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The Temperament of Foods


As discussed previously, temperament in Tibb consists of four qualities viz. heat, cold, moisture and dryness. These four qualities are found in foods as well, and hence foods also have their own temperament.

This means that foods will either be cooling or heating for the body, together with having an appropriate level of moisture or dryness. Accordingly, heating foods will increase the metabolism of the body, while cooling foods will slow the metabolism of the body. This has also been proven scientifically. Research by Dr Edward Howell has proven that when heating spices are consumed, the body dramatically increases the production of digestive enzymes.

Since each food has its own temperament and each person has his own temperament, the interaction of the two will either benefit or harm a person. In this regard, the effect on the body will depend on the strength of the temperament in the item consumed.

For example, even if opium is taken in a very small quantity, it will severely affect health. The reason is that it is extremely cold and dry. If chillies are taken in a small quantity, they will merely cause a slight perspiration. However, if taken in large quantities, they will harm the body. This is due to the heat in the chillies.

When preparing a meal, one should take the temperament of each ingredient into consideration. This is so that one will be able to determine the overall temperament of the meal.

Adapted and summarized from “Your Health” by Moulana Hakeem Jalil Muhammad Pandor (An Nasihah vol. 96)