Thursday, January 22, 2015

Coffee as Medicine

Rafinesque's Medical Flora, published in 1828, is a comprehensive overview of plants in North America that have medical properties. Rafinesque says that coffee "promotes digestion, revives and keeps awake," and is an "antidote of opium."

However, "the abuse produces tremors, nervous diseases and palsy." It is also "baneful to nervous, hot, choleric, and phthisical persons." A phthisical person is someone suffering from phthisis, a wasting illness of the lungs.

After writing those last two sentences, I need to wipe spittle off my keyboard.

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