Lowered functioning power, a state which we call enervation, inhibits secretion and excretion, resulting in a slow accumulation of body waste in the fluids and tissues of the organism. Medical science does not include enervation in its etiology; it knows nothing of the inhibition of excretion that enervation produces and of the toxemia that results from inhibited excretion. It is busy searching the sun, moon and stars for causes of man's suffering. We say that toxemia, which grows out of inhibition of excretion, is the universal basic cause of disease; but we also say that toxemia has many causes. Toxemia is but a link in the chain of causes and effects. "It takes more than one blue-bird to make a spring," runs the old adage. It takes more than one bad habit to build a fatal disease.

Inflammation in any part of the body arises out of the same cause--toxemia. The enervation that checks elimination and evolves toxemia may be the result of any enervating cause or any number of such causes. Call the disease tonsillitis, endocarditis, gastritis, colitis, cystitis, metritis, cholangitis or inflammation of the gall duct, pyorrhea, or by some other name--they all rest on a basis of toxemia.

There is at all times a normal amount of waste matter in the blood stream. This becomes a menace to health only when it is allowed to accumulate above a certain physiological maximum. When it accumulates above this point, the body establishes a channel of supplementary excretion to remove the waste matter from the fluids of the body. In childhood and early life, intolerance is the leading characteristic of the tissues. As a consequence, violent actions, occasioned by slight causes, are seen in children--sudden and fierce fevers, severe inflammations, etc., of short duration are characteristic of this time of life. With the passage of time, the tissues harden and lose their original sensitivity. They do not bear irritation better; they have merely lost enough of their native sensitivity that they act less promptly and less violently. Tolerance characterizes this period of life. Inflammations, fevers, etc., are less fierce, last longer and are less effective in resisting the sources of irritation.

Once established, toxemia is always established, unless enervating habits are discontinued. The longer toxemia has lasted and the more tissue deterioration has resulted, the greater is the time required for a return to health. Established as a chronic state as a result of the practice of enervating habits, toxemia itself lowers and impairs the functioning of all the organs of the body. Rest and a correction of the mode of living permits the restoration of normal secretion and excretion.

The immediate (proximate) causes of disease are so intimately connected with the disease itself that the two are frequently confounded and used indiscriminately, but they are really different. The needle in the finger, for example, and the inflammation which heals the prick are different. We need always to clearly distinguish between the condition that makes remedial action necessary and the remedial action itself. While remedial action never evolves without cause, cause may exist (due to toleration) for some time in advance of the evolution of the remedial activity.

We have now to consider the many ways in which man depletes his functioning energies. It may be said in general that any action, habit or indulgence that uses up energy in excess will lower his standard of functioning power and inhibit secretion and excretion, thus resulting not only in a toxic state of the body, but in impaired nutrition. In this view disease is largely the outgrowth of overindulgence. But it may also result from deficiency, so that we may say that its universal excesses and deficiencies (of which the whole human race is guilty) constitute the ultimate cause of man's suffering.

The three grand dominating functions of life are mind, nutrition and reproduction. Man tends to permit these three functions to run wild--destroying himself with his emotionalism, eating to excess and going to equal excesses in his sexual activities. When this brings discomfort, he seeks for palliation in poison. We could say that emotionalism, gluttony, debauchery and poison addiction constitute his four greatest offenses against his organism. By ignoring the higher faculties of his mind and leaving them without education, man is made into an eating, drinking and gain-getting animal who lives in his lower senses and is more mischievous and unhappy than the animals because he does not exist to be merely a brute.

Two reasons combine to cause men and women to indulge in health-destroying habits and practices in spite of their knowledge of the harmfulness of such habits. First, it is erroneously supposed that the most enjoyment is to be gained by catering to the common vices and that, second, however much the body may be impaired by such gratifications, there is a panacea for it in drugs. It is not generally understood and appreciated that every violation of the laws of life, however slight, inevitably lessens prematurely the capacity for normal action and long life, and so of physical enjoyment and consequent mental growth and happiness. If this were fully realized, the delusive belief in the curative power of drugs would soon be numbered among the superstitions that were.

It is well to keep in mind, in all considerations of this subject, that a large measure of the violations of the laws of life of which so many are more or less habitually guilty, are attributable to wrong direction and social expressions, more than to any overpowering individual tendency to depravity. A country's institutions are capable of exerting a far greater influence upon the physiological habits of the people than may at first be supposed. With its ignorance of relations and conventionalisms, society is forced to entertain a multitude of inefficient and diseased individuals as a penalty for the wrong to which it subjects them.

Dr. Taylor said: "Having become so perverted in natural instincts and perceptions, people mistake abnormal for normal desires and instead of granting a natural supply of the real needs of the body, artificial wants, to their detriment, are sedulously attended to. Strange to say, when they see that the ultimate results of such a course are evil only, they persistently pursue it--evidently because they care more for the present gratification of a false state than for an ultimate real good, more for animal enjoyment than mental."

In reality, a great loss of enjoyment is incurred, even in the present, by yielding to the promptings of perverted senses. The idea is erroneous that any sacrifice of enjoyment is required to live simply and healthfully. To the contrary, the plainest fare with a normal sense of taste affords more gustatory enjoyment and this of a higher order than an epicurian diet with a perverted taste. Strict adherence to Hygienic living soon renders the sense of taste normal and its exercise far more pleasurable, so that the sacrifice and loss is only on the side of those who fail to live in harmony with the laws of life.