Degrees of heat

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As part of the theory of four humours based on the work of Galen, food was classified into degrees of heat. Food and herbs were said to be either hot or cold and either dry or moist. Each of these classifications had four degrees.

  • The first degree has no overt manifestation.
  • The second degree causes metabolic change, but is eventually overwhelmed by the body.
  • The third degree has a more profound impact on the body, and can be said to be medicinal.
  • The fourth degree has an overwhelming impact on the body. Poisons fit into this category.