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.
Dr. King Chambers has reminded us that, as to taking new milk for sedative effects, "our senses tell us of a peculiar aroma given off by such new milk, though this quickly exhales, whilst appearances seem to warrant the conclusion that the said aroma contributes to soothe the sensitive and wakeful nervous system, also assisting digestion." Again, the value of milk-sugar as a means of supplementing the carbohydrates of the diet must not be forgotten. If half an ounce of this sugar of milk be dissolved in five or six ounces of milk, the nutritive value thereof is materially increased. Likewise, a steady daily use of this milk sugar will frequently prevent constipation, and will obviate chronic rheumatism. On a milk diet the risk of intestinal decomposition within the body, as from animal food prolonged in its transit, is reduced to a minimum. It has been proved experimentally that milk when taken as food putrefies only with considerable difficulty, whereas meat decomposes very rapidly. Whilst standing also as new milk, this product is stable, because of its microbes, which cause it to presently turn sour with the formation of lactic acid, which is hostile to putrefaction. But if soda, as an alkali, be added to milk, then in spite of the said microbes, putrefaction takes place rapidly.
These facts explain how it is that lactic acid will stop the diarrhoea due to corrupt matters within the bowels; likewise they make intelligible the medicinal value of fermented milk. Govighi, an Italian physician, drank daily a litre and a half of milk subjected to the lactic acid, and alcoholic fermentations (kephir), finding that within a few days the products of intestinal putrefaction disappeared altogether from his urine. For such a reason soured milk is to be much commended. Sir Thomas Browne, in Rdigio Medici (1635), remarks, "Some think there were few consumptions in the Old World, when men lived much upon milk; and that the ancient inhabitants of this island were less troubled with coughs when they went naked, and slept in caves and woods, than men now in chambers and feather beds. Plato will tell us that there was no such disease as catarrh in Homer's time, and that it was but new in Greece in his age. Polydore Virgil delivereth that pleurisies were rare in England, who lived but in the days of Henry the Eighth." Now-a-days, animals treated by electricity the high frequency current - when suffering from consumption of the lungs, have been proved to live twice as long as others in a like plight, but not treated thus.
For diabetic patients Devonshire cream is specially valuable. It contains only about half as much sugar of milk as ordinary cream; therefore it is peculiarly well suited to be a source of fat in the dietary of diabetics. One and a half pints of cream do not contain more fat than one pound of butter. Junket, on the contrary, contains a considerable quantity of milk sugar, which, though not fermentable by yeast, like cane sugar, is problematical for such cases. But some physicians allow sugar of milk to diabetic patients without apprehension of harm therefrom, maintaining that during digestion of the milk, its sugar of milk is converted entirely into lactic acid; in fact, it undergoes in the stomach precisely the same change that it does when treated with casein as a ferment in the dairy. "We do not act wisely in enforcing on the diabetic sufferer a diet which is really intolerable to him, or her. The object to be gained is to conciliate the stomach, appetite, and fancy, into taking the greatest possible amount of animal food, and of oleaginous matters; in fact, to assimilate the patient as far as possible to the Esquimaux with their Polar diet, or to Pampas Indians, who have nothing but beef and water, water and beef, from the cradle to the grave.
And if the said patient eats the heartier for having a biscuit, or crust, or a glass of porter, or even a forbidden vegetable with his meals, it is better to give him his way than to tempt him to break through all rules altogether by playing the reckless truant".
Diabetic patients should always chew their food slowly, and eat frequently, though moderately, taking their drink in a similar fashion. Junket (which contains a considerable quantity of milk-sugar) must be declared questionable for them.
Separated Milk, from which the cream has been abstracted, is practically skimmed milk, which, if left to itself in not too cold a place, develops, through the action of a certain bacterium, lactic acid, with separation of the remaining casein. Such separated milk is now sold as a summer drink, being less sour than the old-fashioned skim milk. The popular notion that by taking away the cream beforehand all the goodness is lost, is quite a misapprehension for considerable curd is still held in solution, as well as milk-sugar; and if bread and butter, or a piece of chocolate, be taken with the separated milk, then the full value of the original new milk is obtained, this drink being meanwhile cheaper than beer, and preferable thereto. For sterilizing milk, a temperature of 190° Fahrenheit is under ordinary conditions a safe and easily practicable course; and to heat the milk once thus is all that is npcessary. Being treated in this way, the milk will remain sterilized in a room at an ordinary temperature for twenty, or thirty hours, even in warm weather. But Professor Koch pronounces that to boil milk does not exterminate the bacilli of tuberculosis, whilst sterilizing milk impairs its nutritive quality.
The more any natural food is altered from its natural state, the more likely is it to produce scurvy; for example, as by sterilizing new fresh milk. This, when unboiled, contains in one quart as much citric acid (such as that of lemons, oranges, and potatoes) as occurs in a large lemon. But when milk is subjected to boiling, its power of continuing to hold this acid (as citrate of lime) unchanged, is much diminished, the same becoming converted by heat into the comparatively insoluble crystallizable form: the chemical reaction produced being that of converting the bicitrate of calcium into a less soluble tricitrate of calcium. Infantile scurvy is most prevalent among the classes where a child's diet is carefully restricted to boiled milk.