Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Food as Medicine

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The Prophet’s guidance on neutralizing the harm of various foods and fruits
In the Hadith book it is narrated that 'Abdullah bin Ja'far said, "I saw the Messenger of Allah Said, eat ripe dates with cucumbers.
Ripe dates are hot in the second degree, increase sexual desire and add strength to the cold stomach. However, ripe dates rot quickly, induce thirst, harm the teeth, spoil the blood and cause headaches, various clogs and pain in the prostate.
Cucumbers are cold and wet in the second degree and they prevent thirst, have a refreshing aroma and cool the stomach.' When the seeds of the cucumbers are dried then crushed and is boiled with water, they produce a drink that will quench the thirst, help produce urine and soothe the pain in the prostate. When cucumber seeds are crushed and then sifted, they will whiten the teeth when brushed with it. Further, when cucumber plant leaves are crushed and blended with raisin jelly and used as a bandage, they will help against the bite of a hydrophobic dog.
In general , dates are hot while cucumbers are cool, and each is suitable for the other and also neutralizes each other's harm. This is a type of balancing off the harm of one substance by combining it with its opposite or antidote , and these are the goals that preventive science seeks to achieve. In fact, these are the goals that the science of medicine as a whole seeks to achieve.
Combining the foods or medicines with their antidotes or opposites makes the product milder and rids it of any harmful side effects. Consequently, the body will preserve its health, strength and wellbeing.
'Aishah  may Allah be please with her, the mother of believers once said, "They tried to make me fatter using every type of food, but I did not get fatter. But when they fed me ripe dates and cucumbers, I became fatter."
In short, neutralizing the effect of the hot substance with the cold, the cold with the hot, and the dry with the wet and the wet with the dry produces a milder substance that is considered among the best remedies and preventive measures. Prophet's has said, concerning blending Senna and Sanoot (honey and butter) that this method will make the Senna milder. May Allah bestow His peace and blessings on him, who was sent with all that brings life to the hearts and bodies and what brings about their benefit in this life and the Hereafter?
The Prophet’s guidance on treating various illnesses with food and medicine the body is used to
This is also one of the major pillars and the most beneficial parts of the science of medicine. We have stated that this is a pillar of the science of medicine, as the best medical authorities concur. For instance, the renowned Arab doctor, Al Harith bin Kaladah , said, "Diet is the best cure; and the stomach is the home of diseases; give each body what it is accustomed to (of food and medicine) ." In another statement, Al-Harith said, 'Azm is a cure,' [meaning hunger}. In fact, going on a diet is a better cure for plethoric illnesses (having an excess of blood in the body and therefore looking reddish), except when there is a fear that the condition would flare up with septic accumulation and aggravate the illness.
Al-Harith stated that the stomach is the seat or home of diseases. The stomach is a curved organ that looks like a gourd and consists of three layers of delicate and neural components called fibers and surrounded by flesh. The fibers of one layer are arranged longitudinally, while the second layer's fibers are horizontal and the third slanting. The tip of the stomach has more nerves, while the bottom has more flesh and its interior is coated and fuzzy. The stomach is located in the middle of the abdomen, leaning more to the right side, created in this shape by the wisdom of the All-Wise Creator.
The stomach is indeed the residence of the ailments; it is the center of the Digestion and maturing process of all food and drink. After that, the digested food descends to the liver and the intestines. Meanwhile, excess amounts of partially digested substances that the stomach was not able to completely digest remain - either because the amount of nourishment was excessive, spoiled, or was not consumed in the Proper order - or all of these reasons. Some of this undigested food remains in the stomach and the body is not be able to completely discard them, and this is why the stomach is the residence of ailments. AI-Harith indicates the importance of eating less food and preventing the heart from fulfilling its desires.
As for one's being accustomed [to certain things and foods] it is a part of the human nature. Habit has such a great influence on the person and on his body, that if we conduct an experiment on several people who have the same characteristics, the result will vary considerably. For instance, three young, hot-tempered men, one of them is used to eating hot foods, the second is used to cold foods, while the third man is accustomed to mild foods. When the first person eats honey, it would not harm him, unlike the second person, while the third person would be slightly bothered. Habit, therefore, is an important basis on which preserving the health and healing ailments relies. That is why the Prophet ~ said that each person should be treated according to what he is accustomed to of medi cine and food .
The Prophets guidance on treating the sick with the simplest types of food
We mentioned that observing the habits and customs of a certain sick person benefits them with a favorable cure and nourishment. The people in Madinah were accustomed to eating barley soup ground not whole, thus making it more nutritious and beneficial for them. The doctors in cities recommend the use of whole barley grains, because the soup in this case is lighter and easier for the ailing person to digest.
The people who live in cities are used to comfort and an easy life and that is why ground barley grain is heavy on their stomachs . Whole grain barley soup is digested quickly, provides good nutrition, and cleanses the stomach, especially when taken while it is still hot.
In this case, its cleansing and digestive qualities are stronger and the soup will also develop its instinctive heat quicker and will soften the outer layers of the stomach.
The Prophet's statement that the milk-like soup takes away some of the sadness refers to the effect of sadness on the mood and in weakening the instinctive wellbeing of a person, which in turn affects the soul and the heart. Milk-like soup brings strength to one's inner energy and thus the body will be able to rid itself of the sadness and grief that has taken over it.
We could also say that some foods bring relief to the heart, such as the type of soup mentioned above, because they possess a special quality that affects people's mood and brings them relief and comfort. And Allah knows best.
We might also say that the sick person's strength becomes weaker because of his grief and sadness that translates to dryness in the body and the stomach due to the scarcity of food. The milk-like soup brings wetness and strength to the stomach, which will also bring relief to the heart. The sick person may complain from an accumulation of harmful flatulence or phlegm in his stomach. The milk-like soup will dissolve these harmful substances or dilute them, so that the pain and harm they cause are diminished, especially for those accustomed to eating barley bread, such as the people of Madinah. During that time, barley bread was the staple diet for the people of Madinah as wheat was scarce at that time.
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