By Seyed Mahdi Mirghazanfari, MD, PhD

Melancholic temperament: Specifications and lifestyle

August 2, 2017

TEHRAN — According to the Iranian Islamic traditional medicine if one could identify the patient's temper, they would predict his/her health-related behaviors rather than predisposition and prognosis to different diseases, and select the best treatment.

In the Iranian-Islamic traditional medicine the excess or lack of warmness and humidity define four essential temperaments of “Warm and Wet (sanguine or Damawiy)”, “Warm and Dry (choleric or Safrawiy)”, “Cold and Dry (melancholic or Saudawiy)” and “Cold and Wet (phlegmatic or Balghamiy)” respectively. The terms in the parentheses refer to four groups of material in the body (called “humors” or 'Akhlat') including blood which is hot and moist, phlegm which is cold and moist, bilious or yellow bile which is hot and dry and atrabilious or black bile which is cold and dry. Words written in italic show original Persian terms in the ancient literature.

Temperament of the body is specific for each individual fluctuating between certain minimum and maximum limits. Any change in the temperament of a person brings about a change in persons’ state of health. Thus, preservation of balanced temperament under the differing conditions of life is vital for the maintenance of health and avoidance of disease in an individual.

To put it briefly people with melancholic temperament are usually thin and don’t gain much weight. They have dark complexion and rough and dry skin as well as coarse, curly and coily hair. They tend to be introspective and introvert and are more likely to develop mental disorders such as depression. They are not in favor of change. They act and speak unhurriedly. They don’t sleep much and are much more likely to suffer constipation. Body waste discharged from their bodies might become dark in color. 

They are sensitive to food stuff and drinks with cold and dry temperament. 
Lifestyle tips fitting people with melancholic temperament are listed below.

Lifestyle 

People with melancholic temperament should not stay in dark and dim places for long. 
They should not take cold showers and stand in front of an air cooler. Living in warm and humid areas suit these people. 
Watching thrillers, tragedies and horror movies and reading tragedies might have some adverse effects on them.

They had better to spend their lives by visiting family and friends, going to picnics, watching comedies and wearing colorful clothes and in general have fun. 

Wet cupping therapy is not recommended to this group as they usually suffer mild anemia and weakness to some extent. 

They should abstain from fast food, vinegar, pickled food with vinegar content, eggplant, cabbage, and mushroom. 

Consuming meat with moderate Mizaj (not warm or cold) such as lamb, fresh wheat bread, sweat fruits, cardamom, cinnamon, and nuts especially pistachio and almond is advantageous to them. 

Taking regular but gentle and light exercise is of benefits for them, however exercising in a cold gym or under strong sun is not good for them. 

People with cold and dry temperament should not wear perfumes with cooling characteristics such as violet or lilac, but wearing rosewater perfume is agreeable to their temperament.

To decorate their houses they can use colorful tableaus. 

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. 

MQ/MG

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