Appetite, in general, signifies the natural instinctive desire, by which the animal is led to pursue the gratifications of sense. In the present instance, however, we shall confine its meaning to the Craving for food. In this respect, the appetite of man may be divided into three different species, though that evinced by inferior animals is naturally simple, because it is not impaired by art. Thus, if children were never enticed, by weak pa-rents, and ignorant nurses, to eat more than their own inclination directs them, or to partake of highly flavoured artificial dishes which stimulate the palate, and preternatu-rally distend the stomach, there is every reason to believe, that the fol-lowing classification would be unnecessary :
1. The natural appetite, which is contented, as well with the most simple as the most compound and delicious dishes : such is that of country people employed in hard manual labour; of children who have not been mismanaged in the nursery ; and of every rational person who is convinced of the advantages resulting to both mind and body, from a simple and frugal diet.
2. The artificial appetite of the epicure, the hypochondriac, and the tipler; all may be ranked under the same class. It would be needless to add, in this place, any other remark, than that such an inclination for sensual enjoyment remains only so long as the operation of these exquisite stimulants continues. When the papillary nerves of the palate can be no longer influenced by such excitement, the sensualist loses his appetite, and is punished with all the concomitant symptoms of indigestion.
3. The habitual appetite, though partly acquired, is not liable to those serious objections which apply to the latter species; nor is it attended with any other disadvantages than those arising from long-fasting, or an undue allowance of food on particular occasions. Thus, after fatiguing exercise, when the fibres of the digestive organs are already weakened, and the circulation of the blood to those parts is unusually increased, the nourish-1 ment then received can be digested only with great difficulty, and to the detriment of the body.
Want of appetite may proceed either from a defective energy of the stomach, originating more frequently from an immoderate quantity, than the improper quality, of food; or it may be occasioned by the sympathy of other diseased parts, such as the liver, bowels, uterus, etc.; or by intestinal worms, obstructions of the mesentery, and many other causes. Hence it will be understood, that there can be no specific remedy suggested to remove the complaint; but that the treatment must be regulated by the nature of the case, and the constitution of the patient. In general, however, the following hints deserve attention. When the stomach loathes wholesome food, and is troubled with habitual flatulency, and eructations of a bitter, rancid, or saline taste, it should be previously ascertained, whether an emetic be proper, or necessary, to evacuate its foul contents. Yet to determine this point, requires a degree of skill and experience which few persons in common life possess : on the other hand, the administration of a simple emetic may be attended with serious consequences. For this reason, we would previously recommend a change of air and diet; early rising in the morning; gentle exercise; abstinence from all hot drinks, particularly tea, punch, and hot broths, fat or hard meat, spirituous liquors, tobacco, etc.; to avoid the influence of depressing passions, such as excessive grief, fear and anxiety; and if this treatment, after having been rigorously pursued for several days or weeks, produce no change in the appetite, then to have recourse to gentle emetics, or rather to the operation of nauseating medicines. According to our experience, the powder of ipecacuanha, jn the smallest doses of a quarter or sixth part of a grain, in a little cold water, repeated every ten minutes for two or three hours together, before breakfast, stands eminently recommended in disorders of this nature, and has seldom failed to be of service to phlegmatic or corpulent individuals, when continued for several mornings. But it there appear to be great fulness of the stomach, or bowels, attended with the symptoms before described, it will sometimes be necessary to give such an emetic as may, according to circumstances, at the same time relieve the bowels. A mixture of two parts of ipecacuanha wine, and one part of antimonial wine taken in single tea-spoonfuls every quarter of an hour, without any farther drink till it begins to operate, generally produces the desired effect.
After the stomach and bowels have, by such, or similar means, been evacuated, it will be useful to strengthen the tone of the fibres, by drinking small draughts of cold chamomile-tea, or an infusion of quassia, or simple toast and water well prepared, which last may be justly considered as one of the mildest and most grateful corroborants.
An insatiable appetite may arise from too great a distension of the stomach in early infancy ; from an over-abundant secretion of the gastric or digestive liquor ; from drinking large quantities of stimulating acid beverage, such as cyder, perry, butter-milk, etc. but especially from a bad habit of fast eating, without properly masticating hard substances. Hence the first maxim in diet should be, to eat slowly, in order to prevent a sudden distension of the digestive organs, and to allow sufficient time for the food to be duly prepared, and gradually mixed with the gastric juice. It would be superfluous to add any other suggestions, respect-ing the treatment and cure cf this troublesome complaint, which, in the present times of frugality, cannot fail to find its own remedy.