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TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Every effort has been made to replicate this text as faithfully as possible; please see detailed list of printing issues at the end of the text.
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A DANGEROUS AND UNNECESSARY MEDICINE
HOW AND WHY
What Medical Writers Say
MRS. MARTHA M. ALLEN
Superintendent of the Department of Medical Temperance for the National Woman's Christian Temperance Union
Published by the
DEPARTMENT OF MEDICAL TEMPERANCE OF THE NATIONAL WOMAN'S CHRISTIAN TEMPERANCE UNION
MARCELLUS, NEW YORK
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PREFACE TO SECOND EDITION 7
HISTORY OF THE STUDY OF ALCOHOL.
Discovery of distillation—First American investigator of effects of alcohol—Medical Declarations—Sir B. W. Richardson's researches—Scientific Temperance Instruction in American Schools—Committee of Fifty 9
THE WOMAN'S CHRISTIAN TEMPERANCE UNION IN OPPOSITION TO ALCOHOL AS MEDICINE.
How the Opposition began—Memorial to International Medical Congress—Origin of Medical Temperance Department—Objects of the department—Public agitation against patent medicines originated by the department—Laws of Georgia, Alabama and Kansas on Medical prescription of alcohol 21
ALCOHOL AS A PRODUCER OF DISEASE.
Alcohol a poison—Sudden deaths from brandy—Changes in liver, kidneys, heart, blood-vessels and nerves caused by alcohol—Beer and wine as harmful as the stronger drinks—Alcohol causes indigestion—Other diseases caused by alcohol—Deaths from alcoholism in Switzerland 28
The London Temperance Hospital—Methods of treatment—The Frances E. Willard Temperance Hospital, Chicago—"As a beverage" in the pledge—Address by Miss Frances E. Willard at opening of hospital—The Red Cross Hospital—Clara Barton and non-alcoholic medication—Reports of treatment in Red Cross Hospital—Use of Alcohol declining in other hospitals 37
THE EFFECTS OF ALCOHOL UPON THE HUMAN BODY.
The body composed of cells—Effect of alcohol on cells—Alcohol and Digestion—Effects on the blood—The heart—The liver—The kidneys—Incipient Bright's disease recovered from by total abstinence—Retards oxidation and elimination of waste matters—Lengthens duration of sickness and increases mortality 58
ALCOHOL AS MEDICINE.
Medical use of alcohol a bulwark of the liquor traffic—Alcohol not a Food—Alcohol reduces temperature—Food principle of grains and fruits destroyed by fermentation—Alcohol not a Stimulant—Experiments proving this—Alcohol not a tonic—Professor Atwater on Alcohol as Food 96
ALCOHOL IN PHARMACY.
Strong tinctures rouse desire for drink in reformed inebriates—Glycerine and acetic acid to preserve drugs—Non-alcohol tinctures in use at London Temperance Hospital—Sale of liquor in drug-stores condemned by pharmacists 131
DISEASES, AND THEIR TREATMENT WITHOUT ALCOHOL.
Alcoholic Craving—Anaemia—Apoplexy—Boils and Carbuncle—Catarrh—Hay-Fever—Colds—Colic—Cholera—Cholera Infantum—Consumption—Displacements—Debility—Diarrhoea— Dysentery—Dyspepsia—Fainting—Fits—Flatulence—Headache— Hemorrhage—Heart Disease—Heart Failure—Insomnia—La Grippe—Measles—Malaria—Neuralgia—Nausea—Pneumonia—Pain After Food—Snake-bite—Rheumatism—Spasms—Shock—Sudden Illness—Sunstroke—Typhoid Fever—Vomiting 140
ALCOHOL AND NURSING MOTHERS.
Beer not good for nursing mothers—Helpful diet—Opinions of medical men—Analysis of milk of a temperate woman—Of a drinking woman—Advice of Dr. James Edmunds, of the Lying-In Hospital, London—How to feed the baby—Case of a young mother who used beer—Nathan S. Davis on beer and gin 234
COMPARATIVE DEATH-RATES WITH AND WITHOUT THE USE OF ALCOHOL.
Fewer deaths in smallpox hospitals without alcohol—200 cases of scarlet fever without alcohol—Non-alcoholic treatment of fevers with less than 5 per cent. death-rate—Report of cases in English and Scotch hospitals—340 cases of typhus—London Lancet articles on typhoid—Mercy Hospital, Chicago—Death-rates in pneumonia and typhoid in large hospitals—Sir B. W. Richardson's report of practice 247
REASONS WHY ALCOHOL IS DANGEROUS AS MEDICINE.
Researches of Abbott—Vital Resistance lowered by alcohol—Experiments upon Urinary Toxicity—Effect of alcohol upon the guardian-cells of the body—Dr. Sims Woodhead on immunity—Delearde's experiments at the Pasteur Institute—Dr. A. Pearce Gould on alcohol and cancer—Delirium in illness caused by alcohol 262
WHY DOCTORS STILL PRESCRIBE ALCOHOLICS.
Public often demand it—Lack of knowledge of true nature of alcohol—Alcohol given undeserved credit for recoveries—Use of alcohol results from custom—Education of the people in teachings of non-alcoholic physicians necessary—Prescription of alcohol a matter of routine—Two examples 291
ALCOHOLIC PROPRIETARY OR "PATENT" MEDICINES.
The Pure Food Law—The guarantee—Newspaper opposition to the law—Headache remedies—Fake testimonials—Dangers of soothing syrups and morphine cough syrups—Fraud orders issued by Post-Office Department—Internal Revenue Department and Patent Medicines—Proprietary "Foods" strongly alcoholic—Alcoholic Cod-Liver Oil preparations—Australia's Royal Commission on Patent Medicines—Committee on Pharmacy analyses—Malt extracts—Coca Wines—Advertising, the strength of the Nostrum business—An effectual remedy 299
Drugs do not cure disease—Nature cures—Opinions of drug medication of prominent physicians—La grippe caused by drug taking—Coal-tar drugs—Quinine—Sir Frederick Treves on disuse of drugs—People demand drugs of physicians—Mothers make drug victims of their children—Habit-producing drugs—Causes of drug-taking—How to be well 335
TESTIMONIES OF PHYSICIANS AGAINST ALCOHOLIC MEDICATION.
No need for substitutes for alcohol—Alcohol hides symptoms of disease—Responsibility of physicians—Opinions of many teachers in medical colleges—Hot milk better than alcohol—Journal of the American Medical Association on researches of Abbott and Laitinen—Resolution against alcohol of West Virginia Medical Society—Dr. Knox Bond on Scarlet Fever—Metchnikoff on white blood-cells—Kassowitz describes his treatment of fevers—Sims Woodhead's opinions—Opinions of German Physicians—Dr. Harvey blames medical profession for careless use of alcohol and opium—Use of Alcohol declining rapidly in medical practice 356
RECENT RESEARCHES UPON ALCOHOL.
Experiments of Laitinen—Resistance of blood-cells to disease lowered by alcohol—International Congress on Alcoholism, London, 1909—Alcohol and Immunity—Effect of Alcohol Drinking on Human Off-spring—Researches of Kraepelin and Aschaffenberg—Economic losses by reduced work through beer and wine drinking—Researches of Dr. Reid Hunt—Mice given alcohol killed by small doses of poison—Difference in effect of alcohol and starch foods—Chittenden on food theory of alcohol—Researches of Dr. S. P. Beebe—Liver impaired by alcohol—Dr. Winfield S. Hall's interpretation of the researches of Beebe and Hunt—Oxidation of alcohol by liver a protective action—Researches show that alcohol is a poison, not a food 392
Alcohol Baths—Beverages for the Sick—Tobacco and the Eyesight—Advertised "Cures" for Drunkenness—How to quit drinking—Dr. T. D. Crothers' remedy for drink crave—Alcohol and Children—Alcohol Tested—Beer-Drinking Injurious to Health—Drug Drinks—Special Directions for Women—Total Abstinence and Life Insurance—Opinions of Life Insurance Companies on drinkers as risks 410
This book is the outcome of many years of study. With the exception of a few quotations, none of the material has ever before appeared in any book. The writer has been indebted for years past to many of the physicians mentioned in the following pages for copies of pamphlets and magazines, and for newspaper articles, bearing upon the medical study of alcohol. Indeed, had it not been for the kindly counsels and hearty co-operation of physicians, she could never have accomplished all that was laid upon her to do as a state and national superintendent of Medical Temperance for the Woman's Christian Temperance Union. She is also under obligation for helps received from the secretaries of several State Boards of Health, and from eminent chemists and pharmacists.
The object of the book is to put into the hands of the people a statement of the views regarding the medical properties of alcohol held by those physicians who make little, or no use of this drug. In most cases their views are given in their own language, so that the book is, of necessity, largely a compilation.
It is hoped that while the laity may be glad to peruse these pages because of the very useful and interesting information to be obtained from them, the medical profession, also, may be pleased to find, in brief form, the teachings of some of their most distinguished brethren upon a question now frequently up for discussion in society meetings.
The writer does not presume to set forth her own opinions upon a question which is still a subject of dispute among the members of a learned profession; she simply culls from the writings of those members of that profession who, having made thorough examination of the claims of alcohol, have decided that this drug, as ordinarily used, is more harmful than beneficial, and that medical practice would be upon a higher plane, were it driven entirely from the pharmacopoeia.
PREFACE TO SECOND EDITION.
When the first edition of this book was published in 1900, there were only a few leading physicians either in Europe or America who were ready to condemn the medical use of alcohol. Sir Benjamin Ward Richardson, Sims Woodhead, and a few others in England; Forel, Kassowitz and one or two more on the Continent, and Nathan S. Davis, T. D. Crothers and J. H. Kellogg, in America, were about all that could be quoted largely as opposed to alcoholic liquors as remedies in disease. Whisky was then looked upon as necessary in the treatment of consumption and diphtheria. Ten years have brought about a great change. There are many American physicians now willing to admit that they have very little or no use for alcoholic liquors as remedial agents, and now, instead of recommending whisky for consumption anti-tuberculosis literature almost everywhere warns against the use of intoxicating drinks. The use of anti-toxin in diphtheria has driven out whisky treatment in that disease with markedly favorable results. Under the whisky treatment death-rates ran up to fifty-five and sixty per cent.; now the diphtheria death-rate is very low. Ten years ago many good authorities still ranked alcohol as a stimulant; now, almost all rank it as a depressant. In England, leading physicians and surgeons have spoken so strongly against alcohol in the last few years that the London Times, England's leading newspaper, said: "According to recent developments of scientific opinion, it is not impossible that a belief in the strengthening and supporting qualities of alcohol will eventually become as obsolete as a belief in witchcraft."
So far as the writer can learn from replies sent to her inquiries by teachers of medicine, and by study of text-books on medicine, and articles in good medical journals, alcohol now has only a very limited use in medicine with the great majority of successful physicians. Some recommend wine in diabetes mellitus, saying that it acts less like a poison and more like a food in that disease than in any other. Some use alcoholic liquors in fevers as a food "to save the burning of tissue," but an article on "Therapeutics" in the Journal of the American Medical Association, for November 6, 1909, page 1564, says that sugar would probably have equal value in such case. The same article says that hot baths, with hot lemonade, and a quickly acting cathartic, will abort a cold without any need of recourse to alcohol.
The writer wishes here to make grateful acknowledgment of courtesies received from busy physicians who have aided materially in her work by answering personal letters of inquiry, also letters published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, by kindness of the editor. Especially would she thank those professors of medicine and superintendents of large hospitals, who so courteously aided her in preparing a paper for the International Congress on Alcoholism, held in London, July, 1909, to which she was a delegate, representing the United States government. A few of the replies received at that time are given in this book. There was not room for all.
She wishes also to acknowledge kindness and much help received from pharmacists and druggists in the fight against dangerous patent medicines and drug drinks sold at soda fountains. The Druggists' Circular, of New York, deserves special mention in this connection.
It has been necessary to make many changes in this edition because of the changing views on alcohol and the publicity on patent medicines. Physicians will find Chapter XVI entirely new, and of great interest.
M. M. A.
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HISTORY OF THE STUDY OF ALCOHOL.
The only intoxicating drinks known to the ancients were wines and beers. That these were used for medicinal as well as beverage purposes is evident from sacred and secular history. About the tenth century of the Christian era, an Arabian alchemist discovered the art of distillation, by which the active principle of fermented liquors could be drawn off and separated. To the spirit thus produced the name alcohol was given. A plausible reason cited for this name is that the Arabian for evil spirit is Al ghole, and the effects of the mysterious liquid upon men suggested demoniacal possession.
Medical knowledge at this time was very limited: there was no accurate way of determining the real nature of the new substance, nor its action upon the human system. It could be judged only by its seeming effects. As these were pleasing, it was supposed that a great medical discovery had been made. The alchemists had been seeking a panacea for all the ills to which flesh is heir, indeed for something which would enable men even to defy Death, and the subtle new spirit was eagerly proclaimed as the long-looked-for cure-all, if not the very aqua vitae itself. Physicians introduced it to their patients, and were lavish in their praises of its curative powers. The following is quoted from the writings of Theoricus, a prominent German of the sixteenth century, as an example of medical opinion of alcohol in his day:—
"It sloweth age, it strengtheneth youth, it helpeth digestion, it cutteth phlegme, it cureth the hydropsia, it healeth the strangurie, it pounces the stone, it expelleth gravel, it keepeth the head from whirling, the teeth from chattering, and the throat from rattling; it keepeth the weasen from stiffling, the stomach from wambling, and the heart from swelling; it keepeth the hands from shivering, the sinews from shrinking, the veins from crumbling, the bones from aching, and the marrow from soaking."
Being a medicine, which very rapidly creates a craving for itself, the demand for it became enormous, and, as time advanced, people began prescribing it for themselves, until its use both as medicine and beverage became almost general.
If the medical profession is responsible for the wide-spread belief that alcoholics are of service to mankind both as food and medicine, it should not be forgotten that it is to members of the same profession the world is indebted for the correction of these errors. All down through the centuries there have been physicians who doubted and opposed its claims to merit. It remained for the medical science of the latter half of the nineteenth century to clearly demonstrate with nicely adjusted chemical apparatus and appliances the wisdom of these doubts.
The scientific study of the effects of alcohol upon the human body began about sixty years ago. The first American investigator was Dr. Nathan S. Davis, of Chicago, who was the founder of the American Medical Association. During the months of May, June, July, September and October, 1848, Dr. Davis published in the Annalist, a monthly medical journal of New York City, a series of articles controverting the universal opinion that alcoholic drinks are warming, strengthening and nourishing. In 1850 he executed an extensive series of experiments to determine the effects of a diet exclusively carbonaceous (starch), one exclusively nitrogenous (albumen), and alcohol (brandy and wine), on the temperature of the living body; on the quantity of carbonic acid exhaled; and on the circulation of the blood. The results of these investigations were embodied in a paper read before the American Medical Association in May, 1851. They showed that alcohol, instead of increasing animal heat, and promoting nutrition and strength, actually produced directly opposite effects, reducing temperature, the amount of carbonic acid exhaled, and the muscular strength. So opposed were these conclusions to the generally accepted teachings of the day that the Association did not refer the paper to the committee of publication. It was published later in the Northwestern Medical and Surgical Journal.
In 1854 Dr. Davis published one of the most remarkable of the numerous works which have come from his prolific pen; it was entitled, "A Lecture on the Effects of Alcoholic Drinks on the Human System, and the Duty of Medical Men in Relation Thereto." This lecture was delivered in Rush Medical College, Chicago, on Christmas, 1854. An appendix to the work contained a full account of the series of original experiments which the author had been conducting in relation to the effect of alcohol upon respiration and animal heat, and gave the same conclusions as those presented before the A. M. A. several years previously. These experiments laid the foundation for the scientific study of the physiological effects of alcohol; and their bearing upon the study of the temperance question can even yet scarcely be appreciated. They were the first experiments which showed conclusively that the effect of alcohol is not that of a stimulant, but the opposite.
In 1855 Prof. R. D. Mussey, of Vermont, read an able paper before the American Medical Association upon "The Effects of Alcohol in Health and Disease," in which he said, "So long as alcohol retains its place among sick patients, so long will there be drunkards."
In England as early as 1802, Dr. Beddoes pointed out the dangers attendant upon the social and medical use of intoxicating drinks, laying stress upon "The enfeebling power of small portions of wine regularly drunk." In 1829 Dr. John Cheyne, Physician General to the forces in Ireland said:—
"The benefits which have been supposed from their liberal use in medicine, and especially in those diseases which are vulgarly supposed to depend upon mere weakness, have invested these agents with attributes to which they have no claim, and hence, as we physicians no longer employ them as we were wont to do, we ought not to rest satisfied with the mere acknowledgment of error, but we ought also to make every retribution in our power for having so long upheld one of the most fatal delusions that ever took possession of the human mind."
Dr. Higginbotham, F. R. S., of Nottingham, a keen and able clinical practitioner, abandoned the prescription of alcohol in 1832, saying:—
"I have amply tried both ways. I gave alcohol in my practice for twenty years, and have now practiced without it for the last thirty years or more. My experience is, that acute disease is more readily cured without it, and chronic diseases much more manageable. I have not found a single patient injured by the disuse of alcohol, or a constitution requiring it; indeed, to find either, although I am in my seventy-seventh year, I would walk fifty miles to see such an unnatural phenomenon. If I ordered or allowed alcohol in any form, either as food or as medicine, to a patient, I should certainly do it with a felonious intent."—Ipswich Tracts. No. 346.
In 1839 Dr. Julius Jeffreys drew up a medical declaration which was signed by seventy-eight leaders of medicine and surgery. This document declared the opinion to be erroneous that wine, beer or spirit was beneficial to health; that even in the most moderate doses, alcoholic drinks did no good. This, of course, dealt only with the beverage use of alcoholics. In 1847 a second declaration was originated, signed by over two thousand of the most eminent physicians and surgeons. This also referred only to liquor as a beverage. In 1871 a third declaration, signed by two hundred and sixty-nine of the leading members of the medical profession was published in the London Times.
This declaration was in part as follows:—
"As it is believed that the inconsiderate prescription of large quantities of alcoholic liquids by medical men for their patients has given rise, in many instances, to the formation of intemperate habits, the undersigned, while unable to abandon the use of alcohol in the treatment of certain cases of disease, are yet of opinion that no medical practitioner should prescribe it without a sense of grave responsibility.
"They are also of opinion that many people immensely exaggerate the value of alcohol as an article of diet, and they hold that every medical practitioner is bound to exert his utmost influence to inculcate habits of great moderation in the use of alcoholic liquids."
In the same year the American Medical Association passed a resolution that "alcohol should be classed with other powerful drugs, and when prescribed medically, it should be done with conscientious caution, and a sense of great responsibility."
The physicians of New York, Brooklyn and vicinity not long afterward published a declaration practically the same as that of the A. M. A., adding: "We are of opinion that the use of alcoholic liquor as a beverage is productive of a large amount of physical disease."
The publication of these later declarations was the beginning of a marked change in the medical use of alcohol.
In England the scientific temperance movement began with Dr. B. W. Richardson, afterwards knighted by Queen Victoria for his great services to humanity as a medical philanthropist. Dr. Richardson's success in bringing before physicians the remarkable medicinal agent known as nitrite of amyl, led to a request from the British Association for the Advancement of Science that he investigate other chemical substances. The result was that several years of study, beginning with 1863, were given to the physiological effects of various alcohols, ethylic alcohol, which is the active principle in wines, beers and other intoxicating drinks, receiving special attention.
The following is taken from his "Results of Researches on Alcohol":—
"In my hands ethylic alcohol and other bodies of the same group; viz. methylic, propylic, butylic, and amylic alcohols were tested purely from the physiological point of view. They were tested exclusively as chemical substances apart from any question as to their general use and employment, and free from all bias for or against their influence on mankind for good or for evil.
"The method of research that was pursued was the same that had been followed in respect to nitrite of amyl, chloroform, ether, and other chemical substances, and it was in the following order: First, the mode in which living bodies would take up or absorb the substance was considered. This settled, the quantity necessary to produce a decided physiological change was ascertained, and was estimated in relation to the weight of the living body on which the observation was made. After these facts were ascertained the special action of the agent was investigated on the blood, on the motion of the heart, on the respiration, on the minute circulation of the blood, on the digestive organs, on the secreting and excreting organs, on the nervous system and brain, on the animal temperature and on the muscular activity. By these processes of inquiry, each specially carried out, I was enabled to test fairly the action of the different chemical agents that came before me. * * * * *
"The results of these researches were that I learned purely by experimental observation that, in its action on the living body, alcohol deranges the constitution of the blood; unduly excites the heart and respiration; paralyzes the minute blood-vessels; disturbs the regularity of nervous action; lowers the animal temperature, and lessens the muscular power.
"Such, independent of any prejudice of party or influence of sentiment, are the unanswerable teachings of the sternest of all evidences, the evidences of experiment, of natural fact revealed to man by testing of natural phenomena."
When Dr. Richardson reported to the Association for the Advancement of Science the results of his researches so at variance with commonly accepted ideas, the Association was as incredulous as the American Medical Association had been in 1851 when Dr. Davis gave a similar report, and Dr. Richardson's paper was returned to him for correction.
It should be stated here that Dr. Richardson was not a total abstainer when he began his study of the effects of alcohol, but became an ardent and enthusiastic advocate of total abstinence, and later of non-alcoholic medication, because of what he learned by his experiments with this drug. He was the first to suggest that scientific temperance be taught in the public schools, and he prepared the first text-book ever published for this purpose. In 1874 he delivered his famous "Cantor Lectures on Alcohol," by request of the Society of Arts. This series of lectures created a sensation, being attended by crowds of people, as it was the first time that any physician of eminence had spoken from experimental evidence in favor of total abstinence.
The agitation begotten in medical circles by the discussion of Dr. Richardson's researches upon alcohol led to extensive experimenting upon the same line by scientists of England, Continental Europe and America. The efforts of the National Woman's Christian Temperance Union of the United States, led by that intrepid woman, Mrs. Mary H. Hunt, to introduce scientific temperance instruction into public schools gave impetus to the study in this country. The call for text-books caused publishers to request professors in medical colleges to make minute research into the nature and effects of alcohol, that the demands of the new educational law might be met. The bitter opposition to these temperance education laws was a great stimulant to the scientific study of alcohol, for it was hoped by many that the teachings regarding the deleterious effects of alcohol might be proved incorrect. Unfortunately for the lovers of the bibulous, the proof was all the other way; great medical men could not be bought by distillers or brewers to tell anything but the truth, and the truth of experimental research was all against alcohol. The text-books endorsed by Mrs. Hunt and her advisory committee being assailed again and again as containing erroneous teaching, were finally, in 1897, submitted to an examining committee of medical experts, nearly all of whom were connected with medical colleges. This committee consisted of Dr. N. S. Davis, Sr., of Chicago, Ill.; Dr. Leartus Connor, of Detroit, Michigan; Dr. Henry Q. Marcy, of Boston, Mass.; Dr. E. E. Montgomery, of Philadelphia, Pa.; Dr. Henry D. Holton, of Brattleboro, Vt.; and Dr. George F. Shrady, of New York City. From their reports upon the books the following is culled:—
"I find no errors in the teaching of any of them on this subject."
"No statement was found at variance with the most reliable studies of especially competent investigators."
"I was asked to point out any errors in these books which need correcting. I find no such errors."
"I find their teaching completely in accordance with the facts determined through scientific experimentation and investigation."
"I find them to be in substantial accord with the results of the latest scientific investigations."
Dr. Baer, of Berlin, Germany, the foremost European specialist on the subject treated in these text-books, has recently subjected the books to rigid examination. He says in his report upon them:—
"On the basis of the examination I have made I can assert that the above mentioned school text-books, (the endorsed physiologies), in respect to their statements regarding alcoholic drinks contain no teachings which are not in harmony with the attitude of strict science."
Still the opposers of the text-books were not satisfied, and a self constituted Committee of Fifty undertook an investigation. Men of unquestioned ability were chosen to make researches, but the result of their investigations was so different from what was looked for, that, with the exception of Professor Atwater's contention for the food value of alcohol, the report of the Committee of Fifty did not stir up much controversy.
The school text-books deal exclusively with the effects of alcohol used as a beverage; for obvious reasons this is all they can do. But as intoxicating drinks have been generally supposed to contain great virtue as remedial agents, this phase of their nature and effects has not been overlooked by those pursuing inquiries concerning them. While full agreement has not yet been reached by experts as to the value of alcoholic liquids as medicines, it is noteworthy that some of the most eminent investigators were led to drop alcohol from their pharmaceutical outfit, and the remainder to admit that its sphere of usefulness is extremely limited.
There are now medical colleges of high standing where students are advised against the use of alcohol as a remedy; hospitals are gradually using it less and less, some entirely discarding it; and many progressive physicians, while saying nothing as to their position upon the alcohol question, yet show their lack of faith in this drug by ignoring it unless patients or their friends desire it.
THE WOMAN'S CHRISTIAN TEMPERANCE UNION IN OPPOSITION TO ALCOHOL AS MEDICINE.
When the W. C. T. U. was first organized there was no thought among its members of antagonizing the use of alcohol in medicine. One almost immediate result of the organization, however, was that the women began to study the causes of inebriety, and prominent among the prevailing influences leading to drunkenness they found the medical use of alcoholics. The early efforts of these women were chiefly in rescue work through Gospel temperance meetings, and visitations of jails and poor-houses. By reason of this contact with the effects of inebriety they learned many sad tales of ruined lives, blighted homes and lost souls, through the appetite for strong drink created, or aroused, by alcoholic prescription. They saw, as time passed, that some of the drunkards reclaimed through their influence lapsed again into their evil habits because a little beer, or wine, "for the stomach's sake," or some other sake, had been advised them. Some of the workers had this trouble in their own homes, husband, son or other relative enslaved to alcohol through prescription in disease. Is it any wonder that women of the spirit of the Crusaders, having once had their attention thoroughly aroused to the danger of alcohol in medicine, should begin to examine this stronghold of the enemy to discover, if possible, whether or not, his fortress, the medicine-chest, was impregnable? Greatly to their joy they found that the medical profession was not a unit in commending alcoholics as remedial agencies, that all along since alcohol came into common use there have been physicians who distrusted, and opposed it. They learned, too, that some of the most distinguished physicians of America and of England were using little or no alcohol in their practice, and that a hospital had been established in London, England, which was clearly demonstrating the superiority of non-alcoholic medication by its small death-rate in comparison with hospitals using alcohol.
This knowledge encouraged those possessing it so that they began to refuse alcoholics as remedies in their own households, and rarely did they find physicians unwilling or unable to supply another agent when asked to do so, and thousands of women can now testify to the fact of having recovered from ill health without the wine, beer or brandy they were advised to take. So the W. C. T. U. discovered several good reasons for opposing alcohol in medicine.
1. Its liability to create or revive an uncontrollable appetite.
2. A considerable number of the leading physicians of America and of Great Britain discard it from their list of remedies, considering it harmful rather than helpful.
3. The lessened mortality consequent upon its entire disuse demonstrated by the London Temperance Hospital.
4. By their own experience they knew that alcohol is not necessary to the restoration of health, nor to the upbuilding of strength.
The first active work touching the medical use of alcohol was a memorial from the National W. C. T. U. to the International Medical Congress of 1876, which met in Washington, D. C. This memorial was suggested by Miss Frances E. Willard, and co-operated in by the National Temperance Society. It asked for a deliverance from the Congress upon alcohol as a food and as a medicine.
The Congress was divided into sections for the more thorough discussion of the various topics. Upon the program was a paper on "The Therapeutic Value of Alcohol as Food, and as a Medicine," by Ezra M. Hunt, M. D., delegate from the New Jersey Medical Society. This paper was read before the "Section on Medicine," and, after earnest discussion, the conclusions of the author were adopted "quite unanimously" as the sentiments of the Section on Medicine. As such they were reported for acceptance to the General Congress, and by it ordered to be transmitted as a reply to the memorialists.
The report was published in full by the National Temperance Society, and may be obtained from it in paper binding for twenty-five cents. As it makes a book of 137 pages the conclusions only will be quoted here. They are as follows:—
1. "Alcohol is not shown to have a definite food value by any of the usual methods of chemical analysis or physiological investigation.
2. "Its use as a medicine is chiefly that of a cardiac stimulant, and often admits of substitution.
3. "As a medicine it is not well fitted for self-prescription by the laity, and the medical profession is not accountable for such administration, or for the enormous evil arising therefrom.
4. "The purity of alcoholic liquors is in general not as well assured as that of articles used for medicine should be. The various mixtures when used as medicine should have definite and known composition, and should not be interchanged promiscuously."
It is matter for sincere regret that this deliverance was not, in some way, brought prominently before every physician in the land. There are, doubtless, thousands of physicians who never heard of it, and, consequently have never been influenced by it to doubt the utility of the popular brandy bottle.
In 1883 Mrs. Mary Towne Burt, President of New York State W. C. T. U., in her annual address, suggested that a department of work be created to endeavor to induce physicians to not prescribe alcohol, unless in such cases as allowed of the use of no other agent. Mrs. (Rev.) J. Butler, of Fairport, was the first superintendent of this department, which was named, "Influencing Physicians to not Prescribe Alcoholics as Medicines." The National W. C. T. U. adopted the department in 1883, but soon dropped it. In 1895 it was reinstated and Mrs. Martha M. Allen, New York's superintendent, was made national superintendent. In 1905 the name of the department was changed from Non-Alcoholic Medication, which it had borne for fifteen years, to Medical Temperance.
The objects of this department of work are:
1. To inform the public of the objections to the medical use of alcoholic drinks now held by many successful physicians.
2. To show the dangers in the home-prescription of alcohol and other powerful drugs.
3. To expose fraudulent and dangerous proprietary and "patent" medicines and liquid "foods," the main ingredients of which are alcohol and morphine.
4. To use persuasion with publishers of newspapers and magazines against fraudulent medical advertising. Also to seek legislation which shall hinder such advertising.
5. To endeavor to win the attention of physicians who prescribe alcoholic liquors to the teachings of great leaders in their profession who have abandoned such practice.
6. To bring to the attention of nurses the same teachings, and to seek their co-operation in education against the self-prescription of alcohol.
7. To work for legislation which shall correct the evils of the whisky drug-store, the whisky-prescribing doctor, and the dangerous "patent" medicine.
8. To gather the opinions upon alcohol of well-known physicians who do not use it, and publish them.
This department originated the public agitation against injurious and fraudulent "patent" medicines which later was so ably carried on by Collier's Weekly, and the Ladies' Home Journal. That its early work in this direction was not better known to the general public was due to the fact that religious as well as secular papers were reaping large revenues from the advertising of these nostrums, and consequently refused to publish anything which might injure the trade. Indeed, in accepting some of this advertising, newspaper managers had to sign a contract that they would not publish any reading matter opposed to the nostrum business.
The Christian Advocate of New York city deserves special mention for having published in 1898 two articles written by Mrs. Allen under the caption, "The Danger and Harmfulness of Patent Medicines." These were in the fall of that year published in pamphlet form, and a copy sent to every local W. C. T. U. in the United States for study. Tens of thousands of copies of this and other leaflets on that theme were distributed within a few years, some local unions placing them in every home in their community. Medical journals took note of this work and commended it highly. When Mr. Bok began his campaign of education in the Ladies' Home Journal, for which he deserves lasting gratitude, the American Druggist said he was "bowing to the clamor of the W. C. T. U."
This department which began in weakness, and was for years regarded as fanatical even by many members of the W. C. T. U. has entered upon an era of victories. The National Pure Food Law requires the percentage of alcohol in patent medicines, and the presence of different dangerous drugs, to be stated upon the label. The prohibition law of Georgia forbids physicians to prescribe alcoholic beverages, absolute alcohol only being permitted. Kansas has amended her law so that whisky drug-stores are eliminated. If physicians prescribe alcohol the law forbids charge for it. Alabama forbids the sale of liquor for everything but the communion. The Internal Revenue Department has examined a large number of "patent" medicines and has listed them as intoxicating beverages. Two state medical societies and some county societies in 1908 passed resolutions to discourage the medical use of alcoholic liquors. Two national societies of druggists and pharmacists in 1908 passed resolutions against whiskey drug-stores.
These are some of the results of Medical Temperance agitation. Much more may be expected in the next decade if the work is as faithfully and fearlessly carried on as in the past.
This book contains much of the teachings of the department of Medical Temperance. When these views are generally accepted the liquor-problem will be well-nigh solved.
ALCOHOL AS A PRODUCER OF DISEASE.
That alcohol is a poison is attested by all chemists and other scientific men; taken undiluted it destroys the vitality of the tissues of the body with which it comes in contact as readily as creosote, or pure carbolic acid. The term intoxicating applied to beverages containing it refers to its poisonous nature, the word being derived from the Greek toxicon, which signifies a bow or an arrow; the barbarians poisoned their arrows, hence, toxicum in Latin was used to signify poison; from this comes the English term toxicology, which is the science treating of poisons. Druggists in selling proof spirits usually label the bottle, "Poison." Apart from the testimony of science in regard to its poisonous nature, it is commonly known that large doses of brandy or whisky will speedily cause death, particularly in those unaccustomed to their use. The newspapers frequently contain items regarding the death of children who have had access to whisky, and drunk freely of it. Cases are reported, too, of men, habituated to drink, who after tossing off several glasses of brandy at the bar of a saloon have suddenly dropped dead.
Dr. Mussey says:—
"A poison is that substance, in whatever form it may be, which, when applied to a living surface, disconcerts and disturbs life's healthy movements. It is altogether distinct from substances which are in their nature nutritious. It is not capable of being converted into food, and becoming a part of the living organs. We all know that proper food is wrought into our bodies; the action of animal life occasions a constant waste, and new matter has to be taken in, which, after digestion, is carried into the blood, and then changed; but poison is incapable of this. It may indeed be mixed with nutritious substances, but if it goes into the blood, it is thrown off as soon as the system can accomplish its deliverance, if it has not been too far enfeebled by the influence of the poison. Such a poison is alcohol—such in all its forms mix it with what you may."
Dr. Nathan S. Davis said in an address given in 1891:—
"When largely diluted with water, as it is in all the varieties of fermented and distilled liquids, and taken into the stomach, it is rapidly imbibed, or taken up by the capillary vessels and carried into the venous blood, without having undergone any digestion or change in the stomach. With the blood it is carried to every part, and made to penetrate every tissue of the living body, where it has been detected by proper chemical tests as unchanged alcohol, until it has been removed through the natural process of elimination, or lost its identity by molecular combination with the albuminous elements of the blood and tissues, for which it has a strong affinity.
"The most varied and painstaking experiments of chemists and physiologists, both in this country and Europe, have shown conclusively that the presence of alcohol in the blood diminishes the amount of oxygen taken up through the air-cells of the lungs; retards the molecular and metabolic changes of both nutrition and waste throughout the system and diminishes the sensibility and action of the nervous structures in direct proportion to the quantity of alcohol present. By its stronger affinity for water and albumen, with which it readily unites in all proportions, it so alters the hemaglobin of the blood as to lessen its power to take the oxygen from the air-cells of the lungs and carry it as oxyhemaglobia to all the tissues of the body; and by the same affinity it retards all atomic or molecular changes in the muscular, secretory and nervous structures; and in the same ratio it diminishes the elimination of carbon-dioxide, phosphates, heat and nerve force. In other words, its presence diminishes all the physical phenomena of life.
"I say, then, that from the facts hitherto adduced, whether from accurate experimental investigations in different countries, from the pathological results developed in the most scientific societies, from the most reliable statistics of sickness and mortality, as influenced by occupations and social habits, or from the life insurance records kept on a uniform basis through periods of ten, twenty, thirty or even forty years, it is clearly shown that alcohol when taken into the human system not only acts upon the nervous system, perverting its sensibility, and, if increased in quantity, causing intoxication or insensibility, but it also, even in small quantities, lessens the oxygenation and decarbonization of the blood and retards the molecular changes in the structures of the body. When these effects are continued through months and years, as in the most temperate class of drinkers, they lead to permanent structural changes, most prominently in the liver, kidneys, stomach, heart, blood-vessels and nerve structures, and lessen the natural duration of life in the aggregate from ten to fifteen years. Consequently there is no greater, nor more destructive error existing in the public mind than the belief that the use of fermented and distilled drinks does no harm so long as they do not intoxicate.
"Another popular error is the opinion that the substitution of the different varieties of beer and wine in the place of distilled liquors promotes temperance, and lessens the evil effects of alcohol on the health and morals of those who use them. Accurate investigations show that beer and wine drinkers generally consume more alcohol per man than the spirit drinkers; and while they are not as often intoxicated, they suffer fully as much from diseases and premature death as do those who use distilled spirits. Again, the beer drinker drinks more nearly every day, and thereby keeps some alcohol in his blood more constantly; while a large percentage of spirit drinkers drink only periodically, leaving considerable intervals of abstinence, during which the tissues regain nearly their natural condition. The more constant and persistent is the presence of alcohol in the blood and the tissues, even in moderate quantity, the more certainly does it lead to perverted and degenerative changes in the tissues, ending in renal (kidney) and hepatic (liver) dropsies, cardiac (heart) failures, gout, apoplexy and paralysis."
Sir B. W. Richardson says:—
"Alcohol produces many diseases; and it constantly happens that persons die of diseases which have their origin solely in the drinking of alcohol, while the cause itself is never for a moment suspected. A man may say quite truthfully that he never was tipsy in the whole course of his life; and yet it is quite possible that such a man may die of disease caused by the alcohol he has taken, and by no other cause whatever. This is one of the most dreadful evils of alcohol, that it kills insidiously, as if it were doing no harm, or as if it were doing good, while it is destroying life. Another great evil of it is that it assails so many different parts of the body. It hardly seems credible at first sight that the same agent can give rise to the many different kinds of diseases it does give rise to. In fact, the universality of its action has blinded even learned men as to its potency for destruction.
"Step by step, however, we have now discovered that its modes of action are all very simple, and are all the same in character; and that the differences that have been and are seen in different persons under its influence are due mainly to the organs, or organ, which first give way under it. Thus, if the stomach gives way first, we say that the person has indigestion or dyspepsia, or failure of the stomach; if the brain gives way first, we say the person has paralysis, or apoplexy, or brain disease; if the liver gives way first, we say the man has liver disease, and so on.
"All persons who indulge much in any form of alcoholic drink are troubled with indigestion. When they wake in the morning they find their mouth dry, their tongue coated, and their appetite bad. In course of time they become confirmed 'dyspeptics,' and as many of them find a temporary relief from the distress at the stomach, and the deficient appetite from which they suffer by taking more liquor, they increase the quantity taken, and so make matters much worse. * * * * *
"There are a great number of diseases caused by alcohol, some of which are known by terms that do not convey to the mind what really has been the cause of the diseases." They are:
(a) Diseases of the brain and nervous system: indicated by such names as apoplexy, epilepsy, paralysis, vertigo, softening of the brain, delirium tremens, loss of memory and that general failure of the mental power called dementia. (b) Diseases of the lungs: one form of consumption, congestion and subsequent bronchitis. (c) Diseases of the heart: irregular beat, feebleness of the muscular walls, dilation, disease of the valves. (d) Diseases of the blood: scurvy, dropsy, separation of fibrine. (e) Diseases of the stomach: feebleness of the stomach and indigestion, flatulency, irritation and sometimes inflammation. (f) Diseases of the bowels: relaxation or purging, irritation. (g) Diseases of the liver: congestion, hardening and shrinking cirrhosis. (h) Diseases of the kidneys: change of structure into fatty or waxy-like condition and other changes leading to dropsy. (i) Diseases of the muscles: fatty changes in the muscles, by which they lose their power for proper active contraction. (j) Diseases of the membranes of the body: thickening and loss of elasticity, by which the parts wrapped up in the membrane are impaired for use, and premature decay is induced.
But it constantly happens that when deaths from these diseases are recorded and alcohol has been the primary cause, some other cause is believed to have been at work.
While drinking parents by virtue of a strong constitution sometimes escape the penalty of their bibulous habit, it is not uncommon to see their children suffering from some disease or nervous weakness such as is caused by alcohol, "the sins of the father being visited upon the children."
Erasmus Darwin says upon this point:—
"It is remarkable that all the diseases from drinking spirituous or fermented liquors are liable to become hereditary, even to the third generation, gradually increasing, if the cause be continued, till the family become extinct."
Prof. Christison, of Edinburgh, in answer to inquiries from the Massachusetts State Board of Health, says of general diseases due to alcohol:—
"I recognize certain diseases which originate in the vice of drunkenness alone, which are delirium tremens, cirrhosis of the liver, many cases of Bright's disease of the kidneys, and dipsomania, or insane drunkenness.
"Then I recognize many other diseases in regard to which excess in alcoholics acts as a powerful predisposing cause, such as gout, gravel, aneurism, paralysis, apoplexy, epilepsy, cystitis, premature incontinence of urine, erysipelas, spreading cellular inflammation, tendency of wounds and sores to gangrene, inability of the constitution to resist the attacks of epidemics. I have had a fearful amount of experience of continued fever in our infirmary during many epidemics, and in all my experience I have only once known an intemperate man of forty and upwards to recover."
Professor Christison also claims that three-fourths, or even four-fifths, of Bright's disease in Scotland is produced by alcohol.
Dr. C. Murchison, in speaking of alcohol as a preventive of disease, says:—
"There is no greater error than to imagine that a liberal allowance of alcoholic liquids fortifies the system against contagious diseases."
In a paper read before the Royal Medical and Chirurgical Society, Oct. 22, 1872, Dr. W. Dickinson gave the following conclusions:—
"Alcohol causes fatty infiltration and fibrous encroachments; it engenders tubercles; encourages suppuration, and retards healing; it produces untimely atheroma (a form of fatty degeneration of the inner coats of the arteries), invites hemorrhage, and anticipates old age. The most constant fatty changes, replacement by oil of the material of epithelial cells and muscular fibres, though probably nearly universal, is most noticeable in the liver, the heart and the kidneys. Drink causes tuberculosis, which is evident not only in the lungs, but in every amenable organ."
Dr. William Hargreaves says:—
"Brandy is not a prophylactic. To the temperate it is an active, exciting cause. It is well known that a single act of intemperance during the prevalence of cholera, will often produce a fatal attack. The sense of warmth and irritation (called stimulation) produced by alcoholic liquors, has led to the erroneous notion that they may prevent cholera. But the contrary we have seen is the truth, for the effects of alcoholics are to reduce the temperature of the body, and instead of stimulating, they narcotize, and reduce the life-forces, and predispose the system to all kinds of disease."
The following testimonies are culled from the writings of eminent physicians:—
Sir Andrew Clark, M. D., F. R. C. P., London, Physician in Ordinary to the Queen, Senior Physician at the London Hospital: "As I looked at the hospital wards to-day, and saw that seven out of ten owed their diseases to alcohol, I could but lament that the teaching about this question is not more direct, more decisive and more home-thrusting. * * * * * Can I say to you any words stronger than these of the terrible effects of alcohol? When I think of this I am disposed to give up my profession, and go forth upon a holy crusade, preaching to all men—Beware of this enemy of the race."
Sir William Gull, F. R. S. (late Physician to her Majesty): "I should say, from my experience, that alcohol is the most destructive agent that we are aware of in this country. I would like to say that a very large number of people in society are dying day by day, poisoned by alcohol, but not supposed to be poisoned by it."
Dr. Abernethy: "If people will leave off drinking alcohol, live plainly, and take very little medicine they will find that many disorders will be relieved by this treatment alone."
Dr. Forel, of the University of Zurich, Switzerland: "Life is considerably shortened by the use of alcohol in large quantities. But a moderate consumption of the same also shortens life by an average of five to six years. This is consistently and unequivocally seen in the statistics kept for thirty years by English insurance companies, with special sections for abstainers. They give a large discount, and still make more profit, as not nearly so many deaths occur as might be expected under the usual calculations. According to federal statistics in the fifteen largest towns of Switzerland, over ten per cent. of the men over twenty years of age die solely, or partly of alcoholism."
Dr. J. H. Kellogg, Battle Creek, Mich.: "Every organ feels the effect of the abuse through indulgence in alcohol, and no function is left undisturbed. By degrees, disordered function, through long continuance of the disturbance, induces tissue change. The most common form of organic or structural disease due to alcohol is fatty degeneration, which may effect almost every organ in the body. * * * * * No class of persons are so subject to nervous diseases due to degeneration of nerves and nerve-centres as drinkers. Partial or general paralysis, locomotor ataxia, epilepsy and a host of other nervous disorders, are directly traceable to the use of alcohol."
One of the visiting physicians of Bellevue Hospital, New York, states that at least two-thirds of all the diseases treated there originated in drink.
Dr. W. A. Hammond: "It is of all causes most prolific in exciting derangements of the brain, the spinal cord, and the nerves."
THE LONDON TEMPERANCE HOSPITAL.
In 1865 Dr. S. Nicholls, medical officer of the Longford Poor-law Union, published a report of the results of non-alcoholic treatment of disease as practiced by him for sixteen years in the institutions under his control. The figures for 1865 were:—
ADMITTED. RECOVERED. DIED.
Fever, 142 135 7 Scarlatina, 33 30 3 Small-pox, 48 47 1 Measles, 8 8 0 —- —- —- 231 220 11
The treatment was altogether without wines, spirits or alcohol in any form.
The death-rate reported by Dr. Nicholls was so small that some of the more observing and progressive physicians were led by it to begin similar experiments in the disuse of alcohol in other hospitals. Among these was Dr. James Edmunds, senior physician at the Lying-In Hospital, London. The experiments continued a year with a reduced death-rate among both mothers and children. But the great brewers of London, who contributed largely to the support of this hospital raised such a storm of opposition to the discontinuance of alcoholic liquors that the experiments had to be abandoned.
The establishment of a temperance hospital was now suggested, and in October, 1873, a temporary institution was opened in Gower Street, accommodating only seventeen in-patients at one time. Later a fine site was secured on Hampstead Road, and in 1881 the east wing and centre were opened by the Lord Mayor of London. In 1885 the west wing was finished, and the opening ceremonies conducted by the Bishop of London.
At the time of the launching of this enterprise, wine and spirits were literally "poured into" sick persons, with frightful results. Death-rates were enormous. The success of the Temperance Hospital has no doubt had much to do in modifying this abuse. Its death-rate, on an average, has been only 6 per cent. throughout the years since its beginning. This is lower than that of any other general hospital in London, and certainly proves conclusively that alcohol is not necessary in the treatment of disease. The physicians connected with it have been men of eminence in the profession, such as Dr. James Edmunds, Dr. J. J. Ridge and Sir B. W. Richardson.
The visiting staff is not compelled to pledge disuse of alcohol, but is required to report if it is used. During all these years it has been given only seventeen times, then almost entirely in surgical cases, and in nearly all of these a fatal result proved it to be useless. The patients who are restored to health leave without having had aroused or implanted in them a desire for alcoholic liquors, neither have they been taught to regard them as valuable aids to the recovery of health and strength. On the contrary, there have been many who have come in, suffering from this delusion, who have had it thoroughly dispelled, both by their own experience and the experience of their fellow patients.
Sir B. W. Richardson took charge of this hospital from 1892 until his death in 1897. In his report in 1893 he said:—
"I remember quite well when according to custom, I should have prescribed alcohol in all those cases that were not actually inflammatory (speaking of diseases of the alimentary system); but I never remember having seen such quick and sound recoveries as those which have followed the non-alcoholic method."
The following selection showing points of practice in this hospital is taken from the same report:
"For medicinal purposes, we are as free as possible from all complexity. We use glycerine for making what may be called our tinctures, and in my clinique I am introducing a series of 'waters'—aqua ferri, aqua chloroformi, aqua opii, aqua quinae, and so on—to form the menstruums of other active drugs when they are called for. I also follow the plan of having the medicines administered with a free quantity of water, and with as accurate a dosage as can be obtained, for I agree with Mr. Spender's original proposition that the administration of medicines in comparatively small and frequent doses is more effective and useful than the more common plan of large doses given at long intervals.
"I treat many cases by inhalation, and for this end I use oxygen in a new and, I hope, efficient manner. I make oxygen gas a medium for carrying other volatile substances that admit of being inhaled with it. The mode is very simple. * * * * * In the pneumonic and bronchial cases the treatment has been of the simple and sustaining kind. The medicines that have been given during the acute febrile stages have been chiefly liquor ammoniae acetatis and carbonate of ammonia in small and frequently repeated doses. The patients have all been well and carefully fed on the milk and middle diet until convalescence was declared. In some of the more extreme instances, where there was fear of collapse from separation of fibrine in the heart or pulmonary artery, ammonia has been given freely according to the method I have for so many years inculcated. I have also in cases of depression under which fibrinous separation is so easily developed, lighted on a mode of administering ammonia which combines feeding with the medicine. I direct that a three or five-grain tabloid of bicarbonate of ammonia shall be dissolved in a cup of coffee or of coffee with milk, and be taken by the patient in that manner. The coffee can be sweetened with sugar if that is desired by the patient, and the ammonia can be so administered without any objectionable taste to the beverage. After what is called the crisis in acute pneumonia, I administer very little medicine of any kind; I trust rather to careful feeding with an occasional alterative or expectorant, as may be required. * * * * * I am satisfied that no aid I could have derived from alcoholic stimulants, as they are called, could have bettered my results. I feel sure any candid medical brother who will have the steady courage to put aside many old and unproven, though much-practiced, methods, based only on unquestioning and unquestioned experience, and to move into these new fields of observation and experience, will, in the end, find no fault with me for leaving a track which, though it be beaten very firmly and be very wide and smooth to traverse, may not, after all, be the surest and soundest path to the golden gate of cure."
THE FRANCES E. WILLARD NATIONAL TEMPERANCE HOSPITAL.
This hospital is situated at 343-349 South Lincoln Street, Chicago, in a handsome and well-equipped building. It is connected with a medical school. The history of its origin is best told in the words of the woman to whom the conception of such an institution first came, Dr. Mary Weeks Burnett, for several years the physician in charge:—
"In the fall of 1883 there came to a few of us the thought that there was a point of weakness in the temperance pledge. It reads, 'We promise to abstain from all liquors—as a beverage.' We had found in many instances in reform work that pledging to abstain from liquor 'as a beverage,' and leaving the victim to the unlimited use of it in physicians' prescriptions, was simply a skirmish with the devil's outposts, that the conflict, based upon these grounds, was short, and defeat almost sure; and the great fact remained that the innermost recesses of evil force and power were by this pledge still left unassailed. We found that this power of evil had largely entered the homes of our land through the family physicians, and that willingly or not, the physicians were being used to bring in even our innocent children as recruits to this unrighteous warfare.
"Now, how could we hope to eliminate those three little words 'as a beverage' from our pledge?
"In some way we must bring about an arrest of thought in the minds of 100,000 men and women physicians whose medical education warranted them in supposing that they knew that of alcohol which justified them in its full and free use in medical practice. Nothing short of a great national object lesson could ever convict and convert this broad constituency through which the power of darkness is doing his deadliest work.
"In January, 1884, four of us met and organized under the name of the National Temperance Hospital. To have our sick properly cared for in our hospital we found that we should be obliged to train our own nurses. The nurse who has always been accustomed to administering alcohol under the physician's prescription at all times and under all circumstances, and to administering it herself at her own discretion if the physician is not at hand, is a terror to the temperance physician. So we included in our charter a Training School for Nurses. It is now open, and we expect, as the years go by, to send out armed with our training school diplomas, grand, noble women and men thoroughly trained in true temperance methods for relieving the sick.
"Our organization lived on paper, and was sustained in purpose by prayer and planning for two years. In September, 1885, Mr. R. G. Peters, of Manistee, Michigan, signified to us his intention to give $50,000 toward our buildings whenever we had satisfactorily materialized. About the same time a good old gentleman in Michigan placed in his will for us $2,500. The dear man is still living, and we hope will live many years. Even the money when it comes can never be of greater service to us than was the knowledge at that time that the Lord was our leader and was raising up helpers in the work.
"In January, 1886, we found, according to the law under which our charter was obtained, that we must commence active operations at once, or obtain a new charter. After a blessed season of prayer and counseling together in the board meeting held January 29, there being present only the members of the board at that time, Mrs. Plumb offered to advance $3,500, if necessary, toward the expenses for the first year. We accepted it with great thankfulness, rented a building the 15th of March, 1886, and formally opened the National Temperance Hospital on the 4th of May, 1886.
"In April, 1886, we took a firm stand upon the alcohol question, and decided to eliminate it entirely from our list of therapeutics, as we had become convinced that there were better and more reliable remedies as stimulants and tonics.
"In September, 1886, at our annual meeting, we reaffirmed this decision, and we now have the following as one of the articles of our constitution: 'All medicines used in the hospital must be prepared without alcohol, and all physicians accepting positions on the medical staff of the hospital or dispensary must pledge themselves not to administer alcohol in any form to any patient in hospital or dispensary, nor to call in counsel for such patients any physician who will advise the use of alcohol.
"Any physician of pure character, and in good standing, who is a total abstainer from liquor and tobacco can, by subscribing to this pledge, become a member of our physicians' association, and if so desired, be placed upon the visiting and consulting staff of the hospital.
"The cases treated in the hospital include many of the serious medical and surgical maladies. In no case has any particle of alcohol been used, and the usual inflammatory secondary symptoms resulting when alcohol is used have been entirely avoided.
"Our course of building-up treatment is, we believe, unique in hospital practice. It consists of treatment by massage, heat, rest, passive exercise, etc., together with proper medication and a thoroughly nutritious diet adapted to the individual needs of the patient.
"To alleviate, and, if possible, cure disease, is the design of all hospital treatment. In our hospital we seek to gain this result by means which the highest science of the day approves, and in addition to this we have especially at heart the advancement of the temperance reform. There are, we believe, thousands of temperance adherents, who do not yet fully apprehend the importance of this hospital to the permanent extension and progress of temperance principles. Although prohibition as a principle has been accepted by many, yet in its practical application in the home in serious illness, it is still feared by the immense majority of even our strongest prohibitionists. We are organized upon the basis no alcohol in medicine, and we are preparing to demonstrate fully and scientifically, so he who runs may read, that as in health, so in disease and accident, alcohol in any form works to the hindrance and injury of the vital forces, and prevents the establishment and advancement of health processes in the system."
At the opening of the hospital, May 4, 1886, Miss Frances E. Willard, the president of the National W. C. T. U., gave the following address:
"Nothing is changeless except change. The conservatives of one epoch are the madmen of the next, even as the radicals of to-day would have been the lunatics of yesterday. To prove this, just imagine the founders of this hospital declaring to my great-grandfather that because he had taken a cold was no reason why he should take a toddy; and per contra, imagine my great-grandfather's doctor marching into our presence here and now, with saddle-bags on arm, and after treating us each to a glass of grog for our stomach's sake, giving us a scientific disquisition on the sovereign virtues of the blue pill, and informing us that bleeding, cupping and starvation were the surest methods of cure!
"That the story of Evolution is true I am by no means certain, but that 'We, Us, and Company,' are 'evoluting' with electric speed ourselves it is useless to deny. This very hospital is the latest mile-stone on the highway of progress in the American temperance reform. The conditions that have made its existence possible have developed in this country within about twelve years.
"Public opinion, that mightiest of magicians, has within that time been educated up to this level and has said in its omnipotence: 'Hospital, be!' and, behold, the hospital is.
"When I joined the ranks of temperance workers in 1874, a thought so adventurous as that alcoholics in relation to medicine were a curse and not a blessing had never lodged within my cranium. But, as in duty bound, I studied the subject from the practical, which is the nineteenth century standpoint.
"I investigated the cause of inebriety, and found the medical use of alcoholic stimulants a prominent factor in this horrible result; I sought for expert testimony, and found Dr. N. S. Davis, ex-President American Medical Association, saying 'that in his ample clinical practice he had for over thirty years tested the medical uses of alcoholics, and had found no case of disease and no emergency arising from accident that he could not treat more successfully without any form of fermented or distilled liquors than with'; found Dr. James R. Nichols, of Boston, so long editor of The Journal of Chemistry, declaring as his deliberate scientific opinion that the entire banishment of these liquors 'would not deprive us of a single one of the indispensable agents which modern civilization demands'; found Dr. Green, of Boston, saying before the physicians of that city that it is upon the members of the medical profession and the exceptional laws which it has always demanded, that the whole liquor fraternity depends more than upon anything else to screen it from opprobrium and just punishment for the evils it entails, and that after thirty years of professional experience he felt assured that alcoholic stimulants are not required as medicines, and that many, if not a majority of the best physicians, now believe them to be worse than useless. Meanwhile I learned that across the sea such great physicians as Dr. Benjamin Ward Richardson, Sir Andrew Clark, Sir Henry Thompson and Sir William Gull held views which for their latitude were almost equally radical; and Dr. James Edmunds, founder of the London Temperance Hospital had demonstrated publicly and on a grand scale the more excellent way, his hospital having 4-1/2 per cent. fewer deaths than any other in London, taking the same run of cases, and that the Royal Infirmary at Manchester reported the medicinal use of alcohol fallen off 87 per cent. in recent years, with a decrease in its death-rate of over one-third. Besides all this, and independent of any such investigation, the 'intuitions' of our most earnest women were leading them out of the wilderness. As is their custom, they determined to put this matter to the test of that 'experience which one experiences when he experiences his own experience,' and a whole body of divinity upon the advantages of non-alcoholic treatment could be furnished from their evidence. I was not able personally to pursue this method, my own condition of good health having become chronic. Away back in 1875, in executive committee, one of our leading officers was stricken with angina pectoris. A physician was promptly summoned. 'Give her brandy,' he said, and insisted so stoutly upon it as vital to her recovery that we should probably have sent for it, but the dear woman gasped out faintly, 'I can die, but I can't touch brandy.' She is alive and flourishing to-day. Another national officer absolutely refused whisky for a violent attack of a very different character, the physician telling her that she could not live through the night without it; but she is still an active worker—a living witness that doctors are not infallible. Instances like these have multiplied by hundreds and thousands in our Woman's Christian Unions and Bands of Hope. 'No, mamma I can't touch liquor; I've signed the pledge,' is a protest 'familiar as household words.' Meanwhile, I beg you to contemplate something else that has happened. Behold, our own beloved beverage itself,
'Sparkling and bright, In its liquid light,'
has come grandly to our rescue in this crusade against alcohol in the sick room. Water has become a favorite—nay, even a fashionable—medicine! The most conservative physicians freely prescribe it in the very cases where some form of alcohol was the specific so long. To be sure, they give it hot, but we do not object to that, since 'water hot ne'er made a sot,' and it cures dyspepsia and all forms of indigestion as whisky never did, but only made believe to; while its external use as a fomentation is banishing alcohol even for old folks' 'rheumatiz' where, as a remedy, it would be likely to make its final stand.
"Farewell, thou cloven-foot, Alcohol! Thou canst no longer hide away in the home-like old camphor bottle, paregoric bottle, peppermint bottle or Jamaica-ginger bottle; and a tender good-by, Mrs. Winslow's Soothing Syrup, for be it known to you that the wonderful discovery stumbled over for six thousand years has in our day been made, namely, that hot water will soothe the baby's stomach-aches and the grown people's pains, and drive out a cold when all else fails. Jubilate! Clear out the cupboard and top shelf of the closet now that the sideboard has gone. Let great Nature have a glance to 'mother up' humanity with the medicine, as well as the beverage, brewed in Heaven."
THE RED CROSS HOSPITAL.
A philanthropic young woman, Miss Bettina A. Hofker, entered Mount Sinai Training School for Nurses in 1891. Her desire was to fit herself as a nurse for the poor. After her graduation in 1893, she met Mrs. Charles A. Raymond, a benevolent lady, who offered her pecuniary assistance in her work. Miss Hofker suggested that she would like to institute a Red Cross Hospital and Training School for Nurses. Mrs. Raymond succeeded in interesting others in the proposition. The name of Red Cross however could not be used without permission of the officers of the society bearing that name, but after consultation with Miss Barton, permission was granted. Several years previous to this, Dr. A. Monae Lesser, Dr. Thomas McNicholl and Dr. Gottlieb Steger had opened a small hospital under the name of St. John's Institute. This was now amalgamated with the Red Cross, and Dr. George F. Shrady and Dr. T. Gaillard Thomas, two of New York's leading physicians, were requested to act as consulting physicians.
The hospital does not confine itself to service in its building alone, but sends its workers wherever called, to mansion or tenement. The "Sisters" are trained for field service or for any national calamity such as floods, earthquakes, forest fires, epidemics, etc. When neither war nor calamities require their presence, they devote themselves to the service of the needy poor, or wait upon the rich, if called. The heroic service rendered by the surgeons and nurses from this hospital in the Cuban War, brought their work into great prominence.
At the suggestion of Miss Barton, the medical department of the hospital was commissioned to treat diseases without the use of alcoholic liquids.
Dr. Lesser, the executive surgeon, is a German, and of German education, having received his medical education in the Universities of Berlin and Leipsic. In a conversation with a press representative, Dr. Lesser said some time ago:—
"We have been convinced that the use of alcohol can be entirely eliminated from our medical practice, and this has been practically accomplished at the Red Cross Hospital. We find that where stimulants are required, such remedies as caffeine, nitro-glycerine and kolafra take the place of alcohol, and are even more satisfactory. The main use of alcohol is to stimulate the action of the heart in various ailments. The blood is thus forced to the remote parts of the system, and poisonous substances carried away. But, besides serving this good purpose, the drug tears down and ultimately destroys the cellular tissues of the body. A relapse is certain to follow the application. The drugs that I have mentioned serve exactly the same purpose without the disastrous results. We are proving this every day at the Red Cross Hospital.
"Only a few days ago a boy was brought in, apparently at the point of death. He was put into bed and watched by the nurse. After a little ammonia had been given to him as a stimulant, he unconsciously expressed himself to the effect that it was not the same as they gave him in another place, and gradually when it dawned upon him that no alcohol was administered by the Red Cross, he said, 'Gin has allers made me better.' The doctor in charge, who already suspected that the boy was pretending illness for the sake of the drink, was not surprised an hour or two afterwards to learn that he had demanded his clothes, dressed himself, and left the hospital most ungratefully, but apparently quite well."
Dr. George F. Shrady, one of the consulting physicians, is famous as having been in attendance upon both President Garfield and President Grant. He is the editor of the Medical Record, one of the most important medical journals published in America. While not a non-alcoholic physician, he says of the medical use of intoxicants:—
"There is altogether too much looseness among physicians in prescribing alcohol. It is a dangerous drug. There is much more alcohol used by physicians than is necessary, and it does great harm. Whisky is not a preventive; it prevents no disease whatever, contrary to a current notion. Another thing, we physicians get blamed wrongfully in many cases. People who want to drink, and do drink, often lay it on to the physician who prescribed it. * * * * * I think that in most cases where alcohol is now used, other drugs with which we are familiar could be used with far better effect, and with no harmful results."
Dr. Steger, another physician of the staff, says:—
"I don't use alcohol at all in my practice. I used to use it, but my observation has been that other drugs do the same work without the harmful results. Alcohol over-stimulates the heart, and tears down the cellular tissues of the system, besides causing other deleterious effects. The use of alcohol is simply a superstition among physicians. They have used it so long that they think they always must. I am not a total abstainer, but that only shows that I take better care of my patients than I do of myself. It is not good for a healthy man to drink, but sometimes folks like myself do things which had better be left undone. I have seen patients in hospitals made absolutely drunk by their physicians."
The following interesting items in regard to practice in this hospital are culled from the report of 1897:—
"Temperature was never reduced by active drugs known as antipyretics.
"Water was allowed freely after all kinds of surgical operations and in fevers.
"Alcohol was never used as an internal medicine.
"The free use of water in saline solutions directly injected into the tissues was found of great service. Quarts have been injected that way with most satisfactory results.
"Antipyretics were altogether discarded as it is well known that their action diminishes the tone of the heart. Artificial reduction of temperature only deludes one into the belief that the drug has improved the condition of the patient, while in reality, it has no beneficial influence on the disease, and has reduced the vital resistance of the patient. In no case has high temperature harmed a patient and there was every evidence that in some instances a high temperature was preferable to a low one.
"Special attention has been given to the use of alcohol in disease, not with any desire to approve or disapprove it, but solely for the purpose of discovering the truth, for nothing seems of greater public interest from a medical standpoint than the truth regarding a subject for which so many virtues are claimed on the one hand, and so many destructive elements proven on the other. * * * * *
"We criticise the treatment of no institution, antagonize no school of medicine, claim no unusual or peculiar scientific virtue, but what we do maintain and insist upon is this: that the human body may be ever so afflicted, ever so reduced, the heart ever so feeble, and the spark of life ever so dim, the conscientious student of medicine can secure as good results without as with administration of antipyretics, sparkling wines, beers or liquors.
"Experience teaches that true science does not antagonize nature. In surgical cases, in septicaemia, in pneumonia, or in any of the fevers, water freely administered has proven to be a real source of comfort, and an aid to recovery. It is amazing how favorably diseases terminate under this beneficent beverage. The withholding of food does not retard, but rather hastens convalescence.
"In the conduct of our Red Cross patients, irrespective of their condition when admitted, it can be truly said that after treatment began, delirium has not been witnessed in a single instance, and as our hospital reports indicate, our mortality has been unusually small.
"Alcohol has not figured as a life-saver in our institution. Cases of extreme collapse following major operations, cases of pneumonia, where the pulse ranged from 160 to 220, patients suffering from pernicious anaemia, septicaemia, pyaemia, cholera infantum and typhoid fever, some of whom when first seen were in the worst stages of delirium and collapse have without alcohol regained consciousness, overcome delirium and made excellent recoveries.
"The following cases very forcibly illustrate the results of non-alcoholic treatment:—
"Case No. 1. A child, aged nine months, under treatment for six days for pneumonia, came under our notice on the seventh day. The temperature was 106 5-10; pulse was 220; respirations 90. Whisky, which had been given previously to the extent of two ounces daily, was stopped. Carbonate of ammonia, caffeine salicylate, nitro-glycerine and 1-10 of a drop of aconite were given internally; camphorated lard applied externally; with the result that on the ninth day temperature stood 99; pulse 100; respiration 20. The child made a complete recovery.
"Case No. 2. L. was a child aged eight months, suffering from a very violent attack of entero-colitis. For three weeks previous to coming under our notice the patient received brandy, stimulating foods and alkaline mixtures. Fearfully emaciated, temperature 106, feeble pulse 182, frequent bloody discharges from the bowels, numbering as much as thirty in a day and constant vomiting, the child was considered beyond hope. Under these circumstances, and at this time we first saw her. Brandy and all foods were stopped; bowel flushings were given, 1-12 of a drop of tincture of aconite was administered every half hour and salicylate of caffeine every two hours. In twenty-four hours the temperature was 105 and the pulse 160. In two days, temperature was 102 and the pulse 140. In one week, temperature was 99 5-10, pulse 110. In three weeks, the patient was discharged cured.
"Case No. 3. Mrs. C., aged forty-three, who had been under treatment for seven weeks for metrorrhagia, nietortes and peritonitis came under our notice. Brandy which had been previously given in large quantities had proved of no avail and the patient was considered beyond recovery. We found her completely prostrated, temperature 102, pulse 170, and unconscious. The heart very weak and irregular. The brandy was discontinued, salicylate of caffeine and nitrate of strychnia were given with the result that in a short time the patient was convalescent and finally recovered.
"Each case in our hospital is an additional proof that whether found in wines, spirits or beers, alcohol can claim no right as an indispensable medicine."
Dr. Lesser, who was Surgeon-General of the American Red Cross in the Cuban War said after his return from his first visit to Cuba that four out of six of his patients, to whom he allowed liquor to be given as a concession to the popular idea that it was necessary, died; while subsequently in treating absolutely without alcohol sixty-three similar cases, only one died, and he upon the day on which he was received at the hospital.
ALCOHOL IN OTHER HOSPITALS.
In the spring of 1909 a circular letter was sent to some of the best known hospitals throughout the country asking if the use of alcoholic liquors had decreased in those institutions during the past ten years. From the replies received the following statements are taken:
Cook County Hospital, Chicago, sent figures for two years only, 1907, and 1908. With 28,932 patients treated in 1907, the bill for wines and liquors amounted to only $719.40. In 1908 with 31,202 patients the bill for liquors amounted to $970.65. This makes a per capita expenditure for liquors for 1907 of .024 cents, and for 1908 a per capita expenditure of .031 cents. The per capita expenditure for liquors during the same years in Bellevue and Allied Hospitals of New York city, with from 30,000 to 40,000 patients treated was .0246 and .029. Two or three cents as the yearly per capita expenditure for alcoholic liquors in the two largest hospitals in America is striking evidence that the physicians practicing there have not large faith in whisky, or other alcoholic liquors as remedial agents.
Long Island, N. Y., State Hospital:—"We are not using more than half the amount of alcohol we used ten years ago."
Manhattan State Hospital, Ward's Island, New York City:—"Our patient population has averaged nearly 4,500 the last four years, and we have had about 750 employees, many of whom are prescribed for by institution physicians. The per capita cost of distilled liquors for the last fiscal year was .0273 at this hospital."
Milwaukee City Hospital:—"No alcoholic liquors are used to any extent in this hospital, or prescribed by the staff. I know of no move against such use of liquors, but venture the assertion that the physicians believe they have more reliable agents at their command for most cases."
Pennsylvania Hospital, Philadelphia:—"We are now using about one-third the amount of liquor that was used in the Pennsylvania Hospital ten years ago."
The Presbyterian Hospital of Philadelphia sent figures for the years from 1900 to 1908. Those for 1900 show the cost of liquors to be $774.20 and for 1908 only $331.48. The number of patients was not given.
Grady Hospital, Atlanta, Georgia:—"That less liquor is now used than formerly is a fact well known to all connected with the institution."
Garfield Memorial, Washington, D. C., sent figures for ten years. For 1899 the cost of liquors was $490.08, with a steady decrease to 1908 when the cost was $274.58. Number of patients in 1899 was 1,171; in 1908, 1,898 patients. The per capita for 1908 was .144 cents.
University Hospital, Ann Arbor, Michigan:—"Very little alcohol is prescribed in this hospital."
Maine General Hospital, Portland:—"Comparatively speaking, we use but little alcohol for the reason that we now have many remedies which, especially for continued use, are superior to alcohol, which twenty years ago we did not have. For the conditions or emergencies in which we think alcohol has a value it is used when required or deemed best."
Buffalo, New York, State Hospital sent figures for six years which include cost of alcohol used in the manufacture of pharmaceutical preparations, which, of course, makes a very decided difference. Per capita for 1903 was 22 cents; for 1908 it was 18 cents.
Buffalo, New York, General Hospital:—"The use of alcohol as a drug in this hospital has diminished about one-third in the past ten years, but I wish to add in this connection that the use of all drugs has diminished in this hospital, and to the best of my knowledge in other institutions of a like character. The use of the microscope, and other studies have advanced the science of medicine the same as all other branches of learning, and other methods are coming to be used beside the use of drugs."
Mount Sinai, New York City:—"The use of alcoholic beverages here for medical purposes is the exception rather than the rule. The majority of our cases are surgical cases, and in these alcoholic liquors are rarely prescribed for any purpose whatsoever."
Massachusetts Homeopathic Hospital, Boston, sent figures for five years. For 1904 the cost of alcoholic liquors was $197.69 with 3,720 patients; for 1908, the cost was $69.82 with 4,543 patients. The per capita cost for the five years is as follows: 1904, cost .0531 cents; 1905, cost .0474; 1906, cost .034; 1907, cost .0171; 1908, cost .0153.
In the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal of April 15, 1909, Dr. Richard C. Cabot gave a table showing the decrease in the use of alcoholic liquors, and of other drugs in Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston.
The following is his table:
1898 1899 1900 1901
Ale and Beer $759.00 $793.90 $1,062.00 $723.00 Wines and liquors, 1,563.00 2,209.00 1,348.00 1,063.00 ————- ————- ————- ————- Total for alcoholic drinks, $2,321.00 $3,002.00 $2,410.00 $1,786.00
Total for other medicines, $8,424.00 $10,013.00 $10,132.00 $9,168.00
Number of patients, 5,005 5,203 5,012 5,495 Cost of alcohol per patient, $0.46 $0.57 $0.48 $0.32 Cost of medicine per patient, 1.68 1.92 2.02 1.66
1902 1903 1904 1905
Ale and beer, $605.00 $338.00 $431.00 $301.00 Wines and liquors, 799.00 688.00 904.00 144.00 ————- ————- ————- ———- Total for alcoholic drinks, $1,404.00 $1,026.00 $1,335.00 $445.00
Total for other medicines, $9,772.00 $7,815.00 $9,162.00 $7,018.00
Number of patients, 5,342 5,429 5,709 5,531 Cost of alcohol per patient, $0.26 $0.19 $0.23 $0.09 Cost of medicine per patient, 1.88 1.43 1.60 1.26
Ale and beer, $192.00 $203.00 Wines and liquors, 546.00 610.00 ————- ————- Total for alcoholic drinks, $738.00 $813.00
Total for other medicines, $5,981.00 $5,492.00
Number of patients, 5,513 5,966 Cost of alcohol per patient, $0.13 $0.13 Cost of medicine per patient, 1.00 0.92
Dr. Cabot says:—
"Since there has been no fall in the price of stimulants or medicine, the diminished expenditure corresponds to a diminution in the number of doses of medicine and stimulants, and indicates a rapid and striking change of view among the members of the staff of the hospital, especially in the past five years, when it has become generally known that alcohol is not a stimulant but a narcotic and that drugs can cure only about half a dozen of the diseases against which we are contending.
"There has been during this period no increase in the proportion of surgical cases among the whole number treated, so that the decreased use of medicines and alcoholic beverages has not resulted from an increased resort to surgical remedies. On the other hand, there has been a great increase in the utilization of baths (hydrotherapeutics), of massage, of mechanical treatment and of psychical treatment, all of which accounts no doubt for part of the falling off in the use of alcohol and drugs."
THE EFFECTS OF ALCOHOL UPON THE HUMAN BODY.
The body is made up mainly of cells, fibres and fluids. The cell is the most important structure in the living body. Life resides in the cell, and every animal may be considered a mass of cells, each of which is alive, and each of which has its own work to accomplish in the building up of the body.
The matter which forms the mass of a cell is called protoplasm, or bioplasm. It resembles somewhat the white of a raw egg, which is almost pure albumen. Cells make up the body, and do its work. Some are employed to construct the skeleton, others are used to form the organs which move the body; liver-cells secrete bile, and the cells in the kidneys separate poisonous matters from the blood in order that they may be expelled from the system.
These cells, composing the mass of the body, being very delicate, are easily acted upon by substances coming into contact with them. If substances other than natural foods or drinks are introduced into the body, the cells are injuriously affected. Alcohol is especially injurious to cells, "retarding the changes in their interior, hindering their appropriation of food, and elimination of waste matters, and therefore preventing their proper development and growth."
"Bioplasm is living matter; it is structureless, semi-fluid, transparent and colorless. It is the only matter that can grow, move, divide itself and multiply, the only matter that can take up pabulum (food) and convert it into its own substance; and is the only matter that can be nourished. The bioplasm in the cell gets its nourishment by drawing in of the pabulum through the cell wall, and in that way building up the formed material while it is being disintegrated on the outer surface. This process is continually being carried on, and is what is meant by nutrition. Disintegration of the formed material is as essential as the building up of it. All organic structure is the result of change taking place in bioplasm. These small cell-like bioplasts are the workmen of the organism. All wounds are repaired by them, all fractures are united, and all diseased tissues brought back to their normal and healthy condition, unless there is not vitality enough to overcome disease, or they have been injured or killed by poisonous material. The body is kept in repair by this living matter, and all the functions of the body are but the result of its action. We may examine, watch and study bioplasm under the microscope; we see it take up pabulum and convert that which is adapted to itself into its own substance, while all other substances are rejected. We take a solution of what we call a stimulant and immerse the bioplasm in it, and we find that it increases its activity, moves faster, takes up more pabulum, and divides more rapidly than in the unstimulated condition. We next add an astringent, and it begins to move more slowly, and soon contracts into a spherical shape and remains contracted, or may move slowly to a limited extent, depending on the strength of the solution. We next take a relaxant, and gradually the living matter begins to spread in all directions, in a laxy-like manner, and becomes so thin as to be almost undiscernible, and takes up very little, if any, pabulum. If sufficiently relaxed or astringed, the movements may entirely cease so as to appear lifeless, but when a stimulant is again added the same result is obtained as before—it begins to move, and acts as vigorous as ever, which shows that it was not injured in the least by the agents used. Alcohol is called a stimulant. We take a weak solution of alcohol and try it in the same way; but we find that almost instantly the living matter contracts into a ball-like mass. Now, we may through ignorance suppose that alcohol acts as an astringent, and so we try to stimulate it with the same harmless agent before used, but no impression is made on it; it does not move; it is dead matter. These are demonstrable facts, and lie at the foundation of physiology, pathology and the practice of medicine. Alcohol destroys the very life force that alone keeps the body in repair. For a more simple experiment as to the action of alcohol, take the white of an egg (which consists of albumen, and is very similar to bioplasm), put it into alcohol, and notice it turn white, coagulate and harden. The same experiment can be made with blood with the same result—killing the blood bioplasts. Raw meat will turn white and harden in alcohol. Alcohol acts the same on food in the stomach as it does on the same substances before introduced into the stomach, and acts just the same on blood and all the living tissues in the system as out of it; and this alone is enough to condemn its use as a medicine." From Alcohol, Is It a Medicine? by W. F. Pechuman, M. D., of Detroit, Michigan.