This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V26", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
A correspondent sends us the following from the West Chester Local News, and asks our opinion:
"The extract of horse-chestnut taken internally and in sufficient quantity, produces on the healthy organism all or either of the fearful catalogue of diseases that human nature is subject to. I have proven, and am most deeply convinced, that the same effect is produced by inhaling the damp air from the tree, which, being brought in direct contact with the blood through the lungs, produces one of the most terrible kinds of blood-poison. The great peculiarity of this is, that, as the system takes it in, it stealthily closes the pores, as well as every other avenue of human life. It then brings forth and develops the various forms of indigestion, rheumatism, heart disease, Bright's disease, lung and nervous affections in all their varied forms, according to the temperament and conditions of its victim. And now, if I could but awaken the people to the importance of cutting down and removing so dangerous a plant, my end will be accomplished. West Chester can easily spare the shade, for there are far too many trees for the health of the inhabitants".
The greatest nuisances in the world are the average health reformers, that happen to get the free run of a local newspaper. To read what they say, it is a wonder any human being lives over twenty-four hours after reading what they tell us of the dangers we run. No doubt a poison can be extracted from a horse-chestnut tree. We can probably get oxalic acid enough from half a dozen stalks of rhubarb to kill a man, yet one may eat half a dozen stalks in a pie and thrive on it. Probably a few dozen peach kernels will give more Prussic acid than any of us would care to take, but we have known lots of them put into cookery without harm. Even the deadly Upas tree has lost its terrors for those who have got acquainted with it; and we fancy that when our Bright's diseased correspondent of West Chester gets to know the horse-chestnut tree better, he will look to whisky or some other indulgent friend for the true cause of his imperfections.