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Dyscrasia a concept from ancient Greek medicine, meaning bad mixture.[1]

The concept of dyscrasia was developed by the Greek physician Galen (129–216 AD), who elaborated a model of health and disease as a structure of elements, qualities, humors, organs, and temperaments. Health was understood in this perspective to be a condition of harmony or balance among these basic components, called eucrasia. Disease was interpreted as the disproportion of bodily fluids or four humours: phlegm, blood, and yellow and black bile. The imbalance was called dyscrasia.

Ancient use[edit]

To the Greeks, it meant an imbalance of the four humors: blood, black bile, yellow bile, and water (phlegm). These humors were believed to exist in the body, and any change in the balance among the four of them was the direct cause of all disease.

This is similar to the concepts of bodily humors in the Tibetan medical tradition and the Indian Ayurvedic system, which both relate health and disease to the balance and imbalance of the three bodily humors, generally translated as wind, bile, and phlegm. This is also similar to the Chinese concept of yin and yang that an imbalance of the two polarities caused ailment.[citation needed]

Modern use[edit]

It is still occasionally used in medical context for an unspecified disorder of the blood. Specifically, it is defined in current medicine as a morbid general state resulting from the presence of abnormal material in the blood, usually applied to diseases affecting blood cells or platelets. Evidence of dyscrasia can be present with a WBC (White Blood Cell) count of over 1,000,000.[2]

"Plasma cell dyscrasia" is sometimes considered synonymous with paraproteinemia or monoclonal gammopathy.[3]

H2 receptor antagonists such as famotidine and nizatidine, in use for treatment of peptic ulcer, are known for causing blood dyscrasia - leading to bone marrow failure in 1 out of 50,000 patients.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Aphorism 79 or Organon of Medicine by Dr. Samuel Hahnemann
  2. ^ Stedman's medical dictionary, 6th edition
  3. ^ "dyscrasia" at Dorland's Medical Dictionary

External links[edit]