By Seyed Mahdi Mirghazanfari

The importance and specifications of "Akhlat"- Yellow bile

December 16, 2017

TEHRAN — According to the sayings of prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and the twelve Shia imams ‘abstaining’, not consuming food and drinks which are not good for us, and heeding other environmental factors are the keys to health.

So not abstaining would certainly lead to health conditions and the reverse. By recognizing the Mizaj (temperament) of food stuff and drinks as well as our own temperament we can fully succeed in purposeful abstaining and hence keeping healthy. 

To put it briefly Iranian traditional medicine suggests that ‘Akhlat’ are liquid humors including blood, yellow bile, black bile, and phlegm, formed from consumed foods in the liver and gastrointestinal system after digestion. 

Each body tissue will mainly feed from some of the four humors more than the other ones. So it is wise and of great significance to eat as appropriate as possible, abstain from  food stuff which are not suitable for one’s Mizaj and also eat in accordance to one’s main Mizaj in order to provide body organs with healthy and sufficient humors to remain healthy. 

Thick or viscous blood cannot effectively flow into the small vessels and capillaries and provide the tissues with sufficient oxygen and nutrients, so it could cause lack of energy (fatigue) along with bruising or discoloration, cold feet, and cold hands. Yellow bile would stop such health conditions by improving blood circulation as its job is to accelerate the transfer of blood and nutrients in the body.

‘Akhlat’ have Mizaj 

As mentioned previously everything around us in this world has Mizaj and Akhlat are no exception. As mentioned in previous articles Akhlat can be also examined according to their warmness and humidity 
--Yellow bile is warm and dry, in case it increases in the body the body will become warmer and drier
--Blood is warm and wet, excessive blood will surge warmness and humidity in the body
-- Phlegm is cold and wet, high amounts of phlegm in the body will rise coldness and humidity in the body
--Black bile is cold and dry, similarly with copious amounts of black bile the body will get drier and colder

Yellow bile

Yellow bile is not as abundant as phlegm and blood in the body. It is the lightest of all humors. It resembles cooking foam. Yellow bile acts as a diluent and facilitates the transfer of blood and nutrients from capillaries to the remote body organs.

It is also in charge of metabolism of fats and lipids and ease digestion. Yellow bile is tasked with cleaning up the digestive system, vascular tissues, and genitalia. That’s why people with excessive yellow bile might experience burning sensation with urination or defecation, frequent urination, frequent bowel movements, and heavy or prolonged menstrual bleeding.

Thick or viscous blood cannot effectively flow into the small vessels and capillaries and provide the tissues with sufficient oxygen and nutrients, so it could cause lack of energy (fatigue) along with bruising or discoloration, cold feet, and cold hands. Yellow bile would stop such health conditions by improving blood circulation as its job is to accelerate the transfer of blood and nutrients in the body. Being hot and dry, yellow bile is accompanied with movement and motion rather than immobility. 

Excessive yellow bile symptoms 

Before describing the symptoms that might appear owing to the excessive yellow bile in the body it is worth mentioning that by having one of the symptoms one might not necessarily suffer excessive yellow bile but it doesn’t mean that one must display all the symptoms at the same time to be diagnosed with excessive yellow bile either. Experiencing one or some of the symptoms might be the reasons for excessive black bile. 

On the other hand one might suffer excessive yellow bile along with other humors namely blood, black bile or phlegm and report symptoms which may occur due to the various humors excess that stem from today’s unhealthy lifestyle. Therefore one might exhibit symptoms for excess of one or more humors.

Another point is that one might suffer some of the symptoms which seems to be relating to excess of humors but they might be actually experiencing another condition. 

Here are the symptoms that develop by excess of yellow bile in the body:

Yellowing of the skin and eyes; feeling bitter taste in mouth; getting acne on the face or the scalp; having dry skin, eyes, mouth, nasal passages and bad breath; getting wrinkles; dark circles under the eyes; losing appetite; feeling nauseated, itching, burning, and irritation in genitalia or rectum; getting thin; feeling unquenchable thirst; troubled sleep; sleep deprivation; feeling stressed out; pins-and-needles sensation in fingers and/or toes and strong smelling waste materials (urine, sweat, menstrual blood) are some of the symptoms which appear by excessive yellow bile. 

Consuming food stuff such as sour or sour-sweet tamarind, zucchini, spinach, coriander, sour fruits and fruits with high water content such as greengage and sour apple would benefit this group of people.

What to eat what not to eat

Food stuff with warming characteristics (warm Mizaj), spicy food, overly sweet or greasy food, foods that are easy to digest such as well-baked wheat bread and young birds’ meat specially in warm and dry season of summer can constitute to formation of fairly large amounts of yellow bile in the body. 

Those who are affected with excessive yellow bile should abstain from food stuff with warming or drying characteristics namely, spices, pepper, ginger, spicy vegetables such as garlic, onion, tarragon, and green cress, too much salt, sautéed or deep fried food, nuts such as walnut, hazelnut and peanut, sweet food stuff such as honey, red meat such as lamb, chicken, quail, partridge, or camel meat.

On the other hand, consuming sour food stuff such as sekanjabin (an Iranian traditional syrup made of honey or sugar and vinegar), verjuice, sour or sour-sweet tamarind, lettuce, cucumber, zucchini, spinach, coriander, sour fruits and fruits with high water content such as citrus fruit, greengage, black mulberry, sour apple, blackberry, sour cherry, tangerine, sour orange, water melon, white meat and food with barely or mung bean would benefit this group of people. 

Generally adapting the lifestyle suitable for people with choleric temperament would suit people with excessive yellow bile. 

Other humors characteristics will be detailed in the next articles. 

Seyed Mahdi Mirghazanfari, MD, holds a PhD degree in medical physiology and is an Iranian-Islamic traditional medicine researcher. He is also an assistant professor in AJA University of Medical Sciences, Tehran.

MQ/MG

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