Certain organs of the body are possessed of high nutritive value and characterized by their content of useful substances such as phosphorus and lecithin. The liver is an organ belonging to this class. Its tissues contain a large quantity of carbohydrates, while meat in general, with the exception of horse meat, contains only minimal quantities of the carbohydrates. The liver contains much albumin and, in comparison with other meats, much carbohydrate and also much fat. There is a large amount of lecithin in the liver, especially in that of fattened animals, such as the goose ; in this respect the Strasbourg liver pie is a valuable article of food. According to the reports made, we must regard the liver as a valuable phosphorus-containing food. The liver of young animals is more easily digested than that of older ones, which contains considerable amounts of connective tissue difficult of digestion. In addition to the phosphorus in the liver, there is another nutritive mineral, iron, which occurs in noteworthy quantities, especially in young animals.
The brain is another organ which is very rich in phosphorus, lecithin, and other similar substances. As a food substance it is characterized by a considerable content of fat, but it is nonetheless not hard to digest. It is well borne by the stomach, but, according to the experiments of Rubner, is only incompletely assimilated.
The kidneys have a very agreeable taste, especially lamb kidneys ; these are not much used with us, but in England, more particularly, find much favor at the breakfast table. They are also nutritious, because they contain albumin and fat. Nevertheless, the kidneys, as well as liver and brain, have the disadvantage of being very rich in nucleins as well as in uric-acid-forming substances; the brain contains the least of these, the kidneys much more, while the kidneys and the pancreas (sweetbread) contain the most nuclein. The organ from which the greatest amount of uric acid is formed in the body is the pancreas (sweetbread) of the calf. According to my experiments, it has been shown that after these organs have been eaten by diabetics sugar will be very readily secreted or the amount previously excreted will be increased. Consequently patients suffering from gout or diabetes should not eat these organs.
The bones may serve for the preparation of soup, or for the manufacture of glue. Their most important constituent is the marrow. This is very rich in fat, and contains nearly as much as butter ; it is also rich in nutritive salts. Since the marrow plays an important part in the formation of the blood, that taken from young animals might form a useful food in chlorotic conditions. With this end in view foods are also industrially compounded from this substance. The marrow is also rich in lecithin and phosphorus, which still further in-creases its value. It is, however, rather hard to digest, and is therefore not indicated as a food along with the usual diet, nor should it be taken alone, in large quantities; it is rather intended to be used in connection with less nutritious sub-stances and, more particularly, soup.
Sausage in general is also very rich in fat, and it is just this fat content, together with the albumin contained in it, which places it in the list of the most nourishing foods; owing to its fatty contents, however, it is not easily digested, and the strong flavoring with pepper, garlic, and paprica adds to the difficulty. After having eaten highly flavored sausage, it very often happens that eructations occur some hours later. Sausage is made of various refuse substances from the slaughter-houses, such as the lungs, liver, heart, etc., all of which are forced into the protecting skin, which is too thick for us to see through, so that we can never tell what is inside. How right was old Father Cats when he said of sausage :
“Wie Worste kouwt, en weduwe trouwt, die weet niet wat daar is ingedouwd.”
(Literal translation : “He who eats sausage, and has faith in widows, does not know what they are hiding.”) Although we do not fully agree with him in respect to the widows, as far as the sausage is concerned we never know what we have to deal with until, as Robert Hutchison so truly says, “we have eaten it up,” and it is just for this reason that we consider sausage as an unhygienic food, and partially also because it contains such a considerable quantity of condiments. The fact that it is also frequently made from horse- and mule- meat would not, of itself, make it unhealthy, but the use of meat that is unfit, spoiled, and injurious does make it so. Sausage often contains very harmful poisons, which cause the much-dreaded cases of sausage poisoning. When the meat has been stuffed into the sausages it cannot well be inspected to find out whether it is fresh or otherwise. This might perhaps be detected by the sense of smell were it not for the fact that any bad odor is pretty well disguised by various ingredients which have been added to the meat, and which are often injurious. It is necessary to be exceedingly careful when buying sausage. Only the very best quality should be used, if one does not wish to harm the stomach. The most useful among the various varieties of sausage is blood-pudding, for reasons which have already been given in my work on “Old Age Deferred.” I may merely say here that blood forms a very strengthening food substance, owing to the quantity of albumin it contains. According to König,2 blood-pudding or sausage contains 11.81 per cent. nitrogenous matter in the original form, and pretty nearly the same amount of fat, together with 25 per cent. of extractive substance free from nitrogen; in the dry substance it contains 24 per cent. of nitrogenous material and 22 per cent. of fat. Blood is an important nutritive substance owing to its content in important nutritive salts, like iron; this is especially true of pigs’ blood, from which blood-pudding is usually made. Ac-cording to Bunge, it contains more iron than any other food substance; 100 grams of pigs’ blood, he says, contain 226 mg. of iron. The quantity of lecithin in pigs’ blood is also, not inconsiderable ; according to Abderhalden, 0.231 per cent. The content of protective substances in the blood is also important, as well as that of the secretions from the internal glands, the thyroid, adrenals, etc., which are carried into the blood. We might still add that fresh blood-pudding is not difficult to digest and is a healthful food; and since, as we have said, it contains organic secretions, it is an organotherapeutic curative agent. According to the investigations of Bessau and Schmidt, in regard to the purin contents of various foods, blood-pudding is characterized by the fact that no purin is contained therein, and consequently it does not facilitate the formation of uric acid. The ingestion of blood-pudding is especially indicated in anemic, chlorotic girls and women, who would not need to buy manufactured preparations of iron when they can have in this food a most useful organic iron preparation which is nourishing as well. In Scandinavia some very inviting, good-tasting dishes are prepared from blood-pudding, with the addition of flour, barley, and raisins.
3. Advantages and Disadvantages of Meat Extracts and Meat Soups.
Various nations, like the Abyssinians, are accustomed to eat their meat raw. On certain days great festivals are held (Brunde) and very great quantities of raw meat are eaten. These people afterward are very much excited and as if intoxicated, as has been stated by Johnston, who has traveled through vast regions in southern Abyssinia. Dundas Thompson writes in the same way concerning an Indian tribe which usually eats vegetable food, but which at a festive meal ate, in his presence, much raw meat. About one or two hours later they seemed to be greatly intoxicated by the meat. We must conclude, from these observations, that the ingestion of large quantities of raw meat exerts a very stimulating action upon the nervous system. Druitt reports similar effects. He found that the use of a fluid extract which he prepared from raw meat had, after a short time, a very stimulating action upon the brain. These exciting effects may also be observed after the use of Liebig’s meat extract.
Explorers, after traveling in regions where no meat was to be had, have often reported the very valuable services rendered by the use of such meat extracts in connection with their otherwise exclusively vegetable diet, and what an exhilarating effect it had upon them. As a matter of fact, the substances obtained from the meat which are contained in such an extract are the same as those found in raw meat, which, as stated above, has such a stimulating action. The substances which produce this enlivening effect upon the nervous system are the potash salts and the meat bases. The exhilarating action is, to be sure, followed, as is usually the case with stimulants, by a depressed condition; but this only occurs, as in the case of the latter, when too much raw meat has been taken.
All these substances are eliminated from the meat, which contains a considerable amount of fluid, during the process of cooking; they are fairly washed out and the meat is absolutely soaked out, especially when it is put in cold water, and is then gradually heated and boiled. The fluid and soluble portions of the meat are extracted, but they have very little, if any, nourishing value. Of the. albumin only a very small quantity is withdrawn, and this is then skimmed off, so that it is entirely lost. When 1/2 kilo of beef and 189 grams of veal bones are boiled, 543 C.C. of soup is obtained, as found by König, which contains 1.19 per cent. of albumin, 1.40 per cent. of fat, 1.83 per cent. of the other extractive substances, 0.152 per cent. of potash salts, and 0.089 per cent. of phosphoric acid. We thus see that potash salts and phosphoric acid are present in not inconsiderable quantities, in a soluble and easily absorbed form. According to König, 50 per cent. of the extractive substances and 8o per cent. of the nutritive salts are found in the soup. In the ash, König states, will be found 30 per cent. of phosphoric acid, 42 per cent. potash, 0.2 per cent. oxide of iron, and considerable common salt, about 9.63 per cent. The ex-tractive substances are creatin, creatinin, xanthin, guanin, sarcin, etc., and also small quantities of urea, uric acid, etc. The quantity of these extractive substances and the taste of the soup and juice depend upon the quality of the meat, its origin, and the mode of death. The meat of full-grown animals is the best for this purpose, and an old chicken will make a much better meat soup than a young one. Veal, on the other hand, owing to its tender fibers, will more readily give off its juices, as has been stated by Max Adler; consequently, veal purée and veal soup contain more extractive substances. It is most natural that the fresh raw meat of an animal raised in the fertile meadows of northern Texas or Nebraska, or in the pampas of the Argentine Republic, would give a much. better juice than that of animals feeding on our poor meadows, although some of the European pastures, especially the Hungarian and Dutch, as well as the English, furnish a very good tasting and fine quality of meat. However, in no part of the world are such great numbers of exceptionally fine cattle raised as in the Argentine Republic. Here, meat is so plentiful that the Chaco Indians and the Gauchos feed almost exclusively upon it. While Sir Henry Head was, in the early part of the last century, riding across the unbounded pampas on horseback, for weeks at a time, he lived entirely on meat and water, and he affirmed’ that he never in his life felt so fresh and well. Had Sir Henry adhered to this diet for a longer time, and had he not been most of the time in the saddle, and consequently getting plenty of exercise, he would probably, later on, not have escaped the gout, which so frequently occurs among the meat-eating people of his country.
It is, therefore, not a matter of surprise that Liebig conceived the idea of utilizing this great abundance of meat, which he believed to be a necessity, in view of the many people suffering from meat famine in many parts of Europe. He built factories and started the wholesale manufacture of the Liebig meat extract, which, he states, is obtained by the withdrawal of the juices from fresh meat which is chopped up, after having been freed from fat and tendons, and is then placed in hot water. The solution obtained is first filtered, and afterward evaporated in large vats to the consistency of a thick syrup. He adds 8 to 10 times the quantity of water to the meat, which is boiled for half an hour. According to Liebig, 30 pounds of lean beef are required to make one pound of meat extract.
We shall now show the chemical composition of certain varieties of meat extract.
According to Kônig, Liebig’s meat extract contains :-
17.70 per cent. water. 61.04 per cent. organic substances. 9.17 per cent. nitrogen-total. 0.36 per cent. insoluble and coagulable proteins. 6.01 per cent. albumoses. 0.59 per cent. ammonia. 59.08 per cent. various nitrogenous compounds. 21.46 per cent. nutritive salts. 8.98 per cent. potash. 7.75 per cent. phosphoric acid. 3.99 per cent. common salt.
When a certain quantity of water is added to these meat extracts, a good soup can be made. With one-quarter of a pound of Liebig’s extract, it is said that as much bouillon can be made as could be obtained from 8 to 9 pounds of bones and fat-free beef.
Now, as to the value of meat soups and meat extracts, I would, in consequence of their stimulating action, be inclined to consider them, as the other stimulants, alcohol, etc., as a sort of medicine, and as such they have an excellent effect. They may be, as has often been suggested, mixed with and taken in tea, whereby the exciting and exhilarating effect is increased. Avicenna already recommended meat soups after great exertion, and in conditions of exhaustion in general Convalescents and invalids will be benefited by a cup of good bouillon, or by the addition of meat extract to an otherwise weak bouillon. They do not obtain nourishment from this, but are. stimulated, and often feel somewhat stronger.
The resisting capacity of such weak persons against infections in general is thus increased, according to a series of experiments. Richet, in experimenting on dogs, found that raw meat was very efficacious as a preventive of infection by tuberculosis. This property is, on the other hand, entirely absent in the case of cooked meat, which no longer has any extractive substances, and from which soup cannot be made. Together with the juice of the meat, certain protective substances which are found in the blood are also extracted, as well as the products of the ductless glands, particularly the thyroid, which has an important immunizing action against all kinds of infectionsa subject I have fully explained in my work on “Old Age Deferred.” I have also shown (at the Tuberculosis Congress in, Paris, 1905) that the thyroid plays an important rôle against contagion in tuberculosis. It is precisely this stimulating action of the juice of the raw meat upon the thyroid which probably causes the excitant effect upon the nerves, for, as we have already seen, the thyroid is one of the most important regulators of the nervous system, and a diseased condition of this gland always causes changes in this system.
Another effect produced by meat soups and meat extracts in general is a very powerful stimulation of the digestive functions, as has been shown through the researches of Pawlow. When there is a lack of appetite, probably no medicinal agent is more effective in stimulating it than a good cup of bouillon taken just before eating. A further action of the meat soups is the diuretic effect due to the meat extracts contained therein, which causes a rapid elimination of considerable quantities of urea. This no doubt stands in causal relation to the increase of blood-pressure induced by the meat extracts. These ex-tracts undoubtedly exert an irritating action during their pass-age through the kidneys; hence, meat juices or soups also have an injurious action, and should only be given to persons with sound kidneys. Owing to the fact that they increase the blood-pressure, meat extracts and bouillon may exert a very prejudicial effect in cases of arteriosclerosis. For such persons, who usually already have a high blood-pressure, the use of meat bouillons is not indicated, as, otherwise, the process of arteriosclerosis may be favored. In consequence of its stimulating action upon the thyroid gland, the use of meat extracts when this organ is diseased may bring about most injurious effects, and should not be allowed; it is for this reason, too, that in advanced age, a state primarily to be ascribed to a degeneration of the thyroid gland, the use of meat extracts should be avoided. This is all the more necessary since the kidneys and liver have also undergone more or less degenerative alterations. In advanced age, a glass of milk should be preferred to a cup of bouillon; whether, however, the former will be equally well liked is a question. In my experience, I have found that old people usually have an instinctive aversion for bloody meats, and sometimes also for bouillon. Nature often warns man in this way against injurious foods. For patients suffering from diseases of the liver, the use of meat extracts should be strictly prohibited, for we have learned from the experiments of Pawlow that it is just these extractive sub-stances of the meat which have such a harmful action when derived from the circulation by the liver, which is obliged to destroy the poisons they contain. When the liver is diseased, it is unable to do this. That gouty and diabetic patients will not be benefited by bouillon will have been understood from the previous chapter. While, thus, in certain diseases, meat soups are not indicated, when taken occasionally by healthy persons, they may render good service, but we do not recommend them for daily use.
In children, even large amounts of meat extract are not injurious; on the contrary, as Lehmann has shown in his experiments upon two children who had been weakened by a deficient diet, the taking of large quantities of meat extract caused a daily improvement and development. This is to be explained by the stimulating action of these extracts upon the thyroid, by which, as we have already stated in the first chapter of this work, growth may be stimulated ; but for healthy adults and for old persons we would not advocate the daily use of meat juices and extracts.