Corpulency, or obesity, in physiology, is the accumulation of too great a quantity of fat or animal oil, which distends the solids to an unnatural degree, by the abundance of granulated matter collected in the cellular membrane.
Corpulency arises from a variety of causes, which may operate separately, or conjointly in the same constitution. It may, however, be principally ascribed, 1. To the in-troduction of too much oil into the habit, through the channels of nourishment, by which means it is retained in too large a quantity. 2. An over-laxity, or, perhaps, too large a structure of the cells in which it. is deposited, so as to admit and retain an immoderate proportion of unctuous matter; 3. To a peculiar disposition of the blood, which renders it liable to separate too easily from its oleaginous par-ticles, and to admit of their being strained off* too plentifully by the secretory vessels ; or, lastly, to a defective evacuation or expulsion of oil already absorbed, separated from the blood, and deposited in its cells, instead of being discharged through the different emuuetories of the body.
Obesity is promoted by whatever tends to soften the blood, and render it less sharp and saline ; such as want of exercise and motion, an indolent life, indulgence in too much bleep, etc. It may be removed or prevented by the contrary causes, and particularly by the use of saline and acid food, and drink.
Castile soap has often been em-. ployed with success, and is strongly recommended in a discourse "On the Causes, Nature, and Cure of Corpulency," by Dr. FlemynG, (3vo. 1s. 1760); who directs from one to four drams to be dissolved in a gill or more of soft water, and to be taken every night previously to going to repose.