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constipation which is so common with those who take much of it, especially if it is taken in very strong or concentrated infusion. Tea is a leaf, coffee is a berry or fruit; and the latter contains more starch, which is an essential product of all growing plants, than does the former.
The value of tea and coffee is due largely to the heat of the water with which they are usually taken in the form of an infusion. The starch value—that is, the nutritive value—is very small, but the influence of the active principle (theine, caffeine) as a stimulant to the heart and the nervous system is very great. When one is cold and wet, or weary with severe exertion, a cup of hot tea or coffee, writh its generous warmth and its whipping on of exhausted nerve centers, banishes bad feelings for the time and revives drooping energies.
It is not usually desirable to give such substances to children. The depression which comes from fatigue and exposure is quickly rallied from, if only they can be warmed and dried, and the surface of the body actively rubbed for a few minutes. The use of tea and coffee by children, unless, in a very dilute form, over-stimulates the sensitive nervous system, and will comparatively seldom be found necessary.
Alcohol and Tobacco
A great deal might be said in this connection in regard to alcohol, but the object of the book is not controversial, and space is wanting to give fair show to both sides of the question. Nobody doubts the enormous injury to the human race from the use of alcohol. Whether it is food or not, does not concern us now. That it is a poison, no one who knows anything about the subject will deny. But we are constantly using poisons, and often become entirely habituated to their use, without apparent harm either immediate or remote. This practice will probably continue to the end of time, for nothing has as yet been discovered or conceived of which would act as a substitute for many of the poisons which are in use. The great thing is to use them with intelligence, and when they are required. In
connection with individual hygiene it is proper to say that tip-