Any poisonous nitrogenous compound produced by animal or vegetable cells.

"Any poisonous substance--protein in nature--produced by animal or vegetable cells."--Gould's Medical Dictionary.

Toxins are those substances which, when taken into the body, or if developed within the body, are capable of so changing the fluids as to cause sickness or death.

There are two orders of toxins resulting from the fermentation of protein and protein compounds. One is physiological and the other pathological. Snake venom is a type of the first, and sepsin---putrefaction--is a type of the other.

Toxins that are developed physiologically, like the venom of the snake, are said to be for the purpose of defense. If we could know all about the subject, it is possible that the poison serves a physiological purpose in his snakeship's physical economy.

Man's interpretation of venom, odors, teeth, beaks, horns, hoofs, and claws has been from the standpoint of an eternal warfare for existence. Those attributes of animal life--physiological functioning--have been studied quite largely from the standpoint of weapons of offense and defense. If studied from an optimistic point of view, all those supposed defensive and offensive organs, and their functions, will be found to be indispensable aids to metabolism--digestion and assimilation--and to be physiological necessities.

When we keep steadily before the mind's eye that what we call bad is the reverse side of good, that unity is the key to universal order, and that the old and childish belief in two warring forces, namely, good and bad--God and Devil--is unworthy of present-day enlightenment, we are equipped mentally for analyzing chemical, physiological, and pathological processes rationally and certainly sanely.

There is no question but that autogenous toxins are first of all physiological necessities, and when forced to play the role of an enemy in physical economy, it is because it serves nature's purpose better. Hence optimism sees only good in all processes.

It may be asked: What of it, if the ending must be the same?

But the ending is not to be the same. A father chastises his son, not because he is an enemy of the boy, but because he is vitally interested in the son's welfare.

If God is good, then His chastening rod is not to defeat His purpose--to oppose cosmic necessity.

Pain is for good, for education, for development. No good can come from assuaging pain without removing cause; and certainly no good can come from negating--denying its existence, It is true that the opiate stops pain, but the patient dies afterward because the cause of the pain was not removed. It is true that removing the fibroid tumor cures (?) the patient of the tumor, but it does not remove the cause, and in from one to ten years afterward the patient dies of a pneumonia, kidney disease, or cancer. That the doctor is too limited in his reasoning to trace the connection between the cured (?) disease--the removed tumor--and the disease that proves fatal years afterward, does not militate at all against the truth that the two are one, neither does it change the working out of the unchangeable law of cause and effect.

To negate--to deny that there is pain--may banish nature's warning voice, but it does not alter the law of cause and effect; and if cause is not removed, the effect will certainly obey the laws of its nature; for law is God, and God is unchanging--not even the prayer of all mankind centered on one purpose will change one iota or tittle of law.

Pain and discomfort are reactions from undesirable influences. Remove the cause of the irritation, and the irritation and the discomfort of it disappear.

With an understanding of the inflexibleness of the laws of nature, in little as in great things, we should proceed with the subject of toxins with a mind cleared of some of the befogging beliefs of superstition and modern false reasoning.

The toxins that form within the organism are called endogenous poisons. They are called auto-intoxicants, and they set up autotoxemia when not eliminated properly.

These poisons alter the chemistry of the fluid medium--blood and other fluids--in which anatomical elements--tissues of the body--live and are nourished. It may be well to carry the idea that all the tissues of the body live in a sea of blood, as fish live in water, from which they gather nourishment.

At this point it may be well to say that health depends entirely upon the proper chemistry of the fluids of the body; and the chemistry depends upon the elements in the food, the mind, and the toxins developed or taken in. How is it possible otherwise for the various tissues of the body to select the elements needed for their upkeep? This being true, the importance of the part played by food in health and disease should be obvious to all giving any thought to the subject.

Toxins are divided into two groups; namely, exogenous, those formed in the alimentary canal from fermentation and decomposition following imperfect or faulty digestion. These toxins are attributed to germ secretions, but in all probability the ferment furnished by the germ is no more toxic than the ferments (ptyalin, pepsin, et al.) furnished by the digestive organs of the body.

The action of the germs is to set up fermentation (for the ever-present germ is a ferment) in all the foods taken into the alimentary canal beyond the digestive limit of the body's physiological ferments.

As a result of germ fermentation, toxins are formed, and their nature is in keeping with the chemic medium. If the fermentation is of vegetables or fruit, the toxins are irritating, stimulating,and enervating, but not so dangerous or destructive to organic life as putrefaction, which is a fermentation set up in nitrogenous matter--protein-bearing foods, but particularly the animal foods.

Endogenous toxins are autogenerated. They are the waste products of metabolism.

Metabolism means the power possessed by organized bodies of continually using up and renewing the tissues composing the body. In the process of building there must, of necessity, be a waste. This waste must be carried out of the body by the emunctory organs; but if, because of enervation, excretion does not take place, this waste product (toxin) is left in the body to poison it.

Exogenous toxins are those taken in with food and those formed outside of the body, and endogenous, those generated within the body.

When the body is enervated from any cause, or from many causes, excretion is always more or less inhibited, and as a result of accumulating the natural excretions (toxins) the fluids of the body are poisoned. The first symptom is a toxic stimulation--intoxication state; then comes a general soreness of the flesh, which is described as an aching from head to foot. A pronounced state causes one to feel very old, and unless relief comes in a few days, life loses all interest to the sufferer. An interested, hustling person will be transformed into a discouraged pessimist in a few days.