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The Four Temperaments




The beauty of Anthroposophic Medicine is that it pays attention to the patient as a whole person: body, mind, and soul. As a homeopath I found that the methods and principles of Anthroposophy have been very useful in difficult and challenging cases.


One of the principles of Anthroposophy is that there are four basic personalities or temperaments, and each one is connected to an element and an organ:


The Choleric temperament is related to fire and to the heart. Choleric types tend to be ambitious, leader-like, aggressive, energetic, passionate, dominating, and like to be in charge. Disturbed heart forces result in disturbances of warmth formation, warmth distribution, ability to transform warmth. There is not enough movement and activity. The personality becomes overly conscientious, fearful and aggressive.


The Sanguine temperament is related to air and to the kidneys. Sanguine types are impulsive, pleasure-seeking, sociable, charismatic, creative, sensitive, compassionate and romantic. With disturbed kidney forces the body is either too weakly or too deeply “breathed-through.” The personality becomes rash, with mood swings and intense emotional ups and downs. There is a tendency towards inner tension, overstraining, restlessness, and nervousness. Thought is erratic and superficial thought and determined by the emotions. Quickly exhausted.


The Phlegmatic temperament is related to water and to the liver. They are relaxed, quiet, lazy, self-content, kind, accepting and affectionate, prefer stability, and can be passive-aggressive. When the liver forces become disturbed there is a disruption of the fluids - there is either a feeling of drying up or of being soaked. Physically there is a history of hepatitis, inflammation, and exposure to toxins. There is disturbed sense of thirst. Mentally there is a tendency towards pictorial, emotional, thinking. Thought is cumbersome and is seldom rational. There is a tendency towards obstinacy and dogmatism.


The Melancholic temperament is related to earth and to the lungs. They are usually introverted, thoughtful, ponderous, considerate, rather worried, creative, perfectionist, self-reliant, and independent. When the lung forces become disturbed there is tendency towards hardening and stiffness. Physically there is a predisposition towards pneumonia, bronchitis, and tuberculosis. Mentally there is a tendency towards pensive, brooding thoughts. You find overly correct and pedantic thoughts and behaviors. Thinking is clear, abstract, and mechanical without an emotional component.


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