Difference in appearances of acid and alkaline children and developmental dissimilarities, researched and observed by Thomas.C.Duncan …


The normal child is alkaline and should be of fair size, weighing at birth about nine pounds. It should have firm flesh, well-developed bony system, broad shoulders and head, appear well nourished, cry lustily when hungry, ear heartily and sleep soundly when it has nursed about half a cup of milk.

The acid child is under weight. It is thin in flesh, and the bones are small and short. Those of the head are deficient, and the sutures are all open. The face is narrow and the features are pinched. The lips are thin and red. The tongue is small, red, and pointed. The skin of this child at birth is very red, harsh feeling, and delicately thin. As it grows older the skin becomes pale and has a parchment feel. The excessively alkaline child is usually over-weight and large every way. The flesh is flabby. It has large joints and long, large bones. The head is broad and the sutures well closed. The fontanelles may be wide open or will appear so it develops. It cries lustily when aroused, but grunts usually until its wants are supplied. It eats heartily and often, and sleeps at first a great deal, until it is finally kept awake by its developmental tendency.


The development of these three classes of children is radically different. The normal child is alkaline and remains so, for the alkaline digestive elements are in a normal relation to the acid elements. That is, the bile and pancreatic juices are able to change the reaction of the acid digestive current as it comes down from the stomach.

The acid child, with its large stomach and excessive flow of acid gastric juice, and deficient bile and pancreatic fluid, has to struggle with acidity high up in the alimentary tract. This acidity of the digestive mass irritates the intestines, producing muscular contraction and rapid emptying of this canal. Its stools are, therefore, thin and green from the decomposed bile. Under such circumstances it is easy to see that the absorption must be deficient, and therefore, the child is feebly nourished. This is evident in the emaciated, hungry look it present. It is uneasy, restless and sleepless; cries with colic from the irritation of the acid elements high up in the small intestines. It is nourished chiefly on the fluid elements of the food that are taken up by the capillaries, consequently its blood is deficient in white or fat blood. We find not only that it is feebly nourished and imperfectly developed, but that this acid child has a marked tendency to certain diseases. The cases of patulous foramen ovale I have seen have been in nervo- sanguine (acid) children. This is due to deficiency of fibrous tissue, whose source is the lymphatic glands.

The alkaline child, having a small stomach and a well- developed liver, has an ample digestive capacity. The acid milk is digested, emulsified into chyle, which is rapidly and readily absorbed. This leaves a craving of the system for more food, and the tendency is to eat too often. Notwithstanding this child’s bowels are inclined to constipation, while the system is being excessively nourished. The child grows more alkaline and restless from repletion. We have here a practical illustration that those who eat heartily do not need the sleep of those who eat properly. This child is tardy in its nervous and bony development. It is late in getting its teeth, seems sleepy and slow of comprehension, and is especially tardy in walking. It is usually good-natured, a great pet, and likes to be carried on the arm. The heat on the back, it is believed, aids the digestive activity. It is very sensitive to pain and neglect, and cries at trifles.

Thomas C. Duncan
Thomas C.Duncan, M.D., Ph.D., LL.D. Consulting Physician to the Chicago Foundlings' Home.
Editor of The United States Medical Investigator. Member of the Chicago Paedological Society. First President of the American Paedological Society Author of: Diseases of infants and children, with their homoeopathic treatment. Published 1878 and Hand book on the diseases of the heart and their homeopathic treatment. by Thomas C. Duncan, M.D. Published 1898