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Tea And Coffee

Tea is a nerve stimulant, pure and simple, acting like alcohol in this
respect, without any value that the latter may possess as a retarder of
waste. It has a special influence upon those nerve centers that supply
will power, exalting their sensibility beyond normal activity, and may
even produce hysterical symptoms, if carried far enough. Its active
principle, theine, is an exceedingly powerful drug, chiefly employed by
nerve specialists as a pain destroyer, possessing the singular quality
of working toward the surface. That is to say, when a dose is
administered hypodermically for sciatica, for example, the narcotic
influence proceeds outward from the point of injection, instead of
inward toward the centers, as does that of morphia, atropia, etc. Tea is
totally devoid of nutritive value, and the habit of drinking it to
excess, which so many American women indulge in, particularly in the
country, is to be deplored as a cause of our American nervousness.
Coffee, on the contrary, is a nerve food. Like other concentrated foods
of its class, it operates as a stimulant also, but upon a different set
of nerves from tea. Taken strong in the morning, it often produces
dizziness and that peculiar visual symptom of overstimulus which is
called muscae volilantes--dancing flies. But this is an improper way to
take it, and rightly used it is perhaps the most valuable liquid
addition to the morning meal. Its active principle, caffeine, differs in
all physiological respects from theine, while it is chemically very
closely allied, and its limited consumption makes it impotent for harm.

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