I may receive a commission if you purchase something mentioned in this post. See more details here.
My 1916 copy of Principles of Medical Treatment has some…interesting ideas about using alcohol as medicine. Some that don’t sound like a good idea to me, and some that just don’t make sense to me.
Some ways they claim alcohol can be used:
- Dose subcutaneously (inject under the skin) – Ummm…no. Just no. Don’t do that.
- To promote appetite when diluted and taken with meals – Personally, alcohol reduces my appetite. I always drink with food, but it certainly doesn’t help my appetite!
- As a food in malnutrition – Really? Use alcohol when foods are not being absorbed in sufficient quantity? I don’t know, maybe with certain infections, it could help, but that seems like an interesting theory to me!
The book recommends diluting the alcohol with water and drinking every 2 to 6 hours. They are referring to an ounce or two of brandy or whiskey. To a lightweight like me, that’s quite a bit of alcohol! But at least it’s diluted, I guess?
98 Years Later
We can hate on modern medicine all day, but the truth is that we do have a better and more scientific understanding of why certain treatments worked in the past. For example, people would drink alcohol instead of water because the water wasn’t safe. The alcohol content made it a safer beverage.
We also better understand the detrimental role that alcohol can play in the lives of many people. Alcoholic beverages can be a reasonable indulgence once in a while, and red wine can be healthful for its anti-oxidant properties. However, the uses listed above are not what they seem.
First off, of course, we have to discuss the problem of alcoholism. For a long time, this was just considered a “weak constitution” or something similar. Now we recognize it as a debilitating disease that can be genetically linked. It is not something to be taken likely and for these reasons should not be considered a medicine.
It turns out that it is true, however, that alcohol can stimulate your appetite. Learn something new every day! It doesn’t work for me and you should seek healing and healthier ways of increasing appetite, but there you go. (source)
Nutrition? Alcohol has little to no nutritional benefit. It does, however, provide calories and increase appetite, so perhaps I can see how it could be argued that it is good for malnutrition. But really, go for healthier options!
Despite all these warnings and problems with alcohol, it can have some health benefit. There are studies that show certain types of alcohol have antioxidant properties and may help with brain function and RA symptoms. Just remember – everything in moderation and be safe!
Related Articles and Sources about Alcohol:
- Is Alcohol Good or Bad for Health?
- Can Alcohol Help Brain Function?
- Does Alcohol Help RA Symptoms?
- Why Drinking Alcohol Makes You Fat
Old Medicine Source: Shattuck, George Cheever, M.D. Principles of Medical Treatment,. 3rd ed. Boston: W.M. Leonard, 1916. Print.
Like what you see? Please support this blog and help me keep it running by signing up for my newsletter, purchasing products, or donating through the links below:
DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. The information contained in this post is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, it is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information. For more information, click here.