Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 1.djvu/717

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701
PHYSIOLOGICAL INFLUENCE OF CONDIMENTS.

The science of modern times, however, has taken a more special direction. Fixing its attention exclusively on the order of Nature, it has separated itself wholly from theology, whose function it is to seek after its cause. In this, science is fully justified, alike by the entire independence of its objects, and by the historical fact that it has been continually hampered and impeded, in its search for the truth as it is in Nature, by the restraints which theologians have attempted to impose upon its inquiries. But, when science, passing beyond its own limits, assumes to take the place of theology and sets up its own conception of the order of Nature as a sufficient account of its cause, it is invading a province of thought to which it has no claim, and not unreasonably provokes the hostility of those who ought to be its best friends.

For, while the deep-seated instincts of humanity and the profoundest researches of philosophy alike point to mind as the one and only source of power, it is the prerogative of science to demonstrate the unity of the power which is operating through the limitless extent and variety of the universe, and to trace its continuity through the vast series of ages that have been occupied in its evolution.

 
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PHYSIOLOGICAL INFLUENCE OF CONDIMENTS.
By Prof. VOIT.
(ABSTRACT OF VOIT'S REPORT, BY ANDRÉ SANSON.)

BESIDES the elements of nutrition which we consume at every meal, there is also a number of other elements which serve to make the food savory and appetizing. These latter do not strictly come within the definition of nutritive substances, and are properly denominated condiments. Though not in themselves nutritious, the condiments are nevertheless necessary to nutrition. Their importance, however, as constituents of food, has not hitherto been duly appreciated. We must determine with exactitude the action both of the various elements of nutrition and of the condiments, and employ, to express this difference, well-defined terms, if we would avoid all confusion in treating the subject. Before we state what is the action of the salts and of the extractive elements of nutrition, as condiments, we must first consider the action of condiments in general. It is commonly supposed that they excite in the palate agreeable sensations, and so produce simply an excitation which, however, serves no useful purpose; and that, when once they enter into the blood, they bring about in it abnormal states and unnatural excitation. However, they are not regarded as hurtful.