Melancholic Temperament – Earth
Humor: Black Bile
Basic Qualities: Cold and Dry. Black Bile is Cold and Dry.
Healthy black bile is a normal sediment of blood, or the Sanguine humor. Black Bile has a Retentive virtue or force, and a cooling, drying, astringing, precipitating, condensing, coagulating, solidifying effect on metabolism necessary for building the bones, teeth, and all dense, solid structural connective tissues of the body. Digestively, Black Bile awakens the stomach and appetite, solidifies the stool, and enables the digestive organs to hold on to their contents long enough to process them properly. Systemically, Melancholic residues in the bloodstream thicken the blood, enabling it to clot; this is vitally important in wound granulation, scar tissue formation, and all structural repair of the body. Black Bile also governs mineral metabolism and bone formation.
The Melancholic temperament tends to be the most problematic, since it’s contrary to the Sanguine. However, with proper management, Melancholics can also be healthy.
Face: Squarish or rectangular head and face. Prominent cheekbones, sunken hollow cheeks common. Small, beady eyes. Teeth can be prominent, crooked or loose. Thin lips.
Physique: Tends to be thin, lean. Knobby, prominent bones and joints common. Prominent veins, sinews, tendons. Muscle tone good, but tends to be stiff, tight. Rib cage long and narrow, with ribs often prominent. Can gain weight in later years, mainly around midriff.
Hair: Color dark, brunette. Thick and straight. Facial and body hair in men tends to be sparse.
Skin: A dull yellow or darkish, swarthy complexion. Feels coarse, dry, leathery, cool. Callouses common.
Appetite: Variable to poor. Varies, fluctuates according to mental/nervous/emotional state.
Digestion: Variable to poor; irregular. Digestion also varies according to mental/nervous/emotional state. Colic, gas, distension, bloating common.
Metabolism: Often slow. Can also be variable, erratic. Prone to dehydration. Nervous system consumes many nutrients, minerals. GI function variable, erratic; digestive secretions tend to be deficient. Blood tends to be thick. Nutritional deficiencies can cause a craving for sweets, starches. Thyroid tends to be challenged, stressed.
Predispositions: Anorexia, poor appetite. Nervous, colicky digestive disorders. Constipation. Spleen disorders. Nutritional and mineral deficiencies, anemia. Blood sugar problems, hypoglycemia. Wasting, emaciation, dehydration. Poor circulation and immunity. Arthritis, rheumatism, neuromuscular disorders. Nervous and spasmodic afflictions. Dizziness, vertigo, ringing in ears. Nervousness, depression, anxiety, mood swings. Neurovegetative dystonia.
Urine: Tends to be clear and thin.
Stool: Can either be hard, dry, compact; or irregular, porous, club shaped. Constipation, irritable bowel common.
Sweat: Generally scanty. Can be subtle, thin, furtive, indicating poor immunity. Nervous stress can increase sweating.
Sleep: Difficulty falling asleep, insomnia. Stress, overwork, staying up late aggravates insomnia. Generally a light sleeper.
Dreams: Generally dark, moody, somber, disturbing. Themes of grief, loss common.
Mind: An analytical intellect; detail oriented. Efficient, realistic, pragmatic. Reflective, studious, philosophical. Retentive faculty of memory well-developed. Thinking can be too rigid, dogmatic. A prudent, cautious, pessimistic mental outlook.
Personality: Practical, pragmatic, realistic. Efficient, reliable, dependable. A reflective, stoic, philosophical bent. Can be nervous, high strung. Frugal, austere; can be too attached to material possessions. Serious, averse to gambling, risk taking. Can be moody, depressed, withdrawn. Can easily get stuck in a rut. Excessive attachment to status quo.
AVOID: Excess food. Heavy foods such as beef. Drying foods such as lentils and an excess of astringent foods such as apples and quinces. Eating late in the day. Narcotics. Thinking too much and getting caught in introspection. Lack of physical activity.
TAKE: Light but nourishing foods such as light breads, soft cheeses, shellfish, eggs, lamb, olive oil, root vegetables and dried fruits. Cleansing foods such as asparagus, fennel and celery. Prolonged, gentle exercise such as long walks, hikes and gardening. ‘Earthy’ activity which has an end product such as pottery. Regular long baths with relaxing oils such as Lavender. Cultivate the friendship of a sanguine person and always have a big, long term project on the go – one which requires deep thought but also gets ‘you out of yourself’.
USEFUL HERBS: Gently warm, moving and cleansing herbs such as Fennel, Angelica, Coriander leaves, Parsley and Juniper berries. Herbs for liver congestion such as Barberry bark and Dandelion root and leaf. Herbs to clear melancholy from the heart such as Borage and Motherworτ. Comfrey cream for dry skin. Valerian combined with Linden for anxiety.