[Skip to Navigation]
December 22, 1900


JAMA. 1900;XXXV(25):1632-1633. doi:10.1001/jama.1900.02460510040004

There has been much warm discussion and comparatively little demonstration bearing on the question whether alcohol is a food or a poison, and we are inclined to the intermediate view taken by Dr. H. S. Anders in The Journal a short time ago, that it may be either or neither in accordance with the purposes for which it is used, the dosage and the frequency with which it is administered and the susceptibility of the particular individual. In these respects alcohol agrees with numerous other substances of the materia medica, which are equally capable of good and of evil according to varying circumstances.

It must be admitted that the question of custom is not without influence in this connection. Thus the use of opium in India, of arsenic in Styria, of alcohol, tobacco, tea and coffee throughout the civilized world, has apparently stamped these with a certain food-value, however