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Human Body

6 ElEmEnts And Humours man mirrors nature Medieval folk assumed they were composed of the same number of elements as nature, which was usually three, four, or five. Inner versions of fire, air, earth, and water swirled around as humours, blending in the body, and painting its faces, seasons, and qualities. Like the weather, humours had mild, stormy, heavy, and beautiful days inside each person. As climatic patterns sculpt local landscape, humours revealed the deeper colours of your complexion. Humours carrier fluids were only visible in the raw during an illness the bodys brave attempt to restore humoural harmony. Too much humour in the wrong place could be cured by efflux of blood, phlegm, pus, or bile, thus freeing the intangible humour. The Swiss mystic and iconoclast Paracelsus realised the ethereal humours must have physical counterparts, basing his system on an alchemical trinity of salt, sulphur, and mercury. As in nature, these combined inside the body, making fixed, mutable, and cardinal compounds, which conferred structure, energy and communication, like the molecules now found in microbiology. Subtle blending effects can also be seen in modern endocrinology, whose hormones characters emerge starkly in various syndromes of excess or depletion, giving clues to their patterns in health. Just four chemical elements HCNO combine in the four bases of DNA, the molecule that carries hereditary complexion. A fifth element, phosphorus, joins the pentagonal sugars of DNAs back bone, to make a long chain which has a mirrorimage, the two strands resolving as the serpentine double helix see p.23. 7
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