An Overview of the Human Body from the Point of View of Avicenna Medicine

The following terms have been used at the Canon of Medicine Book, Of course, over the years, the terms used have changed, and some of them have become unfamiliar to us, Other terms have been replaced by newer ones. Therefore, it is necessary to understand the proposed system of the human body as it was presented, and of course, the human body has not changed in its composition over the years and is still as explained by Avicenna.

The next episodes will expand on each of the following concepts, The modern terms used for each will be clarified as much as possible

According to Avicenna’s medicine, the human body consists of the following sections:

Section one – the natural parts of the body

The four elements or pillars: fire, air, Water and soil, noting that these elements are as they are found in nature, Rather, it is a metaphor for its properties and effects on the body and will be explained at length in the upcoming episodes.

It is worth noting that all styles of ancient medicine such as Avicenna, Indian, Greek medicine, and others share a vision of the body as a combination of the properties of the four elements.

Body tissues: It includes muscle tissue, bone tissue, skin tissue, and others.

Humours Yellow bile blood, phlegm, and black bile; Humours are a detailed topic, but as a quick clarification, Humours, as I have mentioned have names in modern science, are as follows: Yellow bile is Bilirubin or Total Bilirubin or gallbladder juice (Bile) and is stored in the gallbladder sac. Blood which is Hemoglobin, and is concentrated in heart and veins. Phlegm, which is mainly White Blood Cells or WBC, and is concentrated in the veins and lymph glands. Finally, black bile or Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR) and it is concentrated in the blood and spleen.

Vapors: (The book used the term soul, and of course it differs from the soul in the current sense today. Avicenna defines it as the gentle vapors that result from gentle Humours that are liquid and easy to move) These include animal vapors (coming from the heart), Natural vapors (originating from the liver) and psychological vapors (originating from the brain), and the book explains them in details and clearly.

Temperaments and Natures: Temperament consists of mixing the four Humours, and it is a basic pillar of Avicenna’s medicine.

Forces: Such as movement force, sense, gravity, holding and generating forces, and others.

Section Two – Conditions of the Body

The state of the body as dictated by the original or hereditary temperament.

The state of the body as dictated by the age of the person.

The masculinity and femininity temprements.

Getting used to some external elements.

This will be elaborated on in the following topics, but as a quick example:

I was born with a melancholic temperament, which means that my body tends to be cold and dry, and the temperament of the age group in which I am passing is cold and dry. Therefore, I am more prone to relapse at this point in my life due to exposure to excessive coldness and dehydration, So I must make sure to follow the principles of nutrition and the six reasons mentioned in this topic seriously. I was less likely to get sick in my early childhood, which is characterized by heat and humidity, and this neutralizes my genetic temperament, so I was closer to health during that period. This explains why an individual is more likely to develop Multiple Sclerosis between the ages of twenty and thirty.

Pages 10 and 11 of the book “The Canon of Medicine” attached to this blog, explains this more extensively, and page 11 deals with the temperament of masculinity and femininity and also explains why women are more susceptible to Multiple Sclerosis than men.

Section Three – The External Environment.

The effect of the external environment on the body, such as the place of residence, the geographic location and the city type, and it will be explained in the next articles.

Section Four – Signs of a Healthy Temperament

When all of the above are in good condition, the temperament of the individual is accordingly healthy.

The six causes of health and disease

Avicenna defines “cause” as the first factor for a change in the body. This may be a positive change towards health or a negative change towards disease.

The reasons that lead to health or its loss are six as I mentioned:


food, drink, medicine,

sleep and wakefulness,

movement and stillness,

Vomiting and congestion – that is, the exit of something from the body or its retention inside it.

Psychological state such as joy, sadness, anger, tension, nervousness, and others.