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Source: Papers On Health
This, in various forms, as brandy, whiskey, rum, wine,
cordials, beer and stout, is a frequent prescription in many troubles.
In no cases have we known good effects from its use, which is most
strongly to be condemned. Various reasons for this statement will be
found under the heading of troubles for which alcohol is prescribed.
Here we simply give the fundamental truths as to its action on the
In our system of treatment we ever seek to nurse and stimulate those
nerve-masses which constitute the sources of vital action. Every drop
of alcohol does so much to weaken and destroy these. A certain
quantity, if taken by the strongest man, will kill that man as surely
as a bullet in the brain. Half the quantity will only render him
insensible. Half that, again, only renders him incapable of controlling
his bodily movements. Half that, again, only slightly disturbs the
system; but it affects him in the very same manner in which the fatal
dose affects him, though not in the same degree. It is a narcotic, and
like all such, it always reduces vital action, while nothing is more
important in all healing than to increase it. Hence alcohol is the
deadly foe of healing, and one chief preparer of the system to fall
before disease. The so-called stimulating action of alcohol has been
thoroughly explained by the author of these papers in other writings,
and shewn to be simply an indirect and temporary effect, obtained at
the price of a considerable reduction of the general vitality of the
Young ladies, as a class, are subject to a terrible danger. Great
numbers of mothers actually make their daughters drunkards by ever and
again dosing them with brandy. This is done in secret, and imagined to
be a most excellent thing. For instance, if the bowels get lax, as is
the case in certain stages of disease, brandy is given as a remedy. How
little do those who give it know that it is lessening vital energy and
making cure impossible! But it is doing nothing else. We have many
times over seen the dying sufferer restless and ill with nothing but
the effects of constant small doses of brandy, or alcohol in some other
In looseness of the bowels we give a teaspoonful of lemon juice in a
little hot water and sugar. That has as much effect as is desirable,
and it has no bad effect whatever. Or enema injections may be employed.
(See Diarrhoea, Dysentery, Enema). Even infants are treated with
"brandy," till we cannot help believing they die of the drink, and
would survive if it were put away. Gradually the cruel folly of all
this will, we doubt not, dawn upon the general mind.
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