Suppose we apply drugs to a dead organism, which, as we know, is a bundle of useless inertia: will there be any action? No action whatever will be perceived, simply because the presence of the drug will occasion no vital resistance; and there is no vital resistance, because the dead organism lacks all power of resistance. Dead organisms do not act to preserve and to repair themselves. There is no living system to act and, hence, no action. Yet, the properties of the drug would remain the same.

If drugs are applied to the living organism, there will be increased action. If they are applied to the skin, there will be increased redness of the skin. The increased redness is caused by the increased amount of blood in the part and the increased blood in the part is sent there by the living organism to resist the drug. The phenomena of emesis, catharsis, diuresis, vesication, etc., cannot possibly occur in the dead organism. The dead body does not act to defend itself from or to cast out poisonous substances.

If we return to the past and view the phenomena resulting when a blistering plaster was applied to the skin, we get a graphic picture of the difference between the behavior of a living and a dead organism. If capsicum, Spanish fly, caustic potash, sulphuric acid, tartar emetic or a mustard plaster was applied to the skin of a well man, the surface was first reddened, then the skin became hot, painful, inflamed, and blood serum was poured out in defense. If the application was continued, serum was poured into the "space" between the inner and outer layers of the skin, the cuticle was raised and a blister was formed. The blister formed a bar or partition between the poisonous drug and the living tissues underneath. Not until the living cells underneath have exhausted themselves does the drug combine with their substance and destroy them. The outer layer of the skin was sacrificed, being ultimately cast off, to defend the deeper tissues. The deeper layers of the skin may also be sacrificed, if necessary, to protect the more vital tissues beneath.

Even admitting that the structural constituents with which poisons combine are not forced to do so by chemical extraction, but are set out defensively by the living principle as a sacrifice to prevent its more important tissues from being harmed, you cannot certainly prove that this is not a living sacrifice. It appears that the living body sacrifices part of itself to save its more important parts.

How do we explain these phenomena? Were these processes the actions of the blister (the drug) or the vital structures? Does the drug act to raise the cuticle? Does it drain the capillaries of their serum? Does it act on the glands to induce them to defend themselves? What acts and why? What is acted upon? Does the drug sacrifice the outer skin or does the body make the sacrifice?

Perhaps the solution to these questions may be found if we consider the application of a "blistering plaster" to the skin of a dead man. If we try the blister on the body of a freshly killed man (one killed in an accident), perhaps we will receive the answer. There is no apparent effect at all. There is no action and this inertia speaks louder than words. The skin does not redden; no serum is poured out; the layers of the skin do not separate; there is no smarting of the skin; there is no sacrifice of the outer skin; no healing follows. Why? Because there is no power of action in the dead organism; there is no power to resist.

If, in and of themselves, drugs have the power to act, why is it always necessary, in order to secure the action, that they be administered to a living organism? If the blistering plaster, for example, acts, why will it not raise the cuticle of a dead man? Drugs have the same power to act on the dead surface as on the living; indeed, they have more power, if they have any, because the dead skin can offer no resistance. But, here, when there is nothing to oppose them, they have no effect at all.

When the body is in a very low state, as in dropsies of long standing, and in all greatly debilitated patients, it is very difficult to blister or even to redden the skin with the strongest plasters. When the power of resistance is low, vesication does not take place; but it should do so more certainly under these conditions if it is the drug that acts.

It will be noted that when there is no power to act there is no action and that when the body is feeble, its actions are feeble. This is to say that the actions of the body in resisting and expelling noxious substances are directly proportional to the integrity and vigor of the body. This is demonstrated not only in the case of a blister, but in all its other actions. A cathartic drug will be expelled with great violence if taken by the healthy and vigorous; the expulsive process may be sluggish and feeble if the drug is administered to a sick individual. Emesis, also, is feeble if a so-called emetic is administered to a feeble patient; it will be violent if the same dose of the same drug is administered to a vigorous individual.

There are two terms that are freely and loosely used in medical and scientific literature that have no particular meaning in Hygienic literature. I refer to the terms stimulant and.tonic. A stimulant was formerly rather loosely defined as a substance that produces a rapid and transient increase in vital energy. A tonic was a substance that produced the same effects more slowly and continued to do so over a longer period of time. Both of them, as we now know, are merely means of increasing vital expenditure. It should not be difficult to understand that the excited action called stimulation is vital action and that vital action cannot be exerted or performed by matter unendowed with sensitive properties. The vital structure is capable of acting, both on external and internal physical agents, as well as on the subordinate forces of nature. This is the exact reverse of popular and scientific thought on this subject.

If, in weakened digestion, a tonic is given, there is an apparent strengthening of the stomach. This is only apparent and evanescent. The ultimate result of such ill-advised dosing is greater digestive impairment. Actually, the stomach loses functioning power in its tussles with a tonic. The so-called tonic action of the drug is a waste of the power of the patient. This position is fundamental and, if true, all drug medication is wrong. Any system or plan of curing disease by the administration of substances that are naturally incompatible with and injurious to the structures and functions of the body is radically false. It constitutes no superstructure of science, but one of error and deception.

Physicians have mistaken the actions of the living organism in resisting and expelling poisonous substances for remedial operations of their drugs--for a curative action in relation to disease. The physician administers an emetic and, forthwith, vomiting empties the stomach. Action occurs--of this there can be no doubt. But what was it that acted, the drug or the organism? If a purgative is given and a violent diarrhea follows, is this the action of the poison or of the living organism? Which acts and which is acted upon? What acts and why?