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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“I was twenty years older than any of the officers or crew, yet I could stand the cold better than any of them, who all made use of tobacco and spirits. I entirely abstained from them. The most irre­ sistible proof of the value of abstinence was when we abandoned our ship and were obliged to leave behind us all our wine and spirits. It was remarkable to observe how much stronger and more able the men were to do their work, when they had nothing but water to drink.”— Sir J. Ross, Voyage to the Arctic Regions (1829-93).
“The greater the cold the more injurious is the use of alcohol.”— Dr. John Rae (Arctic Explorer).
The external skin of the body is composed of two main layers—
A.   The epidermis (epi, upon ; dermis, skin) or scarf skin, which forms the surface layer, and consists of several layers of cells, which are constantly being renewed from the layers below.
B.   The dermis or true skin, which consists of a framework of connective tissue cells, surrounding various important structures known as—
(1)  Hair sacs.
(2)   Sweat glands.
(3)   Oil glands.
(4)  Nerves.
(5)   Blood-vessels.
(6)   Lymphatics.
(7)  Fat cells.
The skin has several functions, namely, those of—
(1)  Protection.
(2)   Excretion.
(3)  Regulation of body temperature.
And it is the seat of the perception of touch and temperature sensations.
136            ALCOHOL AND THE HUMAN BODY chap.
1.   Protection
The value of the skin in protecting the various tissues and parts of the body requires no special demonstration here.
2.   Excretion
In addition to the function of regulating the body tempera­ ture, which we shall deal with at length, the skin has an important duty to perform in helping to rid the body of minute quantities of certain little-known effete products by means of sweat glands. These materials in the blood are brought by the blood-vessels to the neighbourhood of the sweat glands, which abstract the waste matters therefrom and excrete them from the body dissolved in the sweat.
It may easily be understood that any interference with the normal local activity of the blood-vessels and glands will lead to impairment of this excretory function of the skin, and consequently to impairment of health generally. As we are about to show, alcohol notably interferes with the normal condition of the blood-vessels, and thus indirectly with the excreting functions of the skin.
3. Regulation of Body Temperature
One of the main functions of the skin in man is the regula­ tion of the body temperature, which is accomplished by means of the nervous system causing and controlling variations in the size of the blood-vessels of the skin.
Many thousands of small blood-vessels ramify in and supply the skin, and these have a valuable nervous mechanism by means of which they can alter their size according to the needs pf the body, every blood-vessel being supplied with a network of fine nerves which control its size. Now these nerves are very susceptible to influences, such as a slight shock, which readily causes a momentary paralysis of their controlling power, and in an instant the blood-vessels dilate and we have the well-known phenomenon of blushing.
As a rule the blood-vessels are kept by their nerves in a medium condition of being neither too large nor too small, but ready to respond to the requirements of the body. For instance, on a warm day these vessels dilate and permit a
considerable amount of blood to come to the surface of the body, and thus increase the loss of heat, for the air surround­ ing us is nearly always cooler than the body. It follows that we give off heat to the atmosphere, and that we do so more rapidly if our skins are flushed with blood. Consequently, whenever our skin-vessels are dilated and full, the body is cooling and our temperature is being lowered.
Effect of Alcohol on the Blood­ Vessels of the Skin
Now alcohol causes a slight paralysis of the nerves con­ trolling the blood-vessels of the body, and, as a consequence, these dilate and permit of more blood entering each little tube. This dilatation of the thousands of tiny vessels that course through the skin results in much of the blood in the body being able to reach the surface and become rapidly cooled. Physicians at one time attempted to make use of this fact by ordering alcohol to be given internally in cases of high fever, so that the temperature of the patient might be lowered. But in daily life persons very rightly dread any lowering of their normal temperature by alcohol, as this occurs at the expense of the internal organs, and may, if excessive, lead to exhaustion and risk to life. Practical experience of this risk leads to caution on the part of those who work in cold climates.
In Canada the men who are called lumberers live in camps far away from civilisation. During the whole winter they fell the trees, and these are dragged along the snow to the nearest river, where they are made up into rafts. These men will not have any alcohol near them in the winter. On one occasion a man conveyed a cask of whisky into one of their camps, and the first thing they did was to take an axe and knock a hole in the cask, so that the whole of the whisky ran out. The reason of this was, they did not dare to have the whisky there, for if it was there they felt quite sure they would drink it, and if they drank it they were likely to die.1
A party of engineers were surveying in the Sierra Nevada. They camped at a great height above the sea-level, where the air was very cold, and they were miserable. Some of them drank a little whisky and felt less uncomfortable ; some of them drank a lot of whisky, and went to bed feeling very jolly and comfortable indeed. But in the morning the men who had not taken any whisky got up all right ; those who had taken a little whisky got up feeling very unhappy ; the men who had taken a lot of whisky did not get up at all : they were simply frozen to
1 Sir T. Lauder Brunton, The A ction of Medicines.
138            ALCOHOL AND THE HUMAN BODY chap.
death. They had warmed the surface of their bodies at the expense of their internal organs. Some time ago Sir Joseph Fayrer was out deer­ stalking in the north of Scotland. He offered his flask to the keeper. The keeper said, “ No, Sir Joseph, I will not take any to­day ; it is too cold.” And yet if he had drunk the whisky he would have felt for the time being very much warmer than before. So that alcohol tends to act as an antipyretic by dilating the vessels of the skin, and so allowing a loss of heat.1
The discovery that alcohol actually lowered bodily tempera­ ture was an event of considerable importance, and many careful investigations on the matter were made by Sir Benjamin Ward Richardson, M.D., before he finally laid the facts before the British Association in 1866.
So great in those days was the belief in alcohol that his report was gravely questioned and was handed back for correc­ tion. The observations, however, proved to be perfectly accurate. These showed that under the influence of alcohol the temperature of the body was liable to fall from three-quarters to three degrees. The evidence proved, moreover, that this depression of temperature was not transient, but persisted for several days after dosage.2
“ Various observers have found that alcohol taken in ordinary quantities as a beverage causes a slight depression, generally less than half a degree, in the temperature of healthy men : on the other hand, poisonous doses may cause a fall of five or six degrees—in fact, many of the lowest tempera­ tures recorded in man have been observed in drunken persons exposed to the cold.”3
The shivering fits on recovery from drunkenness are a matter of common observation, and are due in great measure to the fact that the body has lost a considerable amount of its normal heat.
This lowering of temperature by alcohol often ends in loss of life. It is, indeed, very dangerous for a drunken man to lie out in the cold, on account of the fact that his body is liable to cool unduly fast. Many cases of-so-called “death from exposure ” are due in reality to alcohol, and many verdicts would be more accurate if they stated that death was due to the combined effects of alcohol and exposure.
1  Sir T. Lauder Brunton, The A ction of Medicines.
2  Cantor Lectures, p. 70.
3   Text-Book of Physiology, edited by Professor Schäfer, art. by M. S. Pembrey on “Animal Heat.”
vii                    THE ACTION ON THE SKIN                   139
The experience of all Arctic explorers is unanimous on this matter ; indeed, it is by them regarded as indicating lack of wisdom if a man take alcohol with the idea of warming himself, seeing that by so doing he is in reality cooling his body and possibly risking his life.
In fact, the failure of certain expeditions has been partly due to ignorance or neglect of warning on this point.
Dr. Nansen1 writes :
“My experience leads me to take a decided stand against the use of stimulants and narcotics of all kinds. . . .
“It is often supposed that, even although spirits are not intended for daily use, they ought to be taken on an expedition for medical purposes. I would readily acknowledge this if any one would show me a single case in which such a remedy is necessary ; but till this is done I shall maintain that the best course is to banish alcoholic drinks from the list of necessaries for an Arctic expedition.”
Temperature also lowered by Chloroform and Ether.—As
we have already suggested, other narcotics besides alcohol have this power of lowering the temperature of the body. Chloroform and ether (especially, as Dr. Hare has shown, the latter) act thus, and those who have been subjected to their influence recover better if their bodies be kept warm with hot bottles, etc., for some hours until their normal heat is recovered.
The diminution of the sense of touch, etc., caused by alcohol is due to the direct action of the drug on the brain, and is dealt with (Chap. V.).
Illusory Feeling of Warmth caused by Alcohol.Alcohol is undoubtedly often taken merely in order that a feeling of warmth may be experienced. For example, the cabman drinks that he may feel warm, although in a short time, having lost heat by taking alcohol, he again feels cold and shivers. He drinks once moreeach time driving the blood to the surface and parting with valuable heat that ought to have been stored all the time in the centre of his body.2
The cause of this illusory feeling of warmth is as follows : the flow of blood to the surface of course warms the skin and the ends of the nerves in the skin, and these convey to the brain a feeling of warmth. But this does not really mean that
1  The First Crossing of Greenland.
2  The best drink for any one who is cold, and has again to face the cold, is plain hot water, or fresh tea, or hot milk.
140            ALCOHOL AND THE HUMAN BODY chap. vii
heat has been added to the body. For instance, in blushing there is a feeling of heat, but, needless to say, the body is not really any warmer, the blushing being merely due to the temporary dilatation of vessels, whereby a sudden diversion of warm blood to the surface occurs.
Effect of Alcohol on the Health of the Skin.—In many persons quite small doses of alcohol taken daily suffice to cause alterations in the skin. The circulation through the skin itself being slower than it should be (because of the widened channels), the local nutrition of the integument suffers. The epidermis is imperfectly thrown off and eruptions often appear, which are the cause of considerable discomfort. In some persons there occurs a thickening of the skin and very commonly an inflammation of its small glands, which become filled with matter. In others the prolonged and steady taking of alcohol reduce the blood-vessels of the skin to a state of more or less permanent dilatation. The face becomes flushed and red, and in cold weather the skin takes on a dull leaden hue or a purple bloated look, due to a poor and sluggish circulation of badly aerated blood. Minor signs of the silent, steady, undermining action of alcohol are constantly noticeable, both in the faces of recognised drinkers and in the faces of men and women who are considered by their own friends to be com­ paratively hale and well.
We feel, however, it is necessary to point out that various other conditions produce a similar dilatation of the blood-vessels of the face, and that medical skill is required in order to diagnose between the condition above described and that due to frost­bite or to grave organic disease of the heart or other organs.
The alcoholic dilatation of the vessels of the skin is frequently an index to the state of the blood-vessels of the internal organs, dilatation of which is a matter of grave import, seeing that the over-engorgement of the internal organs with blood leads slowly and surely to the degeneration of their secreting protoplasm, and consequently to loss of that health and efficiency which must be possessed by these vital parts if life is to be prolonged.

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