I'm reading Agatha Christie's The Mystery of the Blue Train (1928), and I came across the line "if Jane Harfield had had a slice of brown bread every evening and taken a little stimulant with her meals she might be here today."
I was struck by this use of the word "stimulant". Did this word mean alcoholic beverage in Christie's day? Was wine or some other drink believed to have a health-giving effect when taken with meals? No further explanation was given, so I was just curious!
I speak North American English, and of course in current times we use the word "stimulant" to mean something like methamphetamine, cocaine or caffeine, an "upper" drug as contrasted with "downer" drugs like heroin. But it is my understanding that alcohol is not really a stimulant but a depressant, so it's interesting to me how the word was used historically. Thoughts?