Gr. chole = bile
Humoral theory was the driving model of medicine for centuries, from around the 3rd century B.C. to the late 1800s. The theory held that the body contained four main substances, called humors. They were blood, bile, black bile, and phlegm. An overabundance of any one of them threw the body out of balance, the theory went. So, based on that thinking, any condition that caused you to shed one or more humors was simply helping the body get back into balance. Derived from cholē, the Greek word for bile, cholera was originally an umbrella term for any one of several viral or bacterial infections that led to vomiting and diarrhea, which was simply a messy but efficient way to cast off bile, according to humoral theory.