The incubation period in anaphylaxis depends upon the dose, the type of animal used, and especially upon the nature of the antigen employed. Once “sensitized,” the organism retains an increased susceptibility to the particular poison during its entire life. A “sensitized” animal, like an “immunized” one, is no longer the same as a non-immunized individual, even though otherwise apparently enjoying good health.

Anaphylaxis, according to Prof. Richet, an authority on the subject, is the opposite condition to protection (prophylaxis). He coined the word in 1902, to describe the peculiar attribute which certain poisons possess of increasing instead of diminishing the sensitivity to their action.

He states that, as the result of the injection of a toxic substance into several animals of the same species, a variable and individual effect can always be demonstrated. Some are very resistant, others intensely sensitive and further: “It has long been known that some people after eating shell-fish, mussels, or strawberries, are liable to erythema, urticaria and indigestion, with nausea and syncope; all these are phenomena, having characteristics strongly resembling those of anaphylaxis”.

That anaphylaxis frequently occurs upon the eating of certain foods (especially certain albuminous substances) is definitely proven. That individual susceptibilities to such protein- poisoning differ, is not surprising when we consider how differently constituted different people are, and how variously predisposed to disease.

According to Richet, the abnormal individual supersensitivity of some animals, may be compared to the intense sensitivity of certain human beings to sero-therapeutic injections, the similarity of reaction being unmistakable. Even the increased susceptibility to infection by the tubercle microbe, exhibited by children of tuberculous parents, is sometimes associated with a kind of anaphylaxis, i.e., they have been hereditarily sensitised by some poison to such an extent as to diminish the usual resistance of the race to the attacks of the tubercle bacillus. And it may here be recalled that frequently the partaking of a meal, consisting largely of albuminous food, leads to albuminuria, showing another form of functional disturbance, due to protein poisoning. The same is true of arteriosclerosis.

All of which supports the view which I have always defended, that we cannot with impunity indulge in unsymbiotic, or parasitic feeding. It is one of the marks of the true parasite that it feeds upon substances, which have already been built up, complicated, and organized into a close similarity with its own bodily fabrics. Perpetual “in-feeding” of this sort is abhorred by Nature, according to my theory, since it inhibits or abuses a biologically essential chain of processes, by which we turn vegetable substances into flesh, just as plant built up organic matter from mineral. The most profitable, healthy, and, in the chain of universal Symbiosis, the most moral form of eating is “cross-feeding ,” in virtue of which we render due compensation to the world of life for our borrowings, and in so doing ensure progressive co-evolution, as between ourselves and our biological partners, the plant.

For nothing is ever given in the world for nothing.

Richet thinks that the comparison between anaphylaxis and heredity opens a wholly new and unexplored field. And so it would seem to do. But we must recognize that the deleterious effects of in-feeding, begin to accumulate generations before an outbreak of disease actually happens.

The following are some of the leading principles of anaphylaxis; 1. A definite incubation period is necessary before anaphylaxis can be induced; i.e., on my interpretation, when certain (poisonous) albuminous substances are injected, the body is left to neutralize them as best it can-the state of primary “intoxication.” The organism is “sensitised”. A second injection is required to bring the body to perform a violent eliminative effort (crisis). This is the “exciting” dose, because it produces the “anaphylactic shock”, regarding which more anon. The preparatory and the exciting state form almost two distinct groups of phenomena, which must be differentiated.

2. The anaphylactic state lasts many weeks, i.e., neutralization and new adaptation take time.

3. There may be, according to Richet, some similarity between anaphylaxis and immunity. I should say, however, that in either case we have mainly a reaction to poisons, be it by neutralization, or by pathogenic adaptation; and in either case this must be at the expense of vitality.

4. Anaphylaxis is largely specific; that is to say, the second injection should be of the same nature as the first. The body, as it were, reacts purposely to a definite contingency of which it has previously received notice.

5. The symptoms of anaphylaxis are immediate and intense, while the symptoms of the primary intoxication are mild-the way to hell is the first alluring enough; an intense struggle, however, to get free is required later on, if salvation is to be achieved.

H. Reinheimer