn't be too hot, and should be exposed to fresh, cool breezes. The ancient Greeks and Romans realized that the stale, foul air around swamps and marshes breeds disease and pestilence, so they had swamps and marshes drained, especially around major cities and population centers. The word malaria literally means, "bad air" in Latin. Above all, one's home or dwelling should be free from foul, noxious odors and vapors. Climate and Country The Greek physician always considers or makes concessions for the patient's country and its prevailing climactic conditions in assessing the patient's health. If possible, adjustments should be made to compensate for extremes in climate.
  • 150. The ancient Greeks and Romans considered themselves to be blessed to live in a country with a temperate, sunny climate that wasn't too hot in the summer nor too cold in the winter. They recognized that extremes of heat, cold, moisture or dryness placed added stresses and burdens on the individual and his/her health. Environments that are extremely hot and sunny also tend to be excessively dry; such are arrid desert environments. Over the long term, they tend to wither, dry and emaciate the individual. However, they may be therapeutic or remedial for those suffering from cold, wet afflictions like chronic bronchitis, weeping eczema, or rheumatism. Environments that are hot and humid, often in tropical climates, tend to be heavy and oppressive, and the air hard to breathe. They tend to breed infectious diseases and pestilence. Otherwise, they are not particularly conducive to energy and vitality. Proper cleanliness and hygiene are imperative in such climes and seasons. Environments that are cold, dark and moist tend to be depressing, and will aggravate chronic Phlegmatic conditions like rheumatism, bronchitis and asthma. The excessive cold and dampness puts a great strain on the immune system to protect against colds and flu. Environments that are cold and dry aggravate Melancholic conditions like chapped, dry skin, arthritis, rheumatism, and nervous, spasmodic afflictions. Often, these are high altitude mountainous or high desert environments, which are also frequently plagued by strong winds, which also aggravate nervous, spasmodic afflictions. Since the evaporation rate is higher in high altitude environments, proper and adequate hydration is extremely important. Greek Medicine also recognizes the beneficial effect that the air of mountainous alpine environments, as well as seaside environments, has upon the health. In particular, such airs tend to promote good digestion and sound sleep. There are various spa resorts located throughout Europe, and in other countries and regions, whose climate has long been recognized as being especially beneficial to health. Many of these resorts date back to Greco-Roman times. Climatotherapy is a subspecialty of Greek Medicine. Seasonal Influences on Health The physiology and functioning of the human organism cannot remain constant, but must adapt to seasonal changes and variations in the weather. An important part of being healthy is having the necessary flexibility and adaptability to adjust to seasonal changes in the weather. The response of the orgasnism to seasonal weather changes is coordinated by the Vital Faculty through the respiratory, circulatory and immune systems. However, the humors and the Natural Faculty, as well as the other faculties and systems of the organism, are also affected. In winter, the cold, wet weather aggravates phlegm, and makes us vulnerable to coughs, colds and lung congestion. Since our bodies consume more energy to keep us warm, our caloric needs are higher in winter. And so, we must eat a heavier, richer, heartier diet. The cold weather also shunts the majority of the blood circulation into the interior to warm the vital organs of the body's core. Similarly, humoral superfluities and imbalances are driven deep into the body's interior, and remain latent during the winter. The colder winter temperatures make the maturation and ripening of the humors slower, and humoral disorders take longer to manifest. In spring, the warmer weather brings the formerly latent or dormant humoral excesses of winter up to the surface. The excessive phlegm accumulated during the winter months starts to decongeal and resurface to be passed off. This surfacing of phlegm can aggravate or manifest spring pollen allergies and hay fever. Because all the accumulated excesses and superfluities of winter are being passed off, spring is a good season for fasting and cleansing regimes, which shouldn't be undertaken until the last cold snaps of winter are over. Blood also gets more exuberant and rises to the surface, making bleeding disorders like nosebleeds a problem in the spring. Wind is also strong and abundant in the spring, so one must take care to protect oneself against drafts and chills. In summer, the hot weather shunts blood out to the exterior of the organism and the superficial capillaries in order to disperse excess heat from the body's interior. If more cooling and heat dispersal are needed, the body breaks a sweat. The hot, dry summer weather provokes aggravations of heat and choler, or yellow bile. These may produce giddiness, vomiting or nausea, as well as fevers, infections, putrefactions, heat rashes and inflammatory conditions. Because more blood is shunted out towards the exterior of the organism, the digestive organs in the body's core don't receive as much blood. This, plus the lower caloric needs of summer, often tend to depress the appetite; in summer, we should eat light, easy to digest foods. Also, since the intense summer heat leads to a lot of fluid loss through sweating, we must drink a lot of fluids to keep ourselves well-hydrated. Since the humors ripen more quickly in hot weather, humoral diseases are more active in summer, and run their
  • 151. course in a shorter period of time. As summer moves into fall, the days remain hot, but the nights grow colder. These widening temperature fluctuations put a strain on the organism to adapt. The pores may open and sweat during the heat of the day, and allow evening chills to enter. Excess cold foods and drinks consumed in summer may have generated superfluous cold, damp Phlegmatic humors that may increase one's vulnerability to chills when the weather starts changing in the fall. One should take care not to drink too many cold drinks nor eat too many cooling foods when the weather starts changing. The cold, dry weather of mid-fall can produce dry, chapped skin, coryza and sore throats, coughs and hoarseness, and can aggravate Melancholic complaints. Wetter autumns are better than dryer ones, because the moisture in the air will help to liquefy the excess phlegm accumulated through dietary indiscretions in the summer, whereas dryness will only dry up and thicken this excess phlegm, making it more difficult to expel. As the weather becomes colder again towards winter, the caloric needs of the organism increase, and the diet becomes heavier and heartier. Cold, wet winter weather produces coughs, colds and lung congestion, and the blood circulation starts to interiorize to warm the body's core. The wheel of the seasons has again come full circle. Air Pollution Air pollution is one problem that's pervasive in the modern world, which was virtually unknown in antiquity. Although it may have posed a problem in some urban locales at certain times in the past, it surely wasn't nearly as widespread and pervasive as it is today. If you pollute the air, you compromise the quantity and quality of the pneuma it contains. This will then compromise the quantity and purity of the Vital Force and Thymos generated therefrom, which will in turn affect all the vital and bodily functions. The brain is a big consumer of oxygen and pneuma. If its supply of these is compromised by polluted air, the brain will suffer greatly, and mental clarity and thinking will be impaired. Polluted air also becomes an irritant to the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose, throat, lungs and respiratory tract. The eyes will burn and tear, the nose will get irritated, stuffy or congested, and the breathing can get difficult and labored. DIET: FOOD AND DRINK How to Eat for Optimum Health After the air we breathe, the next in importance is diet, or the influence of food and drink on health. A pure, natural, wholesome nutritious diet is essential to good health. Because most of the substances we take into our bodies are items of food and drink consumed in our daily diet, what we eat and drink has an enormous impact on our health. And, unlike the ambient air, we exercise much more control over what we eat. And so, diet and dietary therapy are the main modalities or tools of health management and disease prevention in Greek Medicine. The great advantages of working with diet are that foods are safe, gentle and effective, and have a very low level of toxicity. Because the natural herbal medicines and remedies used in Greek Medicine are usually gentler and milder than modern pharmaceutical drugs, the diet consumed during treatment must support and be congruent with the direction and aim of the therapy. Ultimately, the success of natural herbal medicines and therapy is greatly reduced, or even nullified altogether if not accompanied by the right diet. Pure Water Although the ancient Greeks consumed other drinks, the most important and most frequently consumed drink was water. The water drunk must be clear, pure and free of microbes, pollutants and impurities. Its taste should be mild and sweet, and it should be soft, and free from any hard, harsh mineral residues. Fresh mountain spring water is the best. Securing a good source of pure, fresh water is the first and most basic foundation of a good, healthy diet. The water drunk should be moderately cool or at room temperature, but not ice cold. Ice cold drinks are unnatural, and compromise the circulation, immunity and digestive power of the organism with cold, wet Phlegmatic humors. The Basics of a Natural Diet
  • 152. When we select and prepare the foods in our diet, we should take care to consume them in as natural a state as possible. The more we process, refine, or alter the food from its natural state, the more we compromise its inherent vitality, wholeness and nutritional value. All refined sugars, starches and carbohydrates should be avoided wherever possible. In their place should be put whole grains and natural sweeteners. Foods that have not been artificially processed, or that have been minimally processed, should take precedence over those that have been highly or unnaturally processed. All hydrogenated fats should be eliminated. Food additives and preservatives should also be greatly reduced or eliminated. Some preservatives are more natural than others, whereas some are toxic and dangerous. Most linger as a residue in the organism, impeding its vitality and functioning. The Nature and Temperament of Foods Greek Medicine assesses the nature and temperament of foods, and their impact on the rganism, primarily in terms of the Four Basic Qualities: Hot, Cold, Wet and Dry. This enables us to personalize our food selection, giving preference to foods that complement or remedy imbalances, either innate or acquired, of humor and temperament. Since Hot / Cold is the primary or active polarity, our first consideration must be to the heating or cooling nature of foods. Heating foods are those which stimulate the metabolism, whereas cooling foods are those which sedate the metabolism and relieve excess heat. Examples are as follows: Heating: garlic, onions, horseradish, ginger, chicken, eggs, duck, lamb, wheat, sesame seeds, walnuts, garbanzos, lemon, apples, olives and aged cheeses. Cooling: milk and dairy products, fresh cheeses, yogurt, mint, bananas, most tropical fruits, lettuce, cucumber, melons, watermelon, fish. Dry / Wet is the passive or secondary polarity. Wet foods are those which are unctuous, rich, oily, moistening and emollient. Dry foods are those which are either physically dry, or those which aid the organism in eliminating excess fluids. Examples are: Dry: most beans, soybeans, garbanzos, pomegranates, asparagus, dried fruits, aged cheeses. Wet: milk and dairy products, bananas, avocados, coconut, fresh cheeses, yogurt. Closely related to the Dry / Wet polarity are the qualities of Light and Heavy,respectively. Light foods produce lightness, alertness and agility in the body, but in excess, they can lead to lightheadedness, spaciness and emaciation. Heavy foods, of high quality, can give strength and durability to the body, but most commonly they produce sluggishness, heaviness and drowsiness, and are difficult to digest. Light: rice cakes, popcorn, corn, sunflower seeds Heavy: beef, wheat, eggplant, greasy fried foods. I don't want to get excessively hairsplitting or dogmatic here, but I do want to cultivate in you an awareness and sensitivity to the effects of the foods we eat upon our health. Foods and the Four Humors Each one of the Four Humors has certain foods that aggravate it. Consumption of these foods should be greatly reduced or avoided by those with an excess or aggravation of that humor, whether it be innate and constitutional, or an acquired condition or imbalance. The main problematic or aggravating foods for each humor are: Phlegm: milk, dairy products, fresh cheeses, refined sugar, refined starches and flours, wheat and glutinous foods, cold foods, ice cold drinks; moist, creamy rich foods. Yellow Bile: salt and salty foods, fats and cholesterol, fried foods, vinegar, alcohol, excessive sour or fermented foods, aged cheeses, excessive hot spices and chillies, excessive beef and red meat. Black Bile: old, dry stale foods: excessive beans, soy, nuts, astringent foods, peanuts, rancid fats, nightshade vegetables - especially tomatoes and eggplant. Blood: As blood is the healthiest, most desirable humor, it's good to cultivate it with bloodbuilding foods like spinach, green leafy vegetables, molasses, dark red and blue berries, and various types of meat in moderation. Excessive meat consumption may produce a lot of blood, but it won't be of very high quality, often being too thick, toxic or acidic; blood circulation is also often compromised. Therefore, one shouldn't rely exclusively on meat to build the blood. Excessive consumption of proteins, rich fatty foods and sweets may lead to Sanguine excesses of the blood, like uremia and gout, diabetes or high cholesterol in those so predisposed. Above all,
  • 153. moderation is needed to avoid the extremes of either overfeeding the body on the one hand or malnourishing it on the other. Meat Eating versus Vegetarianism When it comes to meat eating versus vegetarianism, Greek Medicine has no blanket prescriptions for everyone. Each person must eat according to his/her individual constitutional nature and temperament. Truly, one man's meat is another man's poison. Those who do eat meat tend to consume way too much of it. Moderation may be more important when it comes to meat eating than the age-old question: "To eat or not to eat meat?" Because their digestions are strong and efficient, and because meat consumption tends to aggravate bile, as well as heat and toxic residues in the blood, Choleric types generally do best on a vegetarian diet. Sanguines, with their tendency towards metabolic excesses of the blood, also do weel on a light, simple vegetarian diet. Melancholics, due to the irregularity and inefficiency of their digestions and their tendency towards anemia and other nutritional deficiencies, generally have the hardest time being purely vegetarian. Phlegmatics can go either way; the pros and cons are pretty evenly balanced for them. Besides constitutional considerations, acquired conditions or imbalances of humor and temperament should also be considered. Temporarily abstaining from meat eating may become necessary at times in the pursuit of certain cleansing and healing goals. Vegetarianism is much more than simply eliminating meat from the diet. The optimal vegetarian diet must be balanced, and must carefully combine vegetable protein sources for adequate nutrition. Certain special foods or superfoods taken as dietary supplements also ensure adequate nutrition. Similarly, there's a right way and a wrong way to eat meat. In a meal, meat is best complemented by a lot of light, detoxifying salads and vegetables. Also, certain condiments, like ginger, garlic, onions, mustard and horseradish, aid the digestion and assimilation of meat and the elimination or neutralization of its toxins. Guidelines for Eating Proper diet involves not just what you eat, but also when, how and how much. The following guidelines should help you establish healthy, sensible eating habits: 1) Never eat when you're tired, angry, upset or worried. Fatigue, negative emotions and stress impair proper digestion. 2) Don't eat unless you're truly hungry. If you're not really hungry, your body isn't really ready to receive the food. 3) Eat your largest meal at midday. When the Sun is at its height, so are our powers of pepsis, or digestion and metabolism. 4) Eat lightly for dinner, at least three hours before retiring. Eating too heavily, too late at night, will leave undigested food to putrefy in the gut and disturb sound sleep, as well as digestion. 5) A little light exercise before meals stimulates the appetite and digestion. It does this by consuming residual humoral superfluities. 6) Drink the most water between meals; sip while you sup. Drinking too much water with meals dilutes the digestive juices, but small amounts will moisten the food and lubricate its passage down the gullet. 7) Don't overeat. Never fill your stomach past three-quarters full. Always leave some space for air, so that your stomach has some working room. 8) Chew your food well before swallowing. Digestion begins in the mouth, by masticating the food and mixing it with saliva. 9) Eat in good company; make meals a happy, joyful occasion. Excessive pensiveness and melancholy ruin digestion. 10) Never eat on the run. Always take the time to digest your food properly. Anxiety and stress interfere with proper digestion. Moderation in Diet In dietary matters, Hippocrates believed, above all, in moderation and common sense. He believed in avoiding extremes of all kinds. Gluttony, excess and immoderation in diet are of course harmful, but so is excessive restriction of diet, because the organism bears transgressions of it with more difficulty then a diet that is a little bit more flexible and liberal.
  • 154. In diet, a distinction must be made between diets that are specifically directed towards some healing goal, versus one's regular diet. Therapeutic or cleansing diets must be more restricted, but excessive restriction is not advisable in one's regular diet. Epicureanism in Diet Epicureanism is a classical Greek philosophy that emphasizes the maximization of pleasure and happiness by cultivating an awareness and appreciation of the senses. In dietary matters, Epicureanism is the guiding philosophy behind gourmet cuisine. According to Epicureanism, if every mouthful of natural, wholesome, high quality, exquisitely prepared food is savoured and appreciated for its taste and nutritive virtue, there will be less of a temptation to overeat, and the appetite will become balanced. This is the ideal of the gourmet, as opposed to the dietary abuses of the gourmand, who quickly and ravenously stuffs himself without truly appreciating the food and its flavor. A conoisseur, literally, "someone who knows", is one who knows and appreciates quality food and its nutritive and gastronomic virtues. The intelligent and discerning conoisseur is better prepared to make healthy, constructive dietary choices. Although gourmet cuisine was originally developed with the good intentions of promoting healthy eating habits while maximizing the pleasure and satisfaction derived from food, it has gone astray in modern times. Much, if not most, gourmet food nowadays has perverted the Epicurean philosophy by just appealing to the taste buds while ignoring the virtues of wholesomeness and nutritive value. This has led to a gourmet reform movement called Nouvelle Cuisine, or "New Cuisine". EXERCAISE AND REST Physical Culture The ancient Greeks were great believers in exercise and physical culture. They had many athletic competitions, the most famous of which was the Olympic Games. To remain healthy, the organism needs adequate exercise and physical activity to stay in shape. It also needs adequate rest and sleep to allow the regenerative processes time to restore its vital reserves. Optimum health depends on finding the right balance between exercise and rest. What is Exercize? Exercise is a vigorous form of physical activity; however, not all physical activity qualifies as exercise. How do we distinguish between the two? Exercise is vigorous physical activity, but vigorousness is relative. What may be vigorous activity for some may not be for others. According to Galen, the criterion for determining what is vigorous activity or exercise for any given individual lies in the respiration. What alters or increases his/her respiratory rate is defined as
  • 155. exercise for that individual; what doesn't, isn't. Along with the respiratory rate, the pulse rate also increases. The degree of vigor or strenuousness of any exercise workout for a given individual can be measured by how much it raises his/her pulse rate above the normal resting rate. The Effects and Benefits of Exercize The physical body and all its constituent parts are kept in shape by regularly performing the functions for which they were designed. In other words: If you don't use it, you lose it. Greek Medicine recognizes several important effects and benefits of exercise, which are as follows: By increasing the pulse and respiratory rate, exercise gives a thorough workout to the Vital Faculty, enabling it to become more powerful, energetic and efficient. The increased supply of fresh blood and its lifegiving pneuma improves the health and functioning of the entire organism. Exercise tones and conditions the physical body. It enables parts that would otherwise become too soft and flabby, like the muscles, to attain the right tone and firmness, while enabling parts that would otherwise become too stiff and rigid, like the tendons and joints, to maintain the desired suppleness and flexibility. Exercise dilates and opens the various channels, ducts and vessels of the organism, like the blood vessels and capillaries, and cleanses them of accretions and accumulations of morbid wastes, humors or toxins that may be obstructing them. Exercise cleanses the organism of superfluous or morbid humors and neutralizes toxins, chiefly by metabolizing and consuming them. In so doing, it awakens the appetite and prepares the organism to receive, digest and metabolize more nourishment. Exercise lightens the body, aids in weight loss, makes the body more nimble and agile, and improves the reflexes. It also makes the mind more focused and alert. Exercise, done appropriately and in moderation, will produce all these benefits and more. Excessive or abusive exercise, however, produces exhaustion and fatigue, and is destructive of these ends. A program of physical conditioning should be undertaken gradually, step by step; physical conditioning doesn't happen overnight, and the organism should never be pushed beyond what it is conditioned to handle. Push your body too hard in exercise, and you run the risk of injury. Varieties and Forms of Exercise Any vigorous physical activity qualifies as exercise. Heavy physical labor at one's work, like ditch digging, is also exercise. Or, exercise may be undertaken purely as exercise alone. There are many forms of exercise, involving a wide variety of movements - slow or swift, gentle or vigorous, continuous or intermittent. Different exercises work different parts or the body, with some focusing on specific parts and others involving more or less the whole body. Movements may either be active, initiated by the exerciser himself, or passive, arising from without. Sailing and horseback riding are examples of exercises involving a lot of passive movements. Even massage can be seen as a form of passive exercise. Aerobic exercises like running give a workout to the Vital Faculty. Others, like wrestling or yoga, stretch, bend or contort the torso in various ways, massaging the viscera and digestive organs of the Natural Faculty. Exercises of speed and skill condition the nerves, reflexes and Psychic Faculty. And the oldest exercise of all - sex - is obviously for the Generative Faculty, while toning and conditioning all the others. The astute physician or physical culturist is familiar with all the various forms of exercise and their effects and benefits on the body, as well as their indications and contraindications. And so, various exercises can be recommended or prescribed for various conditions, just like any drug or medication. Exercise and the Four Temperaments We all need some form of exercise to maintain our health. To ensure that we will continue to exercise on a regular basis, the form of exercise should preferably be one that's appealing to us, and will hold our interest. Each one of the Four Temperaments has its own particular exercise personality, involving different motivations for exercising, as well as an attraction to different forms of exercise. The astute physician or personal trainer will take these factors of personal temperament into account when designing an exercise program for a patient or client. The Choleric individual is a natural athlete or sportsman, due to his active, driven, competitive nature. Since he tends to push himself to extremes, he needs to be cautioned not to overdo exercise,