Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: humors

  • Book review: Medicine in the Middle Ages

    Arpan K. BanerjeeSolihull, United Kingdom In the history of Western Europe, the Middle Ages refers to the period between the fall of the Roman Empire in the fifth century through the beginning of the Renaissance in the 1500s. These thousand years were characterized by unstable nation-states led by kings and nobility. Tribalism was rife, and…

  • Experimental evidence for the humoral circulatory system

    Mark A. Gray Kansas City, Kansas Humoralism, otherwise known as Hellenistic or Galenic medicine, posited the existence of four humors that were required to be kept in balance to maintain health. Blood was special among these humors, believed to deliver both physical and spiritual nourishment to the body.1 To a modern scientist, the physiology ancient Greek…

  • Blood, black bile, yellow bile, phlegm: An inseparable balance?

    John Graham-PoleClydesdale, NS, Canada Life blood: Humor and health In 1960, I entered St. Bartholomew’s Medical School on a full classics scholarship. I was a devotee of Hippocrates, with high hopes of embarking on a path of uniting medical science with the healing arts. “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” was…

  • Aristotle and the four humors

    Aristotle is one of the greatest philosophers of all time. He has influenced human thought for almost 2500 years and many of his works are as relevant today as they were in the days of ancient Greece. Students of his philosophical works are likely to be familiar with his Nicomachean Ethics, Politics, Rhetoric, and Poetics,…

  • Alcmaeon of Croton, philosopher physician

    Steph MagowanRoyal Holloway, University of London Alcmaeon of Croton remains one of the lesser known Presocratic writers, not only because of the sparse nature of his extant work but also because of his fragmentary treatment in modern scholarship. He is mentioned in passing but rarely fully examined, often even excluded entirely in work dealing with…