By Seyed Mahdi Mirghazanfari, MD, PhD

Sanguine or choleric: Iranian traditional medicine defines

May 3, 2017 - 9:28

In the Iranian-Islamic traditional medicine the excess or lack of body fluids (called “humors”) including blood, yellow bile, black bile, and phlegm define four temperaments (Mizaj) of “sanguine”, “choleric”, “melancholic” and “phlegmatic” respectively.

Persian terms for each Mizaj are as follows: Damawiy (sanguine), Safrawiy (choleric), Balghamiy (phlegmatic), and Saudawiy (melancholic).

People with each Mizaj exhibit and possess identifying behavioral and physical characteristics.

Sanguine: warm and wet

People with sanguine temperament are stout, sturdy, and burly with muscular body and a body composition of larger proportion of muscle tissue rather than fat.

Regarding the frame size they are big-boned with bigger faces, fingers, lips, organs, and body parts and have wider chests. They usually feel hot and run hotter than other people, having naturally high body temperature once someone touches them tells they are warm.

They have rosy and ruddy complexion and soft and smooth skin. They also have thick black hair, with thick density and more volume which can easily hold a curl or style.

These people have bigger veins which are prominent and easily seen through the skin in the arms and legs. They also have a more powerful and stronger pulse.

Those with warm and wet temperament have good appetite and have a craving for meat, bread, rice and in general wider selection of dishes.

Waste matter (urine, sweat, and feces) discharged from their bodies have strong color and odor. As they consume food in large quantities they expel more body waste. However it’s best for them to limit their sweets, rice, or meat intake.

They are sound-sleepers and fell asleep faster and are likely to snore.

Mentally speaking they are usually in high spirits, beaming and funny. They are brave, warm-hearted, gregarious, extremely patient, and adaptable. 

Choleric: warm and dry

People with choleric temperament are usually tall and thin. They have a small frame, for instance, their fingers, lips, and other body parts are not much big and they are unlikely to get overweight.

Their skin have a yellow cast and is dry.

People with warm and dry Mizaj mostly feel hot and their body temperature elevates sooner which could cause hyperthermia.

They don’t expel much body waste but the waste usually has strong odor and color. Choleric people should cut down on spicy, salty, bitter, and fried food stuff and spices.

They don’t get much sleep and they actually seem fine with the little amount they normally get.

They are exuberant, quickly finish what they are supposed to do and speak too fast. They are not patient and might easily lose temper.

Seyed Mahdi Mirghazanfari, MD, holds a PhD degree in medical physiology and is an Iranian-Islamic traditional medicine researcher. He is also an assistant professor in AJA University of Medical Sciences, Tehran.


References for further study:

The Canon of Medicine by Avicenna

Al-Hawi by Muhammad ibn Zakariya al-Razi

Zakhireye Khwarazmshahi by Esmaeil Jorjani

Al-Iqraz al-Tebbieh and Al-Mabahis al-Alaieh by Esmaeil Jorjani

Kholasat-al-Hekmat by Aqili Khorasani 

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