Beef-tea, a valuable article of invalid dietary, made by infusing lean beef in warm water. Much misconception exists with respect to the usefulness of beef-tea in disease. As ordinarily made it is rather a stimulant than a form of diet, and if given with the idea of nourishing the patient it should be recognised that such dilute material is only administered because nutriment in a more concentrated form would not be tolerated. Beef-tea, in fact, contains only mineral salts, extractive substances, and gelatine, with but a very small quantity of the albuminous constituents of the original meat. While, however, such a substance is of but little use to a stomach which can deal with material more sustaining, experience seems to show that it is admirably adapted for the enfeebled digestive powers of febrile patients.
To make beef-tea a pound of good beefsteak should be cut up small, placed in a jar, and soaked for an hour or more in a pint of water, the jar being then transferred to a pan of water, which is allowed to simmer over the fire for another hour. The infusion is then strained, and a few pinches of salt added. If it is desired to extract the more nourishing constituents of the meat, the latter should be soaked in brine, and then subsequently gently heated, carefully noting that the temperature does not exceed the coagulating point of albumen; if a considerable amount of salt has been originally employed (a procedure necessary if it be desired to extract all the nourishing material of the meat), this must be subsequently in part removed by dialysis. Beef-tea made by the latter process, as compared with the former, is not so palatable, though far more nutritious.