Hippocratic Temperaments

Hippocratic Temperaments

According to Hippocrates we all fall into four major groups or categories characterised by certain physical attributes, behavioural activities and mental attitudes which became collectively known as the Hippocratic temperaments.

We all know Doctors take the Hippocratic oath which promotes high ethics and moral standards as required by healers when working with their fellow man.  Hippocrates was a Doctor who passed in 377BC and during his life time he studied a great many people, he taught and wrote about many things relating to healing, he used plants and herbs extensively and was known for his regard for the body as a whole rather than lots of individual parts.

In his teachings he spoke about finding the 'root' cause of ailments rather than just dealing only with symptoms and he is therefore regarded as one of the first teachers of holistic healing.

When you look at the charts below, remember you will probably cross over two or more temperaments but there will be one that you have more characteristics in.


Characteristic Phlegmatic Lymphatic Nervous Melancholic Sanguine Bilious Choleric
Features Round-shaped Flabby Angular Frail Round-shaped firm Massive Angular
Walk Short slow steps Short quick steps Long quick steps Long slow steps
Gestures Rare slow Quick ceaseless Wide numerous quick Wide vigorous
Muscles No definition Frail knotted Wde tough Well shaped Long hard Well shaped
Speech Slow Quick jerky Quick easy Assertive
Face Pear shaped Triangular Oval Rectangular
Complexion White Yellowish Reddish Matt
Skin Cold wet Dry cold Warm wet Dry warm
Eyebrows Sparse Sparse Abundant Abundant
Look Expressionless Unfixed Deepset eyes Laughing welcoming Dominating hard
Lips Full white Thin Full red Straight
Chin Double Thin narrow Full strong Wide
Hands Large flabby Triangular thin Hexagonal firm wide Rectangular hard
Nose Square Thin pointed Straight up turned Square
Reaction in crisis Sleep Eat Philosophise Drink alcohol















Phlegmatic Lymphatic Nervous Melancholic Sanguine Bilious Choleric
Main traits Calm, sedentary, peaceful, regular Likes tranquility, doing nothing or slow repetitive work Sensitive, emotive, curious, subtle, solitary. Prefers mental activity Vigorous, optimistic. Full of imagination, eloquent, concilitory. Likes contact [all forms]. Likes travel and fresh air Energy, will, activity. Likes to give orders, be at the head, take responsibility and to be productive. Likes physical and psychological effort
Qualities Patient, calm, reliable, resistant, lazy, boring Dreamer, prone to repetitive tasks Impressionable, intuitive, irregular, inconsistent, difficulties in adapting, honest, scrupulous. Easily agitated and anxious Aesthetic, quick joyful. Exaggerates and can be morally feeble. Content with themselves. Welcoming and complacent Strong, radiating, charismatic, proud, prone to anger, stubborn, authoritarian, violent. Natural organiser. Can become sectarian 

Physiological weaknesses

Digestive system. Fluid retention. Endocrine system Fragile nervous system. Infectious problems. Chronic infection can invade skeletal system Heart, arteries, lungs.  If deprived of fresh air can become nervous type Liver. Gall Bladder. Osteo/muscular problems. Alway overdoing things. Possible candidate for nervous breakdown
Environmental needs Natural inclination to water.  Needs stimulating surroundings with physical and mental activities Natural inclination mental activity and change. Needs optimistic, calm surroundings and media. Fresh air and physical exercise Natural inclination fresh air and travel. Needs a quiet, calm affectionate atmosphere. Physical and intellectual activities in the open air. Natural inclination movement. Needs walking, physical activity, extroverted media, air. Tend to deprive themselves of fresh air
Appropriate management Needs to be treated with assertiveness and authority but also with gentleness By argument. Need to have their imagination activated Diplomacy, understanding, flattery, subtleness, care and love. They are receptive to competition Must not be hurried or rushed. Needs to be flattered and given patience






Unusual Gifts

Jewellery Boxes
Owl on a BranchOwl on a branch