By Seyed Mahdi Mirghazanfari, MD, PhD

Importance of humors: Formation, nutrition, organ regeneration

May 9, 2018 - 20:28

Iranian traditional medicine is a holistic medicine which is based on individual differences and a determinant basic concept known as Mizaj (temperament). This is the main difference between the traditional medicine practiced for hundreds of years in Iran and other medicines.

Iranian traditional medicine suggests that ‘Akhlat’ are liquid humors, namely blood, yellow bile, black bile, and phlegm, which are formed in the liver and gastrointestinal system subsequent to the digestion. The four humors will provide the cells and the body organs with necessary nutrients and are absolutely indispensable to perfect health.  

This is why the liver is called body’s ‘kitchen’. The food will be processed partially in the stomach, sent to the liver and fully digested there and constitute the four aforementioned humors.

Therefore, this is only wise to conclude that the healthier the humors (Akhlat) are the healthier the body. So, selecting healthy food stuff in accordance with the main Mizaj (temperament) to aid digestion is the point to keep healthy.

Before one is born and once the embryo starts to develop and grow inside the uterus, very much like genetic characteristics, the embryo’s Mizaj will be determined. Consistently the parents' Mizaj can also be a deciding factor in the child's Mizaj which is also referred to as “inherent” or “main” Mizaj that one is born with.

This is the reason as to why the Iranian traditional medicine emphasizes on taking caution, regarding the parents’ diet, before conceiving. 

While the embryo is growing inside the uterus organs will start growing one after another and these organs will feed on the mother’s humors to develop and grow. As mentioned before the healthier the diet the healthier are the humors and hence the baby who feeds on the humors will be in fine fettle and have stronger organs. 

In order to have healthier humors one should consume foods which agree him or her with regard to their main Mizaj and be careful to have good digestion. They both result in formation of nutritious and sufficient humors. 

So parents who are planning to get pregnant should abstain from unhealthy food stuff and drinks or food and drinks which do not benefit them regarding their main temperament so that they will be healthy and have a child, who regardless of his or her Mizaj, is healthy too. 

Accordingly having healthy humors benefits us and our offspring. Parents should first recognize their temperament and undertake some lifestyle modifications in accordance to their distinguished temperament prior to conception so that the baby will be healthier.

Mentally speaking being stressed out, preoccupied, irritable, nervous, edgy, touchy and feeling isolated can all affect the embryo. All such mental states can be caused by imbalanced temperament. If the body is not physically fit it cannot be mentally healthy. Mental and physical health are interwoven. Someone who cannot sleep well, whose humors are imbalanced, or whose liver is not working properly cannot normally feel well mentally as the body is a vessel for the soul and a wrecked vessel cannot carry the passenger.

After being born also the body feeds on the humors. All vital organs begin to lose some function as you age during adulthood. Aging changes occur in all of the body's cells, tissues, and organs and these changes affect the functioning of all body systems. From the moment of birth, human beings begin to experience continuous aging. However, before the age of 30 to 40, the body can recover from temporary consenescence by itself but after 40 years old, the body begins its real journey of aging.

So how do the organs regenerate themselves? They feed on the humors, and where do the humors come from? They originate from the food we consume and get digested in the body. So the gastrointestinal tract, also known as digestive tract, plays an important role in one’s health and that’s why it is said that all diseases begin in the gut.

So let’s not forget that once a baby is conceived, and while the embryo is developing and even after being born and aging the body lives on humors.

Brain, heart, and liver disorders and many other disorders stem from unhealthy lifestyle, bad eating habits and poor digestion.

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.


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