One would be well justified in calling the blood “man’s body in a liquid state.” For the blood is destined to become the living solid body of man.
People were astonished, when Liebig, the great naturalist, called blood the “liquid flesh;” we are correct even in going further and calling the blood “man’s body in a liquid state.” From blood are prepared not only muscles and flesh, but also bones, brain, fat, teeth, eyes, veins, cartilages, nerves, tendons, and even hair.
It is utterly wrong for anybody to suppose, that the constituents of all these parts are dissolved in the blood, say as sugar is dissolved in water. By no means. Water is something quite different from the sugar dissolved in it; while the blood is itself the material from which all the solid parts of the body are formed.
The blood is received into the heart, and the heart, like a pump, forces it into the lungs. There it absorbs in a remarkable manner the oxygen of the air which comes into the lungs by breathing. This blood, saturated now with oxygen, is then recalled to another part of the heart by an expansive movement of that organ.
This part of the heart contracts again and impels the oxygenated blood into the whole body by means of arteries, which branch out more and more, and become smaller and smaller, until at last they are no longer visible to the naked eye. In this manner the blood penetrates all parts of the body, and returns to the heart by means of similar thread-like veins, which gradually join and form larger veins. Having reached the heart, it is again forced into the lungs, and absorbs there more oxygen, returns to the heart, and is again circulated through the whole system.
During this double circulation of the blood from the heart to the lungs and back, and then from the heart to all parts of the body and back again—during all this, the change of particles, so remarkable in itself, is constantly going on: the exchange by which the useless and wasted matter are secreted and new substances distributed. This fact is wonderful, and its cause not yet fully explained by science; but so much is certain, that the blood when being conveyed to all parts of the human body, deposits whatever at the time may be needed there for the renewal of that part.
Thus the blood that has been formed in the child from the mother’s milk, contains phosphorus, oxygen, and calcium. These substances, during the circulation of the blood, are deposited in the bones, and form “phosphate of lime,” the principal element in the bone. In the same manner fluor and calcium are given to the teeth. The muscles, or flesh, also receive their ingredients from the blood; so do the nerves, veins, membranes, brain, and nails; also the inner organs, such as the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, intestines, and stomach.
They all, however, in return give to the blood their waste particles, which it carries to that part of the human body where they may be secreted.
If any member of the body is so bound, that the blood cannot circulate, it must decay; for the life of the body consists in its constant change and transformation, in the continual exchange
of fresh substances for waste ones. But this vital exchange is only kept up by the constant circulation of the blood, which, while it decreases by being transformed into vital parts of the body, is always formed anew by our daily food.
Food is therefore very justly called “Means of Existence,” and the blood may rightly be called the “Juice of Life.”