Page:Alcohol, a Dangerous and Unnecessary Medicine.djvu/106

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ALCOHOL AS A MEDICINE.

body, and of the purposes for which alcoholics are prescribed medically.

Alcohol is used in sickness as a food, when solid foods cannot be assimilated, "to support" or sustain, the vitality; it is used as a stimulant, a tonic, a sedative or narcotic, an anti-spasmodic, an antiseptic and antipyretic; it is used in combination with other drugs, in tinctures and in pharmacy. It is not wonderful that the people esteem it above all other drugs, for none other is so variously and so generally employed. Those who discard it as a remedy teach that only in human delusions is it a food or a stimulant, and for the other uses to which it is put, outside of pharmacy, there are different agents which may be more satisfactorily employed.

IS ALCOHOL FOOD?

So well agreed are all the scientific investigators that alcohol has no appreciable food value that it would seem foolish to spend time upon a discussion of alcohol as food were it not that the idea of its "supporting the vitality" in disease, in some mysterious way is deeply rooted in the professional, as well as the popular mind.

Foods are substances which, when taken into the body, undergo change by the process of digestion; they give strength and heat and force; they build up the tissues of the body, and make blood; and they induce healthy, normal action of all the bodily functions.