Tigers: Constitutionally Hotter & Damper

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nosce te ipsum - know thyself

Food Matters

Food is incredibly important to the health of all kinds of people and Tigers are no exceptions to this. The kind of food that people prefer is another fascinating reflection of their constitution and it is noticeable that the constitutionally hotter and damper Tiger will often prefer foods that are denser, richer and moister than dryer, cooler or more raw alternatives. For example, I have to say that it is quite rare to find a vegetarian Tiger because these are people that usually like to eat plenty of protein in the form of meat, fish, chicken, nuts, seeds, eggs, avocados, milk & cheeses etc. and, so long as they are in good health and have plenty of energy in positive operation then I encourage them to do just that. Those are the kinds of foods that typical Tigers especially enjoy and there is a reason for this -- they are high energy foods and these are typically high energy people!

Of course as with all constitutions there will sometimes be health problems related to food and in the case of Tigers the two main issues that come up is the metabolic syndrome and the need for internal cleansing...


'The metabolic syndrome

Mainstream nutritional science is slowly catching up to the fact that fats and proteins have never been the enemy of our health but rather it is the excessive consumption of refined carbohydrates that has been devastating to many modern people. An article from an American cardiologist goes into this subject in more depth here. If you are a Tiger who has excess weight around their middle and you tend to high blood pressure and/or cholesterol levels, then there is a very high chance that you have the metabolic syndrome and the following article on what to do about it could literally save your life - it's here.

'Cleaning house

Of all the different constitutions it can be a Tiger more than anyone who will need a good and thorough internal cleanse from time to time and I talk about how to know when it's necessary and what it's about in an article called 'what is detoxification?' here. When cleansing is required
I always rely on some special herbs as discussed further on along with the essential strategy of an effective and do-able cleansing diet described here.

Some potent and commonly used cleansing herbs


Moving Well

All people need to regularly move their bodies to keep or regain their health but different constitutions will get the most benefit from quite different kinds of exercise.

Blowing off steam

There is something about the tendency to higher than average levels of both heat and dampness that creates a kind of energetic 'steam' in the Tiger constitution. There are many different ways that Tigers can channel their natural energy but something I have observed as a repeated pattern is that, just as steam rises and escapes wherever it can, so it is that the Tiger needs to let things come up and out or they can really suffer some negative consequences to their health and their mood! This could quite literally mean doing a physical exercise that is intense enough to make you really huff and puff. Or equally it could mean raising your voice; many a Tiger has found their true vocation in singing or speaking to large groups! It doesn't matter so much what it is that blows off that steam so long as it's understood that it's better out than in.

All or nothing

Tigers are a constitution that can certainly maintain long periods of exertion but brief periods of intense exercise may be just as beneficial to them. It is not so much the type of activity or its length that matters as much as that they are really best to go quite hard at whatever it is they are doing! Being half-in and half-out of anything, including exercise, never seems to be a recipe for sustainability in this constitution so if you who are reading this are a Tiger and you know yourself that what you are doing is not really engaging or challenging you both then change it up! Both your mental and physical health will be hugely improved when you get this part of the equation right...


Rest & Relaxation

Along with diet and exercise, good rest and relaxation is one of the greatest determinants of health and happiness but how this relates to each constitution has distinct differences. Tigers do few things by halves, if they are good at relaxing and sleeping then they will be very good, but if they're bad at relaxing and sleeping then they can be really bad! When this is the key area that needs attention then there is surely no lasting value in taking drugs but rather, for a Tiger, I would strongest the natural approach possible which is written up in a detailed article here. Further to the information in this article about getting help from Nature as a first step and actively releasing worry as the second step, I have two observations from practice about restless Tigers to share:


The first observation is that Tigers who don't have some kind of regular activity that allows them to 'unwind' can run into a lot of problems in their rest and relaxation. Some people can relax by just blobbing out and doing nothing but this is unusual for the Tiger constitution, where in most cases, they get far more rest and relaxation by doing something. The best person to know exactly what kind of activity will work best is, of course, you! The key point to grasp here is that, whilst someone else in stress might need to stop, a typical Tiger may be better to start, just whatever direction they go in needs to not be the one that winds them up further!

The bigger picture

The second observation is that Tigers who don't feel engaged with what they are doing, in other words who feel a bit purpose-less, can have a lot of trouble with their rest, relaxation and sleep. As mentioned earlier, Tigers are people with a lot of energetic 'steam'. If this is not channelled in some direction that makes sense to them then it can tend to implode and wreak havoc on their inner peace! I realise that the 'bigger picture' is not an easy subject to talk about, let alone resolve, but if this really is an issue then bringing it into the open at least gives a person can get their bearings on what is causing a problem, giving us a chance to cure it.



The personality of the typical Tiger is much too complex to easily summarise but there are several qualities that come through over and again and two of the most obvious are their purpose and their passion.


Tigers are people who can have, and are meant to have, a lot of purpose in their life path. The combination of higher than average levels of both heat and damp create a kind of energetic steam and this means they can achieve a great deal when this energy is put to productive use.

For the most part, and I put this down at least in part to a certain of personality that dampness brings, that purpose usually seems to involve others in their family, their community, or the world at large. Some Tigers may go about their intended purpose in the manner of a loner but the point of their endeavours is usually very much about what will benefit others, at least as much as themselves. A Tiger wants to make a difference in their world - these are not people from whom life is meant to be seen as a spectator. For example, they often gravitate to roles in life where they are helping, teaching or leading others...


The quality of 'Passion' could be described as a combination of enthusiasm, joy and commitment. Whilst purpose puts the engine into forward drive -- passion gives it power in the here and now. Tigers are often well beloved by others because their enthusiasm for life is infectious and they have energy to inspire and encourage others along their way. If the Tiger sees a point to it, then they may be relied on to sustain that energy through all kinds of difficulties; they are more than capable of lasting commitments and in fact they thrive on them.

I noticed a long time ago, and it has been made abundantly clear in many cases since, that it is the case for Tigers in particular that so long as they have plenty of purpose in their life then they naturally have plenty of passion and can sustain excellent levels of energy and optimism. On the contrary if a Tiger has lost their sense of purpose then they can go anywhere from grumpy and unmotivated all the way down to catastrophic depression! One of the greatest difficulties I have seen my Tiger patients experience is when their children have grown and/or their life-goals or business has been successful! They have accomplished what they have set out to do so... now what? In this life, the longest of all our journeys, we may need to set the goal posts more than just once or twice...


'Clear air

Perhaps in no small part because of their natural inclination to not be detached but rather to get busy and get involved, many Tigers will have had some bad experiences of being burnt by someone who has opposed them, let them down or simply been on an entirely different page! Tigers have to be really careful not to hold on to grudges in such cases or they will become grumpy and lose their light and playful nature.

A Tiger is a person who simply must clear the air. Resentment is an energy that can truly fester, consciously or subconscious, and then sow the seeds of health problems in later life. If this is at all an issue then there is much to be said for going through a process of getting things out into the open where they can be dealt with as best as possible and then just let go, more about the 'how' of this below...


Tiger constitutions are instinctively passionate and playful. Whilst they may prefer to be their own boss in the world or at least have a lot of independence these are people who need at least one significant other in their lives to help them sheathe their claws, roll over and play. Physical relationships are particularly important and Tigers who are untouched too long can become prickly and too tense.

A Tiger will not always be the easiest person to live with at times because, whoever they live with or work with it is a guarantee that at some point there will be an escalation of tension and irritability and that there will need to be a way to deal with it. The energetic 'steam' of the hot & damp constitution can cause nasty burns if it is not safely released but everything can blow over in a matter of moments if handled right. A Tiger who is not able to or is not allowed to express out what is bothering them can stay in a bad mood for days, even indefinitely, but once they get what is bothering them out in the open and then, just as importantly, work out what they are going to do about it, peace will be restored just as quickly.

With my own patients whose health can be gravely affected by such tensions I find it of much value to clearly explain the 'rules of engagement' for when they need to have conflict. If everyone understands these rules there is nothing to fear from conflict but rather much to gain. I go into this important subject in practical depth in an article on dealing with anger & frustration here.


Problems & Solutions

Tigers typically have strong constitutions and many enjoy excellent health for many years before anything really happens! If you are a Tiger, then please don't for a moment assume you are going to have to get all or even any of the following problems! I list them here because if you do get one of them then you will know that it is intrinsically linked to your constitution and that therefore an approach that helps with you cooling down or drying out some of your excess heat or damp will do you far more good in the long run than just trying to put out fires with powerful drugs!

Tiger health

Tigers typically have strong constitutions and many enjoy excellent health for many years before anything really happens! If you are a Tiger, then please don't for a moment assume you are going to have to get all or even any of the following problems! I list them here because if you do get one of them then you will know that it is intrinsically linked to your constitution and that therefore an approach that helps with you cooling down or drying out some of your excess heat or damp will do you far more good in the long run than just trying to put out fires with powerful drugs!

Tigers are less likely to slowly simmer chronic problems as they are to get things suddenly and rather painfully and it is especially notable with Tigers how the energetic 'steam' of their inherent hot and damp nature can cause problems that rise into their upper bodies - i.e. their chest, neck and head. For example, Tigers can be particularly prone to such problems as headaches & migraines (more detailed info here), chronic acne (more here) and recurrent sore throats (info here). Sinus congestion and hay fever are other typical Tiger rising problems (more info here). Back pain, which can be especially bad in the neck is another common issue (more info here).

By virtue of being extra hot and damp the digestive tract of the typical Tiger can be something of a tropical rainforest environment - i.e. very friendly to microbial life! For some the most important health action has been to kill off the overgrowth of bad bugs in their gut (called dysbiosis) and then restore good ones (more here). Another digestive issue that can especially plague some Tigers is reflux indigestion and what I have seen reliably working in my practice is described here. Gout is a lower down problem but it can also cause much misery and I have certainly seen more Tigers get it than all the other constitutions put together (more here).

Tigers have typically strong hearts and can go on for a long time, but what may need to be worried about is their tendency to get high blood pressure (more info here) The Tiger constitution is also definitely prone to high blood cholesterol and this important subject needs careful understanding from more than just the mainstream point of view (a detailed article here).

I already touched on this in the food section but where you see a pattern of a) raised blood pressure b) raised cholesterol and c) a tendency to be overweight in the classic 'apple-shape' then there is a high possibility that the metabolic syndrome is the driving force to all of it combined. The metabolic syndrome takes hard work but it can be cured and doing so will most certainly change your life (detailed info here)


Tiger medicine

Most modern drugs are centred on reducing people's symptoms, which can be a vital strategy when a problem has become overwhelming, but can be a dangerously inadequate approach if a condition has become chronic and nothing is being done to address the cause! The old ways of medicine focus on helping the person get the strength and support to resolve their own problems and this is where a constitutional approach can be so helpful - because it lets you see exactly what kind of support that person most needs right now. None of what follows can take the place of a one to one consultation but I want to give you some examples of constitutional medicine in action by describing some typical Tiger medicines.

Many, perhaps most, of the Tiger constitution people I initially meet need to start off with some at least some treatment for their liver - the signs for this being necessary are clear and compelling in their blood, their tongue, and their health problems. The liver is the hottest organ in the body and, with its constant blood-filtering, bile-making and substance-manufacturing it is also one of the dampest so in Tigers it is especially prone to becoming overheated and congested. It really is a matter of when, not if, a Tiger person will eventually have to do some cleansing, especially via the liver, and this has many times been seen to give them a tremendous amount of benefit to their general health or a specific health problem. The safest and in some ways the surest of liver tonics is the remarkable St Mary's thistle and if you will take it then it is well worth getting to know it better here.

Perhaps the strongest of all liver cleansing herbs is Celandine; this herb must be used with care and not overlong but I have seen it give extraordinary health benefits to Tigers in particular (more info here) Three other liver cleansing and cooling herbs that I often use to help Tigers are the humble Dandelion root (more info here), the deep-acting Burdock (more here) and the potent Juniper berry (more here)

For some Tiger people who are getting a certain type of headache along other with signs that they are reacting badly to foods the correct use of Gentian can help (more info here). It is probably one of the most underestimated herbs, at least in my culture, nevertheless Chamomile can relieve much pain and suffering when used correctly (more info here)

If a Tiger person has been sick for a while, then all that natural passion and energy may have imploded and they can get into very low states of mood and energy indeed. In such cases, along with other steps, the great tonic herbs such as Withania (more info here), Panax Ginseng (more here) and St John's wort (more here) can all make a tremendous difference at restoring the vitality needed to get well.

Chelidonium majus (Celandine)

'Cycle of healing

When a problem is not getting better by itself then it always means that some part of the cycle of healing has become stuck. There are four key phases in the cycle of healing and note that the one that can need the primary attention can be any of the four in any of the constitutions but, that said, it is a noticeable pattern in Tigers that the 'cleansing' phase of the cycle is the one that most often needs the most care. For those who want to delve more deeply into this subject and learn more about what herbs may best help them with their health there is a chart that gives an overview of the healing cycle here and a supportive article that talks about the subject in more depth here.

~ Tigers: Hotter & Damper

~ Eagles: Hotter & Dryer

~ Elephant/Butterfly: Cooler & Dryer

~ Bears: Cooler & Damper

~ Back to Constitutional Medicine Introduction

~ Working our your Constitution

~ Origins & Adaptations of Constitutional Medicine

Please understand that I cannot personally advise you without seeing you in my clinic.
This living 'book' is my labour of love so, wherever you are, I wish you peace & good health!



© 2011 R.J.Whelan Ltd