By Seyed Mahdi Mirghazanfari, MD, PHD

Temperament lays basis for Iranian traditional medicine

June 9, 2017 - 12:20
Part 5

As mentioned in previous articles, recognizing one's distinguishing temperament is the most fundamental concept of Iranian traditional medicine.

Temperament- or to use the Persian equivalent ‘Mizaj’- is a set of physical and mental characteristics which will be defined by examining one's symptoms and signs in the past and in the present.

Generally, Mizaj represents the excess or lack of warmness and humidity in one's body and is classified into four categories- also called four qualities- of warmness, coldness, dryness and wetness.

Mizaj is a spectrum, meaning that two persons might have warm Mizaj but one's Mizaj might be warmer than the other one. In fact, no two individuals have the exact same Mizaj, however they can resemble one another to some extent.

Relatively speaking Mizaj and genetics are similar in that once an embryo starts to develop its Mizaj will be determined. Consistently the parents' Mizaj can also be a deciding factor in the child's Mizaj which is also referred to as “inherent” or “main” Mizaj that one is born with.

While Mizaj is forming one or two of the four qualities of warmness, coldness, dryness, and wetness might become dominant and decide the main Mizaj.

Therefore, regarding which quality is more dominant the tempers are classified totally into nine categories of warm, cold, wet, dry, warm and dry, warm and wet, cold and dry, cold and wet, and moderate (when none of the qualities are dominant).

It is worth mentioning that there are no absolute good or bad temperaments and as long as they are within their normal range- reflected in physical and mental health- they are in a balanced (normal or good) state.

So, each individual should maintain their own balanced state during their life by choosing the kind of lifestyle which suits them best by corresponding to their own distinguishing Mizaj.

As each person's Mizaj differs from another one's, peoples life styles will be different necessarily; this is the main essence of the Iranian traditional medicine in maintaining health and treating illnesses.

By adopting the kind of lifestyle which fit each person's Mizaj one should try to keep the inherent warmness and humidity of their body in certain range (as per their main Mizaj) and avoid possible mal-temperament or Sou-e-Mizaj.

Nonetheless, one's Mizaj will be naturally affected by age which is called "age temperament”.

Mizaj is not just confined to human beings but literally every object, situation, and state in the world has a defining Mizaj which has an impact on human beings' health.

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.