Definition for NON-NAT'U-RALS

NON-NAT'U-RALS, n. [plur. L. non-naturalia.]

In medicine, this quaint phrase is employed to designate deficiencies, excesses, and irregularities: 1) in sleeping and watching; 2) in exercise and rest; 3) in the affections and passions; 4) in the secretions and excretions; 5) in eating, drinking, and abstinence; 6) in exposure to vicissitudes or alternations of temperature. These are all that were reckoned by the ancients; but, to the same class of agencies belong undoubtedly, 7) exposure to vicissitudes or alternations of drouth and moisture; and 8) exposure to the effluvia or exhalations from known and palpable dead and decomposing matter, or, in other words, fermenting and putrefying vegetable and animal substances, as for example, cabbages, onions, &c. or carcasses and offals of markets and slaughter-houses, fish used as a manure, &c., the ordinary excretions from living animals in a state of vitiation from accumulation, confinement, increased temperature, and decomposition; as for example, the halitus from the lungs, the perspired fluid, the urine, and the intestinal discharges; also from more simple chimical actions, which extricate copiously, and in very nearly, if not quite a pure state, carbonic acid gas, nitrous acid gas, sulphohydrous acid gas, chlorine gas, &c. All of these operate in the same manner, and stand in the same relation, as respects the causation of disease.

Return to page 37 of the letter “N”.