The Four Temperaments: Melancholia - Black Bile
Melancholy: from the Greek melas-, meaning “black” - the same root found in melanin -, and kholé-, or “bile”
An overabundance of black bile in the system was believed to cause introversion, with a strong tendency towards depression, moodiness, and “the vapours”. Later, while this trait was believed to be easily imbalanced, it was not believed to be entirely negative - “melancholics” were thought to be studious and perfectionist in their works, and good at observation.
People with a chronic overabundance of this bile were believed to be possessed by the devil by Hippocrates, but by the age of Galen (500 years later), that belief was no longer considered accurate. The failure to re-balance the humours was at that point believed to be because of an insufficiently considered diet, and a predisposition towards a certain set of traits.
Facets of Melancholia:
- Element: Earth (cold and dry)
- Season: Autumn
- Planet: Saturn
- Direction: South
- Organ: Spleen
- Opposing humour: Blood
- Characteristics: Introversion, perfectionism, retention, guarded nature, despondence, sleeplessness. Balance between feminine and masculine.
- Associated diseases: Myriad, including nearly all non-schizoid mental disorders, paralysis or stiffness of joints, cachexia, slow digestion, and cancers. Disorders associated with a lack of blood, such as ischemia (restricted bloodflow to an area, often causing tissue damage), were also associated with black bile.
To re-balance black bile, warming and moist herbs and herbal tinctures were the most common cure. Adding “bulky” (fibrous) foods and eliminating nightshade vegetables (such as tomatoes, eggplant, and potatoes) was a common later suggestion, during the 18th century.
Stewed meat and blood-benefiting (so as to counteract the black bile) foods such as nettle were also suggested by Avicenna.
PREACH. ♡ #raisedright #moneyainteverything