We have already emphasized the fact that milk should be taken raw. Circumstances may present themselves, how-ever, when a glass of hot milk will exert a beneficial influence upon the system. This is the case, for instance, where one has been out on a damp, cold, winter’s day, and conies in feeling chilled. In cold, windy weather the activity of the skin functions are greatly diminished. The various poisonous products which are usually thrown off through the skin are in consequence retained, the result being a decided feeling of discomfort.
These substances then find their way into the kidneys and exert an irritating action upon the delicate epithelia of these organs. Now, by drinking one or two glasses of hot milk, we greatly stimulate the activity of the skin. The circulation of the blood is increased, more blood flows toward the skin, and we feel much warmer. The irritating action of the sub-stances passing through the kidneys is diminished, and when hot milk is taken, together with irritating agents in the food, their action upon the various organs, the kidneys in particular, is less intense.
In inflammatory conditions of the mucous membranes hot milk exerts a beneficial action. This is noticeable in colds, if early in the morning or on rising hot whey or hot milk is taken together with Ems water, or Giesshübler, Krondorfer, or Biliner. Even without the addition of such waters, warm milk will exert a favorable influence upon the irritated and inflamed mucous membranes. When, for instance, in acute gonorrhea the urethral mucous membrane is extremely sensitive, almost all pain in urinating may be avoided by the previous ingestion of one or two glasses of hot milk. This is also the case in chronic gonorrhea when the urethra has been sounded; the severe pains accompanying the first passage of urine are considerably diminished after hot milk has been taken.
In the presence of inflammatory conditions of the intestines, hot milk may prove more useful than other food sub-stances, especially if rice or sago in the form of a thin paste be taken with it.
To warm the body up on a cold, frosty day, tea is often used; but from the standpoint of health milk is better, especially where the kidneys are not absolutely normal. A small quantity of coffee or tea could, of course, be added to the milk to render it more palatable. Addition of the yolks of one or two eggs makes of milk a very strengthening drink after exhausting journeys in winter.
For patients who are ordered to take large quantities of milk, but dislike it, too, the addition of yolks of eggs may make it more palatable. In some countries, e.g., in Spain, a few drops of an extract of orange flowers are added to flavor hot milk.
While hot milk exerts a very favorable influence upon the more remotely situated mucous membranes, it may occasionally injure the buccal mucosa. It is best to have it served in porcelain glasses, and, when it is too hot to drink, it can then first be poured into a cold, empty glass.