This section is from the book "Meals Medicinal", by W. T. Fernie. Also available from Amazon: Meals Medicinal: With "Herbal Simples" Curative Foods From the Cook in Place of Drugs From the Chemist.
"Some of the credit," says Dr. Hutchison. "of the results attained must be put down to the circumstances under which the grape cure is carried out; seeing that the patient is expected to gather the grapes for himself, the doing which entails a certain amount of exercise in the open fresh air. Consumptive patients are sent to the Gironde for the purpose of breathing-in the vapour from the wine vats whilst the grape juice is fermenting, this proving to be highly beneficial as a restorative for weakly and delicate young persons. The wine-vapour in this district is more stimulating, and more curative than in Burgundy. Young girls who suffer from atrophy are at first made to remain for some hours daily in the sheds whilst the wine-pressing is going forward. After a time, as they become less weak, they are directed to jump into the wine press, where they skip about and inhale the fumes of the fermenting juice, until they sometimes become intoxicated thereby, and even senseless. But this effect subsides after two or three trials, and presently the girls return to their homes, and work, with renewed strength and heightened colour, hopeful, joyous, and robust." A stranger on his first visit to the Bodegas, or wine vaults of Southern Spain experiences a decided sense of exhilaration, with quickening of the pulse, this being followed presently by a narcotic effect, with a feeling of languor and headache.
According to an authoritative examination (Lancet) made of the distillery air it appeared that no less than an ounce of absolute alcohol may be present in five cubic feet of the air. From which result it is obvious that a very appreciable amount of alcohol would be inhaled during a stay, say of eight hours, in such air; and since the alcohol by the medium of the lungs would rapidly get into the general circulation, it cannot but be concluded that such air would in the long run produce in persons habitually respiring it the well known pernicious effects of alcoholic excesses. Nevertheless, short systematized dosings with such alcoholized air, modified in degree, and properly regulated, may be curatively prescribed with safe benefit. The vats of the famous Chateau D'Yquem have effected the most wonderful cures on this principle, even in cases considered to be past human aid. Perhaps a modified pursuance of the inhaling process just described might be carried out for suitable cases at our leading home breweries? The fresh sap of the vine (lacryma, a tear) is an excellent application to weak eyes, because of its tannin in the juices, also for corneal specks.
The large family of Muscat grapes get their distinctive title, not because of any flavour of musk attached to them, but because the luscious berries are particularly attractive to flies (muscce). "On attrape plus de mouches avec le miel qu 'avec le vinaigre," says a pithy French proverb. Sometimes when eaten to excess grapes cause soreness of the tongue, and within the mouth, resembling the symptoms of thrush, and honey will act in like manner. The sweet grape cure is highly to be commended for persons threatened with consumptive mischief in the lungs, because of the abundant sugar and the potash salts supplied in the fruit. But children as a rule do not bear the grape cure satisfactorily. Other fruits, it has been aptly said, "May please the palate equally well, but it is the proud prerogative of the kingly grape to minister also to the mind".
Grape Sugar as such may be used with benefit for sweetening the drinks of patients in fevers, or to mix with their light farinaceous foods. Recipes for grape juice in bottle, for grape jelly, grape sauce, and grape jam ("raisine") are given fully in Kitchen Physic. The best grapes wherewith to make grape juice for keeping in bottles are of the purple kind. For another "grape jam," as made at the Cape, South Africa, take four pounds of the fresh fruit, and one pound of sugar. Carefully pick the grapes from the bunches, and prick them with a steel, or gold pin. Boil a syrup of the sugar, and put the grapes into the syrup whilst boiling. Some sliced apple, or quince, may be added to the grapes; for every pound of the same, one pound again of sugar; also some orange peel cut up may be introduced. Boil rather quickly at first. Take out some of the jam, and put it in a shallow saucer to cool, so as to see if it will jelly properly.
It is well worthy of remark with respect to grape juice, that whilst it exercises when freshly obtained an inhibiting effect, more or less, in typhoid fever on the growth and vitality of the typhoid bacillus, as likewise on the colon bacilli which are the cause of many forms of acute intestinal ailments, yet the bottled grape juice found in grocery stores gives the most conclusive experimental results. It should be observed, there is a marked difference between the brands of this bottled grape juice. Experimentally certain brands have been found to kill the bacilli by the end of a minute, such effect being almost instantaneous. Moreover the quantity of grape juice required for securing this vital object does not disturb the digestion, as lemon juice (also destructive to the bacilli) might do. It was found that the recently expressed grape juice, prepared in the laboratory, had no effect on the bacilli, even in the proportion as high as 100 per cent. American physicians declare that unfermented grape juice, not artificially preserved by mischievous salicylic acid, etc., is a grand food for the sick, particularly in fever cases.
Dr. Foster, of Chicago, reported in the Medical Era, 1886, "grape juice has done me this one inestimable service: it has given me a food, the only food, which little ones when endangered by wasting and febrile diseases, can, or will take, whilst the temperature remains high, and the pulse quick." "When I had found a food of which a boy four years old would drink one and a half pints daily, and ask for more, while he would absolutely refuse all other food, I had discovered a means whereby his strength could be maintained throughout ten days during a raging scarlet fever, and that food saved my little patient's life." Still more important has this advice become to-day. Grape juice (easily sterilized by a simple, harmless process) is highly beneficial in all forms of low wasting disease.