Concept of Temperament (Mizaj) and its Assessment in Unani System of Medicine

Concept of Temperament (Mizaj) and it's Assessment in Unani System of Medicine


The fundamentals of Unani medicine are mainly based upon the temperament (Mizaj) and humours (Akhlat). It was described by various eminent Graeco-Arab physicians like Jalinoos, Abu Bakr Mohammad Bin Zakaria Razi, Ali Ibn-e- Abbas Majoosi, Rabban Tabri, Ibn-e- Rushd and other eminent Unani scholar in their literatures. According to them the specific temperament is present in every individual.

The temperament of an individual is broadly classified into four types as Phlegmatic (Balghami), Sanguine (Damvi), Bilious (Safravi), and Melancholic (Saudavi).These four types of temperaments of individuals are very important for treating various diseases.

Unani System of Medicine believes that every individual has their own unique temperament according to their humoral constitution, lifestyle and environmental conditions. The interaction between four elements in the body produces various states which determine the temperament (Mizaj) of an individual. Any deviation from normal temperament results into disease. The management of the disease depends upon the correction of altered temperament by using various regimens and drugs.

In Unani system, the temperament of the individual is very important and it is believed to be the result of the interaction of the elements. For maintaining the health of an individual, it is imperative to maintain temperament (Mizaj).

It is also very important to keep the temperament in mind while diagnosing a disease. The dominance of one or more humours in the body vitiates humo       ur itself and causes disease.
Temperament (Mizaj) is also importance in the treatment of diseases with natural remedies derived from Herbo-animo-mineral sources. It is also taken into consideration for identifying the most suitable diet and life style for promoting good health.

Classification/ Types of Temperament (Mizaj) according to humours (Akhlaat)

The human body comprises four body fluids namely –Dam (blood), Balgham (phlegm), Safra (yellow bile) and Sauda (black bile), constituted by initiation of different proportion of all four elements (Arkan). The temperament of a man is characterized both by the fluid element and its physiological and physiognomic effects, and it is expressed by the preponderance of a particular humour (Khilt) present in his body. Thus a man may be damvi (Sanguineous), Balghami (Phlegmatic), Safravi (Choleric) or saudavi (Melancholic) in nature according to the preponderance of dam, balgham, safra or sauda respectively.

  1. Sanguine Temperament (Damwi Mizaj)

This type has also been called the 'Muscular' temperament. This temperament will be Hot & Wet in nature. It belongs to Air element. Individuals will look fair with muddy complexion, with full muscular development, large full veins and a large pulse. They are confident with positive thinking that is rarely anxious. They are very prone to involve themselves with physical excesses and as a result they often suffer from injuries and their sequels. Individuals with Damwiul Mizaj (Sanguine Teemperament) are very active, tense, moderately hypersexual, good appetite ans full srong pulse.

  1. Phlegmatic Temperament (Balghami Mizaj)

This type has also been called the 'Lymphatic' temperament. This temperament will be Cold & Wet in nature. It belongs to Water element. It displays a fair complexion, light hair, general softness and laxity of tissues and a pulse that is soft and wide. Because of the excessive metabolic activity of immune system, heat tends to be drawn inwards and the exterior is cold; hence people of this types tend to feel the cold acutely. The Phlegmatic type is slow and sluggish, apathetic and not readily excited They easily become flabby and overweight.

  1. Choleric Temperament (Safrawi Mizaj)

This type has also been referred to as the 'Nervous' temperament. This temperament will be Hot & Dry in nature. It belongs to Fire element. It is characterized by a slim build and by much nervous activity. These are passionate people, quick to become excited or angry and just as quick to forget their excitement. They live on their nerves and because of this they are susceptible to brain and nervous disorders. Their pulse tends to be sharp and quick. The skin in this type appears yellowish, and this temperament occurs often in those with brown hair.

  1. Melancholic Temperament (Saudawi Mizaj)

This type of temperament will be Cold & Dry in nature. It belongs to Earth element. Usually the individual has a darkish complexion and appears emaciated. Their tissues are hard and dry and their pulse is narrow and thready. This temperament is prone to frequent spells of pessimism, a gloomy state of mind with much depression. The individuals with melancholic temperament are more slender and lean. they dont tolerate dry food and they like moist things. Also their skin is blackinsh incolour.

Process of Temperament Assessment/ Diagnosis of Temperament (Mizaj)

Temperament (Mizāj) classifies human beings, diet, drugs etc. into four qualitative types: Hot & Dry, Hot & Wet, Cold & Wet and Cold & Dry. The knowledge about an individual’s temperament is very important for treating various diseases. For the assessment of the temperament the unani physicians documented their different parameters.

These are called as Ajnas-e-Ashra, which are as follows:

  1. Malmas (Tactus)
  2. Leham wa shaham (Flesh and Fat)
  3. Ashar (Hair- rate of growth, colour, distribution etc)
  4. Launul Badan (Bofy complexion)
  5. Haiyyatul Aaza (Physique)
  6. Kaifiat-e-Infialat Aaza (Responsiveness of organs)
  7. Naum-wa-Yaqzah (Sleep and wakefulness)
  8. Afal-ul- Aaza (Functions of the organs)
  9. Fuzlat-e- Badan (Wastes)
  10. Infialat-e- Nafsaniya (Psychic Reactions)
  1. Malmas (Tactus)  

Through touching of the body two things are seen

  • Body heat
  • Hardness and softness of the body (Salabah, Laiyenat, Malasah and kushunah etc.)                                   

Body Heat: It is felt by two means

By recording the temperament of body: it is measured by touching the body by an equable person under normal conditions, but the accurate method of recording the temperament of body is thermometer. For more accuracy, there are more sensitive devices far better than the ordinary clinical thermometers. The actual quantity of the heat is produced in the body is measured by taking B.M.R. It is the most accurate method of establishing hot and cold temperament in terms of kaifiyat (quality).

Hardness and softness of the body

Under this heading the hardness, softness, roughness, smoothness, moistness and dryness of the body is measured. This is not measured with the help of hand only but the quantity of water in the body can be measured in the laboratory also.

  1.  Laham wa Shaham (Muscle and Fat)

This is another criterion for determining temperament of the body. Thus, Laham –well developed and strong muscles, indicates toward hararat and rutubat (heat and moistness) of temperament. If the quantity of muscles is less and the body is devoid of fat, it indicates towards yubusat (dryness) of temperament.

Shaham and samin (Fats): Presence of both of them indicates towards burudat (Coldness) of temperament. The body of such person is flaccid. Deficiency of samin and shaham in the body indicates toward hotness of temperament. According to the Unani physicians the material causes (sabab-e- maddi) of deposition of shaham in the body is blood –fat and the efficient cause (sabab-e- fa’ili) is burudat (Cold temperament).

  1. Ash’ar (Hairs) : The following things are seen in the hairs
  • Fast or the slow growth of the hairs
  • Excess and the sparseness of the hars
  • Thickness or the thinness of the hairs
  • Straightness or the curliness of the hairs
  • Colour of the hairs
  1.  Laun-u-l Badan (Colour of the Body)

The colour of the body also indicates towards a particular temperament. Different colours indicate toward different temperaments. According to “RabbanTabri” the real cause of bodily colour is the dominance of particular khilt and its diversion towards the skin at the time of formation of the embryo, as we know the melanocytes are responsible for skin colours.

  1. Hay’atul Aaza (Physique)

The temperament also affects the physique. Therefore, development of different organs of body and body build indicate towards particular temperament. Anatomically four types of personalities have been described which are probably influenced by the respective temperaments. These are:

  • Hypersthenic type
  • Sthenic type
  • Hyposthenic type
  • Asthenic type
  1. Kaifitat Infiyalul Aaza (Quality of organs to react):

This is seen by tendency of organs to accept the effect of heat or cold with slowness or fastness.

  1. Naum Wa Yaqza (Sleep and Wakefulness)

The normal sleep and wakefulness indicates the presence of normal temperament, especially it indicates towards the temperament of the brain. Excessive wakefulness indicates towards hot and dry temperament, while excessive sleep indicates increased cold and wet (Barid Ratab) temperament of the brain.

  1. Af’aal-ul- A’aza (Functions of The Organs)

Under this heading different physiological function of the body are examined. Thus in the light of these functions the temperament is interpreted.

  1. Fuzlatul Badan (Excrements of the Body)

The inspection and examination of different excrement of the body also indicates towards certain temperament. According to the modern concept of the excrement of body are four types, which are described.

  • Urine
  • Faeces
  • Sputum
  • Sweat
  1.  Infi’alat-e- Nafsaniya (Psychic Reactions)

Under the heading of the whole psychological and mental setup of a man is studied and nervous functions are examined and interpreted in the light of facts given by the Unani physicians.

Note: The concept of temperament in Unani system of medicine is an indispensible factor of every living body of the world. Basically temperament develops due to interaction of different elements in the human body. The body is consisting of myriad of elements and after their biochemical as well as molecular reactions they produce a specific type of temperament in body.

These temperaments of the body affect the normal physiological function of the body and alteration in the temperament of an individual can cause disease. These diseases can be corrected by giving specific drug. The drugs are also having different temperaments, after evaluating temperament of the individual and the temperament of the drug we can treat the patient successfully.

Unfortunately, the scientists of the modern stream are denying the concept of temperament that is why several side effects are resulting with the treatment of allopathic drugs, such as penicillin causing anaphylactic reaction in one person while other person responds positively with the same treatment. It can be taken as a good example of difference of temperament in different individuals. On the basis of Ajnas-e-Ashra, we can evaluate the temperament of individuals up to greater extent and treat the diseases in the more effective manner.


  • PUBLISHED DATE : May 12, 2022
  • CREATED / VALIDATED BY : Dr. Mahtab Alam Khan
  • LAST UPDATED ON : May 12, 2022


Write your comments

This question is for preventing automated spam submissions