Major Ideas

– Diseases have natural origins: They do not arise from divine action; the course of diseases and their critical days can be found observation and experience.

– Good health results from a balance of fluids (humors) in the body; disease results from an imbalance.

– The balance of fluids – hence the occurrence of disease – is governed by environmental fctors: heat, cold, water, winds; close observation of these factors enables the physician to predict the frequency of disease in any given locality.

– Nature itself accomplishes all healing by attempting to blend harmoniously the body’s humors; a physician’s task is to remove any obstacles to nature’s healing action and to foresee the course of the disease.


Little is known of the life of Hippocrates beyond the fact that he was a physician on the island of Cos, and that he belonged to the most intellectual period of Grecian life and singularly free from superstition.

Over eighty treatises have been attributed to him, but it now is conceded that some were written by others who borrowed his name and reputation.

His works taken together form ten volumes, an encyclopedia of medicine and surgery as known in his day.

Hippocrates has been called the father of scientific medicine. He did not believe in miraculous diseases or cures. He taught that proper diet is a necessity of health, and that climate has a profound influence on both mind and body.

He died in Thessaly at an advanced age.

Major Works of Hippocrates

– Nature of Man
– Prognostic
– Regimen in Acute Diseases
– Airs, Waters, Places
– Epidemics I and III

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