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tea, prepared, leaves and pigments

TARTARIC ACID.—A colourless, crystalline, readily soluble compound. It is a local irritant, and may cause fatal irritation of the stomach and intestines if taken in too large doses. The antidote is lime-water, magnesia, or any alkali. In medicine, tartaric acid is used with alkalies to form effervescent draughts, such as Seidlitz powder. Commercially, it is largely used in the manufacture of lemonade, as it is less expensive than citric acid.

TATTOOING.—The practice of decorating the skin by pricking it with needles and introducing pigments into the wounds thus made. Various colours are used, and the designs executed are often very artistic. The wounds soon heal, and the pigments remain indelibly lodged in the cutaneous tissues. Soldiers and sailors the world over are very fond of thus orna menting their arms, chest, and back ; but it is among the Japanese that tattooing has developed into real art. The process is rather painful ; and when a large area of skin is tattooed at one time, it may give rise to con siderable inflammation. There is also a danger that the tattooed person may be infected with some contagious disease from which the operator may happen to suffer, especially if the latter, as is often the case, wets the needles with saliva before applying the pigments. Fig. .111 shows some very artistic

Japanese designs of tattooing.

beverage prepared from the dried leaves of the tea-plant (Camellia theifera, or Thai Sinensis), an evergreen shrub growing extensively in China, Japan, and India. The active principle in tea is an alkaloid called theme, which is closely related to the caffeine of coffee. The tea-leaves contain two to four per cent. of theine, and a considerable quantity of tannin, on account of which they must be scalded before a drinkable beverage can be prepared. In addition to these constituents, tea contains, also, certain characteristic aromatic substances. Green tea and black tea denote simply tea-leaves prepared by different methods. The former is prepared by steaming the leaves, thus retaining the original colour ; while the latter simply under goes a process of drying. The quality of tea depends largely upon the size of the leaves, and also upon whether or not the stalks are used.

Tea, like coffee, contains little or no food value. By virtue of the thane it acts as a cerebral stimulant and as a cardiac excitant. The tannin is apt to cause constipation. Excessive tea drinking leads to sleeplessness, tremor, emaciation, constipation, and intense nervousness.