from The Century Dictionary.
- noun The state of being humoral.
- noun The doctrine that diseases have their seat in the humors of the body.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.
- noun (Med.) The state or quality of being humoral.
- noun (Med.), obsolete The doctrine that diseases proceed from the humors; humorism.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.
- noun obsolete, medicine The state or quality of being
- noun obsolete, medicine The
doctrinethat diseasesproceed from the humours; humorism.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
Next, we explore European explanations for illness and ideas on health maintenance, specifically those concepts based on humoralism, which looked to the environment and lifestyle as sources of illness.
Early modern medicine was based largely on humoralism, a set of anatomical and physical ideas inherited from ancient Greek medicine.
The very accessibility of humoralism may well have helped to establish the credentials of those who put its theories into practice at the bedside, and has given the patient added confidence in what was being done, simply through being able to follow what was being said or prescribed. 9
This is not to imply that lay people consciously theorized about health and illness; rather that, on some basic level, the assumptions humoralism made about the inner workings of the body were accessible and convincing to people, at least to those whose cultural influences were primarily European.
Translations of the Galenic and Hippocratic texts into Arabic in the ninth century spread humoralism throughout Muslim lands and during the Middle Ages these same texts were introduced into the Latin West, forming the basis of learned medicine for the next millennium.
Although other medical approaches — indigenous medicine, Christian faith healing, rituals based on magic — robustly functioned alongside it, and, indeed, were incorporated into its methods, humoralism eventually became the dominant way of understanding the body in nonreligious terms by the late colonial years.
In the Hippocratic text On the Sacred Disease, the author explicitly ridiculed the idea that epilepsy was caused by divine forces and in fact none of the works of the Hippocratic Corpus, the earliest writings on humoralism, contain any mention of disease being caused or cured by the gods.
With wine occupying such a central position in Spanish culture, not to mention the importance humoralism gave to moderation in general, it is not hard to see why Spaniards, desperate to explain the decline of the indigenous population, would attribute the (in their view) misuse of alcohol as a major cause of disease.
For Spaniards and their cultural contemporaries, the creoles, the medical framework of humoralism — in its essence, a rational explanation of the relationship between the physicality of human beings and the material conditions in which they lived — provided them with a way to judge the new foods, climates, and peoples of their dominions across the Atlantic.
Although the medicine in these texts reflect the dominance of humoralism - a belief that disease arose from an imbalance of humours in the body, they shed light on how physicians understood disease and the methods they employed to combat it.