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Monday, March 2, 2015


Pig Slaughter
Photo from: Neal Foley
bilis, bilis amarillo, caul, bile, gall, yellow bile (the humor). Fluid secreted by the liver into a small bladder located in back of the liver. Pig’s bile is a mucky brown color. In other animals it can be yellow or dark green. Part of the art of the slaughter-man is to remove the pig’s bladder whole when cleaning and cutting up the dead animal. If for any reason the bladder breaks during the removal process, the carcass must be washed and parts that cannot be cleaned well must be discarded as it leaves a very bitter taste. This is a very delicate operation. It is the only part of the pig that is not used.

Lamb bile is as bitter as pig bile. That of an ox is bitter and sweet at the same time. This may be purified and used to remove grease, to clean materials and to fix colors used in painting. As per the quantity used it can create color variations turning violet into a reddish yellow, for instance. The smell of it alone is vile. Ox bile can be preserved by evaporating it in a silver double boiler and used at will by mixing it with water containing a small percentage of alkaline.

What a goof
Photo from: CarrieMae
Avenzoar states that the raven, vulture and kite are noxious, not tasty and normally are not eaten but the bile of these birds of pray is used to clean the eyes. When used as a collyrium, it invigorates them. Plums, he continues, sooth the acridity of human yellow bile while grapefruit subdues aggravation in the bile. Hispano Arabs recommended pomegranate syrup for all bile connected illnesses. They made quince syrup to lighten the stomach and above all the bile and to alleviate vomiting due to the bile. Violet paste was made to quench thirst caused by the bile and to slow bile discharge.

A Fine Roster
Photo from: ETC Photo
Laguna stated that bile is nothing but rage. Bile the hottest and most delicate humor the body engenders. The bile of the hottest and dry animals, wild ones, those that race and are excitable and finally those that are very always thirsty and hungry usually have a brighter color, bitter, hotter and biting bile than those of the opposite nature and disposition.

In conclusion the majority of animals have sharper and hotter bile then those that are fat, warmer, more delicate and more efficacious. A bull’s bile is wrapped in a stone the color of saffron; this can be ground and drunk with wine. Blowing the powder into the nostrils clarifies the sight, checks the humors and tends to distil the eyes and is useful for epilepsy. Bull bile mixed with a little acid and rubbed on the navel relaxes the stomach of children and kills worms that are engendered there. The bile of partridges and rosters (according to some) gives great pleasure to the females if rubbed on her secret parts during sexual activity.

Laguna continues: the bile of leopards, vipers and marine dos are deadly poisonous. The bile of the leopard as lead to bad accidents like those caused by monk’s-hood which have the same remedies as that of a viper. The best of all is triacle, antidote for poison, drunk with water from Torongil after vomiting several times provoked by fresh bovine lard melted in hot water. That of a marine dog even a little quantity kills after seven days. Nevertheless, the patient can be cured with melted bovine lard with cinnamon and rennet from hares.

[Benavides-Barajas. Alhambra. 1999:164:165:166; Castro. Alimentación. 1996:232; Ibn Zuhr/García Sánchez. 1992:49:54:75 etc ; Laza. 2002:141-143; and Pers. Memories. Slaughters Mostoles. 2000:2001:2003]

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