Tigers: Constitutionally Hotter & Damper

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nosce te ipsum - know thyself

One of the most incredible things about life is its ability to be endlessly creative. You who are reading this are one of a kind and so, of course, is each of your friends, your family, and everyone you know. The complexity within life, and each one of us, that allows for such individuality is something extraordinary, it is unlimited.

We set about categorising each other, therefore, at the peril of losing sight of this everyday wonder. Just as soon as we divide each other by age, race, nationality etc. we can lose the awareness of what matters most; namely that the great creativity of life is equally expressed in the individuality of each of our lives, that no one person is inherently better or worse than another, we are the same in being different.

So, why bring constitutions into the picture? It is to better understand, and work with, the nature that underlies that individuality. Throughout history, all cultures have come to a similar recognition that, despite the obvious evidence of our differences, there are still recurring themes that show how we tend to be relatively hotter or cooler and, at the same time, relatively dryer or damper than one another.

'Nosce te ipsum' know thyself. The value of this understanding is that it gives such useful insights, including into what kinds of foods, habits and, when needed, medicines can form the surest foundation for our most precious possession of all; our health...

The Tiger Personality

There are several characteristics that perfectly demonstrate the distinct personality of the Tiger:


Passion is one of the most interesting, endearing and potentially challenging of the Tiger's many qualities. However, like so many of words that have been used to denote something great, it has become overused and diluted, so let's be clear about what it means here

Passion is not mild enthusiasm or passing interest, it is the quality of making a whole-hearted commitment to something; a path, a project, a person. Not all Tigers engage with their passion, but the capacity for it is always there, needing to be found, waiting to be expressed.

There is a profound difference to the Tiger's health if passion is or isn't in the picture. The qualities of higher levels of 'heat' and 'dampness' that form the Tiger constitution create a kind of energetic 'steam' and if that energy is moving things forwards, making things happen, then all kinds of obstacles may be overcome, but if it becomes stuck and only creates internal pressure, then all kinds of hell can break loose!

Tigers should have plenty of this passion, this natural energy to express out into the world, but this depends on their finding and working with something that gives them a sense of meaning or, if you like, purpose


'For their passion to find expression, Tigers must have a sense of 'purpose', which is another word needing careful clarification because first of all, whatever it is, it is something that a person needs to find by themselves, which is a tricky thing to do in a world in which we are more connected and aware of each other's lives and thoughts than ever before.

If we don't have the time and space to hear ourselves think, it is all too easy to become overly influenced by the 'purpose' of others, i.e. what they consider important, and lose sight of the things that actually matter the most to us.

A great mistake to make about purpose is to think that it must be something larger than life, that it should involve heroics, dramatics or a vast number of approving followers on social media in order to be worthwhile. Fame doesn't fulfil people, generally it just ruins them. To find a true sense of purpose you must look within your heart to see what makes it leap!

Most people, after enough soul-searching, find that they are seeking much the same things; peace, love, happiness, but how we then go about find our way towards those things is as varied as life itself. No-one can tell you what your purpose is but if you as a Tiger have the experience of plenty of passion in your life now, then you are already on to it. If not, then as much as you can and as quickly as you can, stop whatever it is that you are doing and be ready to reconsider everything. It's your life, if you're a Tiger then you most certainly should be in charge of it.

'Hunting & Connecting

With respect to some of the last points, that no-one can say what the Tiger 'should' be hunting for and that it doesn't need to be earth-shattering to be worthwhile, I just want to share the observation that most Tigers really do like to make a difference in people's lives!

Many are drawn into life-paths where they are helping, teaching or leading others. Tigers tend to have a natural optimism, they see the glass 'half-full' and many want to inspire and encourage others along the way.

This inclination to not be detached but rather to get busy and get involved means that many have had some bad experiences of being burnt by someone who has let them down or opposed them. If, or maybe when, this happens, Tigers have to be especially careful not to hold on to grudges because resentment can fester, consciously or subconscious, and sow the seeds for real problems in later life.

Aside from that, some of the greatest challenges for Tigers comes when they achieve what they set out to do. The children are grown, the business was successful, the holiday over, the challenge completed... so now what? If the Tiger understands that it is in their nature to keep hunting, to keep seeking meaningful connections, then it is simply a matter of being flexible, of staying open to the only true constant in life, which is change. To keep going, stay buoyant, they simply must reset the purpose, and start hunting and connecting again.

Further reading on emotional health

If you are interested in reading further about the emotional health and healing of the Tiger constitution, there is a link to quite a lot more on this subject at the bottom of this page under the section on health and medicine


Tiger Nutrition

Food is incredibly important to the health of all kinds of people and Tigers are no exceptions to this. The kinds of food that people prefer is another fascinating reflection of their constitution and it is noticeable that most Tigers prefer foods that are dense and rich than more cool or dry alternatives. For example, it is quite rare to find a vegetarian Tiger, they usually like to eat plenty of fats and proteins in the form of meat, fish, chicken, nuts, seeds, eggs, avocados, milk & cheeses etc.

There is nothing wrong with being true to your nature and, so long as the Tiger is in good health, they should certainly follow their instincts and eat what they most enjoy. That said, it must be acknowledged that some Tigers can grow to develop problems in their health that are directly related to their diet:

'Metabolic Syndrome

A tendency to develop the metabolic syndrome can affect anyone but, unfortunately, it is most common of all in the Tiger. True to their constitutional 'totem' they suit a 'hunter-gatherer diet but not a modern diet heavily based on carbohydrate rich foods.

If a person is developing a combination of signs such as excess weight around their middle (the 'apple' shape), higher blood pressure or higher cholesterol levels, then there is a high likelihood that they have it. That's the bad news, the good news is that it is entirely curable if they are ready to change the way they eat, more here

'Cleansing programs

I touch on this subject again in the section on health and medicine below, it's also bought to your attention here because it's such a common issue for Tigers, in fact the need for a cleansing program comes up the most for them too!

If it turns out that you who are reading this have both the metabolic syndrome as well as a need for a cleansing program, don't be disheartened or think you are unlucky to be born into this constitution. Whilst Tigers often do need to put some work into their health, they have remarkably robust constitutions and can nearly always quickly bounce back from adversity. If needed, there is more about the important subject of detoxification found here

some herbs commonly used in cleansing programs


Tiger Fitness

For most people, their health and fitness are a gift for the 1st half of their lives and then, in the 2nd half, they have to start earning them.

Tigers need exercise. Of course, all kinds of people need exercise, but Tigers really need it! However, if they can't see the point, i.e. the purpose of it, then it may just not be happening, in which at least one of two things are likely to happen:

1') they get overweight
2) they get a kind of caged-up 'tension'

If either of these are happening, then exercise must be part of the cure. Many Tigers are well suited to short periods of high intensity but if they prefer the more longer, less intense forms of exercise that is perfectly ok too. The main point is that it simply needs to feel purposeful. For example, if losing weight or getting healthy is enough of a goal, then that will work. If having fun whilst getting fit in some kind of sport or activity is the goal, that will certainly do it too.

Mental fitness is no different, or less important, than physical fitness, and finding the best ways to keep our minds active and engaged clearly makes an enormous difference to our quality of life as we age.

A good question to ask yourself can be "what have I been studying or learning about lately?" If a person's mind becomes 'set' in its thinking and manner of experiencing the world, the result is no different than if they were to stop moving or stretching their body; there is a stiffness, a rigidity, a hardness that can develop.

People can keep vibrantly good mental health into great old age, but only if they maintain their mental fitness. There is no one right way to do this anymore than there is one right way to exercise the body but, If there is a conscious choice to remain open and to stay mentally fit, then the means to remaining young and alive in spirit are as many and varied as the unlimited creativity of life itself.


Tiger Rest & Relaxation

Along with diet and exercise, one of the greatest determinants of health and happiness is how well people are able to rest, relax and sleep.

Tigers do few things by halves, if they're good at rest and sleep then they can be very good, capable of long catch-ups when needed, and able to take naps and recharge their batteries at will.

However, if relaxing and sleeping becomes a problem then it tends to be a bad one. They can become dedicated insomniacs, at which point no amount of natural optimism in the world is going to save them from feeling strung-out beyond anything remotely reasonable.

If a Tiger is having a problem with their sleep, then start with getting some sure support from Nature as discussed in the article on insomnia here

The main thing to understand here is that Tigers unwind their internal tension by doing things, not by letting it sit there and just hoping for the best by bedtime. 'Doing things' could be anything; craft-work, art-work, reading, journaling, physical exercise, there is no one right way to unwind tension, you are the only one that knows what works best for you, then you just have to do it.


Tiger Health & Medicine

Health really is our most valuable possession, but hardly anyone realises the truth of that until they've lost it... however, if you treat the cause and work with 'Nature', i.e. the innate self-healing intelligence, then what's lost can be found.

Recognising the patterns of our differences via the constitutional approach ties in with another way of seeing what can help, or obstruct, this self- healing intelligence. We have within us a 'healing cycle' that we constantly move through in the course of our daily lives however, when one part of that cycle is repeatedly blocked or out of balance, we become unable to self-correct what's gone wrong.

The subjects mentioned above; nutrition, fitness and rest, have touched on matters that involve 3 of the 4 stages of the healing cycle, the 4th is about 'cleansing'. This area also often needs some attention in a person who has become chronically unwell. Tigers can be no exception to this and, even though they may have maintained a clean diet and environment, many show the classic signs of 'encumbrance' when first met.

If you think you might personally need to delve into this further, cleansing is discussed in more detail in an article called 'what is detoxification' found here. The interesting subject of the healing cycle is talked about more here

I don't want to describe the health problems that Tigers are most prone to, it would make for a rather gloomy list and none of it may ever be personally relevant so, if there is something you are troubled by now, or want to know more about, see if it's discussed in the A-Z of health conditions found here

I do want to highlight just a few of the remedies from Nature that can be of particular help though. For example, many Tigers get a great deal of benefit from herbs that treat their liver such as St Mary's thistle, Celandine or Dandelion root.

Remedies such as Chamomile or St John's wort can be of much benefit for their nervous system, Juniper, Birch leaf & Celery seed can especially help their joints, and if they need help with their skin then herbs such as Clivers and Red Clover can be invaluable.

Those are just a very few examples, so long as it is understood that, at different times and with different problems, any herb may potentially be of help to any constitution, to see what else is particularly well-suited to Tigers there are further patterns shown in the chart on constitutional medicines found here

Further Reading

If interested, there is another whole section on the emotional health and healing of the Tiger constitution for further reading, but please note that, for these somewhat tricky and rather dark subjects, there are no easy solutions on offer so proceed with caution! The introduction to this section is found here

Chelidonium majus (Celandine)

~ Eagles: Hotter & Dryer

~ Elephant/Butterfly: Cooler & Dryer

~ Bears: Cooler & Damper

~ Back to Constitutional Medicine Introduction

~ Working out your Constitution

~ Origins & Adaptations of Constitutional Medicine

~ Cycle of Healing

~ Free eBook on Constitutional Complexity

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