Alcoholic Liquors v. Barley Water.

Botanical name: 

("Herb Doctor," May, 1915.)

Considerable space in the public Press during the past month has been devoted to the question of the consumption of alcoholic liquors.

As Physio-medicals we do not believe in any beverages of a poisonous nature, and alcoholic beverages are of this class; but it is better for the public health that "the lightest of wines and beers" should be consumed in preference to spirits and strong ales—and should advocate their use from this particular point of view, and in the probability of the non-acceptance of another alternative because they contain less alcohol and are therefore correspondingly less harmful. So far, so good, but as yet the fringe only of this question has been touched—viewing it from the standpoint of public health generally, which is the only standpoint to satisfy physio-medicals. Not all the alternatives suggested by well-meaning writers can be fully justified, for some are not so innocent as they look. Take Barley Water, for instance, as a, strongly-advocated substitute for the alcoholic drinks, and which, according to the "Sunday Herald" of April 11th, is likely to become popular during the sweeping of the temperance wave over the land. We know of nothing so deleterious as this drink, which is considered so harmless as to be made one of the most commonly-used foods for babies and invalids. Our judgment of this drink, formed from observation during a practice extending about half a century, is that we cannot conceive anything more dangerous to the general health than the adoption of its use as a general beverage in preference to even light alcoholic drinks. Although Barley Water is free from alcohol, yet that fact is not a safe recommendation, for it carries within itself a quality quite as dangerous as alcohol, inasmuch as it so combines with other accumulations in the body as to form stones in the kidneys and bladder, leading ultimately to Bright's disease. We, therefore, very strongly do not advocate its use, for it must, be borne in mind that anything which is a fruitful cause of obstruction is an enemy to the organism, and in the front rank of such enemies we place Barley Water.

Common Plants and their Uses in Medicine was written by Richard Lawrence Hool, F.N.A.M.H., in 1922.