Constitution term is very common in homeopathy. It is very important in selecting remedies for patients. 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 makeup, to appoint to give being to.
Constitution means a person’s physical and mental makeup. This is revealed by his physical built, his desires, his dislike, his reactions towards the environment and situation, his emotional and intellectual attributes.
The physical make-up of the patient comprises his personality and behavior in society. This is closely related to genetics and involves physical and psychic characters. It also involves inherited qualities that are modified by the environment.
It is seen that every person has a certain type of behavior that depends on the genes and his surroundings. A person’s behavior 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 a crucial time, as a child develops various attributes. After the 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 environments and his behavior changes accordingly through his learning experiences. He develops various likes and dislikes, 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 the constitution is necessary as it helps to give the best medicine incorrect dosage.
Classification of Constitution in Various System of Medicine
In the Chinese system of medicine Yin and Yang is considered as the constitution.
In the Ayurvedic system of medicine Vata, Pitta and Kapha are considered constitutions.
Constitution involves the structure, composition, physical makeup, 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 that surround him. Selection of remedy also involves the patient’s personality, behavior, fear, response towards life, environment, food preference, and so on.
The importance of the 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 a single cause but involves multiple causes and various levels.
According to Hippocrates constitution is of two types
- Short and thick.
- Long and thin.
The concept of the constitution can also be seen in Chinese medicine, where it is mentioned in the 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, categorizing the population into several subgroups based on phenotypic characters like appearance, temperament, and habits. According to this system, the 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 concepts 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 the 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 individualizing therapy or predicting proneness to disease.
- Characteristic feature includes
- Square white regular teeth
- Responsible and capable of doing things
- Tall delicate person
- Easily tired
- Long teeth but well fitted
- Dislike hard work but works orderly
- Irregular body with teeth irregular and ill-fitted
- Capable of doing things
- Predisposed to disease or nervous system
- Dislocation of the joints
Von Grauvogl classified the constitution as Oxygenoid, Carbo – nitrogenoid, and Hydrogenoid.
- Has a bad effect on the change of season
- Destructive in nature
- The disease of the central nervous system and genitals
- They are prone to have ulcers and self-destruction
- Have white spots on the nails
- A person is thin with a complaint of weight loss in spite of having food, appetite, and eating well
- Prominent glands and weak bones
- These are nervous individual They have to increase physical and mental activities
- They refuse fatty food and animal foods They have a great quantity of blood They have a vigorous appetite which persists in illness
- Anemia is seen
- Ill on change of season
- Dryness is changing to humidity, by cold, sea- air, and in low altitudes
- Before storms and before and during tempestuous winds.
- Foggy weather.
- When rain and snow begin.
- By rest and food
- A 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 the disease and difficult nutrition. They have the disease of body, mind, with the irregular working of heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, and spleen.
- They have symptoms like short breath, frequent pulse, constipation, diarrhea, urine complaints, gouty pains in the head, gouty swellings, vertigo, dullness of head, day sleep, yawning, irritability, extraordinary impatience. They also suffer from epistaxis, hemorrhoids, itching in the skin. They have very unhealthy skin with boils, eczema, and urticaria.
- Symptoms are worse in humidity
- Slow, fatigued without life
- Slow nutrition
- Asthma, rheumatism, and obesity is seen in individual
Patient becomes worse
- in humid weather
- Eating of animals which lived in the water like fishes
- Cold food and cold drinks like sour milk, hard eggs, cucumbers, and mushrooms
- Worse by standing water
Ernst Kretschner mentioned some physical characteristics in his book The character and physique” classified constitution into asthenic, athletic and pyknic.
- Thin individual
- Average or less height
- Lean narrow built with poor skin, narrow shoulders, muscles
- Delicate bones
- Narrow flat chest
- Thin stomach
- Strong development of the skeleton, muscles, and skin.
- Middle-sized person.
- Projecting shoulders.
- Superb chest.
- Firm stomach.
- Magnificent leg.
- Have the strength of body
- Strong and full pulse
- Deficiency of various elements in the body
- Easy fatigued from slight exertion
- Pulse is feeble and soft
- Inactivity of body functions
- Complaints of the digestive system.
- Dark complexion or yellow skin.
- Diseases like constipation and piles.
- Have a slow full pulse.
- Large head with a short, thick neck, thick-set frame.
- This type of individual has a nervous disorder.
- Excitability of body and mind
- Extreme sensitiveness
- The 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
- Clear skin with a bright spot on the cheek
- The flatness of the chest
- The patient has respiratory complaints
- A quick and small pulse
- Rapid growth
- Slender inbuilt
In homeopathy, the choice of remedy is based on a consideration of the totality of an individual’s symptoms and circumstances, including personality, behaviors, 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 a person’s constitution. So to get the best treatment, it is better to consult a doctor before taking medicine.