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Article
December 27, 1919

IS ALCOHOL A STIMULANT?

JAMA. 1919;73(26):1940-1941. doi:10.1001/jama.1919.02610520030018
Abstract

Until comparatively recently, alcohol was regarded as a respiratory and cardiac stimulant. Whisky was probably the most popular domestic remedy for such occasional upsets as fainting, in which stimulation was presumably required. The popular idea that alcohol is a tone stimulant has so often proved to be untenable on the basis of scientific evidence that it seems almost superfluous to refute the mistaken notion anew. No one will deny that a feeling of relief often follows the use of alcohol in conditions in which stimulation seems to be indicated. In such cases, however, it has been shown to act merely as an irritant to the mucous membranes of the mouth and throat, promoting thus a beneficent local reaction before the alcohol has had time to be absorbed and stimulate in any way the depressed function.

There would be little occasion to refer again to the subject at this time had

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