Humours were also attributed qualities found in nature; hot, cold, moist and dry. Different humours were assigned to organs, plants, animals, the seasons, times of day and the constellations.
If illness was caused by imbalance of humours then treatment was aimed towards restoring this.
Deficiency of a given humour was determined not only by the nature of the symptoms but also by a physician’s assessment of the patient’s temperament.
Oral replacement would usually be through diet or herbs. So for melancholy, a recommended regime might be to avoid meat and lettuce, and to eat partridge but not duck, in the Spring! Each food and season having its own dominant humour.
Copious texts described not only what specific foodstuffs to eat in relation to given complaints, but also when and how to do so. Likewise when and how to drink beer along with prescriptive advice on a host of lifestyle measure to retain good health in humoral terms.
The humours were also thought to percolate the urine and much store was set by the colour, strength, smell and taste of the patient’s urine as an indicator of health and well being.