Empire state of health

18 Aug

In advanced cases of Newyorkitis there is always a perversion of the appetite and of the taste. The appetite has to be aroused and the gastric juices started flowing by a cocktail, or some other irritating drink, before each meal. The desire for food is natural and physiological, and when in a normal condition the stomach announces the fact the human engine, of which it is the fire-box, is in need of fuel by naturally pouring out the gastric juice, and irritating the nerve terminations in the stomach-wall, and the individual becomes conscious of a desire for food, or an appetite, and proceeds to satisfy it.

This natural recurrence of the normal appetite is forestalled and finally destroyed by taking into the empty stomach cocktails and other mixed and irritating drinks, and in advanced cases of Newyorkitis it is doubtful if the patient ever has an entirely healthy and normal appetite, but is obliged at all times to resort to the use of the artificial irritation to start the flow of the gastric juice.

Whisky and other spirituous liquors, thoroughly diluted with water, are not irritating to the stomach-wall, or only slightly so, and taken in moderation when the stomach is not empty they are possibly slight aids to digestion. But they are not appetite-creators, and therefore do not meet the requirements of a Newyorkitic. All those who drink cocktails are not advanced Newyorkitics, any more than all those who have gray hair are suffering from old age; but using cocktails to arouse the appetite is one of the group of symptoms of Newyorkitis, just as gray hair is one of the signs of old age.

— John H. Girdner, M.D., Newyorkitis (New York: Grafton, 1901), pp. 123-5.


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