The following extracts from replies to our questionaire illustrate the habits of people in relation to bowel movements and the simple but often highly sensible methods employed by them for relief:
"The chief duty of the Indleburds, or priestly caste, is the care of such matters (the movement of the bowels). A fine is levied in case of neglect." - P. N. Darling, India.
"The natives give prompt attention to the bowels. I have again and again had it given me as a reason for not living in Aden, that people had there to go to the closet in order to evacuate their bowels, rather than relieve themselves any place, as this was only permitted for children." - John C. Young, Sheikh Othman, Aden.
Dr. Davidson of Travancore, India, says: "Appendicitis very rare here. Only about six cases out of last 1,000 major operations."
"No instruments used; people generally boil molasses (not maple, but grape juice) and common salt together to the consistency of wax, and make suppositories to apply per rectum." - S. C. Kaval-gian, Ada Pazar, Asia Minor, Turkey.
"In cases of constipation or obstruction, very forcible measures are employed, such as massage, kneading the abdominal wall and exerting pressure upon the abdomen, and even kicking." - E. Margaret Phillips, Ping Yin, China.
"Brown sugar is the laxative usually relied upon." - Walter W. Williams, Yung-an Fookin Pwo., China.
"For relief of constipation a sort of large rolling pin is freely rolled up and down the abdomen while the patient is lying supine." - H. G. Barrie, Kuling China.
"They use a smooth stalk of millet to stimulate the lower bowel." - Elizabeth Beatty, Kwangning, Manchuria, China.
"A very crude method for giving an enema is to take a small slender piece of bamboo for a nozzle and a bag made of pig gut, and use it as a syringe." - William M. Berss, Chenchow, South Hunan, China.
"They have no instruments, but often use honey suppositories." - W. H. Park, Soochow, China.
"They have a funnel-shaped enema which is being displaced by European bulb syringes." - J. Davidson Frazier, Resht, Persia.
"The people have few or no remedies, save the drinking of a large quantity of hot water, which they often do when conscious of the need, and with quite good effect." - H. W. Schwartz, Yokohama, Japan.
"Massage is employed; drugs very rarely." - Walter Virden, Rhodesia, South Africa.
"Enemata given in the knee-elbow position with a funnel made of a leaf, and a pipe made of a gourd or vegetable stump." - J. Howard Cook, Fort Portal, Uganda Protectorate, East Africa.
"Roots are sometimes cooked in water and given as an enema by means of an ox horn with perforated end - large quantity poured in. In the Northern Transvaal purgatives are not required. Enema appliances not known." - Neil Macvicar, Lorendall, South Africa.
"The natives regularly use enemata, introduced with gourds." - D. Robertson, Itu, South Nigeria.
"They have medicines for use as purgatives, and also use enemas, which are administered by means of a sort of gourd with long neck. The gourd is filled, and the water flows in by gravitation. The patient lies prone." - E. C. Sirley, W. Coast of Africa.
"The use of common soap passed up into the anus or some similar substance is often used by the natives of this country to overcome constipation." - W. O. Ballantine, Rahuri, Western India.
"Soap suppositories is a common native remedy; enemas are never used; they consider it shameful. Massage of the abdominal wall is practiced, too."- - R. T. H. Cox, Persawan, N. India.
"A smack in the stomach with a colo spade is often used, and is invariably productive of a profuse and continued motion. Some of the hill tribes carry under the left arm pit finely engraved brass tongs for the purpose of extracting in their entirety the masses of fecal matter. These are shaped by the women of the tribe, and are used in their war catapults in tribal warfare." - P. N. Darling, India.
"The population generally deal largely in drastic purgatives. A man will take a month's leave from work for nothing more than a course of purgation, often very severe." - F. V. Thomas, Palwal, near Delphi, India.
"The native position, squatting at stool, with front of thigh against the abdomen, encourages evacuations." - W. J. Maule, Miraj, India.
"The position in which the native helps his expulsion of feces from colon and rectum is this: he sits on his haunches and presses the left side of the lower abdomen with the hand or a bunch of cloth." - T. Davidson, South Travancore, South India.
"The use of a piece of oiled soap is common, which may have been learned from the English; an oiled rag is used, too." - India..
"The chief practice is the habit of squatting at stool. Have had patients leave the Hospital because they could not have a normal movement without their own kind of commode. Complaints ceased with a native place provided." - Belle J. Allen, Baroda Camp, P. O., India.
A missionary physician writing us from South Africa related the following incident as an illustration of the care which the natives take to secure free movement of the bowels. Said the doctor, "A native called on me yesterday morning and asked for medicine to relieve a dreadful constipation. I said to him, "When did your bowels move last?" He replied, "This morning, Doctor." "But I understood you to say you were constipated." "Yes," replied the native, "I am horribly constipated. My bowels only move once a day."
Since the publication of the first edition of this work the writer has learned from Dr. Wilfred Grenfell, of Laborador, that it is the custom in that country to feed reindeer moss to the dogs that are used almost exclusively for transportation. After mixing with oil the moss is eaten by the dogs with great avidity and they appear to thrive upon it. It is strange, indeed, that civilized man should be about the only creature among the members of the animal kingdom who neglects to supply his alimentary canal with the material necessary to supply the intestine with the normal stimulus to action. In civilization, domestic animals fare better than human beings in this regard. When the horse, ox, or cow loses appetite and becomes constipated, bran mash is the farmer's ready and efficient remedy. But strange to say the farmer never thinks of giving himself the benefit of this simple and natural remedy, but instead dopes himself with purgative pills or mineral waters which ruin his digestion, spoil his kidneys, increase constipation, and ultimately induce colitis, one of the most common and most formidable of all the evil effects produced by chronic constipation.