By Seyed Mahdi Mirghazanfari

Importance and specifications of “Akhlat”- Black bile

January 17, 2018

TEHRAN — ‘Abstaining’ from food stuff and drinks as well as reforming eating habit in accordance with one’s individual temperament would definitely help people to stay healthy.

As Iranian traditional medicine (also known as Persian medicine) underlines, recognizing one’s distinguishing’s temperament (Mizaj) and adopting a kind of lifestyle corresponding to one’s Mizaj is the key to keep in good trim.

Darkening of the skin, developing brown skin patches, wrinkles, more painful menstrual cramps, poor sleep, darker waste materials (sweat, urine), constipation, having excessive unwanted hair, developing mental disorder such as depression, obsession, and cynicism are symptoms of built up excessive black bile in the body. 

There are four humors (Akhlat) in the body. Yellow bile, blood, black bile, and phlegm are the humors which are formed from consumed foods in the liver and gastrointestinal system after digestion.

Body tissues mainly rely for nourishment on one of the humors more than the others. So, by putting two and two together one can simply conclude that in order to have a healthy body we need to keep healthy humors both in terms of quantity and quality. Black bile 

Black bile is cold and dry. It is sparse in the body but it sure is pretty essential for the body. The right amounts of black bile keep bones healthy and strong and that’s why bones, teeth and tendons primarily live off black bile.  

Normal amounts of black bile also supports hair and nails, in fact black bile strengthen body parts, therefor, lack of black bile in the body will compromise bone’s strength and the tendons function. In worst case scenario it can lead to osteoporosis. Its shortage would also cause tooth decay and hair falling. Black bile also it stimulates appetite when the stomach is empty. 

Black bile producing foods

All canned foodstuff, leftovers, fast foods containing sausages and deli meat (in general precooked and processed meats), frozen meat which are kept for a long time in the freezer, meet of old animals, salted or smoked fish can produce black bile in the body. Generally the older a food stuff is the more black bile and waste material it produces in the body and the harder it will be to digest.

Fast foods, all kinds of sauces, and pickled fruits and vegetables are not good for people with excessive black bile and increase it in the body.  

Additionally, all kinds of sauces, food with additives, junk food such as chips, gumdrops, too much coffee, black and strong tea, vegetables such as eggplant, cabbage, cauliflower, tomato, green pea, corn, lentil, sour fruits, pickled vegetables and fruits, vinegar, too much cold water and ice, too much yogurt, sour doogh (a savory yogurt-based beverage popular in Iran), kashk (fabricated from the liquid yoghurt), and old sour cheese would result in production of black bile in the body. 

It is worth mentioning that black bile production in cold seasons, especially autumn, and cold climates such as mountainous regions normally increases. 

Excessive black bile symptoms 

Darkening of the skin, developing brown skin patches, wrinkles, having dull skin, developing dark circles under your eyes, suffering muscle cramps (specially muscles of the posterior leg and toes during sleep), more painful menstrual cramps, irregular menstrual cycle, having depressing and negative thoughts, poor sleep, having nightmares, darker waste materials (sweat, urine), constipation, fake hunger, thicker and darker blood, having excessive unwanted hair, getting thinner, developing mental disorder such as depression, obsession, isolation, skepticism, and cynicism are symptoms of built up excessive or abnormal black bile in the body. 

How to avoid, treat excessive black bile

Clearly people suffering excessive black bile should avoid consuming food stuff which increase the aforesaid humor in the body. 

In case they are used to consume such food stuff they should try to modify their bad eating habits step by step in order to become healthy. 

People with melancholic temperament or those who suffer excessive black bile should eat foods with warm and wet temperament more and consider such food items in their food choices. Abgoosht (Iranian stew made with lamb, chickpeas, white beans, onion, potatoes, and tomatoes, and dried lime), lamb kebab, quail, partridge, chicken or sheep heart (one should not consume too much liver or kidney because of their bad effects on the body tissues), soft boiled or sometimes fried egg, wheat and wheat bread, haleem (a stew including wheat or barley and meat), ash (a traditional slow-cooked, thick soup made with chickpeas, beans, noodles, and fresh herbs), chick pea and beans and food containing them, sangak bread (bread made from whole-wheat flour) with some butter or animal fat or oil, sweet food stuff such as date or grape syrup, rock candy, homemade jams, sweet fruits, raisin, grape, quince, apple, melon, fresh fig, fresh or dried berries, vegetables such as basil and tarragon, nuts like almond, peanut, and hazelnut, almond porridge made with or without milk, spices used to give cardamom, cinnamon, and ginger would increase warmness and humidity in the body and help get rid of the built up black bile. 

Eating food stuff with warming characteristics which also increase the humidity in the body such as raisin, soft boiled egg, and ginger can help people suffering excessive black bile. 

Eating natural laxatives such as olive oil or fig soaked in rosewater in order to rid the body of the waste material would also help ease excessive black bile symptoms. Rubbing sweet almond oil on the body especially in the shower or placing it in nostrils would greatly help treat dry skin and membranes. It would also ease the nerves and improve sleep quality. 

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

MQ/MG

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