Water Hot

Sources: Papers On Health

The frequent prescription in these papers of hot water, to

be taken often in small quantities, makes it of importance that some

explanation of its action should be given.

We see, frequently, such a thing as this: a person is confined to bed,

sick and ill; there is no desire for food, but rather a loathing at the

very idea of eating; distressing symptoms of various sorts are showing

that the work of digestion and assimilation is going on badly, if

really going on at all. The patient is started on a course of hot water

in half-teacupfuls every ten minutes. When this has gone on for perhaps

six or seven hours, he begins to be very hungry, and takes food with

relish, probably for the first time for months past. In the meantime a

greatly increased quantity of water has passed from the body one way

and another, but has all passed loaded with waste material. The breath

is loaded with carbonic acid and other impurities; the perspiration is

loaded with all that makes it differ from pure water; the urine,

especially, is loaded with waste separated from the blood and tissues

of the body. The space, so to speak, left vacant by all this washing

away of waste matter makes its emptiness felt by a call upon the

stomach to furnish fresh material. Some will say that the hot water

merely passes off by the kidneys without entering the circulation at

all. This is impossible, and facts, patent to everyone, demonstrate

that they are in error. The substances with which the water becomes

impregnated show that it has been mingled with the circulation, and the

wholesome effects produced prove that it has made itself useful.

"Hard" water, as it is called, will not do so well as "soft" water.

Distilled water is best of all. So much superior is it, indeed, that

its use cannot be too strongly insisted on. It can be had from the

druggist at twopence per quart.

Where nourishment is given with too little water, the food will often

fail almost entirely to enter the circulation. But a little warm water,

somewhat above blood heat, but not too hot, will make all right. This

is especially seen in nourishing infants (see Infants' Food). Food,

then, will not act as water does, nor will water act as food. Even a

little sugar mixed with the hot water completely alters its effect on

the body. As it has already dissolved the sugar, it cannot dissolve

what is needed to be removed from the body. Sugar and water is not a

bad mixture, but it will by no means do instead of pure water in the

cases we contemplate. On the other hand, a mixture of alcohol with the

water is ruinous, and that just in proportion to the quantity of

alcohol, small or great. Beer, for example, can never do what is

required of water, nor can wine, or any other alcoholic drink. Tea

added to the water also alters its quality. The water alone, and as

nearly perfect in purity as it can be got, is the only thing which will

do the necessary work.

Sometimes one finds a great prejudice against hot water. You see one

who is miserable through derangement of the stomach and digestive

organs, and you mention "hot water." The very phrase is sufficient to

put an expression of strong prejudice on the face. Yet that very hot

water is perhaps the only thing that will cure the patient. If you wait

a little, there will be an opening to explain that hot water is very

different to tepid water. Under blood heat, and yet heated, water tends

to produce vomiting; above blood heat, nothing will so well set the

stomach right. This is true, however, only when the water is taken in

very small quantities. You must see that the water is not smoked in the

heating or otherwise spoiled. And also that it be not too hot. If it

scalds the lips it is too hot. When it is comfortably warm, but not

tepid, it does its work most effectively.