This section is from the book "The Beverages of the Chinese; Kung-fu or Tauist Medical Gymnastics; the Population of China; A Modern Chinese Anatomist and A Chapter in Chinese Surgery.", by John Dudgeon. Also available from Amazon: Kung Fu, or Taoist Medical Gymnastics.
Wine (Tsiu). - People in the North call it Southern wine, also White wine. In the native place of the author (Poyang),it is called "Water wine." The Herbal says: - The clear is called jang the turbid, yang the thick, ch'unthe thin, li the heavy jang, chow; the "one night" sort, li; the beautiful, hsii ; the impressed, p'ei ; the red coloured, t'i ; the green, ling; the white, lu But the seeds of all sorts of grasses, woods, grains, and fruits, free of oil, can be used in the manufacture of wine. The wine of rice is the best suited as a medicine in disease, because it develops the efficacy of the medicine, causes circulation in the net work of vessels, stirs the blood, and sets in motion the air, causing it to mount to the head, determines to the skin, and disperses to the extreme limits of the whole body. Under ordinary circumstances, people who like wine, when ill are disinclined for it. In such a case the disease is very severe. When the patient begins to drink wine, his sickness is beginning to improve. Pure wine is intoxicating. It can cure the ulcer, which has come in contact with equine sweat. An ulcer of this sort swells, the pain is increased, there may be convulsions and fatal syncope, if it is not rapidly cured. A patient, labouring under the bite of a rabid dog, ought not to drink wine. Chow Hou-fang says it is good not to drink wine for a whole year. If bitten by a serpent, the wound is to be washed with cold wine. If a person has been subjected to great dread, and death is feared, one or two cups of hot wine must be poured down his throat at once.
The injury caused by wine is that it destroys the intestines, confuses one's nature, promotes sexual intercourse, produces worms, destroys both the family and the state, and causes fighting and unseemly brawling. In ancient times, it was frequently forbidden.
Men love to drink strong wine, but the Doctors prefer the diluted sort. This latter is an effectual diaretic, somewhat like taking hot gruel. It is very effectual in reducing dropsy. To do so, however, the dilution must take place at the time of manufacture, and not at the period of drinking it; otherwise it injures the spleen, and causes diarrhoea. Many instances of its efficacy as a diaretic are adduced, in conjunction with rice gruel.
Tsao or Distiller's grains or drugs, is next treated. Another name for it is Po It warms and dissolves food, opens the stomach, and strengthens the spleen. When the wine is taken out of it, the poison is lessened. By the addition of oil and salt, the poison is entirely removed. Salt removes the strength of wine. The poison of wine is owing to the presence of too much tsao. Its nature is hot. In Peking, our fresh milk supply is derived from cows fed on this refuse from the distilleries. Spirits, Shao-tsieu = burnt wine. - Another name is "Fire wine." In the book called Yin Shan ChengYao by Ho Ssu-hwei of the Yuen dynast), it is called A-la-chi (Alcohol.?), a foreign expression. The method of preparing this spirit is not ancient. The process was introduced into China by the Siamese and Dutch, at the end of the Yuen dynasty (1280-1368 A.D.). Siam and Holland are countries lying to the East, near Fuhtsien; the Hollanders are the red-haired foreigners.* The injury caused by the "Water wine" is also possessed by this spirit. Its nature is very violent and bad; and, compared with the tan a poisoned wine, much worse. If you drink too much, the seven openings (ears, eyes, nostrils, and mouth) all run blood, and death ensues; and so does also blood flow from the anus and urethra (the large and small conveniences in Chinese), and death follows. Or, if death does not immediately take place, the pain that follows is still more severe than that caused by tying the legs with sticks (a mode of punishment; brass bars were formerly employed). It is popularly called "Flowing fire," liu hwo Before the advent of ardent spirits, there was no such disease [as here described], so that the ancient books mention no remedy, and give no name. All known remedies, such as those employed in the treatment of cutaneous affections, relieving pain, rheumatism of the joints, are all of no avail. If adults abandon it, they may get better; but the aged are sure to succumb to this disease.
* Our author is quite wrong as to the situation of these countries. There is probably here a reference to the possession of Formosa by the Dutch. In the Ming dynasty, the Chinese took the Dutch and the Portuguese (Falanki, Franks) to be [copies of the Indian archipelago. The first appearance of the Hollanders in China dates from the first decade of the 16th century. The expression Siamese Brandy occurs in the Chinese works. If was " twice burnt," and aromatic ingredients were added. This brandy was anthelmintic in its action.
People who have this craving for spirits cannot be restored; their bodies, lives, and vital spirits are all injured. The contracting of this terrible malady is all one's own doing. Hence no pity can be extended to such.
The manufacture of spirits consumes the grain, and leaves the people with nothing to eat. It thus injures all under Heaven. In ancient times, cultivators of the soil got an extra year's supply of grain every three years; in nine years, they reaped three years' advantage. At present, there is nothing over; and when rain, or drought, or pestilence occurs, and there is a famine, the officials of that region implore the Emperor to dispense charity, establish soup-kitchens, and remit the land taxes. The injury thus sustained affects not only the people, but also the state. There is nothing more serious than this. If spirits be taken with which to cure disease, the cold is dispersed,and the watery humidity removed. After inundations, when the people are suffering from illnesses, the body cold and there is vomiting and purging, the abdomen full and distended, with a feeling of tightness and narrowness, or if one fall into water and is saved, and there is still some water in the bowels, spirits, if given in repeated doses, will recover the individual. This is using it medicinally, and deriving advantage from it; but its evils are unspeakably great.