Since ancient times, spirit has been closely related to human life. Spirit is used as a drug in TCM. TCM believes that spirit as the king of all drugs has the actions of dredging meridians, activating collaterals, promoting the circulation of qi and blood, improving appetite, removing fatigue, making people happy and relaxed with brisk sensation if it is moderately drunk. The main constituent of spirit is ethyl alcohol. Drinking spirit causes excitation, dilates blood vessels and accelerates blood circulation. Therefore, it can excite nerves and relieve fatigue. The stimulation of spirit on taste sense and olfaction can reflectively increase respiratory capacity and excretion of digestive juice. Accordingly, drinking a small amount of spirit before meals can strengthen the stomach and improve appetite; drinking a small quantity of spirit before bed time can relieve fatigue due to muscular tension and promote sleeping; drinking a bit of spirit at daytime can excite nerves and make people work energetically. Studies in recent years have discovered that drinking a little spirit can prevent myocardiac infarction and cerebral thrombosis, reduce the incidence of cardiocerebrovascular diseases.
A great number of ancient and modern, Chinese and foreign data have indicated that drinking a small amount of spirit is beneficial to the human body while overdrinking spirit and addiction to it may be harmful and give rise to various diseases or aggravate diseases. Prolonged stimulation of spirit on the stomach may cause chronic gastritis and malnutrition; prolonged drinking spirit on an empty stomach may result in fatty liver and cirrhosis due to the decomposition of spirit within the liver; drinking spirit may induce cardiac lipoidal change, reduce myocardiac elasticity and cardiac contractility, promote angiosclerosis and cerebrovascular accident in the patients with chronic alcoholism; overdrinking spirit may aggravate primary diseases and is not beneficial to the recovery from diseases and longevity in some patients with chronic hepatic diseases, chronic bronchitis, bronchial asthma, pulmonary emphysema and chronic gastritis.