THE first edition of this work has been much read, and has called up considerable discussion. We have it now in an attractive form, improved in many points, with an alphabetical Table of Contents.
The purpose and object of the author is to find, by all the aids furnished by science, the exact chemical composition of the human body, and then to decide upon the relative merits and qualities of the various articles of food which have been, or may be used for keeping up the supply of the materials which the body is continually throwing off. We may ask this intelligent witness, Modern Alchemy, a question of some importance: What are a few of the constituents of the body of a healthy man whose whole weight is 154 pounds? Answer-He has in him Oxygen in quantity sufficient to form 750 cubic feet of Oxygen gas, and Hydrogen sufficient to form Hydrogen gas which would fill a balloon of 3000 cubic feet. These two gases have been united into the form of water before they were taken into the body: and thus united they weigh 111 pounds.
There are also many other ingredients in this wonderful and complicated structure, 'of which the largest in proportion are: Carbon, which enters into fat, and is used also as fuel to create animal heat, 21 pounds; Nitrogen, the basis of the muscles and solid tissues, 3 pounds 8 ounces. Phosphorus, 1 pound, 12 ounces, 190 grains; Calcium, the metalic base of Lime; the two last existing in the body as Phosphate of Lime and Carbonate of Lime, which enter into the structure of the bones.
We have also a catalogue of the substances used as food, and we find them to contain not only the original elements needed to supply the waste of the body, but we find these elements already compounded into fourteen " Proximate principles" from among which the various organs of the body can extract and assimilate all it needs.
Such being the liberal bill of fare allowed us by the generous Host of the Universe, the author has devoted years of labor in proving that we cannot assimilate anything whatever that does not come to us already elaborated by the wonderful Chemistry of previous preparation into some one of these fourteen "proximate principles."
The general doctrines enunciated here are already familiar to our readers, and there is no reason for transcribing the arguments or facts on which they rest. But there are questions which still furnish material for such discussions as may yet kindle anew the fever which will often warm the blood in the veins of some able critics; and some of these themes are brought forward in alto-relieve style by the present author. It is well that he brings up the "Bread Controversy." If bread be indeed "the staff of life," it is time that somebody shall tell us how to make it. We have heard that Apollo has been often spoken to upon this subject, and that he has answered so often that men, especially women, have begun to distrust the Oracle. The name of science is quite respectable on other chemical themes: and the Bread question has been discussed on chemical and pathogenetic grounds by many learned chemists and physicians. Among them we have recently had Drs. Horsford, Wesselhoett, and Dr. Bellows. Who will undertake to answer any of them or all of them? We will " pause" as long and patiently as Brutus did for one more "reply." While we wait " The Philosophy of Eating" may be read with interest, and it will be found to embody much that is true and useful in Dietetics, Hygiene and general health.
-"North American Journal of Homoeopathy" - Volume 17 show more