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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