FCENICULUM (FENNEL).—The dried fruit of Fcenic ulum vulgare, a herb extensively grown in southern Europe. In the United States it has more or less escaped from cultivation, and become naturalised. It contains a high percentage of volatile oil, the most active constituents of which are camphorS. Fennel is useful as a stimulant to the mucous membrane of the stomach, causing warmth and increasing the intestinal movements ; given together with cathartics it is capable of relieving cramped conditions. It is rarely used alone, one or two drops of the volatile oil being a sufficient dose.
FOODSTUFFS.—From a broad point of view foodstuffs include all those substances which are necessary to build up the body. These may be derived from organic nature or from the inorganic world. Thus, the oxygen of the air is one of the most important of the foods of the human body. Water is absolutely essential to the maintenance of life, So per cent. of the human body being composed of this food material.
In the usual acceptation of the word, however, foodstuffs include only those substances which are derived from the vegetable and animal kingdoms, together with the nutrient salts from the mineral kingdom. With the limitation to this simplified view it must be emphasised, in the first place, that anyone who eliminates one of these three groups from his food, or uses them in undue proportion, will sooner or later suffer for it in health or in functional capacity. The abuse of nutritive salts is less liable to cause injurious manifestations, since they are naturally present in vegetable and animal foods, and therefore less subject to arbitrary preferences. Those who drink very large quantities of water will suffer from such excess no less than those who drink no water at all. The strict vegetarian—it might be interpolated that there are none—will suffer as well as he whose diet consists exclusively of meat. Faddism in eating is one of the silly excrescences of the half-informed mind.
It is important to remember, however, that disturbances of health may be due to food. This refers not only to affections of the stomach and intestines, but also to a large number of metabolic disorders, such as obesity, the formation of calculi, migraine, diabetes, and gout. The excessive use of meat is objectionable, and those who stuff themselves with this article of food to the point of gluttony will find no advocates ; but the same may be said with regard to vegetarianism, in so far as it exists, most people who call themselves vegetarians including in their bill of fare such important animal foods as cheese, milk, and eggs. The first man known to history was a hunter and a nomad. He lived on meat and roots, if he could find them. In a higher state of culture he became an agriculturist. and raised his cattle and wheat. Bread and meat are therefore the foods of thousands of years of adaptation.
Chemistry has demonstrated that all these foodstuffs (vegetable as well as animal) contain three primary types of substances which constitute the lood required by man. These are proleids (containing nitrogen), carbo hydrates (non-nitrogenous), and fats Proteids are found in largest proportions in meat, fish, caviare. cheese, milk, and in oysters and other shell-fish. They make up a considerable proportion also of legumes and cereals ; and practically no organic substance is without a small proportion. Carbo hydrates, or sugar-forming substances, are most abundant in plants, as legumes, cereals, fruits, and vegetables ; they are present in small quantities also in most animal foods, as butter, lard, tallow, and oil. Hence all three types of nutrient materials are represented in all classes of food. The exact figures for some foods are shown in Plate XIX., from which it will be seen that carbohydrates are derived principally from the vegetable kingdom ; whereas uroteids and fats may be obtained from either the animal or the vegetable group.