Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/122

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undergone massage with incarceration, and found temporary salvation in sipping hot water, pass from one consultant to another seeking the last new paradox in dietetics. They will continue to do so, and the more if they fall into the hands of those who give them really judicious advice. They dislike that, and it is indeed seldom helpful to such persons. In this brief communication I shall have nothing to say in respect of them.

We may fairly remark that we are in danger of being perplexed by the number of patent and proprietary articles of food daily brought under our notice. The chemists, especially the Continental and American, try to help us in our daily work by contriving the most subtle, and often palatable, preparations of nutrient materials. And, not content with this, they would fain abolish almost the entire Pharmacopœia, and offer food and physic in one; aiding themselves in this bold effort by the most fantastic and obtrusive advertisements, which pass one's best ingenuity to escape from. Strange to say, they compel attention from persons who should know better, and should use calm judgment in sweeping most of them aside. So it happens that one frequently finds many of these vaunted preparations in use by persons who have not even a bare knowledge of their qualities and powers for good or evil.

The mischief of all this in respect of foods and new drugs is, as I have before now stated, that the practitioners in trying, as they think, to keep pace with the times, lose their hold of wellapproved methods and therapeutic agents, which drop out to make way for something new and unapproved. They thus fail in the art of medicine, which I make bold to say is less well established to-day than it was, in many respects, half a century ago, and chiefly because of this pursuit of novelties.

We have witnessed many changes of opinion respecting some of the commonest articles of diet for the sick. The old view, that calves'-feet jelly was of exceeding nutritive value, was at one time so controverted that the jelly ceased to be much used. It is now sanctioned as having a place in dietetics, and I believe it may be safely regarded as a temporary form of nourishment of no inconsiderable value.

Beef-tea has been in and out of repute, but we have, or should have, no doubt now as to its stimulant and reparative properties. We can not think lightly of it as commonly prepared, for it can certainly prove harmful, when not desirable, as in the case of rheumatic fever. I believe it is right to withhold it in such cases. Again, it is so far apt to act as an aperient that it is best not to employ it in enteric fever, or in diarrhœea, when the bowels are in an irritable condition. Mutton, veal, or chicken essences can, however, be used, having no such aperient action. We have to