Hot water is, in reality, a “natural scavenger,” but its virtues are only imperfectly known. As a therapeutic agent it is almost without a peer, and yet it is so little used that it is practically a dead letter. Chemists are burning the midnight oil in their laboratories searching for new weapons with which to fight sepsis, while hot, boiled water, which is one of the best antiseptics in existence, is almost ignored. It may be asked why (if it is such an invaluable remedial agent) it is not more extensively used and advocated? In the first place, its merits are not generally known. In the second place, physicians who know of its value hesitate to prescribe it, for the reason that the majority of patients expect the doctor to prescribe drugs, and are disappointed if he does not. There is a tendency on the part of the majority of people to slight that which is near at hand and easily obtained, in favor of those things which are designated by mysterious titles, or are difficult of attainment. Man has been so long accustomed to regard with a species of awe the hieroglyphics on orthodox prescriptions, that he finds it difficult to dissociate from it the idea of talismanic power.But to return to its uses. Hot water used as a stomach bath is a valuable auxiliary in the preservation and restoration of health.
By its means the stomach is cleansed of mucous accumulations and particles of undigested food, thus enabling it to perform its functions satisfactorily. If, as is often the case (more especially with dyspeptics) undigested food remains in the stomach, it ferments, causing what is known as sour stomach, and is productive of many evils. If we keep the ferment out of the stomach by occasionally washing it, and prevent the generation of foul gases in the colon, by regularly flushing it, the bile will effectually prevent any fermentation in the intestines; and with the body in this cleanly condition, sickness is well-nigh impossible.