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ON THE NATURAL FACULTIES Book I
[p. 43]Also, that which is still contained in the veins, and still more, that which is in the stomach, from the fact that it is destined to nourish if properly elaborated, has been called "nutriment." Similarly we call the various kinds of food "nutriment," not because they are already nourishing the animal, nor because they exist in the same state as the material which actually is nourishing it, but because they are able and destined to nourish it if they be properly elaborated.
This was also what Hippocrates said, viz., "Nutriment is what is engaged in nourishing, as also is quasi-nutriment, and what is destined to be nutriment." For to that which is already being assimilated he gave the name of nutriment; to the similar material which is being presented or becoming adherent, the name of quasi-nutriment; and to everything else- that is, contained in the stomach and veins- the name of destined nutriment.
It is quite clear, therefore, that nutrition must necessarily be a process of assimilation of that which is nourishing to that which is being nourished. Some, however, say that this assimilation does not occur in reality, but is merely apparent; these are the people who think that Nature is not artistic, that she does not show forethought for the animal's welfare, and that she has absolutely no native powers whereby she alters some substances, attracts others, and discharges others.
Now, speaking generally, there have arisen the following two sects in medicine and philosophy