If, as we contend, the body acts against drugs, as it acts against all injurious substances, all incompatibilities, all poisons, then the inevitable inference, that no sophistry can destroy, follows that all drug medication is a war upon life.

The significant truth that the living organism acts upon lifeless or extraneous materials and not vice versa, is a fact exactly analogous to and quite as important as if the earth revolved around the sun and not contrariwise. It is the living organism, as it is the sun, that is the center of all life, power, action, in its own domain, and not the earth or the inert things of the earth.

It was once a self-evident truth that the earth is flat and that the sun moves around the earth. A wealth of facts were adduced to prove that the sun, the center of our solar system, revolves about the earth and rises and sets each day; but perhaps the most convincing proof was the fact that people could see, with their own eyes, the sun rise in the East each morning, travel across the heavens each day, and set in the West each evening. With an equal show of reason, the pharmacologist can prove that aconite or gamboge acts on the muscular coats of the bowels. Like the older astronomers, they are guided by appearances; but appearances are deceptive.

It was certain to our ancestors that if the earth rolled over instead of being "kept right side up," all the water in the oceans, lakes, rivers and ponds would spill out. They were deceived by appearances. They knew nothing of the phenomena of gravitation. In like manner, men are deceived by appearances when they talk learnedly of the actions of remedies. Having no conception of what Trall called the "law of relation between living and dead matter, between the human body and drug medicines," they lack a means of interpreting what they observe.

Medical men do not doubt that their drugs act. Indeed, do they not see the actions they perform? They know that tranquilizers calm the emotional and steady the nerves of the irritable, because they see it. They know that cathartics move the bowels, for they can see the movement; they know that diuretics act on the kidneys, for they can see the action. But physicians and pharmacologists have got the cart before the horse. They have reversed the whole order of nature and have left out of their account the real actor--the living organism. They have given us the very opposite of truth. They have made the drug the actor and the living tissues the things acted upon--drugs the subject, life the object--the former more valuable than life is itself, because life is subordinate to them. They have mistaken one of the occasions for action as the actor or for the action itself.

Physicians and pharmacologists speak of the properties of drugs, describing such properties as an emetic property, a cathartic property, a diuretic property, a narcotic property, a soporific property, and even discuss the physiological properties of their drugs. A property is a characteristic quality belonging to a person or thing. Bodies possess certain qualities or properties which are called essential because they are invaribly found in them; these essential properties are impenetrability, extension, figure, divisibility, attraction, inertia, etc.

Matter has physical and chemical properties, but no physiological properties and cannot perform physiological actions. No chemist and no physicist has ever discovered the alleged medicinal properties that various drugs are supposed to possess. These are fictions of the medical imagination and grow out of mistaking the actions of the body in resisting and expelling drugs for the actions of the drugs. For example, a cathartic is a cathartic, not because of any alleged cathartic property of the drug, but because the bowels expel it by catharsis. A powerful cathartic is such only because the body expels by a powerful action.

Every truth is explainable and we can never know it to be a truth until we can explain it. When it is asserted that we know that drugs act, but we cannot explain how they act, it is revealed that what is said to be knowledge is but a belief. The point is assumed that ought to be proved. Their argument amounts to nothing more substantial than: "We know they act because we know it."

It is important that we have clear ideas of the relations that drugs hold to the living organism and that we understand that living tissues are not reagents that drugs may act chemically upon these. The actions seen and attributed to the lifeless, inert drugs are actions of the living structures.

When extraneous substances and conditions are brought into contact with the living organism, it must act in relation to them in one of two ways:

    If they are useful materials, to appropriate and utilize them. If they are non-usable materials, to resist and expel them.

It thus appears that there are two modes of vital action, each of which must be maintained, or dissolution is the legitimate and immediate result. These are preservative and conservative. So wonderfully diligent and constant is the conservative action of the organism that many physiologists have thought that "life is a forced state."

When the physiologist mistakes the feverish excitement and heat that constitute the process of expulsion of alcoholic beverages for the invigorating effects of this protoplasmic poison, he makes the same mistake as the physician and pharmacologist who attribute the actions of the body in resisting a poison to the poison itself. Precisely this same error is made by all those who think that tissues can be nourished and diseases cured with drug poisons.

When it is declared that "cocoa acts directly on the sensory apparatus in the same manner as does strychnine," we can accept the toxic character of cocoa, but not its alleged action. Practically everybody knows that alcohol will cause a man to hic and spew, lie down in the gutter, hug a lamp post, utter nonsense, vomit, even wallow in his vomit; but we are skeptical of the hypothesis that attempts to explain how alcohol "excites the exercise of thought." We are also skeptical of the theory that tea and coffee do the same.

In an effort to explain drug action, pharmacologists have come up with the idea that most drugs form reversible complexes with plasma proteins and with one or more intracellular components of cells. They say that these non-specific drug attachments provide reservoirs of drugs which are in dynamic equilibrium with the drug unbound in plasma. If it is true that these drugs combine with the proteins of the blood plasma, they destroy the suitability of these proteins for use by the cells.

An example of the destructiveness of drug unions with intracellular components is supplied us by the so-called anti-tumor drugs, which are said to be usually anti-metabolic, and which block the pathways of metabolism common to normal as well as neoplastic tissues. Their alleged anti-tumor action is explained by saying that, "in being metabolized, they become enmeshed in mechanisms essential to the normal economy of the body." For the same reason, so it is said, they are toxic. These drugs act by so impairing the normal processes of metabolism that they kill cells. In simple English, they are poisons.