Tigers: Constitutionally Hotter & Damper

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nosce te ipsum - know thyself

One of the most extraordinary things about life is its seemingly endless ability to be creative. We can see this, perhaps clearer than anywhere, in how every human being that is, or ever was, is remarkably, entirely unique. You who are reading this are one of a kind, so is each of your friends, your family, everyone you know. The complexity within each one of us that allows for such individuality is something truly incredible, unlimited...

Therefore, we categorise each other at the immediate peril of losing sight of this wonder. As soon as we divide each other up into male, female, race, age, nationality etc. we can lose the understanding of what matters most; our individuality, our creativity, our free will to shape our thinking and our way, regardless of where we came from.

So, why bring constitutions into the picture? Partly it is because throughout history so many cultures have come to such similar understandings about our nature to be hotter or cooler, and at the same time dryer or damper, and that these tendencies are regardless of age, race, sex etc. Largely it is because a constitutional understanding gives such useful insights into what kinds of food, herbs, exercise & rest can form a solid foundation under a person's most valuable possession, their health and the entire intention behind this work is to help a person regain that precious health whenever it has been lost.

For interest, and perhaps insight, a mere two personality traits have been picked out to demonstrate some key themes that tend to play out in each constitution but it must be understood that these can only be a small part of the whole and that none of this is meant to put any kind of limits on the unique, living example of unlimited creativity that is you. So long as we understand each other on this point, do read on...

The Tiger Personality

With respect to the endless diversity of each and every Tiger, there are two personality traits that repeatedly shine through; namely their potent disposition towards both hunting and gathering.


A most notable characteristic of every Tiger met so far is that, if they know what they want and are hunting for it, then there really is no stopping them. 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.

No-one but they themselves must decide what they should hunt for. Most will have to shed the conditioning of their early life and the expectations of others in order to become clear about what it is they want. That said, another enduring pattern that has been frequently noted is that the object of the typical Tiger's desire involves people more than things, connection more than self-gratification.

'Hunting' might be a word that has some negative connotations for some, it needn't do. Achieving the desires of one's heart does not in the least have to be at the expense of someone or something else. The point is that the Tiger must grasp that their health and happiness can depend on them understanding that merely going along with the status quo may be far from enough, they must listen to their hearts and find and seek, which may well mean hunt for, what they really want.

The greatest potential downside to this part of their nature comes when they achieve what they set out for, rather than the pursuit itself. When the children have grown or the business was successful, when the marathon is run or the holiday is over... now what? When a Tiger loses their sense of purpose, they can sink into a state ranging from grumpy and unmotivated all the way down to catastrophic depression. In life, the longest of all journeys, we may need to seek new goals, new 'prey', more than just once or twice.


Gathering is equally a word or concept that needs some explanation. It is not meant to convey that Tigers are more likely to hoard up physical possessions than others. The quality of 'gathering' in this context relates to how many Tigers feel naturally inclined to bring people together. Many are drawn into life-paths where they are helping, teaching or leading others. Or, equally, they might manifest the same quality by being the kind of person who initiates and sustains social gatherings.

These are people who want to be in the midst of the game of life, not a spectator sitting on the side-lines of it. They tend to have a natural optimism that can be rather boundless and need no encouragement to see the glass as half-full rather than half-empty.

Many Tigers instinctively want to inspire and encourage others along the way and, because of their inclination to not be detached but rather to get busy and get involved, many 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.

In such cases, the Tiger must be careful not to hold on to grudges, to find a way to clear the air because resentment can fester, consciously or subconscious, and sow the seeds of health problems in later life.


Whilst the typical Tiger prefers 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 much too prickly and much 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, feel clearly heard, understood and acknowledged, then peace can be restored practically immediately. The 'how-to' of the vital matter is written up in detail here


Food Matters

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 denser, richer and moister than dryer, cooler or more raw alternatives. For example, it is quite rare to find a vegetarian Tiger, they usually like to eat plenty of protein in the form of meat, fish, chicken, nuts, seeds, eggs, avocados, milk & cheeses etc.

There is nothing wrong with following 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 many Tigers can grow to develop problems in their health that are directly related to their diet:

'metabolic syndrome

If they get excess weight around their middle and tend to high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels then there is a very high chance that they have the metabolic syndrome; more common in the Tiger constitution than anyone else. The good news is that it is entirely curable if the person is ready to do the work, more here

'need to clean

Of all the different constitutions, it is also the Tiger who is most likely to need a thorough internal cleanse from time to time. It is not hard to doo, a cleansing diet, as written up here and at least a few weeks of some cleansing herbs, a few classic examples of which are shown in the picture below. To learn more about this whole subject, including how to know when it really is what's required, read an article called 'what is detoxification' found here



There is a notable and consistent pattern between the general health and happiness of the Tiger constitution and their ability to maintain good amounts of physical activity or exercise. If not in a job where they need to use their bodies, it can be seen that a Tiger who doesn't do something to work-out is likely to eventually become irritable or out of sorts. It's as if they get a kind of caged-up tension if they don't regularly blow off some steam.

This is a constitution that can be particularly well suited to short periods of high-intensity exercise but really it is whatever the person enjoys the most that will be the best routine to maintain.


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, 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 and then no amount of natural optimism in the world is going to save them from starting to feel strung out beyond anything remotely reasonable.

The answer for a problem in this area is usually going to be twofold; firstly, get some sure support from Nature as written up in detail here, secondly recognise that the Tiger nature is one that unwinds the internal coil by doing things, not letting it sit there and hoping for the best by bedtime. There is no one right activity that will best help to unwind that tension, each person must find that for themselves, the common ground is that it must be at least somewhat enjoyable i.e. it should feel natural! If anxiety has crept into the picture and is making it simply too difficult to relax, then there are some certain strategies to help that are described in detail here


Tiger Medicine

Most people from the Tiger constitution people eventually need some support for their liver health, in which case a course of herbs such as St Mary's thistle, Celandine and Dandelion can be of tremendous benefit.

When digestion or general health needs an overhaul, they usually respond particularly well to a course of bitter herbs such as Gentian and if things have gone bad in bowel health, then the herb Wormwood has consistently been seen to help.

Remedies such as Chamomile and St John's wort can be of great benefit for their nerves when needed, and when they get health conditions that show a need for cleansing and cooling the whole body, herbs like Clivers and Red Clover can be invaluable.

Those are just a few examples, so long as it is clearly 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. There may also be some further valuable insights to be found from reading the section on the 'cycle of healing' found here

Chelidonium majus (Celandine)

~ Tigers: Hotter & Damper

~ Eagles: Hotter & Dryer

~ Elephant/Butterfly: Cooler & Dryer

~ Bears: Cooler & Damper

~ Back to Constitutional Medicine Introduction

~ Working out 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