Emetics occasion inflammation of the stomach, a determination of blood and nerve supply to those structures involved in ejecting the emetic from the stomach, all to protect the membranes of the stomach and expel the poison. When lobelia (a favorite emetic of the old physiomedicalists) was taken, it occasioned a pungent, burning sensation in the throat, a copious secretion from the salivary glands and mucous membranes, a distressing nausea at the stomach, then a gripping of the bowels, with a spasmodic contraction of the abdominal and dorsal muscles, and, finally, the ejection of the contents of the stomach. As the body initiates and carries out the remedial effort designed to free the stomach of the emetic, the lips will pale, the eyes become glassy, and the blood will be temporarily withdrawn from the surface and concentrated in those structures most concerned with the remedial effort.

Lobelia, a foreign substance that cannot be used in the formation or replenishment of tissue, is resisted and expelled by actions of the body. The glands and mucous membranes pour out their fluids to dilute it and wash it away. The energies of the body are concentrated in activities in the abdominal region. There is dizziness (in the head), general muscular relaxation (simply because the main force of the body's action is directed to the abdominal region), then, the abdominal and dorsal muscles violently contract (the violence is proportional to the virulence of the drug), pressing the abdominal viscera against the stomach and this upon the diaphragm, producing vomiting. The actions of the body, especially the muscular contractions in vomiting, are quite obvious. Certainly muscular contraction is not drug action, nor is the emetic in the stomach in contact with the muscles that contract.

The stomach itself is almost passive; the principal action is of the muscles forming the external walls of the abdomen and those of the back and loins. As before stated, these muscles are not in contact with the lobelia. If the drug acts on the stomach, what is its action? We can describe the actions of the body in expelling the drug. If it be replied that the drug first acts and the body reacts, the question still will not down-how does the drug act and what is its action? We place all the acting principle in the living organism. The foregoing reply divides it equally between the lifeless drug and the living organism. It is a strange confusion of ideas that forever confounds causes, actions and effects.

Narcotics and anesthetics do not combine with the brain to produce stupor and insensibility. Pain or pleasure is the recognition by the mind-organ of the state or condition of the affected area. The organ of feeling (sensation), whether of pleasure or of pain, is the brain and nervous system. But feeling depends on a certain condition or degree of circulation of blood in the organ or part, as well as upon the presence of circulation in the brain and nerve centers. A lack of blood in these centers renders them inactive or reduces awareness. Pressure on the carotid arteries below the ears will produce partial or complete insensibility, according to the degree of pressure.

There is also a close connection between respiration and feeling or sensibility. If, from any cause, respiration is suspended, sensibility is lost. If respiration is diminished, more or less, sensibility is correspondingly reduced. Pressure on the pulmonary branch of the vagus nerve will so lessen respiration as to occasion insensibility that teeth may be extracted without pain. No matter how respiration is diminished, sensibility invariably corresponds with it in degree.

The absence of sensibility during sleep is not wholly due to the diminished respiration of the sleeping state, but is largely due to the withdrawal of blood from the brain and its concentration within the trunk. With anemia of the brain, there is diminished power of the brain centers to function. Morphine reduces sensibility in a similar manner. The vital energies, which were previously exerted toward the brain are diverted to the stomach, where the poison or enemy is to be combated. This leaves the brain inactive or stupid. Instead of the drug acting on the brain, the vital powers are drawn off from the brain to defend the stomach.

Brain anemia, with which is also usually associated reduced respiration, results in a profound systemic depression and a loss of awareness. Toxicologists refer to the anesthetic dose of barbiturates and tell us that such a dose is practically the same in all animals. It is important for us to know that what might be called the therapeutic dose, that is, the dose which occasions so-called sleep, is only a little smaller than the so-called anesthetic dose; and the two states, sleep and anesthesia, are simply varying degrees of the same state of physiological depression. What toxicologists speak of as the "acute lethal toxicity of many barbiturates," and of which they say, "this is almost identical in various mammalian species because of the short time lapse between administration of the drug and death," is precisely the same condition, except in degree, as the so-called sleep and the state of anesthesia.

Both the limits of our space and those of our present knowledge prevent the possibility of particularizing the peculiar methodus mendendi of all the drugs or medicinal preparations which fill the various pharmacopeias in existence. Our object is rather to demonstrate the law which governs the behavior of the living organism when in intimate relation with drugs--all collectively. We may logically assume that this law applies to the actions following the administration of all drugs and that there are not two laws governing this phenomena. If this is correct, we may confidently expect future developments to supply us with explanations that are now lacking. In the meantime, it should be evident that so long as the idea is accepted as true that drugs--lifeless, inert, passive drugs--act with a compensating power in, upon and through the living tissues, just so long will pharmacologists be forced to admit that they are ignorant of the modus operandi of drugs.

When the people know and understand that the modus operandi of a drug is the manner in which the body resists and expels it, that when, for example, a cathartic is expelled by means of a diarrhea, they are witnessing the modus operandi of the body, that what has been mistaken for the cathartic action of the drug is the expulsive action of the living organism, then will the charm of drugs be dispelled. We may then expect to see them abandon the taking of poisonous drugs for their health.

The question would not down and came from many sources and in many forms: if drugs are uniformly actionless, why should the action be so different in the same organ, with various substances? Why, in other words, do different effects follow different drugs, if they are actionless? Or, stripped of its superfluous verbage: why does the living system act upon, reject, resist or expel different substances in different ways, if these substances are entirely actionless? In the relations between lifeless matter and the living organism, where and what is the actor was the puzzling question to many.