The True Scope of Medicine
Anyone able to read the signs of the times
cannot help observing the powerful influence which the Nature Cure
philosophy is already exerting upon the trend of modern medical
science. In Germany the younger generation of physicians has been
forced by public demand to adopt the natural methods of treatment
and the German government has introduced them in the medical departments
of its army and navy.
In English-speaking countries, the foremost
members of the medical profession are beginning to talk straight
Nature Cure doctrine, to condemn the use of drugs and to endorse
unquaIifiedly the Nature Cure methods of treatment. In proof of
this I quote from an article by Dr. William Osler in the Encyclopedia
Americana, Vol. X, under the title of "Medicine":
Dr. Osler on Medicine
"The new school does not feel itself
under obligation to give any medicines whatever, while a generation
ago not only could few physicians have held their practice unless
they did, but few would have thought it safe or scientific. Of course,
there are still many cases where the patient or the patient's friends
must be humored by administering medicine or alleged medicine where
it is not really needed, and indeed often where the buoyancy
of mind which is the real curative agent, can only be created
by making him wait hopefully for the expected action of medicine;
and some physicians still cannot unlearn their old training. But
the change is great. The modern treatment of disease relies
very greatly on the old so-called natural methods, diet and exercise,
bathing and massage--in other words, giving the natural
forces the fullest scope by easy and thorough nutrition, increased
flow of blood and removal of obstructions to the excretory systems
or the circulation in the tissues.
"One notable example is typhoid fever.
At the outset of the nineteenth century it was treated with 'remedies'
of the extremest violence--bleeding and blistering, vomiting and
purging, and the administration of antimony and mercury, and plenty
of other heroic remedies. Now the patient is bathed and nursed and
carefully tended, but rarely given medicine. This is the result
partly of the remarkable experiments of the Paris and Vienna schools
in the action of drugs, which have shaken the stoutest faiths; and
partly of the constant and reproachful object lesson of homeopathy.
No regular physician would ever admit that the homeopathic preparations,
'infinitesimals,' could do any good as direct curative agents; and
yet it was perfectly certain that homeopaths lost no more of their
patients than others. There was but one conclusion to draw--
that most drugs had no effect whatever on the diseases for which
they were administered."
Dr. Osler is probably the greatest medical
authority on drugs now living. He was formerly professor of materia
medica at the Johns Hopkins University of Baltimore, U. S., and
now holds a professorship at Oxford University, England. His books
on medical practice are in use in probably every university and
medical school in English-speaking countries. His views on drugs
and their real value as expressed in this article should be an eye-opener
to those good people who believe that we of the Nature Cure school
are altogether too radical, extreme, and somewhat cranky.
However, what Dr. Osler says regarding
the "New School" is true only of a few advanced members
of the medical profession.
On the rank and file, the idea of drugless
healing has about the same effect as a red rag on a mad bull. There
are still very few physicians in general practice today who would
not lose their bread and butter if they attempted to practice drugless
healing on their patients. Both the profession and the public will
need a good deal more education along Nature Cure lines before they
will see the light.
In the second sentence of his article, Dr.
Osler admits the efficacy of mental therapeutics and therapeutic
faith as a "curative agent," and ascribes the
good effects of medicine to their stimulating influence upon the
patient's mind rather than to any beneficial action of the drugs
With regard to the origin of the modern
treatment of typhoid fever, however, the learned doctor is either
misinformed or he misrepresents the facts. The credit for the introduction
of hydropathic treatment of typhoid fever does not belong to the
"remarkable experiments of the Paris and Vienna schools."
These schools and the entire medical profession fought this treatment
with might and main. For thirty years Priessnitz, Bilz, Ruhne, Father
Kneipp and many other pioneers of Nature Cure were persecuted and
prosecuted, dragged into the courts and tried on the charges of
malpractice and manslaughter for using their sane and natural methods.
Not until Dr. Braun of Berlin wrote an essay on the good results
obtained by the hydropathic treatment of typhoid fever and it had
in that way received orthodox baptism and sanction, was it adopted
by advanced physicians all over the world.
Through the Nature Cure treatment
of typhoid fever, the mortality of this disease has been reduced
from over fifty percent under the old drug treatment to less than
five percent under the water treatment.
But the average medical practitioner has
not yet learned from the Nature Cure school, that the same
simple fasting and cold water which cure typhoid fever so effectively,
will just as surely and easily cure every other form of acute disease,
as, for instance, scarlet fever, diphtheria, smallpox, cerebrospinal
meningitis, appendicitis, etc. Therefore, we claim that
there is no necessity for the employment of poisonous drugs, serums
and antitoxins for this purpose.
Referring to the last two sentences of Dr.
Osler's article, homeopaths have, as a matter of fact, lost less
patients than allopaths. The effect of homeopathic medicine, moreover,
is not altogether negative, as Dr. Osler implies. The discovery
of the minute cell as the basis of the human organism on the one
hand and of the unlimited divisibility of matter on the other hand
explains the rationality of the infinitesimal dose. Health and disease
are resident in the cell; therefore, the homeopath doctors the cell,
and the size of the dose has to be apportioned to the size of the
When Dr. Osler says that most drugs have
no effect whatsoever, he makes a serious misstatement. While they
may not contribute anything to the cure of the disease for which
they are given, they are often very harmful in themselves.
Almost every virulent poison known to man
is found in allopathic prescriptions. It is now positively proved
by the Diagnosis from the Eye that these poisons
have a tendency to accumulate in the system, to concentrate in certain
parts and organs for which they have a special affinity and then
to cause continual irritation and actual destruction of tissues.
By far the greater part of all chronic diseases are created or complicated
on the one hand by the suppression of acute diseases by means of
drug poisons, and on the other hand through the destructive effects
of the drugs themselves.
Dr. Schwenninger, the medical adviser of
Prince Bismarck, and later of Richard Wagner, the great composer,
has published a book entitled The Doctor. This work is the most
scathing arraignment and condemnation of modern medical practice,
especially of poisonous drugs and of surgery. Dr. Treves, the body
physician of the late King Edward of England, is no less outspoken
in his denunciation of drugging than Drs. Osler and Schwenninger.
Just a few men like these, foremost in the
medical profession, who have achieved financial and scientific independence,
can afford to speak so frankly. The great majority of physicians,
even though they know better, continue in the old ruts so as to
be considered ethical and orthodox, and in order to hold their practice.
It is not the medical profession that has brought about
this reform in the treatment of typhoid fever and other diseases.
They have been forced into the adoption of the more advanced natural
methods through the pressure of the Nature Cure
movement in Germany and elsewhere.
Dr. Osler's statements, made with due deliberation
in a contribution to the Encyclopedia Americana, are certainly
a frank declaration as to the uselessness of drug treatment, and
on the other hand, an unqualified endorsement of natural methods
But it seems to me that Dr. Osler pours
out the baby with the bath water, as we say in German. That is,
I am inclined to think that his opinion regarding the ineffectiveness
of drugs is entirely too radical. There is a legitimate
scope for medicinal remedies insofar as they build up the blood
on a natural basis and serve as tissue foods.
Many people who have lost their faith in
"Old School" methods of treatment have swung around to
the other extreme of medical nihilism. In fact, Dr. Osler himself
stands accused of being a medical nihilist.
Many of those who have adopted natural methods
of living and of treating diseases have acquired an actual horror
of the word medicine. However, this extreme attitude is not justified.
It also appears that some of the readers
of my writings are under the impression that we of the Nature Cure
school absolutely condemn the use of any and all medicines. This,
however, is not so.
The Position of "Nature Cure" Regarding Medicinal
We do condemn the use of drugs insofar as
they are poisonous and destructive and insofar as they suppress
acute diseases or healing crises, which are Nature's cleansing and
healing efforts; but on the other hand we realize that there is
a wide field for the helpful application of medicinal remedies insofar
as they act as foods to the tissues of the body and as neutralizers
and eliminators of waste and morbid materials.
In every form of chronic disease there exists
in the system, on the one hand, an excess of certain morbid materials,
and on the other hand, a deficiency of certain mineral constituents,
organic salts, which are essential to the normal functions of the
Thus, in all anemic diseases the blood is
lacking in iron, which picks up the oxygen in the air cells of the
lungs and carries it into the tissues, and in sodium, which combines
with the carbonic acid (coalgas) that is constantly being liberated
in the system and conveys it to the organs of depuration, especially
the lungs and the skin. In point of fact, oxygen starvation is due
in a much greater degree to the deficiency of sodium and the consequential
accumulation of carbonic acid in the system (carbonic acid asphyxiation)
than to the lack of iron in the blood, as assumed by the regular
school of medicine.
Foods or medicinal remedies which will supply
this deficiency of iron and sodium in the organism will tend to
overcome the anemic conditions.
The great range of uric acid diseases, such
as rheumatism, calculi, arteriosclerosis, certain forms of diabetes
and albuminuria, are due, on the one hand, to the excessive use
of acid-producing foods, and on the other hand, to a deficiency
in the blood of certain alkaline mineral elements, especially sodium,
magnesium and potassium, whose office it is to neutralize and eliminate
the acids which are created and liberated in the processes of starchy
and protein digestion.
In another chapter I have explained the
origin and progressive development of uric-acid diseases. Our volume
on Natural Dietetics will contain additional proof that practically
all diseases are caused by, or complicated with, acid conditions
in the system.
Any foods or medicines which will provide
the system with sufficient quantities of the acid-binding, alkaline
mineral salts will prove to be good medicine for all forms of acid
The mineral constituents necessary to the
vital economy of the organism should, however, be supplied in the
organic form. This will be explained more fully
in subsequent pages.
From what I have said, it becomes apparent
that it is impossible to draw a sharp line of distinction between
foods and medicines. All foods which serve the above-named purposes
are good medicines, and all nonpoisonous herb extracts, homeopathic
and vitochemical remedies that have the same effect upon the system
are, for the same reason, good foods.
The medical treatment of
the Nature Cure school consists largely in the proper selection
and combination of food materials. This must be so. It stands to
reason that Nature has provided within the ranges of the natural
foods all the elements which Man needs in the way of food and medicine.
But it is quite possible that, through continued
abuse, the digestive apparatus has become so weak and so abnormal
that it cannot function properly, that it cannot absorb and assimilate
from natural foods a sufficient quantity of the elements which the
organism needs. In such cases it may be very helpful and indeed
imperative to take the organic mineral salts in the forms of fruit,
herb and vegetable juices, extracts or decoctions. Among the best
of these food remedies are extracts of leafy vegetables such as
lettuce, spinach, Scotch kale, cabbage, Swiss chard, etc. These
vegetables are richer than any other foods in the positive mineral
salts. The extract may be prepared from one or more of these vegetables,
according to the supply on hand or the tolerance of the digestive
organs and the taste and preference of the patient. They should
be ground to a pulp in a vegetable grinder, then pressed out in
a small fruit press, which can be secured in any department store.
One or two teacups per day will be sufficient to supply the needs
of the system for mineral salts. This extract should be prepared
fresh every day.
Then there are the Kneipp Herb Remedies.
Most of these are the Hausmittel [home remedies] of the country
population of Germany which have proved their efficacy since time
immemorial. Their medicinal value lies in the organic mineral salts
which they contain in large quantities and in beneficial combinations.
The homeopathic medications, as will be
explained at length in another chapter, produce their good results
because they work in harmony with the Laws of Nature.
We never hesitate, therefore, to prescribe
for our patients homeopathic medicines, herb decoctions and extracts,
and the vitochemical remedies which assist in the elimination of
morbid matter from the system and in building up blood and lymph
on a normal basis, that is, remedies which supply the organism with
the mineral elements in which it is deficient in the organic,
easily assimilable form. Herein lies the legitimate scope of medicinal
All medicinal remedies which build up the
system on a normal, natural basis and increase its fighting power
against disease without in any way inflicting injury upon the organism
are welcome to the adherents of the Nature Cure methods of treatment.
On the other hand, we do not use any drugs
or medicines which tend to hinder, check or suppress Nature's cleansing
and regenerating processes. We never give anything in the least
degree poisonous. We avoid all anodynes, hypnotics, sedatives, antipyretics,
laxatives, cathartics, etc. Judicious fasting, cold-water applications
and, if necessary, warm-water injections in case of constipation
will do everything that is claimed for poisonous drugs.
Inorganic Minerals and Mineral Poisons
For many years past, physicians of the different
schools of medicine, diet experts and food chemists have been divided
on the question whether or not mineral substances which
in the organic form enter into the composition of the human
body may safely be used in foods and medicines in the inorganic
The medical profession holds almost unanimously
that this is permissible and good practice, so that nearly every
allopathic medical prescription contains some such inorganic substance,
or worse than that, one or more virulent mineral poisons, as mercury,
arsenic, phosphorus, etc.
So far, the discussion about the usefulness
or harmfulness of inorganic minerals as foods and medicines was
largely theoretical and controversial. Neither party had positive
proofs for its contentions.
But Nature's records in the iris of the
eye settle the question for good and for ever. One of the fundamental
principles of the science of Diagnosis from the Eye is that "nothing
shows in the iris by abnormal signs or discolorations except that
which is abnormal in the body or injurious to it." When
substances which are uncongenial or poisonous to the system accumulate
in any part or organ of the body in sufficient quantities, they
will indicate their presence by certain signs and abnormal colors
in the corresponding areas of the iris.
In this way Nature makes known by her records
in the eye what substances are injurious to the body, and which
Certain mineral elements, such as iron,
sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sulphur, etc.,
which are among the important constituents of the human body, may
be taken in the organic form in fruits and vegetables,
or in herb extracts and the vitochemical remedies, in large amounts,
in fact, far beyond the actual needs of the body, but they
will not show in the iris of the eye, because they are
easily eliminated from the system.
If, however, the same minerals be taken
in the inorganic form in considerable quantities,
the iris will exhibit certain well-defined signs and discolorations
in the areas corresponding to those parts of the body in which the
mineral substances have accumulated.
Obviously, Nature does not intend that these
mineral elements should enter the organism in the inorganic form,
and therefore the organs of depuration are not able to neutralize
and eliminate them.
Thus, for instance, any amount of iron may
be taken in vegetable or herb extracts, or in the vitochemical remedies,
but this will not be seen in the eye. Whatever is taken in excess
of the needs of the body will be promptly eliminated.
If, however, similar quantities of iron
be taken for the same length of time in the inorganic, mineral form,
the iron will accumulate in the tissues of stomach and bowels, and
begin to show in the iris in the form of a rust brown discoloration
in the corresponding areas of the digestive organs, directly around
In similar manner sodium, which is one of
the most important mineral elements in the human body, if taken
in the inorganic form, will show in a heavy, white
rim along the outer edge of the iris. Sulphur will show in the form
of yellowish discolorations in the area of stomach and bowels. Iodine
in the medicinal, inorganic form, prepared from the ash of seaweeds,
shows in the iris in well-defined bright red spots. Phosphorus appears
in whitish streaks and clouds in the areas corresponding to the
organs in which it has accumulated.
An interesting exception to this rule is
our common table salt (sodium chloride), which is an inorganic mineral
combination. So far, diagnosticians from the eye have not discovered
any sign in the iris for it. There seems to be something in its
nature that makes it akin to organic substances or, like other inorganic
minerals and their combinations, it would show in the iris.
This might explain why salt is the only
inorganic mineral substance which is extensively used as food by
humanity in general. Also animals who, guided by their natural instincts,
are the finest discriminators in the selection of foods and medicines,
do not hesitate to take salt freely (salt licks) when they would
not touch any other inorganic mineral.
Nevertheless, we do not wish to encourage
the excessive use of salt, either in the cooking of food or at the
table. Taken in considerable quantities, it is undoubtedly injurious
to the tissues of the body.
Before the days of canned goods, scurvy
was a common disease among mariners and other people who had to
subsist for long periods of time on salted meats and were deprived
of fresh vegetables. The disease manifested as a breaking down of
the gums and other tissues of the body, accompanied by bleeding
and much soreness. As soon as these people partook of fresh fruits
and vegetables, the scurvy disappeared.
The minerals contained in these organic
salts foods furnished the building-stones which imparted tensile
strength to the tissues and stopped the disintegration of the fleshy
The Nature Cure regimen aims to provide
sodium chloride as well as the other mineral elements and salts
required by the body in organic form in foods and medicines.
When the use of inorganic minerals is discontinued
and when the proper methods of eliminative treatment, dietetic and
otherwise, are applied, these mineral substances are gradually dislodged
and carried out of the system. Simultaneously with their elimination
disappear their signs in the iris and the disease symptoms which
their presence had created in the organism.
In this connection it is a significant fact
that those minerals which are congenial to the system, that is,
those which in their organic form enter into the composition of
the body, are much more easily eliminated if they have been taken
in the inorganic form, than those substances which are naturally
foreign and poisonous to the human organism, such as mercury, arsenic,
iodine, the bromides, the different coal-tar preparations, etc.
This is proved by the fact that the signs
of the minerals which are normal constituents of the human body
disappear from the iris of the eye much more quickly than the signs
of those minerals which are foreign and naturally poisonous to the
The difficulty we experience in eliminating
mineral poisons from the body would seem to indicate that Nature
never intended them to be used as foods or medicines. The intestines,
kidneys, skin, mucous membranes and other organs of depuration are
evidently not constructed or prepared to cope with inorganic, poisonous
substances and to eliminate them completely. Accordingly, these
poisons show the tendency to accumulate in certain parts or organs
of the body for which they have a special affinity and then to act
as irritants and destructive corrodents.
The diseases which we find most difficult
to cure, even by the most radical application of natural methods,
are cases of drug-poisoning. Substances which are foreign to the
human organism, and especially the inorganic, mineral poisons, positively
destroy tissues and organs, and are much harder to eliminate from
the system than the encumbrances of morbid materials and waste matter
produced in the body by wrong habits of living only. The obvious
reason for this is that our organs of elimination are intended and
constructed to excrete only such waste products as are formed in
the organism in the processes of metabolism.
Tuberculosis or cancer may be caused in
a scrofulous or psoriatic constitution by overloading the system
with meat, coffee, alcohol or tobacco; but as soon as these bad
habits are discontinued, and the organs of elimination stimulated
by natural methods, the encumbrances will be eliminated, and the
much-dreaded symptoms will subside and disappear, often with surprising
On the other hand, mercury, arsenic, quinine,
strychnine, iodine, etc., accumulate in the brain, the spinal cord,
and the cells and tissues of the vital organs, causing actual destruction
and disintegration. The tissues thus affected are not easily rebuilt,
and it is exceedingly difficult to stir up the destructive mineral
poisons and to eliminate them from the system.
Therefore it is an indisputable fact that
many of the most stubborn, so-called incurable diseases are drug
The Importance of Natural Diet
While certain medicinal remedies in organic
form may be very useful in supplying quickly a
deficiency of mineral elements in the system, we should aim to keep
our bodies in a normal, healthy condition by proper food selection
and combination. A brief description of the scientific basis of
"Natural Dietetics" will be found in the chapter on Diet.
Undoubtedly, Nature has supplied all the
elements which the human organism needs in abundance and in the
right proportions in the natural foods, otherwise she would be a
very ignorant organizer and provider.
We should learn to select and combine food
materials in such a manner that they supply all the needs of the
body in the best possible way and thus insure perfect health and
strength without the use of medicines.
Why should we attempt to cure anemia with
inorganic iron, hyperacidity of the stomach with baking soda, swollen
glands with iodine, the itch with sulphur, ricket conditions in
infants with lime water, etc., when these mineral elements are contained
in abundance and in live, organic form in fruits and vegetables,
herbs and in the vitochemical remedies?
Unfortunately, however, a great many individuals,
through wrong habits of living and of treating their ailments, have
ruined their digestive organs to such an extent that they are incapable
of properly assimilating their food and require, at least temporarily,
stimulative treatment by natural methods and a supply of the indispensable
organic mineral salts through medicinal food preparations.
In such cases the mineral elements must
be provided in the most easily assimilable form in vegetable extracts
(which should be prepared fresh every day), and in the vitochemical
What has been said is sufficient, I believe,
to justify the attitude of the Nature Cure school toward medicines
in general. It explains why we avoid the use of inorganic minerals
and poisonous substances, while on the other hand we find a wide
and useful field for medicinal remedies in the form of blood and