This correlation of the physical properties of the world with human temperament and body fluids was first developed in Greece around 400 B.C. Illness, it was believed, developed when the elements got out of balance. Balance - and therefore health - could be restored by consuming foods and medicinal plants that would bolster the weaker humours.

Garlic, for example, was classed as hot and dry. It would therefore benefit someone suffering from an excess of phlegm, but might aggravate the symptoms of someone suffering from an excess of yellow bile.


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