The several functions of the organism combine to form a chain of activities in which there must not be a single link missing, if life is to continue.
These activities are comprised within an accumulation of cells which are by no means stationary, for life means nothing more than the constant dying, of the old cells and the reconstruction of the new. It means that the human body as a whole is continually in a state of composition and decomposition.
Not until the accumulation of cells we call the body is recognized as one complete correlated and inseparable entity and the absolute interdependence of the separate cells, each one upon the others, is likewise accepted as the verified fact that it is—not until then will the erroneous and obsolete idea be discarded, by which the various organs of the body have been professionally treated as separate and independent considerations, even to the extent of being dealt with, in cases of disease, as totally aloof from one another and conveniently classed as proper subjects for submission to the expert opinion of that superior class of physicians who devote their attention exclusively to special organs and are accordingly termed “Specialists.”
Thus the question arises: What is the cause of disease? The question does not apply to any one particular form of disease or class of diseases, but to disease generally, as a concrete term meaning any disorder which may manifest itself by individual disturbances in the body; for such disturbance is but a variation in quantity or quality of one general disturbance, a variation in the mechanism that controls the work of keeping the existing cells in proper condition and replacing those cells which are constantly being destroyed. It is a variation in the process of regeneration, which we term life.
METABOLISM is the process which is constantly going on in the human system, whereby the cells that have been consumed by oxidation are removed through the excreta—the faeces, the urine, the perspiration, and the exhalations from the lungs—to be replaced by new ones.
Metabolism, means change of matter. It signifies the course by which nutritive material, or food, is built up into living matter. This process is accomplished through the blood, which distributes the necessary material to all parts of the body where cells need to be replaced and carries away the consumed portions.
In the marvelous performance of its functions, when properly supplied, it carries the elements that are essential to regeneration in the correct proportions. When not properly supplied, these proportions become incorrect and foreign formations may arise which are disturbing to the organism.
In nature there is a constant tendency to counterbalance disturbances in the proper proportion and by distribution of cell building material to restore the normal condition. We may thus speak of the overwhelmingly curative tendency of nature.