HERB - humors and stuff

Roos cc Rooscc at aol.com
Sun Apr 19 20:14:59 PDT 1998

Thank you Galen, 
especially for the Galen source; it sounds like what 
I've been looking for. As influential as Galen was, it's
not easy to get information on his works.

You write:
>>I haven't found a real good concise description 
of the humoural theory that goes beyond "there are 
4 humours. If they are out of balance disease
results". <<

I have a rough idea of how this worked from Avicenna.
It is a holistic view which is not totally weird by
modern standards. The medievals might have been
mistaken, but they were not stupid, and they were
often very good at observation. 

Supposedly (no source was given) when monks
added goutweed (Aegopodium) to their diet, they
no longer were subject to gout. I haven't found any
modern information on the efficacy of goutweed
(and jolly little on its edibility), but if the story
is true, then *something* definitely happened. 

A monastery would be an excellent study group.
Here we have monks subject to some illness
(which they called gout) and after a change in diet
they became less subject to this illness. It may be,
as they saw it, that the goutweed cured them. It
might be that whatever they quit eating when they
began eating goutweed was what caused the problem
in the first place. (This is interesting to me since
I only recently learned that some plants like aspargus
contain priene (sp?) which contributes to gout.)

To say that a choleric temperament is subject to 
certain ailments is not so different from defining a 
Type A personality that is subject to certain ailments.

I think there were valuable insights that were
tossed in our post-enlightenment enthusiasm, and
it's not easy trying to rediscover them! ;-)
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