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to the fact that the modes of life of an advanced state of civilization, are in many respects, inimical to those which nature has prescribed. Man was placed naked on that earth whose productions were to furnish bim with food and raiment. The love of life soon taught him that he could acquire the things necessary for the preservation of his existence only by labour. He found the soil producing weeds as well as fruits, and the latter he saw required aid to escape the deadly embraces of the former. This he alone could give, and thus the first among the laws of nature was that pronounced in the awful voice of God, “cursed is the ground for thy sake-in the sweat of thy face shall thou eat bread.”
To labour merely for the sake of subsistence, whether that was to be derived from the cultivation of the earth, or the capture and preparation of wild animals, was, however, but a mode of taking daily exercise in the open air, which agreeably occupied the mind whilst it strengthened the body. Subsistence thus personally obtained, would necessarily be of the most simple nature. The productions of the earth, including the esculent animals, would be consumed with an appetite requiring not, and which, indeed, would have revolted at, the pungent condiments that now too often poison our food. Excessive labour, which is equally productive of disease with excessive indolence, was unknown, because uncalled for, and the first step which rendered it necessary, was a step towards the grave. He who, from whatever cause was obliged, as society advanced, to produce clothing and food for more than his own wants and his childrens', was compelled to commit an excess, for which if he did not expect it, he certainly received punishinent; for nature cannot be violated with impunity. It may, therefore, be safely averred, that a life conducted with a regular conformity to the rules thus prescribed by our earliest necessities, would produce a sound mind in a sound body—that the further we deviate from these rules, in consequence of the refinement of civilization or any other cause, the more liable we shall be to disarrangements of our system; and that the road to health will be to retrace our steps and come back to the true condition of our nature.
We mean not to imply that we must till the ground to obtain health, though we do certainly think it would be found no bad plan. All we intend to enforce, is the necessity of moderate exercise in the open air, combined with simple food, and absence from moral and physical excesses; a mode of life in the power of most persons in this country, but one requiring rather more philosophical restraint than is generally supposed.
But we must go rather minutely into this matter. trace the too ordinary progress of a youth from health to the grave. Perhaps it may open the eyes of some before it is too late, who are floating down the current of disorder in despair. He returns from college with a stomach, preserved in all its native vigour by a scanty and coarse diet, and limbs firmly set and strengthened by the usual exercises of youth. He finds, at home and ab, oad, temptations to excess, which his philosophy cannot withstand. He daily sits down to a table abounding in delicacies that court his appetite. For some time he feels no inconvenience from the indulgence, but, on the contrary, an increased vigour from the change. Nature kindly adapts herself, in some degree, to circumstances, and when unimpaired by habitual disorder, often exhibits a prodigious resistance to physical evil. This vis medicatrix succeeds in preserving his sound condition, and if he is not outrageously immoderate in his sensuality, he passes years, perhaps, with impunity. At length, as life advances, he finds his amusements and employments begin to encroach on the regularity of his hours of eating, sleep and exercise. If he becomes a student, his sedentary and intellectual habits assist in the generation of disorder. His frame gradually grows weaker; but it is remarkable that his appetite, under this course, seldom fails, but is rather increased, for he finds food often supplies the want of sleep. He, therefore, continues to keep irregular hours, to indulge in eating, till he feels a distention of the stomach, and in drinking to remove this uneasiness, and create agreeable emotions in his brain. He now, however, feels, occasionally, a sick headache—sometimes his dreams are interrupted by a horrible night mare, and ever and anon comes a thundering cholic. At this state, dyspepsia commences its reign, but these manifestations of the presence of the tyrant are doubted and disregarded, except at the moment of actual suffering. He flatters himself he is enduring the usual lot of humanity, “the ills that flesh is heir to," which are unavoidable, and he therefore continues his wonted habits. In a short time his headaches increase in frequency and duration-he feels a screwing pain in the breast, pit of the stomach, or abdomen, and is tormented with crude and acid eructations. Still his gustatory pleasures are pursued, as his appetite flags not. He adds to his food more Cayenne and brandy to quiet his now rebellious stomach. He experiences frequent constipation, which he attempts to remove by drastic purgatives, or tobacco smoking; and failing in this, he suffers it to take its course. At length his nerves become sensibly affected. The troubles and perplexities of life begin to be felt more acutely-little
things disturb bis tranquillity, and fret him his headaches assume a new form, remaining fixed over one eye for days, in a spot which may be covered with the end of a finger, or it seizes the eye itself or takes up its abode in the bones of the head, behind the ear. His skin and eyes become stained like the fallen leaf, and heartburn, furred tongue, and tainted breath give undeniable proofs of a morbid system. Even occasional ease becomes now almost a stranger, and he, at length, reluctantly admits what he would not before acknowledge, that he is a dyspeptic. He now consults every body, takes every kind of advice and prescription, whose aim is to cure without interfering with his habits and appetites, swallows loads of patent physic, but finds cordials, tinctures, pills and decoctions all equally unavailing; and, for this simple reason, that they are all levelled at some symptom, and not at the cause of the disease, which, instead of removing, they invariably increase. He is now forbidden to touch some particular articles of food-he obeys, but makes up his usual quantity in the rest.
What he takes one day with impunity, disagrees with him the next-what disagrees to-day, sits lightly to-morrow. The rules of diet thus grow into disrepute with him, and though he is obliged to drink less wine, as he is sensible of its acidity in the stomach, he will not believe that a good dinner can injure any body, and he resumes his attacks on his plate with desperate courage. His corporeal pains and mental horrors are then aggravated-melancholy seizes him, and increases his malady. He begins to believe himself differently constituted from others—thinks his machine is an inscrutable secret, and that suffering must be his portion for life. Obstructions now gradually accuraulate in his intestines-bis brain, heart, or liver, from being so frequently sympathetically disordered now become the seat of organic dis
Spasms, nervous twitchings, palpitations, numbness, or tic doloroux assail him-he becomes an hypochondriac, and thus drags out a wretched and insane existence; or is constipated longer than usual, and is struck down by palsy ; or the circulation is forced with too great rapidity on the brain, and the melancholy scene closes with apoplexy.
Thus linger or fall too many of the noblest of the sons of men-men most highly gifted with intellect, whose genius might have shed a lustre on mankind. Cut down for want of a little judicious advice, or from not turning their own attention on their own nature and constitution till too late, or from being wedded to their appetites and self-indulgence. They lived in the perpetual violation of the laws of their nature, and died the victims of her justice.
"I tell you honestly, [says Dr. Abernethy] what I think is the cause of the complicated maladies of the human race; it is their gormandizing and stuffing, and stimulating their digestive organs to an excess, thereby producing nervous disorders and irritation. The state of their minds is another grand cause; the fidgetting and discontenting yourself about that which cannot be helped ; passions of all kinds-malignant passions, and worldly cares pressing upon the mind, disturb the cerebral action, and do a great deal of harm.”
We know very well that dyspepsia may arise from other causes, from a fit of illness, as a fever, brought on without our fault, that it may be symptomatic of other diseases, &c: such things sometimes happen, but then you can generally trace the disorder to its cause as plainly as the stream to the fountain. But this is not the exact disease of which we are treating, though its cure must be effected by the same means. We allude to that dyspepsia which generally comes on by degrees, and has the reputation of proceeding from indigestible articles of provision, intellectual and sedentary modes of life, intemperance, &c. Dr. Hall has fancifully divided this class of disorders into five forms, each of which, he says, consists of a more general morbid affection, usually combined with some topical symptoms.
He denoininates them Mimosis from the Greek wos, imitator, in allusion to their multiform character. The modification to which we have reference is that which be terms the mimosis chronica, the dyspepsia or hypochondriasis of medical authors, and which in its most aggravated form, rises in dignity to his mimosis acuta. The causes of this class of disorders, he, like most others, finds in sedentariness, impure atmosphere, and indigestible diet, which affect injuriously the skin, mouth, stomach, alimentary canal and the contributory digestic organs, the liver and pancreas, either immediately or syin pathetically, together with the brain, heart, senses and muscular strength.
It may, we think, be safely assumed that dyspepsia, as its etymology indicates, is primarily seated in the stomach or bowels. We like Dr. Paris' definition of it best. He calls it "a primary disease, in which one or more of the several processes by which food is converted into blood, are imperfectly or improperly performed, in consequence either of functional aberration or organic lesion.” Now, we shall not stop to define the stomach, for it is rather a difficult subject of definition. “Some, says Dr. Hunter, will have it that the stomach is a mill; others, that it is a fermenting vat; others again, that it is a stew pan : but, in my view of the matter, it is neither a mill, a fermenting
vat, nor a stew-pan-but a stomach, gentlemen, is a stomach !" Old William Sbakspeare was happier in his description of it:
“ It is the storehouse, and the shop
Whereby they live.”—Cor. Now this store-house is a bag of great consequence to its owner, and must be treated kindly. When overstuffed, even with the greatest dainties, its temper is soured, and when left too long empty, its windy recreations are very annoying. Its great duties are almost hourly in performance, and it contains a secret magio that converts the flowers of the field into the bodies of men. But let us penetrate this secret as far as we can. We know that the food it receives is converted into what we call nourishment, by the aid, principally, of the gastric juice ; a liquor which, in the healthy state of the organ, is copiously secreted, or poured forth from its inner surface by the assistance of the nerves, and which can digest food even out of the stomach, as experiment has shown. The food in contact with the sides and bottom of the bag, is first, according to Dr. Philip, submitted to the operation of this juice, and changed into a milk-like fluid, which has received the name of chyme ; this then rises by a mechanical pressure or motion of the organ, and pours over at the mouth of the stomach into the duodenum, a second stomach, prepared for its reception ; where, by intermixture with the bile, &c. it forms chyle: a fresh surface of food is then presented to a new secretion of the gastric juice, and is disposed of in the same way till the whole of the contents is consumed, and the bag is left empty. This secretion is carried on during the time the stomach is acted on by the stimulus of food, and if during this process other food be taken, it does not mix with the rest, but arranges itself in the centre of the undigested mass, and does not interfere with the process of chymification ; though it does, as will be hereafter shown, with the subsequent process of chylification. Now, the desideratum is to preserve the stomach in so healthy a state that it will generate and pour forth this gastric fluid in sufficient quantity, strength and purity to digest the food; and this power necessarily differs in different stomachs. All, however, have their limits, nor can any pour out its treasures for ever--the organ, like the eye, must have its hours of repose, and when these are denied it, and larger drafts are made on it than it can honour, it must become bankrupt. If