The Hippocratic account of Mental Health: Humors and Human Temperament

Keywords: Hippocrates, eucrasia, temperament, environment, theory of humors, mental health


Introduction: A quintessential element of Hippocratic medicine is treatment of mental diseases which was based on a detailed examination of the symptoms as well as the study of human physiology and final outcome of the diseases which is based on humoral theory.

Purpose: The aim of the work is to highlight the contribution of Hippocrates to the study of mental illness based on his theory of humors

Methodology: Our study consists of interpretations of the original text of Hippocrates including extensive observations of anatomy and physiology of human body based on humoral theory. Then the information was evaluated  on the basis of modern literature in order to establish their validity. A major limitation of the research is the  lack of a systemic methodology to screen the Hippocratic corpus for relevant passages which actually requires interdisciplinary research in order to determine which aspects of Hippocratic medicine can be developed.

Results: In Corpus Hippocraticum, it is highlighting that maintaining a relative proportion of humors in human body (apart from maintaining health) regulates the human temperament and its behavioral manifestations. Hippocrates, has included in his work observations not only on human physiology and diseases but also studies the environmental and geographical impact   on them, thus setting the stage for holistic approaches

Conclusion: Summarizing, Hippocratic medicine and particularly his observations on mental disorders  provides a clear picture of the methodology used by Hippocrates which can be a guide for the adoption of good practices for contemporary scholars and clinicians on their everyday practice


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How to Cite
Tsagkaris, C., & Kalachanis, K. (2020). The Hippocratic account of Mental Health: Humors and Human Temperament. Mental Health: Global Challenges Journal, 3(1), 33 - 37.

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