What is Constitution in Homeopathy ?

Constitution term is very common in homeopathy. It is very important in selecting remedy for patient. So, it is very important to know what is constitution.

The English word, constitution, comes from the Latin root, constituere, which means constitutes: to set up, to establish, to form or make up, to appoint to give being to.

Constitution means person’s physical and mental makeup. This is revealed by his physical built, his desires, his dislike, his reactions towards environment and situation, his emotional and intellectual attributes.

Physical make-up of patient comprises his personality and behaviour in society. This is closely related to the genetics and involves physical and psychic characters. It also involves inherited qualities which is modified by the environment.

It is seen that every person has certain type behaviour which is depends on the genes and his surroundings. A person’s behaviour can be linked to his childhood and his intrauterine life.

At this time embryo receive various stimulus which involves physical and emotional factors on mother. This is crucial time, as child develops various attributes. After child is born, some other attributes are added as he enters the world which is different from his previous environment.

As a child grows he comes across different environment and his behaviour changes accordingly through his learning experiences. He develops various likes and dislike, some positive and some negative attitudes.

So it is said that constitution comprises sum total of influences which is experienced by a person from his childhood to recent times.

It is said in homeopathy that when a person reacts and balance to enjoy the environment without any discomfort. When a person feels discomfort he shows some signs and symptoms. This is known as disease. The knowledge of constitution is necessary as it helps to give best medicine in correct dosage.

Classification of Constitution in Various System of Medicine

In Chinese system of medicine Yin and Yang is consider as constitution.

In Ayurvedic system of medicine Vata, Pitta and Kapha is considered as constitution.

Constitution involves structure, composition, physical make up or nature of a person. It consists of inherited qualities and some other factors which can be modified by the environment.

It is very important to understand that in Homeopathy, any remedy is given not only on disease condition, but it is given on-

Sum of all symptoms which is present in an individual and his circumstances which surrounds him. Selection of remedy also involves patient’s personality, behaviour, his fear, his response towards life, environment, food preference and so on.

Importance of constitution is from Dr. Hahnemann’s time who gave its indication in Aphorism 5 of Organon of Medicine. Hippocrates also taught its importance by saying that any disease is not caused by single cause but involves multiple causes and various levels.

According to Hippocrates constitution is of two types

  • Short and thick.
  • Long and thin.

Historical Background

The concept of constitution can also be seen in Chinese medicine, where it is mentioned in famous Chinese Medicine book Huang Di Nei Jing.

They divide constitution into nine types-as neutral, qi deficiency, yang deficiency, yin deficiency, blood stasis, phlegm & dampness, damp-heat, qi stagnation and special constitution.

Ayurveda, describes a unique concept  of constitution, genetically determined, categorising the population into several subgroups based on phenotypic characters like appearance, temperament and habits. According to this system, basic constitution of an individual is determined at the time of conception. The constitution is called Prakruti. The term Prakruti is a Sanskrit word that means, “nature”, “creativity”, or “the first creation. One of the very important concept of Ayurveda is that one’s basic constitution is fixed throughout his lifetime. It is also said that the combination of Vata,Pitta and Kapha that is present in the individual at time of conception is maintained throughout his lifetime. So, in order to understand a person, it is necessary to determine his or her Prakruti. Identifying the prakriti helps in individualising therapy or predicting proneness to a disease.

Homeopathic concept

Carbonic constitution

  • Characteristic feature includes
  • Square white regular teeth
  • Undemonstrative
  • Responsible and capable in doing things

Phosphoric constitution

  • Tall delicate person
  • Easily tired
  • Long teeth but well fitted
  • Dislike hard work but works orderly

Flouric constitution

  • Irregular body with teeth irregular and ill fitted
  • Untidy
  • Cunning
  • Unreliable
  • Capable of doing things
  • Wicked
  • Predisposed to disease or nervous system
  • Dislocation of the joints
  • Suicide

Von Grauvogl classified constitution as Oxygenoid, Carbo – nitrogenoid and Hydrogenoid.

Oxygenoid constitution

  • Thin
  • Has bad effect on change of season
  • Destructive in nature
  • Disease of central nervous system and gentials
  • They are prone to have ulcers and self-destruction
  • Have white spots on the nails
  • Person is thin with complain of weight loss in spite of having food, appetite and eating well
  • Prominent glands and weak bones
  • These are nervous individual They have increase physical and mental activities
  • They refuse fatty food and animal foods They have great quantity of blood They have vigorous appetite which persists in illness
  • Anaemia is seen
  • Ill on change of season

Worse

  • Dryness is changing to humidity, by cold, sea- air and in low altitudes
  • Before storms and before and during tempestuous winds.
  • Foggy weather.

Better

  • When rain and snow begin.
  • By rest and food

Carbo-nitrogenoid Constitution

  • Person has disorders of body and mind.
  • Conditions like psora, eczema and irregularity of heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, spleen.
  • Complaints occur from retarded nutrition. So they have increased liability to have disease and difficult nutrition. They have disease of body, mind, with irregular working of heart, lungs, kidneys, liver and spleen.
  • They have symptoms like short breath, frequent pulse, constipation, diarrhoea, urine complaints, gouty pains in the head, gouty swellings, vertigo, dullness of head, day sleep, yawning, irritability, extraordinary impatience. They also suffer from epistaxis, haemorrhoids, itching in skin. They have very unhealthy skin with boils, eczema and urticaria.

Hydrogenoid constitution

  • Symptoms are worse in humidity
  • Slow, fatigued without life
  • Heavy
  • Slow nutrition
  • Asthma, rheumatism and obesity is seen in individual

 Patient becomes worse

  • in humid weather
  • Baths
  • Eating of animals which lived in the water like fishes
  • Cold
  • Cold food and cold drinks like sour milk, hard eggs, cucumbers and mushrooms
  • Worse by standing water

Ernst Kretschner mentioned some physical characterstics in his book The character and physique”  classified constitution into asthenic, athletic and pyknic.

Asthenic type

  • Thin individual
  • Average or less height
  • Lean narrow built with poor skin, narrow shoulders, muscles
  • Delicate bones
  • Narrow flat chest
  • Thin stomach

Athletic constitution

  • Strong development of the skeleton, muscles and skin.
  • Middle sized person.
  • Projecting shoulders.
  • Superb chest.
  • Firm stomach.
  • Magnificent leg.

Pyknic

Fat person

Plethoric constitution

  • Robust
  • Have strength of body
  • Strong and full pulse

Feeble constitution

  • Deficiency of various elements in body
  • Easy fatigued from slight exertion
  • Pulse is feeble and soft
  • Inactivity of body functions

Bilious constitution

Apoplectic constitution-

  • Complaints of digestive system.
  • Dark complexion or yellow skin.
  • Diseases like constipation and piles.
  • Have slow full pulse.
  • Large head with short, thick neck, thick set frame.

Nervous constitution

  • This type of individual has nervous disorder.
  • Excitability of body and mind
  • Extreme sensitiveness
  • Flesh is soft and flaccid
  • Muscle is relaxed
  • Full and rounded
  • Light complexion
  • Lymphatic constitution or mucous-
  • Pulse is slow
  • Pulse is variable, quickly changes from rapid to slow
  • Sensitive to cold

Consumptive constitution

  • Clear skin with bright spot on the cheek
  • Flatness of the chest
  • Patient has respiratory complaints
  • Quick and small pulse
  • Rapid growth
  • Slender in built

In homoeopathy, the choice of remedy is based on a consideration of the totality of an individual’s symptoms and circumstances, including personality, behaviours, fears, responses to the physical environment, food preferences and so on. There are many remedies available for one disease and the best suited medicine is prescribed by Homeopathic Doctor based on person’s constitution. So to get best treatment, it is better to consult a doctor before taking medicine.

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