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Historical Texts:
The Physiology of Digestion by Andrew Combe, M.B. (1837)

The Physiology of Digestion by Andrew Combe, M.D., Forth American Edition, was published By Marsch, Capen & Lyon in Boston in 1837. Andrew Combe was a physician in ordinary to their Majesties the King and Queen of the Belgians, and a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh. The third edition of this book was sold in 3000 copies in two years. The text of this book of 310 pages will be found here, completely unchanged.

Please however note, that the texts are not yet completed.

CONTENTS

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PREFACE

PART I.

PHYSIOLOGY OF DIGESTION

CHAPTER I.

INTRODUCTORY REMARKS
    Waste or loss of substance always attendant on action. - In the vegetable and animal kingoms waste is greater than in the physical. - Living bodies are indistinguished by possessing the power of repairing waste. - Vegetables, being rooted in one place, are always in connexion with their food. - Animals, being obliged to wander, receive their food at intervals into a stomach. - Nutrition most active when growth and waste are greatest. - In vegetables the same causes which increase these processes also stimulate nutrition. - But animals require a monitor to warn them when food is needed. - The sense of Appetite answers this purpose. - the possession of a stomach implies a sense of Appetite to regulate the supplies of food.

CHAPTER II.

THE APPETITES OF HUNGER AND THIRST
    Hunger and Thirst, what are they? - Generally referred to the stomach and throat, but perceived by the brain. - Proofs and illustrations. - Exciting causes of hunger. - Common theories unsatisfactory. - Hunger sympathetic of the state of the body as well as of the stomach. - Uses of appetite. - Relation between waste and appetite. - Its practical importance. - Consequences of overlooking it illustrated by analogy of the whole animal kingdom. - Disease from acting in opposition to this relation. - Effect of exercise on appetite explained. - Diseased appetite. - Thirst. - Seat of Thirst. - Circumstances in which it is most felt. - Extraordinary effects of injection of water into the veins in cholera. - Uses of thirst, and rules for gratifying it.

CHAPTER III.

MASTICATION, INSALIVATION, AND DEGLUTITION
    Mastication. - The teeth. - Teeth, being adapted to the kind of food, vary at different ages and in different animals. - Teeth classed and described. - Vitality of teeth and its advantages. - Causes of disease in teeth. - Means of protection. - Insalivation and its uses. - Gratification of taste in mastication. - Deglutition.

CHAPTER IV.

ORGANS OF DIGESTION - THE STOMACH - THE GASTRIC JUICE
    Surprising power of digestion. - Variety of sources of food. - All structures, however different, formed from the same blood. - General view of digestion, chymification, chylification, sanguification, nutrition. - The stomach in polypes, in quadrupeds, and in man. - Its position, size, and complexity, in different animals. - Its structure; its peritoneal, muscular, and villous coats; and uses of each. - Its nerves and bloodvessels, their nature, origins and uses. - The former the medium of communication between the brain and stomach. - Their relation to undigested food. - Animals not conscious of what goes on in the stomach. - Advantages of this arrangement. - The gastric juice the grand agent in digestion. - Its origin and nature. - Singular case of gunshot wound making a permanent opening into the stomach. -- Instructive experiments made by Dr. Beaumont. - Important results.

CHAPTER V.

THEORY AND LAWS OF DIGESTION.
    Different theories of Digestion. - Concoction. - Fermentation. - Putrefaction. - Trituration. - Chymical solution. - Conditions or laws of digestion. - Influence of gastric juice. - Experiments illustrative of its solvent power. - Iis mode of action on different kinds of aliment - beef, milk, eggs, soups, &c. - Influence of temperature. - Heat of about 100 degrees essential to digestion. - Gentle and continued agitation necessary. - Action of stomach in admitting food. - Uses of its muscular motion. - Gastric juice acts not only on the surface of the mass, but en every particle which it touches. - Digestibility of different kinds of food. - Table of results. - Animal food most digestible. - Farinaceous next. - Vegetables and soups least digestible. - Organs of digestion simple in proportion to concentration of nutriment. - Digestability depends on adaptation of food to gastric juice more than on analogy to composition. - Illustrations. - No increase of temperature during digestion. - Dr. Beaumontīs summary of inferences.

CHAPTER VI.

CHYLIFICATION, AND THE ORGANS CONCERNED IN IT.
    Chylification. - Not well known. - Organs concerned in it. - The intestinal canal. - Its general structure. - Peritoneal coat. - Mesentery. - Muscular coat. - Analogous to skin. - The seat of excretion and absorption. - Mucous glands. - Absorbent vessels. - Course of chyle towards the heart. - Nerves of the mucous coat. - Action of bowels explained. - Individual structure of intestines. - The Duodenum-Jejunum- and Ileum. - Liver and pancreas concerned in chylification. - Their situation and uses. - Bile, its origin and uses. - The pancreas. - Its juice. - The jejunum described. - The Ileum. - Coecum. - Colon - and Rectum. - Peristaltic motion of bowels. - Aids to it. - Digestion of vegetables begins in stomach, but often finished in the bowels. Illustration from the horse. - Confirmation by Dupuytren.

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PART II.

THE PRINCIPLES OF DIETETICS VIEWED IN RELATION TO THE LAWS OF DIGESTION

CHAPTER I.

TIMES OF EATING.
    The selection of food only one element in sound digestion. - Othe conditions essential. - Times of eating. - No stated hours for eating. - Five or six hours of interval between meals generally sufficient. - But must vary according to circumtances. - Habit has much influence. - Proper time for breakfast depends on constitution, health, and mode of life. - Interval required between breakfast and dinner - best time for dinner - circumstances in which lunch is proper - late dinners considered - their propiety dependant on mode of life. - Tea and coffee as a third meal - useful in certain circumtances. - Supper considered. - General rule as to meals. - Nature admits of variety, - illustrations - but requires the observance of principle in our rules.

CHAPTER II.

ON THE PROPER QUANTITY OF FOOD.
    Quantity to be proportional to the wants of the system. - Appetite indicates these. - Cautions in trusting to appetite. - General error in eating too much. - Illustrations from Beaumont, Caldwell, Head, and Abercrombie. - Mixtures of food hurtful chiefly as tempting to excess in quantity. - Examples of disease from excess in servant-girls from the country, dressmakers, &c. - Mischief from excessive feeding in infancy. - Rules from preventing this. - Remarks on the consequences of excess in grown persons. - Causes of confined bowels explained - And necessity of fulfilling the laws which God has appointed for the reulation of the animal economy inculcated.

CHAPTER III.

OF THE KINDS OF FOOD.
    What is the proper food of man? - Food to be adapted to constitution and circumstances. - Diet must vary with time of life. - Diet in infancy. - The motherīs milk the best. - Substitutes for it. - Over-feeding is a prevalent error. - Causes which vitiate the quality of the milk. - Regimen of nurses. - Weaning. - Diet after weaning. - Too early use of animal food hurtful. - Diet of children in the higher classes too exciting - and prduces scrofula. - Mild food best for children. - Incessant eating very injurious. - Proper diet from childhood to puberty. - It ought to be full and nourishing, but not stimulating. - Often insufficient in boarding-schools. - Diet best adapted for different constitutions in mature age. - Regimen powerful in modifying the constitution, mental as well as physical. - Farther investigation required.

CHAPTER IV.

CONDITIONS TO BE OBSERVED BEFORE AND AFTER EATING.
    General laws of organic activity apply to the stomach as well as to other parts. - Increased flow of blood towards the stomach during digestion. - Hence less circulating in other organs. - And consequently less aptitude for exertion in them. Bodily rest and mental tranquility essential to sound digestion. - Rest always attended to before feeding horses. - Hence also a natural aversion to exertion immediately after eating. - Mischief done by hurrying away to business after meals. - Severe thinking hurtful at that time. - Playful cheerfulness after dinner conducive to digestion. - The mind often the cause of indigestion. - Its mode of operation explained. - Also influences nutrition. - Illustration from Shakspeare. - Importance of attending to this condition of health enforced.

CHAPTER V.

ON DRINKS.
    Thirst the best guide in taking simple drinks. - Thirst increased by diminution of the circulating fluids. - The desire for liquids generally an indication of their propriety. - Much fluid hurtful at meals. - Most useful three or four hours later. - The temperature of drinks is of consequence. - Curious fall of temperature in the stomach from cold water. - Ices hurtful after dinner. - Useful in warm weather, when digestion is completed and caution used. - Cold water more dangerous than ice when the body is overheated. - Tepid drinks safest and most refreshing after perspiration. - Kinds of drink. - Water safe for every constitution. - Wine, spirits, and other fermented liquors, too stimulating for general use, but beneficial in certain circumstances. - Test of their utility.

CHAPTER VI.

ON THE PROPER REGULATION OF THE BOWELS.
    Functions of the intestines. - The action of the bowels bears a natural relation to the kind of diet. - Illustrations. - And also to the other excretions. - Practical conclusions from this. - Different causes of inactivity of bowels. - Natural aids to intestinal action. - General neglect of them. - Great importance of regularity fo bowels. - Bad health from their neglect. - Especially at the age of puberty. - Natural means preferable to purgatives. - Concluding remarks.


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