Medical Home Remedies:
As Recommended by 19th and 20th century Doctors!
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The biggy of the late 1800's. Clearly shows the massive inroads in medical science and the treatment of disease.

ALCOHOL AND THE HUMAN BODY In fact alcohol was known to be a poison, and considered quite dangerous. Something modern medicine now agrees with. This was known circa 1907. A very impressive scientific book on the subject.

DISEASES OF THE SKIN is a massive book on skin diseases from 1914. Don't be feint hearted though, it's loaded with photos that I found disturbing.




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“Besides its deleterious influence on the nervous system and other important parts of our body, alcohol has a harmful action on the white blood-cells, the agents of natural defence against infective microbes.”— Professor Metchnikoff, 1906.
As previously stated, our bodies are built up of an immense number of units known as cells, each of which having its own duty to perform, leads in a certain sense an independent life. In order that this life may be carried on, the cell must be fed, must breathe, and must get rid of its waste products. As many of these cells are at long distances, relatively speaking, from the organs which take in food, absorb oxygen and excrete waste material, there must be provided channels of communication and some medium for carrying the food and oxygen to the tissues, and for bringing the waste materials to the kidneys, lungs, and skin, by which organs they are ejected from the body.
Such channels are found in the blood-vessels and lymphatic vessels, and such a medium is the blood itself.
The Blood.—The blood is a mixture of corpuscles and a fluid known as the blood plasma. The corpuscles are of two kinds, red and white.
Red Blood-Corpuscles
The red blood-corpuscles are very minute, flat, bi­concave (hollowed on each side) bodies (see Fig. 28), like coins, which, though appearing yellowish in colour when looked at singly, give the effect of being red when in masses. This colour of the blood is due to the presence in the corpuscles of a pigment or colouring matter known as hæmoglobin. This is the substance which seizes upon the oxygen of the atmosphere when the blood is brought into contact with air in the lungs. The red blood-corpuscles are the carriers of the oxygen to
192            ALCOHOL AND THE HUMAN BODY chap.
the tissues, where they readily give it up. They are constantly being destroyed in the liver and spleen, and are replaced by new corpuscles which come from the red marrow of the bones. So minute is each corpuscle that it takes more than 3000 of them placed side by side to make a line one inch long.
White Blood-Corpuscles
The white corpuscles are much fewer in number, there being only about one of them to 500 red corpuscles. They vary in size and in appearance, but all contain nuclei, and are therefore true cells (see Fig. 28). In structure they are very like the
A                                       B                                     C D
Fig. 28.—Blood-corpuscles magnified 1000 diameters. The two kinds of blood-corpuscles are here shown. The red corpuscles (A) have no nucleus ; live are shown in a group on the lef’t. The leucocytes, or white corpuscles (B), have been stained, are granular, and exhibit nuclei which are either globu ar or exhibit forms of division. (C) Leucocyte or white corpuscle, in the blood of a rabbit throwing out processes like an amœba. (D) Leucocyte containing several tubercle bacilli (the microbes of consump­ tion), which it has taken up into itself, i.e. swallowed.
amœba, and like it they are capable of altering their shape and of moving from place to place. Thus they can leave the blood-vessels and can travel through the tissues. Although so few in number compared with the red corpuscles, they have a very important function to perform. It is now more than twenty years since the illustrious scientist, Professor Metchnikoff, of the Pasteur Institute, Paris, announced to the world his dis­ covery that the white blood ­corpuscles have the power of destroying the microbes to which so many of our diseases are due. These white blood-cells are the standing army or police­ men of the body, and their duty is to attack and, if possible, to destroy any foreign matter, such as dust or disease germs, which may gain an entrance. They attack the germ by throw­ ing out processes of their protoplasm, enclosing it and after­ wards digesting it (Fig. 28). If microbes or chemical irritants are present in one particular part of the body, these white
blood-cells leave the blood-vessels in the neighbourhood in large numbers and stream towards the point affected. They then attack the germs and seek to destroy them. In so doing they are, many of them, in their turn destroyed, and their dead bodies, along with the fluids of the inflamed tissues, form “matter” or pus. A large collection of matter is called an abscess. Fresh white blood-corpuscles are constantly being manufactured in the bone-marrow, and when there are large numbers of organisms to be attacked, as in a disease like pneumonia, the bone ­marrow produces them so rapidly that three or four times the normal number become present in the blood.
Blood Plasma
The liquid (or plasma) of the blood consists of water, albuminous substances, and salts. The salts are of various kinds, and include sodium chloride or common salt, also phosphates and chlorides of calcium and potassium. There are also small quantities of sugar and urea in the blood plasma. The sugar is there as a food, but the urea is one of the waste products thrown off by the cells of the body, and is carried by the blood to the kidneys, through which it is got rid of.
When blood is drawn off into a vessel it sets after a few minutes into a firm jelly or clot. The blood does not clot within the healthy blood-vessels, because these possess a perfectly smooth wall. If, however, the walls of the vessels become diseased, as is often the case in those who take alcohol (see Chap. XII.), clots may form and give rise to very serious symptoms, often even to the death of the individual.
The Blood Complement
In healthy blood plasma other substances may occur, one of which is known as the “blood complement.” It appears that the presence of such chemical substances is probably essential in order that the white blood-cells may devour and digest disease-germs, for we find that when the germs (i.e. microbes) enter the body, these substances are produced in increasing amounts. Thus, if an animal or a human being be vaccinated or inoculated with a small dose of germs, these substances may be produced to such an extent that even a large subsequent dose of the same germs will do no harm. Such a process of
194           ALCOHOL AND THE HUMAN BODY chap.
vaccination or inoculation is called immunisation, and the animal or person so treated is found afterwards to be immune towards that particular germ.
Eesistance to Disease
The way in which our bodies fight disease is, therefore, partly by means of the white blood-corpuscles, which actually devour the germs, and partly by the increase in the blood of these chemical substances, which are antidotes to the poisons given out by the germs. The reason why a disease like pneumonia comes to an end is that in undeteriorated tissues the white blood-corpuscles, aided by the substances in the plasma, get the better of the germ of pneumonia and the poisons which it produces.
Effect of Alcohol on the Blood as a whole.—Alcohol taken into the stomach is quickly absorbed, and in two minutes reaches the blood. The maximum quantity is found in the blood fifteen minutes after the dose is swallowed.1
We have seen that the blood is the medium by which food material, including oxygen, is brought to the cells in the various parts of the body, and that it is also the medium by which the waste materials resulting from cell activity are washed away. Now the presence of alcohol interferes with both these processes.
In the first place, the oxygen in the blood is prevented from properly reaching the tissues of the body. Consequently all the nutritional and building-up processes of the body are checked. As the red corpuscles are a living tissue, it is quite as probable that this hampering of the oxidation of the body is due as much to the effect of the drug on the blood-cells themselves as to its effect on the cells of the tissues to which the blood goes.
Secondly, as we describe in Chapter XIII., the elimination of waste products is seriously interfered with. This, again, is due to the presence of alcohol in the blood itself, as well as in the fluids bathing the tissue cells, which ought to supply these with nutriment and remove from them their waste products. Unaltered alcohol in the body-fluids, even in small quantities,
1 Gréhant, Gazette médicale de Paris, 1881.
exerts a paralysing influence on the cells, rendering their powers of assimilation and excretion less rapid and less effective.
Detailed Effect of Alcohol on the Individual Constituents of the Blood—(1) On Red Corpuscles.Turning now to the detailed effect of alcohol upon the various constituents of the blood, we find, in the first place, that the red cells are liable to damage. Like ether and chloroform, alcohol tends to dis­ solve or change the superficial layer of these corpuscles which is of a fatty nature, and to damage the underlying structure of the cell.1 The repetition of this damage leads ultimately to more or less anæmia,2 which is recognised as a frequent accompaniment of alcohol-taking, and especially of alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver.
Laitinen has shown by a series of researches extending over a number of years, that while a small dose of alcohol does not diminish the number of the red blood-corpuscles, it notably affects their resisting power when attacked by agents which tend to dissolve and break them up. This process of breaking up the cells, which can be tested by ordinary physical and chemical means outside the body, is termed hæmolysis.
(2) On White Corpuscles.—Since the great discovery of Professor Metchnikoff, he and various workers have studied the influence of many substances, including alcohol, upon white corpuscles. From what we know of the action of alcohol upon cell activity in general (Chap. III.), it will readily be understood that its presence might damage the activity of these white blood ­cells, and this indeed is shown to be the case. It is now proved that alcohol, even in tiny doses, paralyses more or less the white cells, which thus cease from exercising their microbe ­destroying function. Speaking in popular language, alcohol renders the white blood ­cells less alert, so that they remain passive and motionless in the presence of dangerous microbes, which it is their duty to promptly destroy. Two Belgian observers, Massert and Bordet, in carrying out experiments on the attraction and repulsion of the living leucocytes by various bodies, found that alcohol, even in very dilute solution, strongly repelled leucocytes.
1 Albrecht, Verhandlungen der deutschen pathologischen Gesellschaft, 1904, Heft 2.                                                                      2 Naunyn, ibid.
196           ALCOHOL AND THE HUMAN BODY chap.
Consequently, if alcohol even in very minute quantities is circulating in the blood, the leucocytes will not be able to make their way quickly into the blood, and thus be carried rapidly to any place where they are urgently needed. In consequence of this delay a severe illness frequently ensues : indeed, in the case of some microbes, these obtain such a strong foothold that the leucocytes never are able to drive them out. As Abbott has shown, this is particularly true of the microbe that causes erysipelas and cellulitis. The proneness of brewers and their draymen to suffer from these diseases is well known.
The seriousness of this adverse influence of alcohol upon the vigour and energy of the white blood-corpuscles cannot be over­ estimated. Herein lies the explanation of many infections, many prolonged illnesses, much chronic ill-health, and many premature deaths.
(3) On Blood Plasma.—The liquid portion of the living blood, the plasma (p. 193), also has very definite powers in assisting to defend the body against invasion by disease and microbes, which when absorbed from the lungs or bowel into the circulation, find their injurious effect counteracted and themselves destroyed by the plasma if this is in a normal healthy state.
Laitinen has investigated this question and found that the fluid constituents of human blood have, in the case of moderate drinkers, a lessened bactericidal (slaying of bacteria) power, as estimated hæmolytically.
A special interest attaches to this elaborate and prolonged research, in that the microbe employed as the test was that causing typhoid fever. The test was applied to large numbers of persons, in order to obtain reliable averages. It was found that when small amounts of human blood were brought in contact with these microbes, and the resisting and conquering power of each specimen of blood estimated separately, that the blood from those human beings who were abstainers pos­ sessed a greater power of resisting the growth and development of the bacteria.
These results confirm those that had already been established by Laitinen as occurring in animals. The substances which should exist in the blood to complete the reaction by which “ resistance ” is thus obtained are called “ Complements.”
According to Professor Sims Woodhead,1 “ Abbot and Bergey were the first to find that in alcoholic poisoning these comple­ ments are irregularly but distinctly reduced, and they maintain that this reduction accounts, first of all, for the impaired power of nutrition met with in alcoholised animals, on the ground that there are not sufficient complements to combine with the necessary nutrient proteid or albuminoid substances circulating in the blood. Moreover, the lack of these complements is of importance, from the fact that without them it appears to be impossible for any immunity to disease to be set up in an animal. They offer this as an explanation of the fact that in alcoholism impaired nutrition is first observed ; and that this is accompanied or followed by an interference with the pro­ duction of immunity.”
1 Recent Researches on the Action of Alcohol in Health and in Sickness : a Lecture, by G. Sims Woodhead, M.A., M.D.

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