The concept of Black Bile
is utterly unique to Galenic medicine and therefore the most difficult to grasp in my experience.
34) This defect in the passions of mind and soul then corrupts the humoral balance of the patient, thereby facilitating the over-production and retention of black bile
, the vapors from which press against the diaphragm, causing the patient to sigh uncontrollably; unrequited, the vapors then rise to the brain, where they first cause sleeplessness and lethargy and then, after a sustained period, a full episode of black-bile melancholy.
Galen, in particular, put great value on venesection for ridding the body of black bile
According to Greek philosopher Theophrastus, the successor of Aristotle, the balance of these humors result in particular temperaments: Those with too much blood were sanguine or optimistic, those with too much phlegm were phlegmatic or indifferent, those with too much yellow bile were choleric or doers, and those with too much black bile
Hippocrates, the father of medicine, speculated that there were four humors--fluids--in the body: yellow bile, red bile, black bile
Lazure says April Fools Day is all about humiliation and notes that in the medical field the four humors were identified as black bile
, yellow bile, phlegm and blood.
ONE of the strangest choices for this year's John Moores competition is Black Bile
, by Alex Gene Morrison.
The four humors: choler, phlegm, black bile
and blood, each have their own necessary use but too much of any one can result in both physical and mental illness.
Many illnesses are identified in the CH as the result of a disruption in the equilibrium of the four primary bodily fluids: blood, phlegm, yellow bile, and black bile