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Article
August 21, 1897

ON THE THERAPEUTIC PROPERTIES OF ALCOHOL AND THE REASONS WHY THE FERMENTED AND DISTILLED LIQUORS USED AS BEVERAGES SHOULD NOT BE RECOGNIZED IN THE PHARMACOPEIA AS MEDICINAL AGENTS.

JAMA. 1897;XXIX(8):356-359. doi:10.1001/jama.1897.02440340004002

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Abstract

Pure ethyl alcohol, undiluted, is regarded by all chemists and intelligent physicians as an active poison, rapidly destructive of both vegetable and animal life whenever brought into contact with either. The presence of absolute alcohol in contact with any living tissue immediately arrests all natural metabolic and vital processes in such tissue, and causes it to become corrugated or shrunken and dead. Swallowing absolute alcohol, undiluted, as quickly destroys the vitality of the membranes of the mouth, throat and stomach, and kills the individual, as does pure carbolic acid. Consequently, alcohol, in its pure and undiluted state, is not capable of being used as a medicine, but when largely diluted with water, as it is in all the fermented and distilled beverages, its direct corrosive or corrugating effect upon the membranes it comes in contact with is so much diminished that it is capable of being absorbed and conveyed in

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