ARTICLES BY DR. SHELTON
Disease Is Remedial
Activity - 1978
Life of Primitives - 1969
of Nature - 1944
Far Is Too Far? - 1972
Consciousness Is Needed - 1973
Women Menstruate? - 1943
and Multiple Sclerosis
Dietetic Character - 1944
is Normal Bowel Activity?
Your Boon My Bane? - 1943
or Men, Which? - E.A. Bergholz 1941
or Men, Which? - 1970
is a Poison? - 1968
The Apparent Actions of Drugs
Unity of Normal and Abnormal Processes - 1973
Hygienic Etiology - 1973
Education vs. Treatment - 1973
Ours a Faith Cure? - 1943
Action vs. Drug Action - 1943
Toxemia - 1964
and Cancer - 1972
the Unreformable - 1972
Salad A Day - 1972
Purity - 1973
Value of Good Digestion - 1972
Medicine Phytotherapy - 1978
In Cancer - 1978
Two articles by
Importance of Rest in Disease
Defense of Natural Hygiene
Is Remedial Activity - HM Shelton
Vol. XXXIV July, 1978 No. 11
Disease Is Remedial Activity
by Herbert M. Shelton
"Polio has struck twice within six days in the family of....
" These words formed the first part of a statement in a
news item published a few years ago, and bring up the question
once again: "What is disease?" This language implies
that disease is an entity, a thing that has an existence, per
se, that is capable of striking. It struck one child and, not
being satisfied with the havoc it wrought, it struck another
child in the same family six days later. In this instance, the
disease was the variety or species known as poliomyelitis.
The ancient idea that the sick are possessed of devils lingered
on in the minds of the people and in the practices "of the
priests and physicians for ages after it should have passed into
oblivion. All during the Middle Ages and even today in some sects
of America and Europe, this doctrine of demonic possession was
held to be abundantly proved by the Bible. Jesus is said to have
cast out devils and during the Middle Ages it was held that to
doubt demonical possession was to overthrow the entire structure
of Christian doctrine. The doctrine of demonic possession was
as well grounded in the Scriptures as was a belief in witches
and witchcraft. This belief in demons that infest the air and
take possession of the bodies of man and beast is far older than
Paracelsus, the vagabond quack of a little over four hundred
years ago, whose star of popularity is again rising, held that
the air was so full of devils that you could not get a hair between
them. Paracelsus was a Cabalist and held to a lot of other ancient
and mystical nonsense. He believed devils to be more plentiful
than his modem medical successor believes microbes to be.
During the long dark night of Christian ascendancy, it was held
that the insane are possessed of devils and the only care these
miserable beings received was intended to scare away or drive
out the devils that had taken possession of them. They were chained
in loathsome dungeons and tortured and beaten with a brutality
that we do not understand today. Sometimes they were kept awake
for a week or more in the effort to exorcize the demon. The demons
were cursed in the most elaborate theological blasphemy ever
devised, and the mentally sick were compelled to drink the most
nauseating and disgusting compounds.
Exorcizing devils was done by priests, cabalists, physicians
and others. The Jesuits of Vienna, in 1583, boasted that they
had cast out no less than 12, 652 devils. Devil-chasers were
common in those benighted days and devil-chasing was as popular
as microbe slaying is today. Historically and psychologically,
the words possession and infection represent only different rationalizations
of the same superstition; they stand for identical delusional
mental processes and deluding etiological speculations. The medieval
wizard who chased devils has evolved into the modem serologist
who chases microbes.
The belief in devils or demons is by no means dead. Millions
pf people in Africa, China, India, Burma, Tibet, and other parts
of the world believe in the existence of these "unseen powers
and principalities of the air, " and the practice of devil-chasing
is as popular among these people as it was two thousand years
ago. But we do not have to go to the more backward sections of
the earth to find a belief in devils and witchcraft still surviving.
We have plenty of people in America who believe in witchery or
"hexing, " in haunted houses, spirit communications,
and in the existence of great numbers of demons that infest earth's
atmosphere and seek to gain control of the bodies and minds of
man. The founder of one of the newer sects, some years ago published
a book on spiritism, in which he showed from the Scriptures,
that spirit mediums do not talk with the spirits of the departed
dead, but with demons or "fallen angels" that inhabit
the atmosphere. In this book, he describes the procedures adopted
by him to exorcize devils from the bodies of those who were possessed.
This man was a well-educated ex-atheist, who lived and wrote
in the early years of this century. He lived, not in far away
superstition-ridden Tibet, but in enlightened America. I am assured
by one of the members of this sect, which now numbers many thousands
of adherents throughout the world, that its members still believe
in demons and in demonical possession. This reminds me of the
little Sunday-school boy's statement that, "Faith means
believing what you know ain't true. "
This very old idea that disease is an entity that attacks the
body and wreaks as much havoc therein as possible has taken several
forms through the ages and is incarnated in the germ theory that
holds sway today. Hippocrates was the first to break away from
the theory that disease is a divine punishment, but he was unable
to fully emancipate himself from the belief that it is an attacking
entity. His humoral pathology was a crude biochemistry and he
sought for the cause of disease in an unbalanced chemistry of
the body, but at the same time, he held that disease is a positive
entity or substance which has to be expelled by hammer and tongs.
According to Pliny, Acron was the first to apply philosophical
reasoning to the problems of disease. He held that there is an
"active cause" of disease possessed of a riotous disposition.
Galen regarded disease as "additional forces, foreign and
inimical to the animal, with a birth, prime, and decline, like
those of a physiological nature. " He is supposed to have
borrowed the idea from Plato, but, since the idea was ancient
when Plato was born, this presumption seems unnecessary.
In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the idea still prevailed
that disease is a positive and organized entity. Hufland said:
"The intestinal canal is, in the great majority of cases,
the battle-field where the issue of most disorders is decided.
" Hufland declared: "We must introduce the only medicine
of which we are thoroughly convinced that it possesses the power
of efficiently striving with the enemy, who, by subtle means,
has now effected an entrance within our stronghold. " Stille
asserted that "the whole of life is a perpetual struggle
with an enemy to whom we must at last succumb. " The present
day physician would say: "The whole of life is a perpetual
struggle with malignant microbes that will eventually destroy
A hundred years ago it was freely admitted that the nature and
essence of disease was unknown. Many leaders of medical thought
frankly expressed the opinion that its nature can never be understood.
Prof. George B. Wood, of Jefferson Medical College said in Wood's
Practice of Medicine: "Efforts have been made to reach the
elements of disease; but not very successfully; because we have
not learned the essential nature of the healthy actions, and
cannot understand their derangements. " There is inherent
in this statement the idea that disease is "disordered physiology.
" It was so defined by certain medical authorities in Wood's
The present views of the profession on the nature of disease
are not easy to determine. The subject is never discussed in
their text-books of pathology, nor in their works on the practice
of medicine. By common consent they seem to have agreed to ignore
the subject. Disease is now listed among the "seven modern
mysteries. " Sir James McKenzie, one of the greatest clinicians
of modem times, said a few years ago: "The knowledge of
disease is so incomplete that we do not yet even know what steps
should be taken to advance our knowledge. "
In spite of this, medical men do have some idea of what disease
is, as may be gained from their statements concerning it. It
is said to attack us, to run its course, to be very malignant,
or quite mild, to ravish the patient, to persistently resist
all treatment, to yield readily to treatment, to be seated within
us, to be self-limited, to supervene, to retreat, to set in,
to travel from part to part, to stimulate each other, to change
type, to sweep over the country like a fire, to travel from one
place to another, to ride the air lanes, to be carried about,
etc. They talk of banishing a disease, of wiping it out, of conquering
it, or of destroying it. They meet its onslaught with active
All of these expressions and many more like them refer to disease
as an entity or thing that exists per se. They are consistent
with the ancient theory that disease is an organized substance
or force existing outside the organic domain and that is at war
with life. Even if, at present, they be regarded as metaphorical
they indicate the kinds of operations sought to be carried out
in treating the sick. Medical men are still at war with unseen
principalities and powers of the air.
The medical historian, Shyrock, tells us in his The Development
of Modern Medicine, that a new etiology based on bacteriology
"showed that the cause of tuberculosis-if not the malady
itself-were indeed definite realities. It proved that there was,
in the case of tuberculosis, some thing there that acted as if
it were an entity. " He also points out that today a diphtheria
epidemic in a community is interpreted by the board of health
to indicate the presence of a definite intruder. Thus the old
idea of disease as an entity is still with us, and the foregoing
expressions about disease are not to be regarded as metaphors
today, any more than they were when they were first used. They
accurately express prevailing medical views of the nature and
essence of disease.
The medical profession never had a theory of the essential nature
of disease that would bear criticism. It never had one that it
could stand by. It never had a theory of disease that somebody
did not explode. No sooner did some distinguished professor present
them with a new theory, which had cost him the work of half a
lifetime to evolve, than some ambitious rival would demolish
it in a criticism that required but half an hour to write. The
profession seems content today to "rock along" without
any well-defined theory of the essential nature of disease, while
continuing to treat the patient as though he is the victim of
an attack by malignant entities.
The nearest approach to an explanation of the nature of disease
that has been offered by medical men within recent years is the
one that a few years ago came out of Russia. Although it represents
a step in the right direction, this one is very incomplete. The
Russian experimenters have found that the disease is the body's
own actions-they say "reaction. " But, having failed
to discern the purposive or remedial character of these actions,
they are working on the development of a mode of treatment that
represents a return to the deadly narcotic practice of a hundred
years ago. Instead of malignant spirits or malignant bacteria,
they are fighting malignant reflexes. Mary Baker Eddy tussled
with malignant animal magnetism.
It is the law of life that the body resists and expels whatever
it cannot use. Disease is vital resistance to non-usable, therefore,
injurious substances. The living body grows and reproduces itself.
It develops its parts and extends itself by selecting from its
environment such materials as it has the capacity to incorporate
into its own structures, and rejects and refuses all others,
as both unnecessary and injurious. The power of refusal and rejection
is a necessary condition of its vital integrity. Refusal and
rejection are constant actions in both the plant and animal world.
The organism equally serves its own interest by either act.
A plate of strawberries and cream, when taken into the stomach,
occasions the vital actions called digestion. Following digestion,
the food is absorbed, circulated and assimilated. When used so
that its elements are no longer useful, the waste is carried
to the eliminating organs and eliminated. This is physiological
or healthy action.
A dose of lobelia, when swallowed, occasions the vital actions
called vomiting. This is the means by which the body expels it.
A dose of salts occasions the vital action called diarrhea. This
is the means! by which the body expels the salts. By diuresis,
the body expels other substances. Now the acts of digestion and
of vomiting are equally vital and they differ only as the objects
to which they relate differ. One is conservative, the other remedial.
One is physiology, the other pathology. One has as its object
the expulsion of noxious substances.
All the actions performed by the vital organs are vital actions.
Vital actions are either normal or abnormal. The difference between
health and disease is simply this: Health is the regular or normal
performance of the functions of the body, it is normal action-physiology.
Disease is irregular and abnormal action of the body in expelling
injurious substances and repairing damages-pathology. Health
expresses the aggregate of vital actions and processes that nourish
and develop the body and all its organs and structures and provide
for reproduction; in other words, health is the action of the
vital powers in building up and replenishing the organic structures;
or in still plainer words, the conversion of the elements of
food into the elements of the body's tissues, and the elimination
of waste. Disease is the aggregate of vital actions and processes
by which poisons are expelled and damages repaired; it is the
action of the same powers that are active in health, in defending
the organism against injurious or abnormal agencies and conditions.
The nature of disease is explained in the same way that the modus
operandi of drugs is explained. The immediate effect of the introduction
of a poison into the body is morbid vital action. This is disease.
The action of the organism against any repugnant or poisonous
substance is defensive-it is an effort to dispose of the offending
material. Purging occasioned by a drug is a perfect illustration
of diarrhea and dysentery. Vomiting from an emetic is carried
on in the same way, and for the same purpose, that vomiting from
any other cause is carried on. The excitement occasioned by alcohol
is precisely similar to the excitement occasioned by danger,
by the cry of fire at midnight, or the discovery of a burglar
in the house.
Symptoms are evidences of vitality-dead bodies do not produce
symptoms. Deprive the living organism of its ability to manifest
its repugnance to incompatible things, its power to reject and
resist these, in the defensive manner that we call disease, and
you deprive it of life itself. If the organism does not act abnormally
under sufficiently powerful abnormal conditions, this will be
proof positive that it has lost its vitality and is dead, or
nearly so. Disease is a product of life. Vitality is as necessary
an element of disease as water is of steam. Existing only where
life exists, it does so subject to the great laws of life. It
is not "disordered physiology" but re-directed vital
activity. Its essential nature is not altered one bit by the
fact that it often fails of its object. If a man fails in his
object to acquire a million dollars, this does not alter the
nature of his acquisitiveness.
The word disease is a generic term and covers a multitude of
phenomena, some of these being of opposite character to others.
It is quite obvious that blindness, deafness, paralysis, emphysema,
cancer and other degenerative diseases are not remedial activities.
This does not invalidate our theory of the essential nature of
disease but it does emphasize the need for a new terminology,
one that more precisely classifies the different phenomena that
are now confusingly jumbled together under the rubric disease.
I have suggested the term, which I coined, biogony, for those
elements of disease as now understood that are remedial in character.
Biogony is a combination of two Greek roots-bios meaning life
and agony meaning struggle. Although I coined this word and gave
it to the world nearly forty years ago, it has not been accepted,
perhaps because our theory of the essential nature of disease
has not been accepted.
Herbert M. Shelton
I am not Scientific
When "science" divorces herself from her capitalistic
masters and ceases to play the part of bawd, when she discards
her stultifying axiom that only conventions are acceptable as
data, when she seeks for truth without fear or favor, when she
discards her burden of prejudices and throws off her prepossessions,
when she empties her inflated body of its gaseous vanity and
odoriferous pride, when she becomes willing to learn of all who
have knowledge,when she places more stock in fact and prinicple
than she does in captivating speculations garbed in a flowery
array of technical gibberish, and neither last nor least, when
she unburdens herself of accumulated load of methodological puerilities,
then, and not until then , will she be able to say to me, you
are scientifically and demonstrably wrong.
I am far from being infallible. I will learn more as I go along.
But as between my world and that of the "science of medicine"
and the " science of dietetics" I'll await the verdict
of time with calmness and without fear, I am not "scientific"
and in the present state of " science" I would be a
fool if I were. I'd rather be right than to be " scientific".
by Dr. Herbert
Typhoid fever patients become comfortable in three to four days
if the fast is instituted at the "onset" of the "disease,"
and in from seven to ten days are convalescing. The patient will
have such a comfortable sickness and recover so speedily that
friends and relatives will declare he was not sick. And, indeed,
he will not be very sick.
It requires feeding and drugging to convert those simple natural
processes we call acute "diseases" into serious and
complicated troubles. It is not possible to have a typical case
of typhoid fever, as described in allopathic text-books, without
typical text-book treatment. Unthwarted nature never builds such
complications and such serious "diseases" as are described
in allopathic works. All this mass of pathology is built by drugging,
serum squirting and feeding.
In a voluminous work on diet, contributed to by a number of medical
authorities in dietetics and edited by G. A. Sutherland, M.D.,
F.R.C.E., and entitled A System of Diet and Dietetics (published
by the Physicians and Surgeons Book Co., of New York City) I
find a few interesting paragraphs in the chapter on Diet In Fever
and Acute Infectious Disease, contributed by Claude E. Ker, M.D.,
F.R.C.P., Ed., which are worth quoting. He says, in discussing
the "starvation treatment" in enteric fever (typhoid
"The same idea which underlies the empty bowel theory is
no doubt responsible for the attempts made to treat enteric fever
with either no food by the mouth at all, or at the most with
very little quantities. Thus Queirolo has recommended that feeding
should be entirely rectal, a lemonade made up with a little hydrochloric
acid being the only drink allowed, provided that the bowel of
a patient so treated was first emptied by a dose of calomel,
or other suitable purgative. Such method of dieting should secure
complete rest for the affected parts and absolutely exclude the
possibility of fermenting masses of partially digested material
lying in the gut. The nutritive value, however, of rectal feeding
in a prolonged disease is so limited that this method may be
fairly regarded as a treatment by starvation.
"Similar in its objects and effects is the method suggested
by Williams, who, believing that the exhausting diarrhea of the
fever is due to improper feeding, endeavors to secure that the
bowels shall, as far as possible, remain empty. Only water is
allowed in severe cases, sometimes for days at a time, and he
regards half a pint of milk in twenty-four hours as a liberal
diet, seldom apparently exceeding this amount until the temperature
is normal. The method seems drastic, but I have reason to know
that the cases do remarkably well. I have often marvelled at
the amount of starvation which a typhoid case can safely tolerate
after a hemorrhage, and it is only rational to suppose that the
patient would support starvation even better before such a depressing
complication had occurred. Under such a regime Williams probably
more nearly attains the ideal of the 'empty bowel' than any other
observer. It seems almost incredible that patients so treated
should occasionally gain weight and that they do not in any case
waste more than patients more liberally fed; but it is, after
all, obvious that, if food is not assimilated there is no benefit
to be derived from it, and in many cases of enteric fever assimilation
is undoubtedly extremely poor.
"The theoretical objection to both these methods of treatment
is that, if ulceration has once started such a remarkably low
diet would apparently give the intestinal lesions only a poor
chance of repair. On the other hand, it is possible that the
absence of irritation would go far to counterbalance this defect,
apparently as the patient seems to stand the starvation so well.
If plenty of water was supplied this would be more easily understood,
but some of Williams' patients were limited, for a time at least,
to one pint of water per diem, which seems to be a most inadequate
Dr. Ker is unwilling to recommend what he mistakenly calls the
"starvation treatment," but thinks there is much to
be learned from such things and adds: "It encourages us
to starve for two or three days, if necessary, severe cases with
marked gastric and intestinal disturbances, probably very much
to their advantage. It is, however, unnecessarily severe for
the average patient, even while we admit that in enteric fever
there is no certainty as to what may happen from day to day."
We have it stated that the exhausting diarrhea of typhoid
is probably due to improper feeding.
We have it admitted that a "starvation treatment"
seems complete rest for the affected parts of the intestine.
We have it admitted that typhoid patients may "starve"
for days and make remarkable improvement during this time.
We have it admitted that they may do this even after a hemorrhage.
We also have it admitted that in this "disease"
"assimilation is undoubtedly extremely poor." (It is
so poor that there is none). We have it admitted that "starvation"
leaves no rotting food in the intestines to irritate and poison
the inflamed and ulcerated intestinal wall.
Every one of these things, Hygienists have been pointing out
for a hundred years. We have been denounced as "quacks"
and "ignorant pretenders" for so doing and our methods
have been rejected by the medical profession as a whole, and,
even now, the authorities, in adopting our methods in part, and
in reporting favorably upon them, neglect to give credit where
credit is plainly due.
Dr. Ker overlooks the important fact that where typhoid patients
are not fed, ulceration is not likely to occur, and that hemorrhages
are extremely rare, while he seems to be wholly unaware of the
body's ability to heal wounds, broken bones, open sores, ulcers,
etc., while fasting.
The theoretical objection offered to fasting, in enteric fever,
is based on ignorance. It completely ignores the preceding statement
that "assimilation is undoubtedly extremely poor,"
and it appears to be made in utter ignorance of the body's own
internal resources. The author does not seem to be cognizant
of the fact that repair of tissues does go on during a fast.
What is more, he overlooks the fact that if feeding is stopped
at the "onset" of the "disease" there is
not likely to be any ulceration or any hemorrhage. Besides this,
the patient is more comfortable and the "disease" of
shorter duration--providing no drugging is resorted to. It is
encouraging to note that he does not offer, as an objection,
the old notion that fasting lowers one's resistance to germs.
The fault I find with the method of Queirolo is that he does
not stop feeding at the outset instead of waiting until the "disease"
becomes well developed and not that it is "too severe for
the average patient." On the contrary, it is the easiest,
safest and best plan. The feeding and drugging plan is the drastic
plan; the plan than intensifies and prolongs the patient's suffering.
It is no ordeal to do without food in acute illness. The ordeal
consists in eating at such times. All we ask when acutely sick
is to be let alone and to be free of worry of any kind.
Herbert M. Shelton
We are not reformers
WE ARE NOT reformers; we are revolutionists. Medical reform --
the world has had quite enough of that. Reforming the drug system
by substituting one set of drugs for another is a ridiculous
farce. It may, to be sure, substitute a lesser for a greater
evil, in many cases, but is like reforming big lies with little
falsehoods. It is like reforming swearing with obscene language;
or like reforming robbing with cheating. Reforming allopathy
with homeopathy and both with physio-medicalism, and all these
with eclecticism, is like promoting temperance by substituting
cider and lager for rum, brandy, gin, wine, or flesh eating by
substituting milk, butter, cheese, for animal food.
of Primitives - HM Shelton
Vol. XXXI October, 1969 No. 2
The Life of Primitives
by Herbert M. Shelton
The non-literate peoples whom we variously style savages, primitives,
etc., are as modern in all respects save their culture as the
most civilized person and they are as old as civilized man. They
are referred to as primitive for no other reason than that their
culture is rude and simple. Some of them are still in the Stone
Age culturally, although we know from numerous examples that
potentially they are the equivalent of the most highly civilized
peoples. We have the habit of looking upon them as being in the
same stages of culture as were our prehistoric ancestors or,
in some cases, of our non-literate, but historic ancestors. Thus
we think that in studying their ways of life, we are studying
the life of primitive man.
I have dealt with this assumption elsewhere in these pages and
need only at this point state that, insofar as these people are
human and tend to behave as such, they do not doubt, in many
particulars, represent our ancestors. On the other hand, inasmuch
as their culture, their traditions, their Customs, their tabus,
etc., represent the accumulations of ages, many of the elements
of these various cultures having been borrowed from others, they
cannot possibly represent in a greater part of their culture,
our primitive fore-bearers. However, insofar as they present
living examples of the simpler forms of human behavior, they
do have valuable lessons for us. As I intend to devote a separate
article to the American
Indians, in this article I shall briefly consider a few general
characteristics of other rude peoples.
We often think of the non-literate peoples as living principally
by hunting and fishing, whereas, this is rarely true. Certain
of the African natives, such as those of the Amban district,
are not hunters, but support themselves by their crops, commonly
raising more food than they can use. The maize, banana and yam
plantations of Africa constitute but part of the foods they raise.
Although in certain sections the Gorillas play havoc with the
plantations of sugar cane and bananas, these people seem to have
enough to eat. Game is difficult to find and harder to kill in
the jungle and many of the tribes rarely have flesh to eat.
Fred G. Merfield, in his book Gorillas Were My Neighbors, says
that "African villagers go crazy for meat when they find
a dead elephant or hippo. Opening up the carcass, they crawl
right inside, indifferent to the blood and mess, in search of
the choicest pieces. " Of one tribe among whom he hunted,
he says, "their taste for food was revolting. Once they
extracted the stomach of a hartebeast I had just shot and squeezed
the liquid contents of it into their mouths, assuring me that
it was a most nourishing and appetizing dish. The intestines
were also eaten raw, after their contents had been squeezed out.
" They drank a liquor made from fermented sap of the palm
tree, which they call mimbo. Telling of the raid of one tribe
by another he says that many of the attacked were killed; many
were captured. Captured girls were sold; captured boys were kept
as slaves. The men were killed, their stomaches and hearts being
removed, as these were thought to be the best parts of an animal,
including man. These were eaten. Some of the men were tied up
and their throats cut so that the blood could be drained off
and drunk. Everyone tried to get the sexual organs, which were
regarded as the nicest parts, being full of fat. Among some tribes
gorilla flesh is forbidden the women, the men eating it with
gusto. Some of the Negroes eat beetle grubs; others eat a soup
made of ground nuts, with plantains. They nurse their babies
for two years.
Merfield tells us of one tribe among whom he hunted that "they
were sturdy, almost naked men who were reliable and hard workers.
" The men of most of the tribes have great speed and vigor.
One author describes the "magnificent physique: a broad
hard-muscled back, narrow hips and long, brawny legs" of
one of the contestants in a wrestling match. Wrestling tournaments
seem to be very popular among them. Great feats of strength are
exhibited in these wrestling matches. They are also fond of handstands.
Africans are said to be able to keep up their frenzied dances
hour after hour with no signs of fatigue. A dance of African
natives is thus described: "The girls danced round in a
circle, making undulating muscular movements of wonderful skill
and grace... " All of these are but indications of the active
life lived by these simple peoples, living largely outdoors and
often entirely nude.
African villages, we are informed, are usually clean and well
kept; although their huts are often dirty and contain no furniture.
African burden carriers welcome a bath while on the march. The
boys of many of the tribes are circumcised while the clitorises
of the girls are incised.
Travelers in Africa say that the natives of the present are,
on the whole, very clean. Commonly they bathe in rivers and lakes,
but among some of the tribes the men have a hot bath each day
at sunset. The Negroes also clean their teeth. Their huts are
usually kept clean and tidy. Indeed travellers say that it is
striking to see how clean and tidy the native huts are kept while
the housing developments for the mixed groups (White-Negro crosses)
are soon run down.
Let us go to the opposite extreme, so far as location and climate
are concerned. From the tropics, let us journey to the frigid
regions and note the Eskimos and some of their ways of life.
They have traditions of better times when their men were large
and powerful; so powerful, indeed, that one of them could drag
a walrus across the ice as easily as an Eskimo of today can drag
a seal. These powerful ancestors they call Tunits. This may indicate
that they have known better days, perhaps before their forced
migration into the frigid north. If they migrated to the Arctic
region, either because of population pressures or because they
were driven from their homes by stronger tribes, they must have
gone there from some region to the south, where they were surrounded
by natural advantages of which they are now deprived. Their ancestors
may have been larger and stronger men and women, and they may
have been further advanced in the arts and sciences. The Eskimo
represents, not a case of progressive evolution, but one of deterioration.
When Arctic snows become the last refuge of the victims of population
pressures and wars, we cannot expect the people thus thrust into
such an inhospitable environment to maintain the dignity and
greatness they possessed before being forced out of more favorable
The Eskimos are a gentle, inoffensive, hospitable and truthful
people, thus showing that there is no necessary connection between
a backward state of knowledge of the useful arts and violent
dispositions, ferocious and cruel habits. They are confined by
the exigencies of their habitat to a largely flesh diet, thus
showing that there is no necessary connection between flesh-eating
Short of stature and short lived, they manifest a great amount
of strength and endurance. Their life, except during the winter
season, when they all but hibernate, is very active and spent
largely in the open. The Eskimos have always manifested a frank
enthusiastic interest in gymnastics, performing on ropes made
of seal skin.
Writing of the Eskimos and their foods, an author says with surprising
naiveness: "But when newtypes of food, clothing and shelter
were introduced, the resulting deterioration among the Eskimos
indicated that they had known better than the white man how to
meet the stern chal-lange of their harsh environment. "
They had met the challenge with the only means the environment
afforded; the new foods, which were highly refined and processed,
were not good for the white man under any environment, but our
author never senses this fact. The deterioration of the white
man escaped his attention.
The fact that the South Sea Islands were populated, some of them
thickly so, and that on some of them there existed rather advanced
cultures, proves that man did reach these islands. How? Certainly
he did not walk on the waters of the sea. He must have found
another way to reach them. If we may think that more than one
wave of migrations reached the islands, a thing that is indicated
by the differences in the peoples and by their different customs,
we may think that the way was open to many others who did not
remain, but returned to the mainlands. The peoples of these islands
were still living in the "Stone Age" when discovered
by white explorers.
When Easter Island was first visited by White men, the inhabitants
were found to be stark naked. They were cheerful, peaceful and
well-mannered. They were fishermen, according to our carnivorous
anthropologists, but they were farmers as well. They cultivated
bananas, sugar cane, sweet potatoes and many other plant foods.
Fowls were the only animals they kept.
Of the inhabitants of Pitcairn's Island we learn that they bathed
their babies in cold water three times a day (in that latitude
it could not have been real cold). They suckled their babies
for an extended period. When the babies were weaned they were
fed on ripe plantains and boiled taro root rubbed into a paste.
The children were uniformly in good health. They were outdoors
all their lives and enjoyed the sun and fresh air. as well as
an active existence. Captain Cook tells us of the natives of
Otaheite that "both the men and the women, constantly wash
their whole bodies in running water three times every day; once
as soon as they rise in the morning, once at noon, and again
before they sleep at night, whether the sea or river be near
or at a distance. They wash not only the mouth, but the hands
at their meals, almost between every morsel; and their clothes
as well as their persons, are kept without spot or stain. "
An American physician who spent some time in New Zealand in 1839
gave Dr. Joel Shew the following account of the habits of the
people of this island. The women generally follow some active
outdoor employment much of the day. They are healthy and strong,
and have their babies without assistance and with ease. The babies,
upon being born, are never swathed, but for the first few days
after birth are dressed in one light flaxen garment. The extremities
are left free and, after a few days, are exposed to light and
air. A few more days and they are left entirely naked, being
allowed to roll about freely and exercise their limbs upon a
mat of smooth texture. Babies are left much of the time in the
open air in the shade. At other times, while the mothers are
working, planting or hoeing, they are allowed, even when not
more than a week old, to roll among the potatoes and corn. The
babies are bathed frequently in the streams of pure water that
abound on the island.
Consequent upon an active outdoor life, the mothers are strong
and there is great freedom from disease and deformity among them.
Their food, especially in those regions where the finest specimens
are found, consists wholly of vegetable products-corn, pumpkins,
potatoes (common and sweet), peaches and various other fruits.
These New Zealanders wear but a single garment of flax sometimes
thrown loosely over the shoulders and sometimes only about the
A few significant generalizations may sum up the lessons learned
from this all too brief consideration of the ways of life of
so-called living primitives. Although living in different climates
and necessarily forced to live upon different diets, there is
much in common in their ways of life:
1. They all keep clean, bathing themselves and bathing their
babies and children often.
2. They are actively engaged in outdoor occupations, whether
farming, hunting or fishing.
3. Their lives are simple and free from the rush and anxiety
of civilized life.
4. Where fruits and vegetables are abundant, these constitute
the greater part of their diet.
5. Whether flesh eaters or plant-food eaters, their fare is simple,
largely uncooked, unrefined and unprocessed.
6. They are largely nude so that they get the daily advantages
of exposure to the sun.
7. They are cheerful and happy and are not cursed with the cares
and tensions of civilized life.
8. Their babies are permitted freedom of action from the beginning
and, what is of equal importance, they are not vaccinated or
9. Babies are nursed for long periods of time, thus providing
them with the best possible nutritional start in life.
Among the Mano, when a child is weaned, the leaves of certain
plants are added to its food, but we are assured that the mother
has no particular thought about this. This is to say, these leaves
are not those of a magic plant. Unfortunately, I have no information
about these plants, that we may judge how much food value they
possess. It may be taken for granted, that, like all green leaves,
they possess vitamins and minerals and, from the fact that they
are commonly given, we may assume that their use is not followed
by any signs of distress-that they are not poisonous herbs. Indeed,
everywhere on the earth, these primitives seem to do a good job
feeding their young after they are weaned.
Many tribes that we call native are exceedingly poor physical
specimens. This is evidence of the inferiority of their diet.
It is not to be thought that the diets eaten by primitives are
always of equal value. The soil is poor in some portions of the
world, the sources of food are not abundant, the labor of procuring
it is often great. On the whole, these primitives seem to fare
better than we do in civilized life.
Civilized man, as he spreads over the earth, takes the lands
away from the natives who have long occupied them. He has received
from them many native foods that have long served the primitives,
but which were formerly unknown in civilized countries. The potato,
tomato and Indian Maize are examples of such foods that we derived
from the American Indians. Before the discovery of America by
Columbus, the Indians also cultivated such foods that are now
popular among us as Lima and kidney beans, sweet potatoes, squash,
peanuts, pineapple and the alligator pear. Okra or gumbo we received
from the Africans.
Herbert M. Shelton
of Nature - HM Shelton
Vol. V August, 1944 No. 12
Observations of Nature
by Herbert M. Shelton
Recently a very intelligent young lady spent a few weeks at the
Health School. Born and reared in New York City she had completed
High School and spent a few years in College in that city. At
the time she was here, two girls were working here who had been
born and reared on farms in Texas and neither of them had had
much formal education. One of them, indeed, due to illness during
most of her younger life, had been in school but little.
The young college bred lady considered herself superior to the
two corn-fed belles and openly deprecated their ignorance. It's
an old story that "knowledge puffeth up. "
Then, one day, while gazing out the window, she saw a hen fly
up into a tree. She was afraid to believe her own eyes. She did
not know that hens could fly. She asked the two "ignorant"
girls about it and they assured her that hens can fly. Discovering
her lack of knowledge of animal life, they told her that cows
can also fly. She did not want to believe this, but she was afraid
to doubt it. She later asked me about the matter.
A few days thereafter she caught a glimpse of what she thought
might be an udder on a mare. First she asked the girls and then
she asked me if mares have udders and if they suckle their young
like cows. This, too, she had discussed with the "ignorant"
girls, but after their kidding about cows flying, she did not
know whether or not to believe them.
A few days later this young lady confessed to me that she envied
the two girls - that though they had little formal education,
they knew many things she did not know. Girls that are born and
brought up in the country, she added, just naturally learn things
without effort. "I sometimes feel ashamed of myself when
I hear them talking about things of which I know nothing. "
This young woman had studied biology in school. But some of the
simplest facts of animal life were unknown to her. She was ignorant
of facts about the life and habits of animals that even mere
children of the country are well acquainted with.
I recite this instance, not to discredit formal education, but
to point out it's limitations and shortcomings. It was not the
fault of the above mentioned young woman that the most commonplace
facts of life in nature were unknown to her. She had been brought
up out of contact with nature and her schooling had not given
her much of the knowledge she would have "grown into"
in a natural environment.
In a recent article entitled This is my Faith Louis Bromfield,
briefly mentions his early life close to nature and then remarks:
" It was from the beginning just a part of my education
and of my spirit. *** It was only as I became older that I became
self-conscious about it and understood with objectivity the great
value of the knowledge I had drunk in without thinking about
it. I began to understand what Shake-spear meant when he wrote
of 'sermons in sticks and stones. ' "
Years spent in observation of Nature provides a wealth of knowledge
and a form of education that is not obtained in any other manner.
The child of nature may truly be said to drink in knowledge without
thinking about it. Only later in life does he tend to integrate
what he has absorbed. Only then does the value of a first-hand
knowledge of living nature begin to be realized. The person who
has not had first hand contact with nature is not conscious of
his shortcomings until he gets out into contact with her and
begins to learn how little he really knows.
Life, itself, life in the raw, holds many valuable lessons for
us. The great outdoors is a classroom. Living out in the fields
and forests and coming in constant contact with untamed, unchanged,
unperverted, uncontaminated and uninfluenced nature teaches those
who observe and think a wisdom that cannot be surpassed by the
teacher and the text-book in the class room. Let no one disparage
the teacher and the text-book; but let all of us recognize their
limitations. Let us go to nature; let us learn of her ways and
Biologists have more or less unconsciously converted the "science
of life" into necrology. I have a library of text-books
and other books on biology. There is little life in them. In
the schools there is much gathering, mounting and dissecting
of butterflies, insects, rats, rabbits, cats, fish, frogs, etc.
The student studies the corps-he learns the structure of the
organism. He learns little of life.
While Dr. Harry Clements, British Natural Therapist, was in this
country I had much contact with him. On one occasion while we
sat in my office in New York City he told me of being asked by
two women (both of them mothers) who were graduates of Columbia
University, both of them had had the course in biology, if cows
suckle their young like mothers do-or, perhaps, it were more
correct to say, as mothers once did.
We discussed the inadequacies of the courses in biology given
in the schools and colleges and we reached the conclusion that
instead of the three years pre-medical work medical students
are required to undergo, between High School and Medical College,
they would be better equipped for caring for patients if they
spent this time on a farm or a ranch instead of spending it in
college. We thought and still think that two or three years spent
in close contact with and in study and observation of living
nature will supply the future physician, Naturopath, Natural
Therapist, Osteopath, Chiropractor, Hygienist, etc, with better
training for his work than three years spent in pouring over
diagrammatic drawing of "typical" vertebrates, "typical"
worms, "typical" insects, etc., and in dissecting corpses.
Books are valuable. The school room has it's place. The laboratory
supplies information that is not gained elsewhere. Dissection
is of great value. The instructor is of tremendous importance.
But all of these things combined cannot take the place of first-hand
observation of living nature.
A few years ago a bewhiskered and long haired ascetic in New
York conceived the idea that sexual reproduction is the source
of degeneracy. He put forth the idea that parthenogenetic reproduction
(virgin birth) is possible and that through this means a race
of supermen and super-women could be produced.
To prove that sex is an evil and a source of evil he told audiences
in the big city that cows refuse relations with bulls and that
bulls rape the cows. He succeeded in inducing many people to
believe this nonsense. Only a little firsthand observation of
living nature would have revealed to all of his dupes that there
was no truth in his assertion.
Hunters in the north woods learned many things about bears. They
noticed their eating habits, the winter hibernation and the fact
that, though they sleep through four or five months of winter,
they do not foul their dens with bowel movements. Enema advocates
should take notice of this four and five months without bowel
The hunters noticed two other significant facts that have been
fully confirmed by scientists. When they killed the bears in
the spring, they always found a plug, which they called a "tappin"
or a "dottle" in the rectum. They thought the bear
prepared this stopper and placed it in the rectum before going
to sleep for winter to prevent the escape of any of the food
in the intestine.
Biologists, studying the matter, found this "tappin"
to be a hardened piece of feces. It occurs automatically and
not by intent. I have seen the same thing more than once in fasting
patients. Except in cases of hemorrhoids or incipient hemorrhoids,
these plugs never give any trouble.
The second feature noticed by the hunters is that when a bear
just settled for the winter is shot and the bowel opened the
stench is "overpowering", the flesh "nauseating,
fishy and unfit for food. " Jan Welzl, a hunter, says, in
his Thirty 'Years in the Golden North, "It is useless to
shoot him (the bear) at the beginning of his winter sleep, because
he is then very fat, and has a disgusting smell of fish oil.
The meat smells just as bad. "
But the picture is different at the end of the winter's sleep.
Welzl says: "But at the end of the winter sleep he has used
it (the fat) all up and then bear's meat is a delicious treat.
" Canadian government biologists confirm this, saying, that
by spring the bears flesh has undergone a complete and remarkable
change. It has then become "the most sought after of all
northern foods. " Very little residue is found in the alimentary
tract. "The bowel was odorless" say the biologists,
"and quite sterile. No cultures of any of the intestinal
flora or bacilli could be obtained. "
Enema advocates are especially requested to notice the contrast
between the foulness of the intestines and the unsavoriness of
the flesh at the beginning of winter when regular bowel movements
have been experienced and the odorlessness and sterility of the
intestines and savoriness of the flesh after four to five months
without a bowel movement.
I repeat: There is a wealth of valuable information to be gained
by observing living nature. We cannot hope to learn about life
by going always to the morgue. Dissecting frogs and cats and
mounting butterflies is a poor introduction to the science of
When I first read an article on fasting (back in 1911), I had
been previously prepared to accept fasting by having seen many
sick animals fast. I was not prepared to accept the supposed
need for lots of water drinking in sickness and especially in
acute illness. For, I had repeatedly observed that the acutely
sick animal refuses water. I had actually attempted to force
side cows to drink by taking them to the water and sticking their
noses in it. Sometimes a sick animal will take a sip or two of
water, but it does not drink much or often.
I accepted the enema, especially as a measure to be employed
during the fast, and employed it for the first five years of
my practice. But I could not close my eyes to it's many evils
and it's unpleasantness. Finally, I began to think the matter
over. I recalled that fasting animals did not use enemas. If
they do not need them, I asked, why do my fasting patients need
I began a search of fasting literature. I discovered that Jennings,
Graham, Trall, Dewey, Tanner and others had not employed it in
caring for their fasting patients. I was told that their patients
would have recovered sooner had they employed the enema. In view
of the known and admitted enervating effect of enemas, this did
not seem reasonable.
I still employed the enema. When I wrote Fundamentals as Nature
Cure (1922) I advised the enema during the fast. When Dr. Claunch
reviewed this book in Health First, he questioned the use of
the enema. It is not a natural method, he pointed out. This was
obvious. I decided to try omitting the enema during the fast.
I did so cautiously at first, and for only short periods. Gradually
I lengthened the periods between the enemas. Then, at the end
of 1924, I discontinued their use.
Did I find that my patients required longer time in which to
get well? Did I find that they developed symptoms of intestinal
poisoning? No. I found they recovered in less time, that they
are more comfortable without than with the enema, and that bowel
function after the fast is much more efficient if enemas have
not been used.
If the fast has not been long, the first movement is often very
foul. But this foulness never gets into the blood stream as is
popularly believed. I once cared for a man who had used enemas
so long they no longer induced bowel movements. He would take
an enema one morning and expel the water the following morning.
There was never any evidence that any of this water was absorbed.
There were no symptoms of poisoning. There was no decrease in
the sense of thirst. There was no increase in urination. The
amount of water expelled the following morning was the same as
that injected the morning before. If toxins are absorbed from
the colon they would certainly be more readily and more abundantly
absorbed when the feces are liquified, as in the above case,
than when the feces are in semi-solid form. There is no more
reason why the colon should (or does) absorb fecal matter held
in it for some time than there is why the bladder should absorb
urine held in it for hours before being voided.
The facts revealed by the study of the bears show that the fasting
body is capable of breaking up (digesting) all germs, viruses
and parasites, visible and invisible and using them as food.
It is fully capable of protecting itself.
Observations of nature, both in the wild state, in the domestic
state and in human beings are sufficient to show beyond doubt
that the enema is not a necessary or a helpful expedient. Despite
all the propaganda that has been employed to popularize the enema
and all the claims that have been made for it, the enema is an
Herbert M. Shelton
Is Too Far? - HM Shelton
Vol. XXXIII January, 1972 No. 5
How Far Is Too Far?
Herbert M. Shelton
On the next and succeeding pages we are presenting an article
from the last four chapters of Forty Years in the Wilderness
of Pills and Powders, by Dr. William A Alcott, first published
in 1859. In this will be found a brief biographical sketch of
the life and activities of Dr. Isaac Jennings. The story as given
therein, about Dr. Jennings' desertion of the drugging practice
and his adoption of what he called the "no-medicine plan"
of caring for the sick, is all too brief, but enough quotations
from other medical men of the period and enough facts about the
practices of many of them are recounted to demonstrate the fact
that there was much skepticism among medical men of that time.
That there was more skepticism of the value of drugs in treating
the sick among the professionals than among the laity is quite
evident from the manner in which Dr. Jennings' former patients
treated him when he revealed the secret of his unparalleled success.
It will be noted, however, that he did not receive understanding
treatment from his medical brethren. Instead of eagerly grasping
the truth he had unfolded to them and using these in caring for
their patients, they appealed to the ignorance, prejudices, and
fears of his patients in order to discredit him.
A few physicians agreed with him in part but they were unwilling
or unable to go all the way. They were willing to admit that
too many drugs were often given, but unwilling to concede that
no drugs at all was the ideal. Their most common complaint against
Jennings was that he went "too far. "
In the preface of his second book The Philosophy of Human Life
(1852), Jennings briefly discusses this objection in the following
"'You go too far. We have all been on one extreme, have
given too much medicine, and have not trusted sufficiently to
the curative efforts of nature. But you have gone over to the
"Very well; there are but two extremes the extreme of right,
and the extreme of wrong; and who would not prefer standing on
one of these extremes to occupying a position about halfway between
them? Fundamental truth and fundamental error, as general principles,
are the extremes here referred to.
"It may be true under given circumstances, that no medicine
on one hand, and much medicine on the other are extremes, and
that moderate medication is 'the golden, happy medium,' but that
is not the great fundamental question now pending. The first
and main point to be settled is this: Is man so constituted in
his structural arrangement, the organic and functional laws of
his system, the nature, mode of supply, application and operation
of the principle of life, that when he is prostrate under what
is called disease, his restoration to health can be secured by
the agency of medicine, as a general rule, founded on a general
principle in pathology, such as wrong action, wrong tendency,
or the like?
"That medicine has been pushed to one extreme is quite certain,
and that this extreme lies in the domain of delusion and error,
there is good reason for believing.
Whether the other extreme of no medicine presents the truth as
a general truth, remains to be elucidated and confirmed. One
thing however is clear: Physicians must find a 'solid bottom'
somewhere before they can establish a just and reliable system
of practice. And this foundation must be laid in a thorough and
correct knowledge of general pathology. Physicians must understand
the true nature and tendency of that state of the vital organism
which is denominated disease."
Dr. Trall repeated over and over again that "truth never
lies between two extremes. It is always one extreme or the other.
" In the foregoing quotation from Dr. Jenning's work he
substantially agrees with Trall. At one extreme he places good,
at the other extreme he places evil. At what point between these
two extremes can one find a desirable place to stand? In like
manner at one extreme he places heavy drugging, at the other
extreme, no drugging. At what point between these two extremes
can one find a point on which to rest a practice of moderate
drugging? Either drugs are useful or they are not; they either
heal or they don't; they either do mischief, or they do good.
There is no middle ground.
Continuing in his discussion, Jennings says: "It will be
the object of the following pages, in a plain familiar way, under
a variety of aspects, by deductions from the Science of Physiology
and reference to facts and the laws and analogies of nature,
to show the unity of human physical life; that its tendency is
always upward towards the highest point of health, in the lowest
as well as in the highest state of vital funds; that what is
called disease is nothing more nor less than impaired health,
feeble vitality; that recovery from this state is effected, when
effected at all, by a restorative principle, identical with life
itself, susceptible of aid only from proper attention to air,
diet, motion, and rest, affections of the mind, regulation of
the temperature, &c., with occasional aid from what may justly
be denominated surgical operations and appliances; and that medicine
has no adaptation nor tendency to 'help nature' in her restorative
A proper recognition of the unity of organic life leads inevitably
to the conclusion that what the body does not need and cannot
use in health is equally unneeded and unusable in disease. For
example, a drug that was as popular when Jennings wrote, as penicillin
is today and was used in as wide a variety of diseases as the
latter drug, is mercury. Mercury is not a constituent of any
of the fluids and tissues of the body and is not usable in the
performance of any of the body's functions. It is equally as
unusable in a state of illness as in health. The recognition
of the unity of life led equally inevitably to a recognition
of the fact that only those things that are useful in health
can be useful in disease. The proper care of the sick organism
is, therefore, not a collection of treatments with adventitious
and exotic substances, but the adjustment of the normal means
of life to the needs and capacities of the sick. These needs
and means are Hygienic, not therapeutic.
Further continuing his explanation, Jennings says: "An assumption
that disease is antagonistic to health, involving some quality
or property that tends to the destruction of life, something
that must be counteracted by nature or art, or both, or life
will be the forfeit. On this foundation, the whole fabric of
Medicine in all its multitudinous forms, has ever rested. As
often as new systems have been erected on the ruins of old ones,
they have been reared on this unstable foundation as their common
basis. Indeed, the correctness of this assumption seems never
to have been called in question, and the difficulties that have
constantly obstructed the course, and frustrated the designs
of physicians, in their endeavors to raise 'therapeutics' from
'its merest infancy,' or drag it from 'the domain of empiricism,'
have been sought for in all other sources, while this, the true
source of all their embarrassment, has remained unsuspected.
Herbert M. Shelton
Consciousness Needed - HM Shelton
Vol. XXXIV June, 1973 No. 10
Hygiene Consciousness Needed
by Herbert M. Shelton
A number of years ago Simon Gould went to Florida (from New York)
and underwent a fast of about twenty days. I believe he fasted
at Dr. Esser's Hygienic Health Ranch in Lake Worth, Florida.
Several days after the fast was broken and, while the experience
was still fresh in his mind, he wrote me urging me to proclaim
in the Review that fasting is Hygiene and that all else is merely
an adjunct. I had run into this idea many times before; I have
encountered it many times since. The idea that some one factor
of Hygiene is Hygiene does not always cluster around the fast.
Sometimes the thought is expressed that diet is Hygiene, at other
times the opinion is voiced that happiness is Hygiene, or that
physical exercise is Hygiene.
A recent example of the idea that fasting is Hygiene was carried
in the Hygienews, March, 1973 under the heading "Some of
the Instructors Teaching at the Convention," where we were
told the names of the following speakers and informed that they
conducted fasts: "Dr. Keki R. Sidhwa of England, Director
of his own fasting institution; Dr. William L. Esser, practitioner
of Lake Worth, Florida, who has been conducting fasting for over
35 years; Dr. D. J. Scott, practitioner of Cleveland, Ohio, with
over twenty-five years of experience in the science of fasting
people for the recovery of innumerable ailments; . . . Dr. J.
M. Brosious, St. Petersburg, Florida, who has supervised fasting
for the recovery of health since 1942 . . . . The informed Hygienist
will know that people do not fast for the "recovery of illness."
Who wants to recover illness, anyhow?
I doubt very much that the writer of the foregoing item about
the convention speakers intended to convey to the readers of
Hygienews the idea that fasting and Hygiene are synonymous terms,
but this is precisely the idea that is conveyed by the language
used. Each of the men named wants to be known as a Hygienist
and wants his institution known as a Hygienic institution, not
as a mere fasting place. By putting all the emphasis on fasting
and excluding all mention of Hygiene and the other Hygienic factors,
readers cannot but get the idea that fasting is Hygienediet,
exercise, and other Hygienic factors are mere adjuncts.
The fast is an essential factor element in a total plan of life
that, in its wholeness constitutes the only valid means of restoring,
as it is the only valid means of preserving health. The whole
plan of life constitutes Hygiene. What we have just said of the
fast may be said, and indeed we do say it, of every other Hygienic
factor. For example, we may say that exercise is an essenial
factor element in a total plan of life, that in its wholeness
constitutes the only valid means of restoring, as it is the only
valid means of preserving health.
It may be understandable that food is the element of Natural
Hygiene that has the strongest appeal to the neophyte in Hygiene
and that he is inclined to think primarily of this subject when
he thinks of Hygiene. Unless he or she is young and athletically
inclined the importance of exercise is likely to be overlooked,
as is also sunshine, if there is a strong inclination towards
prudishnss. Rest and sleep are factors that may not receive due
consideration, especially by the young. A realization of individual
responsibility is also difficult in people who have been taught,
from infancy up, to depend on the physician and his bag of tricks.
They are likely to want somebody to do for them what they can
do for themselves and no one else can.
An urgent heed among Hygienists is that of developing Hygiene
consciousness. We need to learn to think of Hygiene as an integrated
whole, each factor of which is correlated with every other factor
and cease to think of Hygiene in terms of particular fragments.
When a Hygienic practitioner or Hygienic establishment is mentioned
we need to be able to think of Hygiene in its wholeness and not
think of the institution as a fasting place or the practitioner
as one who conducts fasts. Not everyone who goes to a Hygienic
institution is given a fast, but everyone eats, rests, exercises
and seeks to acquire emotional poise. Fasting is conducted in
many places that are not Hygienic. A place is not Hygienic merely
because fasts are conducted therein. To label Hygienic institutions
as fasting places will inevitably lead to the confused idea that
fasting places- are Hygienic institutions. Hygienists, of all
people, should avoid this mistake. We should begin today to develop
a deeper and broader understanding of the Hygienic System; we
(should learn to think of Hygiene as bionomy and not as a mere
program of fasting. Each factor element in nature's grand system
of Hygiene should be given its proper place in the integrated
whole and thought of as of equal importance with every other
factor, not merely as something that is an adjunct to the fast
but as an essential integer within a vital synthesis. It is also
important that we learn to think of Hygiene as a means of keeping
well and not merely as a means of getting well. It is in its
role as a preserver of health that it assumes highest importance.
It performs no function in the work of restoration that is different
from the work it performs in the work of preserving health.
Herbert M. Shelton
Women Menstruate? - Herbert M. Shelton
Vol. IV May, 1943 No. 9
Should Women Menstruate?
by Herbert M. Shelton
What is called by the editor of She "a challenge to science"
appears in the January issue of that magazine in the form of
an article by Tora Selander Nelson, under the title: "Is
Woman's Cycle Necessary?" She's editor assures us that "There
is positive evidence to warrant the hope that the menses can
be eventually eliminated". In a box the editor says: "The
author spent many months of intensive study in exploring this
subject and is well qualified to offer her fascinating hypothesis.
.Information and advice was obtained from the Museum of Natural.
History, the New York City Medical Center and the Academy of
Medicine, but the views expressed are the author's own."
Let us first answer the question that forms the title of her
article before turning to the article itself, which does not
even discuss the question in its title. "Is Woman's Cycle
Necessary?" To answer this question, it is first necessary
that we understand what is meant by woman's cycle. This is the
term applied to a whole complex series of phenomena included
in the changes in the ovaries and womb during the maturation
of an ovum, its expulsion from the ovary and, finally, if impregnation
does not occur, its expulsion from the womb.
This cycle has two possible endings: (1) It may end in pregnancy,
birth and lactation; or (2) it may end in the expulsion of the
unimpregnated ovum and the casting off of the temporary "lining"
of the womb. Obviously the first of these cycles may be interrupted
by abortion (spontaneous or induced) or by miscarriage.
Mrs. Nelson does not discuss the necessity for this cycle of
events in her article. The question is hardly discussible. It
would be like discussing the necessity of the peach tree to put
forth blossoms before it can produce peaches. The cycle is essential
and can be avoided only by greatly impairing or completely wrecking
the female reproductive system.
What, then, does Mrs. Nelson discuss? The reader will find the
answer to this in the editor's statement that "there is
positive evidence to warrant the hope that the menses can eventually
be eliminated". She discusses the necessity for the customary
loss of blood, or hemorrhage, that marks the end of a cycle that
does not end in pregnancy.
Woman's complete ovulation cycle covers a period of twenty-eight
days (there are cases that run longer and some that run less
time than this) and, if pregnancy does not intervene, ends with
the sloughing off of the temporary lining of the uterus and,
commonly, with more or less loss of blood. What Mrs. Nelson wants
to know, is this: is the loss of blood necessary.
She presumes to speak for her sex when she says: "all of
us (women) have resented this ignominious interruption of our
normal lives as a beastly injustice." "Nature",
she says, "is cruel and stupid". For this nature has
laid upon woman the entire "burden" of pregnancy and
childbirth and has so arranged matters that "for some thirty
years of our lives, all the goals we set for ourselves"
She resents the fact that "nature" ignores woman's
petty social, political, artistic and commercial schemes. These
trivial artificialities loom larger in her mind than the fundamental
processes of life and she resents the fact that child-bearing
interferes with cock-tail hour and theatre-going. This attitude
toward the phenomena of life makes it impossible to understand
these phenomena or to find a true solution for the problems presented
by abnormal phenomena.
For years we have been saying in our lectures and writings that
menstruation (Mrs. Nelson calls it, after the medical fashion,
a "periodic function", though questioning its normally)
is an abnormal phenomenon, that it belongs in the category of
disease and can be remedied in all, or nearly all, cases.
Mrs. Nelson discovers, in her questioning of Science, that ovulation
and menstruation are two separate processes and that while ovulation
is essential to reproduction, menstruation is not. She says:
"There are women who never menstruate, and yet bear children.
Besides, the overwhelming majority of lower mammals, with reproductive
organs astonishingly like our own, do not". But when she
asks "science" what is the reason for this "function"
of menstruation, she learns to her astonishment that, "strangely
enough, science today does not profess to know".
Briefly reviewing the ripening and release of an ovum and the
uterine changes necessary to the beginning of a possible pregnancy
she says: "So far, then, the animal and the human processes,
are entirely alike, but here the similarity ends. In the lower
animals as soon as the climax of the cycle is over, the enlarged
blood vessels slowly shrink to their normal size and the accumulated
blood, not being needed by any lodging embryo, is redistributed
in the general blood stream. In the human, to the contrary, the
overfilled capillaries break under the strain and the blood drains
into the womb, to appear, eventually, as the menstrual flow."
"Why this general mess, discomfort and often severe pain?"
she asks. "What is accomplished through this regular and
repeated wounding?" "Why, after Nature has perfected
the mammalian reproductive system for hundreds of millions of
years, with everything running smoothly up a constantly refined
scale of evolution, does she start to complicate matters?"
She turns to her "authorities". Metchnikoff and Francis
Marshall suggest that there is "something amiss," but
they do not seem to know what. "Research scientists",
when asked why women hemorrhage each month, "merely say
that their knowledge is incomplete". She feels that the
"scientists" who are practically all men (the remainder
are all masculinoids) do not consider the matter of pressing
importance because "they are never, in the midst of some
exciting experiment, doubled up with an agonizing ache".
The question comes to us: If these men are not interested in
women's problems, why don't women solve their own problems? Did
Mrs. Nelson go to the men and does she resent their apparent
lack of interest because she feels that women are incapable of
solving their own problems? Shame upon these imitators of men!
If they can drink like men, and smoke like men, and philander
like men', and become welders and riveters like men, why ask
men to solve their problems for them?
Mrs. Nelson makes another startling discovery. She says: "Take,
for instance, the nature of the hemorrhage. With the one exception
of childbirth, all kinds of bleeding, be it nasal, pulmonary
or intestinal, are considered a symptom of disease". Why
is the bleeding accompanying childbirth not also considered abnormal?
Why does even Mrs. Nelson assume that this bleeding is normal?
Does she find it in the lower mammals at birth?
She adds: "If to any such bleeding you add a rising temperature,
an irregular pulse-beat, changes in blood pressure, pain, and
a general lowering of-muscular tone, you certainly would have
any patient worried. As for any physician calling the whole a
'natural' process, the chances are remote. "Nor do these
recognized features of menstruation stand alone. There are physical
changes as well. No woman needs to be told about the extra effort
needed to remain up to par in her work at such times, or about
her feelings of depression or elation. Her temperament, for a
few days, becomes undeniably mercurial".
To these physical and nervous symptoms let us add the frequent
headaches, pains in the back and legs, pimples on the face, constipation
or diarrhea and peculiar body odor. She tells us that investigations
of crime records in many countries show "the percentage
of feminine crime is incomparably higher during the menstrual
period; and as far as suicide is concerned, the evidence of serious
mental disturbance is simply terrifying". We ourselves have
noted, in dealing with insane patients, that all their symptoms
of insanity are much worse during menstruation.
Mrs. Nelson makes out a good case for the idea that menstruation
is an evidence of disease, but she does not draw the necessary
inference there from. She is simply not willing to face the facts
in the case and point to its true causes. She finds instead,
that menstruation is simply the outgrowth of an evolutionary
short-coming. We will come to this later.
In our book, "Menstruation - Its Cause and Cure (out of
print) first published over ten years ago, parts of it published
much earlier, we say:
Ovulation is a normal process and is not necessarily accompanied
with any sanguineous flow -bloody flux- or "show of blood".
It is quite true that there is usually a loss of blood during
part of the period of ovulation, but it is also equally true
that with almost all women in civilized society, the period is
marked by other morbid symptoms. We have no more right to consider
the loss of blood to be an essential part of the process of ovulation
than we have to regard the accompanying pain to be so.* * * My
studies and experiences have led me inevitably to the conclusion
that the loss of blood is pathological and that it is in no sense
a natural (normal) or necessary part of the physiological process
The fact was pointed out by Dr. Trail over seventy-five years
ago that in practically all cases the loss of blood "is
in almost exact inverse ratio to the constitutional tone and
vigor." In Menstruation Its Cause and Cure, we say:
* * * in what are termed1" civilized countries, women oscillate
between great extremes. In some there is no menstrual flux, in
others it is very scanty and lasts but a few hours, or for a
day or two, while in others it lasts seven or eight days, accompanied
with much pain and discomfort, and the flow is so profuse as
to be almost hemorrhagic. These marked variations in menstruation
correspond in exact ratio with the varying degrees of health
of different women, or In the same woman at different times.
There does not exist a greater difference between the human female
and the female among the lower animals in this matter, than exists
between some women and other women.
Turning to the other side of the picture she says: "Those
of us who go in for sports, exploration and other physically
demanding activities, know, that the length of the period usually
stands in direct proportion to our physical condition. If the
latter is top-notch, as it is apt (likely) to be after systematic
training, the menstrual time is shortened and the loss of blood
reduced to a minimum. Every so often, under such conditions,
the menses disappear altogether, and this disappearance invariably
corresponds with our highest peak of health."
Here, Mrs. Nelson finds the key to the solution of her problems,
but she rejects it. Ten years ago, we pointed out these facts,
plus the further fact, that, as physical vigor increases the
pain and other symptoms accompanying menstruation also lessen
and finally disappear.
After briefly discussing a lot of hokum about thyroid deficiency
increasing menstruation and thyroid sufficiency decreasing the
flow (she fails to see these two conditions as part of the general
health or lack of it) she comes to her hypothesis of the cause
She starts with the hypothesis that man is descended from an
ape, and that the ape is descended from a quadruped. Instead
of walking on all four of our feet, we stand and walk on our
hind legs. While we have been in this unnatural position a long
time, evolution has failed to adjust our internal organs to the
upright position; they are still adjusted to the horizontal position
of quadrupeds. This allows our organs to crowd down into the
-pelvis and the small "extra" pressure thus put upon
the blood vessels of the pelvis results in menstruation.
This is a hopeless picture. If menstruation is a disease we may
hope to remedy it. If improved health lessens or abolishes it,
we may even hope to interest a few women in improved health.
But if it is due to an evolutionary mal-adjustment, the trouble
can never be remedied. According to the apostles of transformism
(miscalled evolution) man has been man and has undergone no change
in his biological equipment for at least five-hundred thousand
years, probably much longer. If evolutionary adjustments are
so slow Mrs. Nelson will never live long enough to see her problem
solved. She approaches the true solution, but she runs away from
In Menstruation-Its Cause and Cure we also considered the circulatory
interference caused by sagging abdominal organs, which we estimated
exist in well over ninety per cent of women, over fourteen years
old. We say:
When we consider that in the average woman, due to lack of their
normal support, the abdominal organs gravitate toward and rest
upon the pelvic organs, and thus interfere with the return circulation
from the pelvis, we easily understand why the hyperemia (excess
of blood) becomes great enough to result in a leakage of blood
and blood serum through the lax tissues of the uterus.
We did not attribute this sagging of organs to evolutional short-comings,
but to a failure of the normal supports. We pointed out that
only where there is unantagonized gravitation does ptosis occur
and that the healthy organism effectually opposes gravitation.
We attributed pelvic laxness and loss of tone to the same causes
that produce 'laxness and loss of tone throughout the body to
which are added, "weight from above-weight of a clogged
colon in constipation, pressure from gas distention of the intestines,
sagging of the abdominal organs due to faulty posture, muscular
weakness and lack of exercise, pressure of belts, corsets, tight
and heavy clothing, etc."
Here are causes that may be understood and removed and here are
conditions that we can remedy. Ptosis may be both prevented and
remedied. One cannot hope to prevent or remedy u normal condition
that has resulted from the hypothetical slow evolution of man
from a quadruped, no matter how faulty it may be.
Suffice it to say that our experiences have convinced us that
the periodic blood-loss sustained by woman is due solely to a
loss of integrity in her tissues (the local loss of integrity
is merely part of the general loss of integrity) and not to any
failure of adjustment. We deplore the too frequent use of the
hypothesis of transformism to account for defects that are more
easily accounted for by facts close at home. Evolutional failings
(lack of adjustments) are remediable only by more ages of slow
evolutionary process; failings due to factors over which we have
control are remediable now.
She sees a way out. Or, did some manufacturer of endocrine products
see it for her? She wants some of our endocrinologists to find
a glandular product - "be it thyroid or pituitary- which,
if given in an individually adjusted dose, would cause woman's
menstrual process to stop short just before the breaking-point
of her uterine capillaries."
This is a commercial program that ignores the harm that may result
from the procedure. It is a voodoo program that seeks to control
the forces of nature but does not seek to remove the cause of
the abnormality. Mrs. Nelson spent too much time with the museum
of "Natural" history, the New York City Medical Center
and the Academy of Medicine.
She wants a substitute for health. She will be satisfied with
a crutch rather than a correction. She does not desire improved
health and increased vigor in women, She does not want a means
of normalizing female function. She is a pitiable victim of current
medical and commercial thinking.
We do not share her view that some substitute for good health
and the things upon which this depends should be devised to suppress
menstruation. Our modern trend is to seek substitutes for normal
functions rather than for normalization of function. We prefer
arch supports to normal arches, eye-glasses to normalization
of visual function, dental plates to good teeth, abdominal supports
to normal abdominal muscles, vaccines and serums to natural resistance,
artificial vitamins to natural foods, insulin to a good pancreas,
cathartics to normal bowel function, "twilight sleep and
Caeserean section to the pleasures of normal childbirth. Our
love of ersatz physiology and anatomy (substitutes for normal
function and structure) grows out of our ready acceptance of
and satisfaction with a low standard of health and our lazy compliance
with low conditions. This is a threefold source of mischief-first,
there is the neglect of those positive natural conditions upon
which normal function depends; second, there is the disregard
of the impairing influences that are primarily responsible for
deterioration of function and structures; and third, there are
the harmful effects of the substitutes, themselves.
Herbert M. Shelton
and MS - Herbert M Shelton
Fasting Can Save Your Life
by Herbert M. Shelton
20 - Multiple Sclerosis
Widespread fund-raising campaigns to fight the crippling effects
of this disease, and to perform research into its cause and treatment,
have made multiple sclerosis familiar to the public. Yet there
may be some basic causes already known in terms of diet and activities
of the individual and even possible avenues of recovery in the
I recall a case of an optometrist whose condition became so bad
that he had to give up his work and turn his office over to someone
else. For a few years he had been under the care of several of
the best neurologists of the East and, as they had warned him
at the outset, had grown progressively worse. They had frankly
told him that they had no cure for multiple sclerosis.
They were telling him the truth, yet after seven weeks in a Hygienic
institution, he walked out under his own power, returned home
and resumed his professional activities.
He was not a well man at the end of seven weeks. It is too much
to expect a full recovery in such a short time. But he had made
such great improvement that he felt justified in returning home
and getting back to work. This is often a wrong position to take,
especially with a condition like multiple sclerosis, but it is
a mistake that the sick frequently make.
Many patients seem to be satisfied to stop their efforts in recovering
health when they have been freed of their most annoying symptoms.
They are often unwilling to go on to full health, and are convinced
they can take care of themselves. After having made a certain
amount of initial improvement they expect to take charge and
they feel they can carry on, from that point, as well as their
professional adviser. In a few cases it works out; generally
In cases watched and controlled, results of fasting can be established.
Sclerosis means induration or hardening. It has special reference
to hardening of a part due to inflammation. In the nervous system
the term denotes an overgrowth of connective tissue (hyperplasia
of connective tissue) in the nerve tissue.
Multiple sclerosisalso called disseminated sclerosis and
sometimes known as Charcot's diseaseis characterized by
hardening (sclerosis) occurring in sporadic patches through the
brain and spinal cord or both. These hardened patches range from
the size of a pin head to that of a pea and are scattered irregularly
through the brain and cord.
At autopsy, it is found that the insulating sheath of the nerves
is broken down and the nerve cells and fibers have fused together.
I have emphasized that this is what is found at autopsy for the
reason that the trouble does not start as a sclerosis (hardening),
but as an inflammation.
A man dies after suffering with multiple sclerosis for fifteen
or twenty years and an autopsy is performed. His brain and nervous
system are subjected to the closest scrutiny and certain pathological
changes are found. But this is the end-point. What was the condition
of his nerves five years, ten years or fifteen years prior to
death? It is reasonable to think that if the condition of the
nerves was the same five years or ten years prior to death that
they are found to be in at death, he would have died five to
ten years earlier.
The disease is said to be "incurable." It may last
for years before the patient dies. The end-point, as found at
death, is certainly irreversible, but can we be sure that the
earlier stages of the disease are irreversible? The very progress
of the disease would seem to negate such an assumption. In the
inflammatory stage of the disease it would certainly seem to
Indeed, spontaneous remissions are known that may last for weeks
or even years. Once the hardening has occurred, there would seem
to be no possibility that the disease could intermit, or that
recovery could be effected.
A fatty insulating material called the myelin sheath, which surrounds
the nerves, is lost and this is said to cause abnormal nerve
behavior. Some of the nerves work energetically, some work very
weakly and others fail to work at all.
No two cases are alike because in no two cases are the same parts
of the brain and nervous system affected. The development of
the hardening does not progress at the same rate in each case,
and does not take place at the same rate at all points in the
body of the same patient. For the reason that no two cases are
identical, no description of the disease will fit any particular
Among the leading symptoms of the disease are weakness, strong
jerky movements, incoordination of the extremities that is often
more marked in the arms than in the legs, and amemomania, which
is a form of insanity with agreeable hallucinations. Also other
abnormal mental exaltations, scanning speech and an involuntary
rapid movement of the eyes, called nyastagmus are evident. The
tremor is jerky, is increased by voluntary efforts to restrain
it, and is entirely absent during complete rest and sleep, returning
when movements are resumed.
The nature of the symptoms in each case will depend on the locations
and severity of the changes in the nervous tissues. A sudden
loss of vision in one eye or a period of double vision may be
an early symptom. The eye symptoms usually clear up in a short
time and they may not recur for months or years. The patient
may develop peculiar feelings, with tingling and numbness in
various parts of the limbs and body.
Weakness in the legs and difficulty in walking may later develop.
There may be trembling, jerking of the legs, difficulty in talking,
a hand may become clumsy or useless. Tremor of the hand may develop
when the individual attempts to pick up something. Trouble with
the rectum and the urinary bladder may also develop.
These symptoms may remain mild for a number of years or they
may clear up and not recur for long periods. It is this remission
of symptoms that indicates that
in the early stages of the disease the developments are not irreversible.
About half of these patients are still able to work after twenty-five
years, a fact which indicates the slowness of the development
of the disease. This certainly provides ample time for something
constructive to be done.
Many cases are so mild and the symptoms so evanescent that they
are not diagnosed as sclerosis for years. The tendency of the
symptoms to cease for periods of time is said to be one of the
basic characteristics of the disease, the other being the scattered
character of the symptomatic developments, as the hardening is
I have previously pointed out that no two cases are alike in
their symptoms or in their development, each patient lending
his own individuality to the disease; but this is no more true
of multiple sclerosis than of any other disease.
No germ or virus has been found upon which to lay the blame for
the development of the disease and it is freely confessed that
"the cause is unknown. " It is, however, thought to
be "probably of infectious origin. "
No treatment has proved satisfactory. This is true in so many
diseases that it is almost the rule. How can there be satisfactory
treatment of a disease the cause of which is unrecognized? Standard
works on the disease say: "The cause of the disease is entirely
unknown... there is no specific or really effective treatment...
always a long-standing disease, total recovery from it is very
Certainly we cannot expect total recovery if the cause is unrecognized.
The failure to recognize the general impairing influences in
the life and environment of the patient as the true cause of
functional and organic deterioration blinds us to the causes
The search for specific causes has about reached its end. The
time has arrived when we must find in wrong living habits the
cause of the failures of the organism and the evolution of its
diseases. When these are recognized and removed, there is a possibility
of recovery in thousands of individuals who are now regarded
as hopelessly incurable.
I have never had opportunity to care for a case of multiple sclerosis
in the early stages, hence I can only suggest that if these cases
were given Hygienic care at the outset of their trouble, the
percentage of recoveries would be high.
All of the cases I have had the privilege of caring for have
been in advanced stages and I do not consider these favorable
The fact that I have been able to return some of these, even
in helpless conditions, to a state of usefulness speaks volumes
for the efficiency of the Hygienic program in restoring normal
tissue and functional condition.
Let us review the general picture of the fasting experience,
as applied to a multiple sclerosis case. The first fast brings
about remarkable improvement in the general health of the individual
with considerable increase in his control and use of his limbs,
often enabling the bed-ridden patient to get up and walk about.
He manages to hold this improvement and not infrequently to add
to it, while eating a carefully planned diet and taking regular
exercise and sun baths following the fast.
A second fast adds to his control and use of his limbs. I have
employed as many as three fasts in these cases. Each fast has
resulted in increased control of the limbs and has made it possible
for them to be used with greater ease.
I continue the rest in bed following the fast, adding a period
or two of daily light exercise of a type that requires increasing
skill in their performance. The purpose of the exercise in these
cases is not so much that of increasing the size and strength
of the muscles as to increase the individual's skill in their
use. Heavier exercise may come later if desired.
I am convinced that daily sunbathing in these cases is especially
helpful in furthering the evolution of nerve health. The diet
is one of fresh fruits and vegetables with only moderate quantities
of fats, sugars, starches and proteins.
I prefer the vegetable proteinsnuts and sunflower seeds
are good in these cases.
The important thing for us to remember is that the sclerosis
does not belong to the initial stages of the disease. In these
early stages recovery is most likely to take place, providing
only that all impairing influences are removed from the life
of the individual and his blood and flesh are freed of their
It is in the initial stage that full recovery is or should be
possible, not in the advanced stages when irreversible changes
in the nerve structures have taken place. The ancient adage:
"A stitch in time"in this case, action in time,
can make the difference.
Herbert M. Shelton
Vol. V January, 1944 No. 5
Man's Dietetic Character
Herbert M. Shelton
The correlation between food habits and the structure of the
digestive system is very apparent in the vertebrate animals
those having a back bone. For convenience these may be divided,
with reference to their dietetic habits, into frugivorous, herbivorous,
omnivorous and carnivorous types. For our present purposes, we
need consider only the higher vertebrates or mammals for, while
man is often referred to a "poor fish", we can learn
little about his dietetic status by studying fish.
Comparative anatomists tell us that "there is an excellent,
although not perfect correlation between the food habits of the
animal and the length and shape of the intestine." It is
my opinion that where this correlation is not perfect, it is
due to the fact that the "adaptation" is not completed.
I shall refer to this again towards the end of this article.
The herbivores possess a complex stomach, a long intestine, usually
a large caecum and a large intestine that is not continuous with
the small intestine. In these animals the small intestine enters
the large intestine at approximately right angles some distance
from its anterior or blind end. This blind end, or blind pouch,
the caecum, is large in herbivores and is a functional part of
The digestive tract of the carnivores is much simpler in structure
and decidedly shorter than that of the herbivores. The stomach
is simple, the esophagus is relatively larger and the intestine
The order of bats shows the correlation of the digestive tract
with the dietary habits. These run all the way from pure frugivores
at one end to parasites at the other. The fruit eating bats have
longer intestines than the carnivorous ones, while the shortest
intestine known among mammals is seen in the blood eating (parasitic)
Comparing the relative lengths of the digestive tracts of the
various dietetic classes, it is found that in carnivores it is
three times the length of the body (there are a few exceptions);
in the herbivores, as in the sheep, it is thirty times the length
of the body; in the omnivores ten times; in the frugivores ten
to twelve times.
Let us pause a minute and view the human digestive tract and
compare it with the above. Comparative anatomists tell us that
"the human mouth cavity and esophagus are typically mammalian.
The stomach is a simple sac slightly divided into two regions.
"Man possesses a simple pouch-like stomach." hence
cannot be classed with the herbivores which have a complex stomach,
the cud chewing herbivores having a stomach divided into four
His (man's) digestive tract is twelve times the length of his
body, the same as is found in the frugivores. In man, the higher
apes and the herbivores the colon is sacculated, while in the
carnivores the colon is smooth. Man does not therefore, fall
properly into the class carnivora.
It is commonly thought by vegetarians and fruitarians that the
diet of an animal is determined by the internal adaptations of
the animal that an animal eats what he does because he
is what he is. The lion, for instance, eats flesh because he
is constructed and constituted for such a diet, his claws, his
teeth, his digestive tract, his instincts fit him for this bill-of-fare.
That this is true today seems evident enough; but has this always
been so? Was the lion always a flesh-eater, a killer, and was
he always adapted to the flesh diet?
We do not think so. We think that internal and external adaptations
are largely determined by feeding habits. We think that a change
of feeding habits results in a change in adaptations, so that,
in the end, feeding habits determine not only the anatomy and
physiology of the organism, but even its status and its survival.
Specializations that are based on bio-immoral conduct tend towards
death. They are negative compensations and belong more properly
in the field of pathology rather than in that of physiology.
We said that man's digestive tract is twelve times the length
of his body. This is not always so for, the same correlation
of structure with habit is seen in the human species as is found
in the order of bats. The Eskimos have a shorter digestive tract,
the difference being found chiefly in a shorter intestine, than
the white races.
Are the Eskimos carnivorous because they possess a shorter digestive
tract, or do they possess a shorter digestive tract because they
practice carnivorism? Which comes first, habit or adaptation?
Were the primitive ancestors of the Eskimos carnivorous, or were
they frugivorous or omnivorous? Have the Eskimos acquired a shorter
digestive tract since they were driven into the far North and
forced to live largely on flesh food, or did their ancestors
from the South bequeath to them their shorter digestive tracts?
It is my view that the shortening of the digestive tract resulted
from the adoption of a flesh diet: that it is a negative compensation
for violation of the fundamental symbiotic requirements of life.
I believe, also, that all carnivores are descended from once
noble ancestors who lived without stealth and murder. They have
undergone modifications of structure and function (chiefly losses)
to adapt themselves to their changed way of life and anti-symbiotic
To return to bats, which have been previously mentioned, I think
we can get a better picture of the correlation of food and food-getting
with structure than the various tribes of man can supply.
There are a great number of kinds of bats in the world and they
are of various sizes. In their dietetic habits they range all
the way from strict frugivores to rank carnivores and cannibals.
One variety of bat has actually become a blood sucker
a vampire. Some of them have not completely abandoned their fruit
diet, but eat both fruit and flesh. Some are insectivorous, others
are known to catch fish. It is interesting to note that the intestines
of the vampire bat is shorter in proportion than that of any
other beast, while its stomach is prolonged into a long tubular
pouch. Its teeth are unlike that of any other bat - in bats generally
the incisors are small and the "canines" are large,
but in the blood-sucker the upper incisors and "canines"
are both large and very sharp edged, while its grinders, not
being required by its blood-diet, have degenerated into small
and unimportant vestiges. The fruit eating bats are larger than
their meat eating relatives.
It may not be amiss to point out that the repellent features
and odor of insectivorous, carnivorous, cannibalistic and vampire
bats are lacking in the fruit eating bats. Indeed, one naturalist
says of the fruit eating bats that "with their keen, intelligent-looking,
doe-like heads." they "inspire nothing but friendly
interest when seen at close hand, and might quite probably be
popular as pets if they were better known." The hammer-head
bat of the Gabu district of French Equatorial Africa, a fruit
eater with a great partiality for figs, is an exception to the
better-looking qualities of the frugivorae. He is described as
hideous, though in his photograph he is not as hideous as the
carnivore. Monstrosity is everywhere the outgrowth of illegitimate
food and food-getting.
The bats show us an unbroken descent from strict frugivorae to
frugo-carnivorae. to carni-vorae, to cannibals, to near parasites
with a corresponding degeneration of form and loss of status
with each step of their dietary degradation. They suffer negative
compensations losses and modifications of structures and
functionswhich are entailed by their illegitimate food
supplies and methods of food-getting. The vampire bat has actually
undergone some of the modifications seen in parasites.
It would be possible to extend our study of comparative anatomy
to cover many other parts of the body, but space limitations
do not permit. It must suffice for the present that we say that
among the higher apes there are several species of them whose
alimentary organs in all respects very nearly resemble those
of man and in that species which approaches closest to man in
general organization and appearance, the alimentary organs, in
almost every particular, so closely resemble those of man, that
they are easily mistaken for them.
Sylvester Graham used the alimentary organs of the orang-outang
as "the true type with which we are to compare those of
the human body, in order to ascertain the natural dietetic character
of man. He pointed out that "in all that the organs of the
orang differ from those of man, they bring the orang between
man and carnivorous animals; and thus, as it were, push man still
further from a carnivorous character."
Graham wrote several years before Darwin derived man from an
"ape-like arboreal ancestor." It has always seemed
unaccountable to the present writer that transformationists (they
have stolen the term evolution, and miscall themselves evolutionists),
while insisting that man and the apes are brothers (or cousins)
and are descended from a common ancestor and that man (or his
ancestor) formerly lived in the trees (frugivorous) also at the
same time, insist that primitive man was carnivorous, even cannibalistic.
For, while his organization places him at the apex of creation
and shows him to be the arch-type of the frugivorae, they have
pictured him as more beastly than any beast."
In his Outline of History, H. G. Wells, following the "scientific"
pattern (or line) describes our early ancestor, just after he
had emerged from the ape-stage, and says: "When he found
dead animals, semi-putrid, he would relish them nonetheless.
He would eat his unworthy children. He would seek larger animals
in a weak and dying state. Failing to find them, dead and half-rotten
examples would be made to suffice."
This is the crowning achievement of our carnivorous biology.
This "early man" who has been created by biological
speculation, should have descended from a jackal or a hyena,
not from an ape. His dietary habits as "described"
by Wells, relate him to saprophytes (scavengers) and carnivorae
and not to the frugivorae from which, according to the hypothesis,
It is our contention that, instead of early man being the degraded
beast that Wells and most Darwinians picture him, the carnivores
and saprophytes of the present and past have "fallen"
from their once high estate to their present state of degradation.
Herbert M. Shelton
Normal Bowel Activity?
Herbert M. Shelton
Few, if any, organs of man's body are subjected to as much abuse
as his colon. For ages it has been the object of attack by all
schools of so-called healing and by all manners of means.
The colon has been accused of being lazy; it has been claimed
to be superfluous and its removal advocated; it has been blamed
as the source of almost all the so-called diseases with which
man suffers. As a consequence of this, it has been goaded and
pricked with laxatives, cathartics, and purges, cut with knives,
filled by injection, with plain water, soapsuds, molasses, oils,and
other substances to force it to act. It has been filled from
above withstand, wheat bran, rough, bulky vegetables, psyllium
seed, agar-agar, mineral oil, olive oil, etc.
All of these and many more agents have been employed to force
the colon to empty itself. They have been employed by those who
cannot trust the functions of life to the laws and forces of
life, but who feel that they must constantly interfere with the
functions of life if life is to continue. They either irritate
the bowels and cause them to act vigorously to eject the source
of irritation, or fill them so full of bulk that they are forced
to "move" to make room for the succeeding load of bulk.
This plan works on the same principle as that of the hay bailer.
One bail of hay is forced out by the one that comes after. It
is a plan of remedying sluggish bowels by giving them more work
All that the various "cures" for constipation ever
succeed in doing is to increase the constipation, weaken the
walls of the colon and produce visceroptosis and other troubles.
Not one of them even remotely touches the original cause of constipation.
The enema and colonic irrigation produce as much trouble as other
palliatives of constipation and leave the cause of constipation
The colon functions automatically. Its activities are sub-consciously
controlled. Only the final act of expelling the feces is partially
subject to conscious control. Conscious meddling with the body's
sub-conscious activities is always injurious. There is no more
reason for regularly meddling with the function of the colon
than there is for habitually intervening in the activities of
the heart. Indeed, we can trust the colon to faithfully perform
its function just as much as we can trust the heart to faithfully
perform its work.
People who regularly take heart stimulants or heart depressants
pay for their meddlesome interference with the function of this
organ with increasing heart trouble. In like manner, people who
habitually force or retard bowel action pay for their folly by
increasing bowel impairment. Bowel action, being spontaneous
and automatic, does not require to be consciously regulated any
more than does any other of the body's subconscious or automatic
There are thousands who live constantly with their minds in their
colons.They are never satisfied with the function of their colons.
Their movements are never complete enough, or never frequent
enough, or they are never the proper color, or thy do not occur
soon enough after their eating. These people are obsessed with
their colons and live for their daily passage or passages. They
seem to think that man's chief function in life is to be constantly
filling up and emptying out again. Their very worry and apprehension
over their bowel function tends to produce the very trouble they
fear or to perpetuate and intensify the troubles they have.
If these people can only learn that the normal bowel supplies
its own lubricant and 'acts' normally when there is a need for
action and the abnormal bowel is injured by artificial lubricants
and by all forcing measures, they maybe taught to follow the
sage advice of Dr. Charles E. Page, who says, instead of badgering
the bowels into unusual activity: "A good rule for many
who suffer tortures of mind because of constipation would be:
mind your own business and let your bowels mind theirs. Try not
to have movements, but rather to deserve them. That is, attend
to the general health by living hygienically, and the bowels,
if given regular opportunity, move when there is anything to
The principle that normal bowel function depends upon good general
health is the very antithesis of that generally held; namely,
that good health depends on regular (if not normal) bowel action.
Also, the principle that normal bowel action rests upon right
living is the very opposite of the one generally followed; namely,
that normal bowel action depends upon special attention to the
There are so-called dietitians whose main object in feeding seems
to be to prepare food mixtures to increase peristalsis. They
feed, not to nourish the body, but to make the bowels move. They
feed laxatives, not nutrients. Their"dietetics" is
a simulacrum of the drug system.
The impaired colon needs less work, not more; rest, not stimulation;
more nerve energy, not increased enervation; nourishment, not
bulk. Instead of giving the colon more material to move, give
them more energy to move with.
A normal bowel action is never forced. It comes as a response
to a spontaneous urge to go to stool. It is never difficult and
does not require straining and grunting. It is free of effort.
The normal movement is so easy and is so quickly over that one
hardly realizes he has had a movement. The movement requires
from five to ten seconds to completely empty the rectum and is
accompanied by a distinctly pleasurable sensation. The normal
stool is free of all odor.
If movement is forced when there is no urge; if it is accomplished
only by much training; if it is painful; if the stools are foul;
the movement is not normal. If the stools are very large and
hard; if they are thin, ribbon-like strands; if they are composed
of little balls: if they are loose and watery; they are not normal.
Much has been written about the proper position to assume at
stool. There is little doubt that primitive man assumed the squatting
position, a position that renders the use of toilet paper superfluous
if the movement is normal; but it has been my observation that
the normal bowel will move easily and freely in any position;
whereas, the abnormal one may not move easily in any position.
I cared for a child that could have a bowel movement in a standing
position only. Of more importance than position is nerve energy.
If nerve energy is low, no position will compensate for its lack.
Few people ever have a normal stool, for the reason that most
people habitually over eat to such an extent that their stools
are made up largely of undigested food and this is almost always
in an advanced state of decomposition.Such people are usually
constipated from overworking their colons.
Even though they have regular movements, the egesta is often
one to three days behind the time it normally should have been
Most animals have a bowel movement immediately upon arising.
Most men and women tend to do the same. This would seem to be
one of the established rhythms of the body.
There is also a tendency for a movement to follow immediately
upon the ingestion of a meal. However, this is by no means invariable
and depends upon the amount and character of food previously
eaten and the time that has elapsed since taking the prior meals.
There is no doubt that a small quantity of bulk in the food eaten
offers the bowels a better opportunity to move the feces along,
but it must be recognized that truly normal bowels will move
efficiently on a bulk less diet of bananas and water. Too much
bulk is commonly prescribed and used. If your bowels move regularly
only because you eat lots of bulk, you are constipated.
It is good health that insures normal bowel movements and not
daily movements that insure good health. Normal bowel action
is, therefore, based on healthful living.
Herbert M. Shelton
Boon My Bane?
Vol. V December, 1943 No. 4
Is Your Boon My Bane?
Herbert M. Shelton
The old fallacy that "what is one man's meat (food) is another
man's poison" has served and misled people so long and is,
today, so often repeated even by men who should know better,
that I deem it wise to say a few words in combating it. I am
frequently "reminded" by some wise patient, one of
those fellows who has the little knowledge that is dangerous,
that "you cannot feed all patients alike, for 'what is one
man's meat is another man's poison.'" I once saw a man to
whom water was a poison. He drank a glass of coca-cola about
every thirty minutes during the day to satisfy his thirst. The
caffeine in this slop did not hurt him. In fact, he explained
to me, that by his athletic activities he "burned up"
the caffeine. But he was afraid of plain water.
I have never yet met a person to whom air is a poison, but have
met several who were "poisoned" by fresh air. Fresh
air gave them colds, or headaches, or other trouble; foul air
agreed with them perfectly. For the most part, however, the claim
that what is food for one is poison for another is applied to
those articles of food that are derived directly or indirectly
from the soil. Even here, it is not claimed that calcium is food
for one and poison for another, or that carbohydrates are food
for one and poison for another. I have never seen it stated that
vitamin C nourishes one man and poisons a second. The claim is
not made against the food factors or food elements as such, but
against the food products that contain these elements. And yet,
such foods never enter the body of any one. Cabbage does not
circulate in the blood stream. Potatoes are not rolled through
the arteries and veins like marbles. Imagine a fish-eater having
little fish swimming around in his blood stream!
Foods are broken down in the processes of digestion into a few
uniform and acceptable substances and these alone enter the blood
stream. "But we are not all constituted alike" protests
our wise man. It may be true that life is as chaotic as this
implies, but, if it is, physiologists have not found any evidence
of it. Each of us starts life as a fertilized ovum and follows
in the course of our evolution the same lines of development.
We arrive at maturity with the same number of bones and same
number of muscles in our bodies. We possess the same glands and
have the same digestive and excretory systems.
Each of us secretes saliva containing pytalin; each of us secretes
gastric juice containing pepsin. The liver of each of us turns
out bile, while the pancreas of each one produces pancreatic
juice with the same enzymes. The glands of the intestines of
each of us turn out the same juice containing the same enzymes.
Structurally and functionally our digestive systems are so much
alike that the physiologist can't find that different constitution
we hear so much about. At the same time we all require the same
food factors to nourish our bodies. Everything points to the
suggestion that we are constituted upon the same principles,
are constructed alike, have the same nutritive needs and are
equipped to digest and utilize the same kinds and classes of
I have never seen a man whose constitution was that of a dog,
or that of a cow. They have all possessed human constitutions
and, so far as human observation can go, they are all subject
to same laws. Did anyone ever proclaim that cows, for instance,
are so differently constituted that some cows need and must have
grasses and herbs and others cannot use these, but must eat flesh?
Or, has anyone ever declared that, whereas most lions live on
flesh, blood and bones, some lions are so differently constituted
that flesh is their poison and they must graze like the ox?
All this nonsense about different constitutions is prated by
people who haven't the slightest idea about what is meant by
constitution. By constitution is meant the composition of the
body. It is, in other words, the tout ensemble of organs and
functions that constitute an organism. Man's constitution differs
from that of the horse or the wolf, but not from that of another
Man is in subjection to natural law. Every organ and every function
in his body renders unceasing obedience to natural law. His whole
organism is constituted according to and upon immutable law.
Will it be claimed that the laws that govern one man's structures
and functions differ from those that govern the laws and functions
of another man? Are all men subject to the law of gravity? Then
all men are subject, and in the same degree, to all other natural
The laws of nature are such that everything we do or fail to
do either conforms to law or runs counter to it. There is no
neutral ground. It is ridiculous to say that the laws of nature
require one kind of practice in one man and another and opposite
kind of practice in another. Habits and circumstances that are
precisely adapted to the laws of life in one man are habits and
practices that are precisely adapted to these same laws in another
man. Because of this false doctrine that there are many kinds
of human constitutions, requiring different habits and circumstances
to conform to the laws of life, we are misled into all kinds
of errors. "Tobacco does not harm my constitution"
says one, while another confidently asserts, that "coffee
agrees with my constitution." Another possesses a constitution
that requires large quantities of food, while another is so constituted
that he requires very little sleep. There is hardly an injurious
practice and indulgence in the whole long catalogue of man's
abuses of himself, that is not defended by those who practice
them, or indulge, on the ground that it agrees with their particular
and peculiar constitution. None of them, so far as I have been
able to ascertain, have ever found that jumping from the top
of the Empire State Building agrees with their constitutions.
But if life is as chaotic as they seem to think, there seems
to be no reason why some constitutions should not be found that
would need and require such jumps. Life being what it is and
natural laws being what they are, what is really and permanently
best for one is best for all; and what is injurious for one,
is so for all.
None of the above is to be interpreted to mean that human needs
do not vary under different conditions and circumstances of life.
No one would be foolish enough to declare that the three days
old infant and the fifty years old man have identical needs;
or that the needs of man in the tropics and his needs in frigid
regions are identical. Nor are the needs of the sick and those
of the healthy identical. This is not due to any change in the
law, but to change in conditions.
There are individual weaknesses and differences, in resistance
that call for temporary modifications of any program of living,
but it is essential that the modification comply with the laws
of life. All programs or parts of programs that violate these
laws are ultimately ruinous. Variations within the law are legitimate.
No variations that step outside the law are ever permissible.
Herbert M. Shelton
Dr. Shelton comments on this article below.
or Men. Which?
Eugene A. Bergholz, M.D.
Dr. Benedict Lust, Editor
Principles or Men. Which?
Eugene A. Bergholz, M.D.
WITH THE RECENT DEATH OF DR. Wm. Hay of "Hay-Diet"
fame, at the seemingly unseasonal age of 70, came many comments
as to the efficacy of the system he proposed because he did not
apparently, with his early passing, demonstrate the greater life-expectancy
he attributed to following a program of diet stressing moderation
and restricted food combinations.
This, so frequent a comment raised every time an authority on
health is called into the great beyond, voiced particularly by
those who, though they recognize the great benefits that can
only accrue from a life of self-discipline but themselves lack
the necessary "spine" to follow such a restricting
regimen of living, brings to mind again a point that we have
repeatedly stressed, that a philosophy based in truth is not
dependent upon any man, procedure, experimental evidence, or
any other agent that man may devise, but will ever stand by ITSELF
in its OWN right, indisputable, unalterable, irrevocable, invincible,
WE HUMAN BEINGS, HOWEVER, ARE SO taken up with ourselves, that
we feel MEN are the originators of principles and philosophies,
rather than that they are merely DISCOVERERS of facts which were
in existence long before even their own birthday appearance on
the horizon, in fact, eternally so!
Therefore, we are enamored by the performance of MEN, we lean
on THEIR beliefs, we give ear to THEIR interpretations and philosophies,
and so we judge by men and performance, forgetting usually that
they are but executors of either the truth they adhere to or
the error they practice (or a mixture of both), and can only
demonstrate to the limit of their own depth of knowledge, gifts,
revelation, and to the DEGREE TO WHICH THEY THEMSELVES ACTUALLY
DISCHARGE THEIR BETTER UNDERSTANDING! Men may not, for these
reasons, even seem to demonstrate the very doctrine which they
teach and know to be inviolably right, so, let us, therefore,
not forget that the correctness of the principle should not be
judged in the light of fallible men, for the principle is NOT
dependent upon the MAN, but upon the PRINCIPLE itself. Principles,
laws, truth, came first . . . Men either accept or reject them,
and they demonstrate the facts involved to the degree that they
accept and practice them. Law cannot change. Man ALONE confuses
the picture through his interpretations of it and by his inability
to obey it to the letter.
Other men are foolish merely to judge such men who CLAIM superior
knowledge of truth, from purely external performance without
themselves investigating and UNDERSTANDING the PRINCIPLES actually
Twill Ever Be Thus!
BUT WHAT DO WE USUALLY FIND? MAN sick unto death in his youth
or prime, learns the eternal truth of health through the observance
of natural law and begets certain results which inspire him to
tell others of his precious findings. Factors in his own life,
however, make it impossible to fulfill the irreparable breakage
of the law he previously brought about, and he must be satisfied
in his life of active humanitarian service with an ordinary "three
score and ten" as his lease on earthly existence. But, because
HE did not live beyond a century, which the law promises under
IDEAL conditions, the principles proclaimed are entirely wrong
or at least to be seriously questioned.
How fickle the opinions of men with their mechanical interpretations
judged from outward appearances! What about the laws involved?
We could list many men of prominence in the field of health and
natural living who have passed on at the appointed time in the
execution of eternal law-and usually do we find the question
raised, "Why didn't he live longer?" (The many others
who did through long life prove their philosophy, of course,
do not count. "Haven't others reached the same age seemingly
without a life of adherence to those laws?")
What Are The Laws?
SINCE there seems to be such a confusion in the outward picture
displayed through the performance of men, let us review briefly
once more the principles really involved when it comes to life,
health, disease, cure, and death, and let us determine the factors
of circumstance which bring about the confusion in the demonstrations
of men ascribing to certain philosophies of life.
Without any personal interpretation entering in, the LAW of Nature
says this about life and the other subjects mentioned:
expresses itself as a building up and discharge of energy in
the functions of our bodies, their organs, and finally the cells.
is that estate of life when its expression is not interfered
with or obstructed by any outside agent, mechanical (as an injury),
chemical (as toxins), or biological (emotions, etc.).
is that estate of body function resulting when the normal expression
of life is obstructed by one or another aforementioned agents;
the name or "diagnosis," as appendicitis, giving the
locality, the ORGANS involved, and the KIND of involvement; and
the seriousness, as acute, sub-acute, ruptured, etc., reflecting
the DEGREE of obstruction present.
is that estate when obstruction is so great as to prevent the
normal discharge of energy behind the life-process.
can only be realized with or without assistance, through the
action of inherent vitality which always reacts in an attempt
to free itself of any encumbrance, or obstruction, that the energy
of life may again express itself in a normal, unobstructed manner.
or treatment can, therefore, only be of true assistance if they
naturally help in the removal of the mechanical, chemical, or
biological interference. Thus, all healing by application re
solves itself in assisting the body's own inherent, self-restorative
powers to act freely. The Natural Agent employed does not perform
the actual CURING. ONLY THE BODY CAN DO THIS. The agent merely
Interpretations Thus Far
THE above six principles are not interpretations by any man,
myself, or anyone else. They are axioms of Nature, laws that
are immediately self-explanatory, have been since the dawn of
history, and will be at its termination. There can NEVER be argument
about them because they are merely definitions, simple statements,
culled from Nature, immediately acceptable by the rational mind
and, furthermore, are indisputably borne out by the daily experiences
of everyone. We are all living in a world of cause and effect,
action and reaction, crisis and anti-crisis. Any kind of effect
is always determined by the cause behind it and if it be a good
or evil one, must, sooner or later, manifest itself in like manner,
for good or evil. We know that through our experiences. And so
it is with life, health, disease, death, cure and therapeutics.
They are but studies in causes and effects.
So far everything sounds simple enough. It is, however, in the
application of the principles where man steps in, and through
multiple personal opinions and experiences of fallible natures,
is all too apt to bring confusion into the picture.
How much confusion arises will necessitate a little further analysis
of the aforegoing principles.
The Principles Developed
THE function of life reveals itself in a two-fold manner, namely,
in an INTAKE and an OUTPUT, a combined process which we call
metabolism or the process of life.
Now, since life expresses itself as such, it follows that so
long as the INTAKE is NORMAL and the OUTPUT is NORMAL, the process
of life must be NORMAL. HEALTH, then, is the estate of that body.
On the other hand, if the INTAKE is ABNORMAL, obstructive, toxic
and in addition, the OUTPUT is ABNORMAL, inefficient, congested,
then the process of life will NOT find smooth expression because
of a piling up of obstruction (more coming in, but elimination
retarded). We thus shall have disturbance in, or ABNORMAL function
resulting. DISEASE is the estate of that body.
Once this latter condition has been allowed to occur, in attempting
to restore order, it definitely and logically MUST follow that
only two things are open for us to do, either one or the other,
or both: First, improve, bring the INTAKE back to NORMAL, and,
second, encourage the OUTPUT to more NORMAL and efficient function.
THE INTAKE involves air, light, food and other factors. The OUTPUT
involves eliminations by way of bowels, kidneys, lungs and skin.
If we on the one hand, improve the quality and quantity of air
breathed in, obtain plenty of sunlight and other outdoor natural
forces, and, perhaps as important as all else, eliminate all
obstructive tendencies from the food intake and change it to
a normal or natural one, then we shall be assisting the body
in a maximum manner to restore a normal flow of living energy
as far as INTAKE is concerned.
If we now also, on the other hand, improve the elimination from
bowels, kidneys, lungs and skin through assistive agents designated
as natural therapeutics, examples being fasting, colon irrigations,
manipulations, herbs, hydrotherapy, physical culture, deep breathing
exercises, etc., then we, by improving OUTPUT, further assist
the natural function of life to have freedom of expression.
THE COMBINED CORRECTION OF INTAKE AND ASSISTANCE TO OUTPUT GIVES
MAN THE ONLY EXTERNAL MEANS TO HELP IN THE RESTORATION OF SICK
BODIES TO HEALTH. THE BODY MUST DO THE REST.
Where Confusion Arises
NOW, it is the degree to which the above procedures are carried
and personally understood in individual cases, and conducted
in the light of experience, that will either demonstrate the
principles unequivocally, partially, or confusedly. And it is
to the degree that the man teaching these truths has been enlightened
himself which will determine how exemplary he will be in his
execution of the same, how complete his philosophy, and how thorough
his advice to others in uncon-fused manner.
HERE ARE SOME FACTORS THAT must be considered in determining
the whys and wherefores in the judgment of any individual being
considered in the light of his response to the execution of natural
1. What kind of body did he inherit? Did he have a vital one
or one already heavily encumbered with obstructions of sundry
2. What was his state of health prior to his own adopting a program
of health restoration?
3. How strict did he have to become in order to bring back lost
energies? Was he able to do so physically, psychologically, socially,
4. How complete was the understanding of his counselors, associates,
relatives, friends? Did they help or add confusion?
5. Could the individual discipline himself sufficiently on all
6. What harm of a surgical- or drug-nature was done to his body
prior to his embracing the natural mode of living?
7. Did he feel that physical health was not so important to warrant
a perfect program, spiritual health being the more desirable?
8. What about the inability of others to discipline themselves
whose experiences force him to adopt a "middle" course
in his teachings?
9. Was it possible for him to execute the laws himself as actually
understood? How about his work, his rest, sleep, time for play,
vacations? What about his social estate, the demands of his wife,
who may not understand, his friends, his environment?
10. How about the continuous persecution by the enemies of truth
he invariably must face?
Men Are Subjects of Law
THERE ARE A THOUSAND AND ONE other factors that might be given.
These are but a few and must suffice. It will be seen from these,
however, that merely judging the principles a man upheld, by
his life, health, death, practice, and performance, cannot be
rapidly done without analyzing the individual factors involved.
Always will it be found that every single being, without exception,
must absolutely and irretrievably, reveal an irrevocable discharge
of natural law. Men, all men, are subjects of laws. They are
not their 'makers. Laws, principles were there always, man merely
is an agent under their realm and influence, and they are not
dependent upon him. Laws for that matter should be judged as
of themselves and not by the men who may have the knowledge of
them but by reason of certain impossible circumstances do not
reveal satisfactory evidence in demonstration of the principles
regardless of what they may be teaching. Man is a passing, fallible
creature. Laws are irrevocable and eternal. First comes law,
then man. Let us judge man in terms of the law, but never principles
in terms of man alone.
YOU should now see perhaps why:
1. Father Kneipp, 1821 to 1897, of water-cure fame, starting
with tuberculosis of the lungs, and going through a persecuted
life *of great self-sacrifice for others, not, however, able
to discharge dietary rules completely, died of Cancer of the
bladder at 76.
2. Dr. Bircher-Benner, a world renowned Swiss raw food advocate,
recently died at 73. He was an inveterate smoker.
3. Dr. Henry Lindlahr, born in 1861, was afflicted with tuberculosis
diabetes in his prime, went to Germany and became imbued with
Nature Cure after restoration of his health. He returned to this
country and midst much antagonism erected a great monument to
his newly learned principles, the Lindlahr Sanitarium, College,
Clinic, and Resort in and near Chicago. He began in 1905 and
in less than 20 years became the most successful in the field
in America. Internal "double-crossing" of his own helpers,
however, gave him so much concern and grief that this, plus his
other super-human activities, combined with persecution by outside
forces, brought on gangrenous complications in limbs. He died
in 1924 at 63.
4. Vincenz Priessnitz, born in 1801, father of hydrotherapy,
was in search
of lost health, learned of the benefits of cold water application.
He had such an active practice after founding a Sanitarium in
1829 that his correspondence from all parts of the world from
sick patients seeking advice, kept many secretaries busy taking
dictations. He had to neglect his own health, became the victim
of much legal prosecution and finally succumbed in 1851 at 50.
He did not have an understanding of natural dietetics.
5. Louis Kuhne, Leipzig, Germany, born in 1844, "the greatest
champion of drugless healing humanity ever possessed" became
world renowned as a result of his "New Science of Healing"
with unity of disease and cure as the outstanding doctrine. His
Sanitarium began in 1883, his "Sitz-Bath" being a famous
application, and the natural diet the usual food prescribed.
At 20 he was a physical wreck. His father and mother had died
of Cancer and Tuberculosis. He himself could obtain no help from
both Allopaths and the then existing Nature Curists. The "New
Science" brought the prayed for results, and he embarked
upon his grueling and renowned career. His last two years were
so grief-striking, when thousands of the misunderstanding allopaths
of the time, because of his great success, together through their
attempts to collect evidence against him, kept him in continuous
legal litigation and he finally died broken-hearted at the age
of 57 in 1901.
IT should be clear by now to the critical onlooker who judges
only by a life-span, that he is decidedly unjust in his observations
and actually makes a scientific fool of himself to be so simple-minded
in his hasty, ill-considered conclusions. A review of the history
of individuals who preach self-discipline will usually find them
adhering to the rules themselves to the best of their ability,
circumstances, and knowledge, and, in defending the truth, will
have the enemies of truth arrayed against them, plus the imposition
on their vitality of the rigors of an abnormally active life
in the humanitarian care of, generally, the sickest of the sick,
who seek Nature Cure as a last resort. The human machine, however,
has limitations. No Nature Curist has ever denied that. Only
he who himself cannot discipline himself to truth, expects the
impossible of others. In the impersonal analysis for Science'
sake, though, we should at least be fair if we do not, from the
standpoint of purely egotistical, stubborn personal motives,
wish to accept what is so plainly to be seen. Drs. Barter, Trall,
Tilden, Hay, and others as well as those just listed, also had
individual habits, handicaps, etc. All, however, reveal in their
own lives, when thoroughly analyzed, an absolute performance
of natural laws to the degree that they executed them.
Ye Editor As Example
THE writer, himself, has frequently been accosted as not representing
the principles he believes and teaches because of a predisposing
tendency toward leanness which is not particularly demonstrative
of a gorilla-specimen of physical strength. Yet he maintains
that he is, nevertheless, a living example of the principles
given before. With every year, now going on fourteen, he is adding
another to a life virtually decreed without much further lease
in 1927, following a subtotal thyroidectomy (goiter operation),
which he attributes entirely to obedience to principle as best
as circumstances permitted. He is discharging an active sanitarium
practice and that of a clinic; publishing a magazine, writing
books, lecturing and teaching, spreading the principles far and
wide and incidentally influencing the lives of thousands in also
becoming acquainted with their universal benefit, none of which
would have been possible without a revelation of such principles
and a discharge of the same.
An Historical Point
YET, the writer does not expect to live into ripe old age, unless,
God-willing, he be in error. Physically there has not been a
vital inheritance, and a subtotal operation on so vital a gland
as the thyroid in relative youth, usually precludes old age.
He wishes, therefore, to state right here and now, as a matter
of record, if in the wisdom of the Almighty should be called
to rest prior to his allotted three score and ten, that no man
judge the principles by his seemingly early passing. The principles
are there and not dependent upon him, I hope, to verify their
validity. He will discharge them to his best ability and a thorough
analysis of his physical estate will vindicate them entirely.
But to judge by casual, external appearance, or by the date of
passing would be entirely unfair to the principles. He is but
another man, fallible and of temporal existence. Law, truth,
principles are infallible and eternal. Learn to follow them first,
then if you are sincere and not just trying to criticize to cover
your own weakness, study the men too, for under investigation
they will prove the law to every satisfaction.
EACH and everyone, in their own lives, will display indisputable
evidence of the absolute reliance upon natural laws' inviolable
operation. (We have purposely not mentioned the thousands who
by their health and longevity proved beyond any doubt the absolute
reliance that can be placed upon the principles; because even
these men's lives do not prove the principles. They merely demonstrate
their truth. The principles, you see, need no proof, for they
are proof unto themselves.) Health results when we live in accord
with natural law, disease when we do not. There are no exceptions.
"Natural" death results because of an impossibility
of obeying the law in all its precepts continuously. Even the
most perfect health must end up in death. We, by the degree of
our observance of law, can only discourage the obstructive factors
that invite early disease and premature death.
And this brings us to a closing thought. Why be so concerned
about the seeming infrequency of men living beyond the century
mark, a lease on life often promised to others by such men adhering
to the Natural Philosophy? Usually their principles are criticized,
and rightly so, when they do not reach the five score mark themselves.
But do we not here have another factor to contend with?
An Inheritance We Cannot Overcome Ourselves
I BELIEVE we have. Man may have ever so profound an understanding
of the principles but there is a strain of human weakness in
every living being to discipline ourselves to the every letter
of the law. Men are not gods, but fallible, weak humans no matter
how proudly they may speak, and they cannot, any more than anyone
else, escape the just discharge of such natural law themselves.
Let's be honest with ourselves and realize this universal weakness
and not with egotistical pride claim superior powers of supernatural
Let us, however, go beyond this. There must be a reason even
for this. We do not want to be left dangling in mid-air with
There is but one source of information that I know of, which
speaks the voice of authority to answer this question to entire
satisfaction. It is our Book of Eternal Wisdom. There we learn
of man's original, immortal perfection, subsequent sin and its
wages with disease, imperfection, and human weakness as resulting
curses, and death the final penalty. Man, we learn, cannot by
his own power obey the Law of God, moral or physical. Then, let
us admit it! For men, all men, including naturists, prove it
by their own demonstrations in their very life, day after day,
time and time again. All have weaknesses! All must die sooner
or later! We all inherit death which we by ourselves can never
overcome. A gloomy picture to be sure!
The Glorious Light of Life!
LET us, however, go further. The Scriptures also speak of grace,
repentance, justification by faith, resulting good works, exemplary
life, and, finally, death, yes, but a death through redemption
unto salvation and eternal LIFE! A happy picture, indeed!
Yes, and an important one. In fact, the important one! Spiritual
health you see is so far more important than all else, that we
are apt to forget this in trying to live the perfect existence
in this less important, temporal life. Indeed, because men seemingly
so infrequently reveal a full demonstration of their philosophy,
they do thus by their lives always show the relative unimportance
of this present existence, as far as God is concerned. He, you
know, alone made and preserves our every life. He places values
where they truly belong. A life of eternity is so indescribably
more important than this present one whether it be one or three
hundred years in duration! Let us learn that indisputable fact.
It will forever keep us clear on any question involving principles,
men, and their inherent, inexorable weaknesses.
Men will come and men will go. The principles stay on forever.
Learn them all, fully understand each and every one. Then, whether
you study the principles or the men, neither will ever be found
wanting as indisputably demonstrative of eternal, irrevocable
Eugene A. Bergholz, M.D.
or Men, Which?
Herbert M. Shelton
Vol. XXX1 January, 1970 No. 5
Principles or Men, Which?
Herbert M. Shelton
I borrowed the title for this article from the late Dr. Bergholtz
of Milwaukee. Immediately after the death of Dr. Wm. H. Hay,
Dr. Bergholtz wrote an article under this title. It was published
in the Therapeutic Digest for Feb. 1941. The article was reproduced
in the Aug.-Sept. 1945 issue of the Journal of Balanced Living
issued by the Bergholtz Health Institute. As there is so much
in the article that is good, I am going to do more than merely
borrow the title, I am also going to borrow some of the material.
Dr. Bergholtz points out that every time a leader in the nature
cure field dies, doubts are raised as to the efficacy of the
nature cure system. Questions are asked and much criticism is
offered. Dr. Hay was only 70 when he died, yet his system had
promised longer life. Since he failed to attain the "greater-expectancy
he attributed to following a program of diet stressing moderation
and restricted food combinations" doubts were thrown upon
the validity of his program.
It was ever thus. Sylvester Graham died in 1851 at the age of
55. He had promised longer life by adhering to a Hygienic way
of life. His early death is still referred to by the enemies
of living reform as an evidence that there was something radically
wrong with the mode of living he advocated. Dr. Trall's death
at the age of 66 caused much criticism of him and the plan of
living he advocated. His discussions of longevity had promised
a much longer life to those who lived a rational Hygienic life.
The recent death of Dr. Benedict Lust at the age of 73 has brought
many comments to my desk and to my ears. If the principles Dr.
Lust advocated were correct, why did he not live longer?
The purpose of Dr. Bergholtz's article is to point out that the
correctness of a principle is not dependent upon the success
of an individual in carrying it out in his own living. He says
that "a philosophy based on truth is not dependent upon
any man, procedure, experimental evidence, or any other agent
that man may devise, but will stand by itself in its own right,
indisputable, irrevocable, invincible and eternal."
It may be objected that we have no way of determining the truth
of a philosophy or a principle except by its results in operation,
that, "by their fruits ye shall know them." This is
true. We cannot properly evaluate the results of a principle
unless we take into account every factor in the experience of
experiment. It is one thing to recognize and advocate a principle,
it is another to make full application of it in your own life.
"Not every one who cries Lord, Lord, but he that doeth the
will of the Father," can expect to reap the rewards of right
living. It has long been recognized that men may fail, even if
their principles are correct. The New Testament writer,
Paul, found himself doing the things he would not do and not
doing the things he would do. Men may recognize the great benefits
that flow from a life of self-discipline but not be able to follow
such a course as much as they would like to. There are many reasons
for failure. All of these must be considered.
Dr. Bergholtz says that we are so wrapped up in ourselves that
we feel men are the originators of principles, rather than that
they were merely discoverers of the facts which were in existence
long before they were born. We are enamoured by the performances
of men, we lean on their beliefs, we give ear to their interpretations
and philosophies, and so we judge by men and performance. He
says we forget that they but carry out well or partially the
truths they adhere to, while their lives are usually a mixture
of both truth and error, and they can only demonstrate to the
limit of their depth of knowledge, understanding and abilities
under the circumstances of life, the truths which they advocate.
For several reasons a man or several men may not even seem to
demonstrate the correctness of principles which they know to
be inviolably right.
"Principles, laws, truths, come first . . . Men either accept
or reject them, and they demonstrate the facts involved to the
degree that they accept and practice them. Law cannot change.
Man alone confuses the picture through his interpretations of
it and by his inability to obey it to the letter."
Sylvester Graham severely condemned the effort to discover how
to live long by studying the lives of old men and women. It was,
then as now, the practice of reporters to ask old men and women
to what they attributed their long lives. Graham pointed out
that these old people did not know why they lived to advanced
ages. Their replies to the questions of the reporters were usually
silly. Graham said we must first learn, from a true physiology,
the laws of life and, then, we can say to the individual: here
is how you must live to acquire long life. This is the law. Always
he placed the emphasis on law.
Laws always work, but they are not always required to work under
identical conditions. Conditions vary, hence results vary. Dr.
Bergholtz enumerates a few of the many factors that vitally affect
the results of the operations of the principles of living in
the lives of different individuals. Let us look at these, one
" 1. What kind of a body did he inherit?" I have repeatedly
pointed out that some babies are born into the world so weak
they do not live more than a few hours to a few days and some
are so rugged that you can't kill them with a club. Between these
two extremes, everybody comes forth at birth. This is to say,
some are born with fine, vigorous, stable organisms; others are
born with poor, feeble and unstable organisms. Some have good
constitutions, some have poor constitutions. Everything else
being equal, the individual with a rugged organism will greatly
outlive the individual of feeble organism.
Graham frequently pointed out that the constitutional powers
of living generations vary so much that no program of living,
universally adopted and rigidly adhered to would enable everybody
to reach an advanced age. He also declared that present generations
cannot hope to attain the maximum age to which man is capable
of living. We are too badly impaired at the outset to" ever
hope to do what better organisms could do. Fortunately, a program
of right living will give each succeeding generation a better
start than its predecessor had.
Some years ago, I walked into the Hall of The Age of Man in the
Museum of Natural History, in New York City. Inside the entrance,
on a table, was a display of skulls. In the middle was a beautiful
skull. It was larger than the other two, was beautifully proportioned
and very symmetrical. The two smaller skulls were disproportionate
and asymmetrical. I stopped and surveyed them a minute and remarked
to my wife, who was with me, "The one in the middle is a
human skull! The other two must be the skulls of apesperhaps
a gorilla and an orangutan." Now there are great differences
between the skulls of man and ape, but the contrast between these
skulls was so great, that I was fooled for the time. Imagine
my chagrin when, upon approaching the table, I found that those
two skulls were the skulls of modern European and American white
men. The one in the middle was the skull of an old Cro-magnon
man. What a fine head that old man had! If the rest of his organism
was as much superior to the bodies of modern man as his head
is superior to the heads of living man, what a super-man he must
have been! We have come a long way down the slope since those
far off days when the men of Cro-magnon painted and carved in
their caves. The Hygienic System alone holds out to us the possibility
of re-ascending that hill and re-attaining the position once
occupied by the men of Cro-magnon. It has been suggested that
the Greek gods and goddesses were Cro-magnon. Perhaps.
Graham was born a weakling. He was ailing all of his childhood
and up to maturity. More than once his life was dispared of.
It was not expected that he would live to maturity. Trall was
sick most of his young life. Indeed, it was the failure of his
many physicians to restore him to health that caused him to decide
to study medicine. He undertook the study in the hope that he
could find a way to restore his own health. Many men of more
rugged constitutions have outlived these two men in spite of
many abuses Graham and Trall avoided after they learned to avoid
2. What was his state of health prior to his own adopting a program
of health restoration?" He says elsewhere: "what do
we usually find? Man sick unto death in his youth or prime, learns
the eternal truth of health through the observance of natural
law and gets certain results which inspire him to tell others
of his precious findings." It is all too true that we start
with sick men and women. Few who enjoy ordinary health ever break
away from the conventional ways of life. We tend to go along
with the crowd until circumstances force us to do otherwise.
Alcott was tubercular before he learned anything about living.
Yet he succeeded in living to the age of 61. Robert Walter was
a wreck with a bad heart before he turned from medical methods
to the Hygienic System. He died at the age of 80. Dr. Tilden
was a sickly lad and was sick until he was 50 years old. He learned
how to live after he had lived half a century. Dr. Henry Lindlahr
was a diabetic and a tubercular. His medical advisors could not
help him. After years of suffering he turned to Louis Kuhne of
Germany and recovered. Wm. H. Hay lived thirty or more years
longer than he should. With a bad heart, Bright's disease, high
blood pressure and great dropsy of the lower limbs, he would
sit in his chair and consult with his patients. His physicians
told him to wind up his earthly affairs for he had but six months
to live. Dr. Hay told me that he had said the same thing to many
of his own patients who had been in the same condition. He had
always fought Nature Cure, but now, that he knew medicine could
offer him nothing, he decided to try it. If, even with a limited
application of its principles to his own life, he lived another
thirty years instead of six months, why question the correctness
of the principles? Dr. Elmer Lee told me more than once that
he was a wreck before he learned how to live.
3. How strict did he have to become in order to bring back lost
energies? Was he able to do so physically, psychologically, economically?"
It is all to true that many of those who advocate simple and
abstemious living for others are inclined to indulge themselves
almost without limit. The late Dr. Henry Lindlahr was a very
fat man who excused his fat on the grounds that he was iodine
poisoned when a young man. Although he advocated vegetarianism
he was not a very strict vegetarian himself. Others he told to
avoid alcoholic drinks. He was not too careful to avoid them.
Dr. Hay smoked heavily, used coffee and drank alcoholics. His
advice to others was far better than his own example. This is
often true. Many of them like the hypocritical preacher could
well have said: "Don't do as I do, do as I say."
4. How complete was the understanding of his counselors, associates,
relatives, friends? Did they help or add confusion?" To
this may be added the question: "how complete was his own
understanding?" Men do not always understand all that they
appear to. I have frequently said that Dr. Lindlahar was guilty
of repeating principles that he did not understand. He would
say or write a thing and in the very next statement or paragraph
contradict it. It is not to be thought that complete understanding
exists anywhere, still less in the earlier pioneers of the Hygienic
movement. Knowledge and understanding come slowly. There is still
much to be learned. We have learned much since the days of Graham,
Trall and Jennings. Unfortunately, very few have complete understanding
of what is now known.
5. Could the individual discipline himself sufficiently on all
scores?" Dr. Bergholtz says of Dr. Bircher-Benner, a world
renown Swiss raw food advocate "who died at the age of 73,"
that "he was an inveterate smoker." If he was an inveterate
smoker, he was probably guilty of other associated habits that
tend to shorten life. It would be interesting to know how much
wine or beer he drank daily. The late Arnold Ehert, so loudly
proclaimed in many quarters even now, as the greatest health
teacher of any age, died before reaching an advanced age, of
heart disease. He was a heavy smoker, a wine drinker and a heavy
consumer of strong coffee. Dr. Lust, who recently died at the
age of 73 had two or more apoplectic strokes during the five
years proceeding his death, from what was stated in the press
to have been a "heart attack." His knowledge was superficial,
his understanding meagre, his mode of living not one to be emulated.
He was overweight for years, was a heavy eater, not always the
vegetarian he would be expected to be from his teachings, and
was a heavy user of homeopathic drugs. When I was associated
with Dr. Lust, I saw him on more than one occasion, sitting in
his store, then located on 41st. St., New York City, eating homeopathic
pills by the handfulls. He had offered them to me more than once
and upon my declining them, he would say: "These are not
drugs, they are foods." There was a lack of discipline in
the life of Dr. Lindlahr as well as in that of Dr. Hay. We find
real discipline in the lives of Drs. Jennings, Jackson, Alcott,
Walter, Page and Tilden. These men, despite their handicaps,
lived to advanced ages.
6. What harm of a surgical or drug nature was done to his body
prior to his embracing the natural mode of living?" Dr.
Tilden had been greatly damaged by drugging, especially in his
early life. Dr. Lindlahr attributed much of his troubles to early
drugging. Trall and Graham had both been heroically drugged in
their early lives. Dr. Walter had been much abused by the medical
men. Surgically, Dr. Walter was the victim of a serious accident
that crippled him for years, leaving his heart in serious condition.
Dr. Bergholtz's own case is an example in evidence. He died a
comparatively young man. He was thin and not too strong. He was
often accused of not being a good representative of the principles
for which he stood. In 1927, before he knew better, he underwent
a subtotal thyroidectomy for goitre, which left him a physiological
cripple and the effects of which he had to fight at arms length
for the remainder of his life. He maintained that instead of
being a poor example of the virtues of his teachings, he was
an outstanding example of their worth. It was his thought that,
despite a death sentence imposed upon him by his physicians in
1927, he succeeded in adding a number of years to his life by
following those very teachings. I think there was not complete
understanding in the mind of the doctor, else he might have added
a few more years to his life.
7. Did he feel that physical health was not so important to warrant
a perfect program, spiritual health being the more desirable?"
I have met such individuals and have heard of others. I know
of no outstanding examples in the Hygienic field that I can offer.
Men in other fields who do not adhere to Hygienic principles,
are of no particular concern to us in this discussion.
8. What about the inability of others to discipline themselves
whose experiences force them to adopt a 'middle' course in their
teachings?" I think the "middle" course may be
seen more in the lives of some of these men than in their teachings.
Some of them have had wives that made it impossible for them
to live as they would, unless, of course, they first murdered
their wives, and this is no longer legal.
I am of the opinion that those who adopt a middle course in their
teachings do not fully understandthis is to say, they have
a "middle course" understanding. They do not understand,
as Trall said, that "the truth is never between two extremes,
it is always one extreme or the other."
A middle course life based on a middle course understanding can
but give middle course results.
" 9. Was it possible for him to execute the laws himself
as actually understood? How about his work, his rest, sleep,
time for play, vacations? What about his social state, the demands
of his wife, who may not understand, his friends, his environment?"
Social and economic factors over which the individual has but
limited control are involved in these questions. Dr. Tilden advised
rest, rest, rest and worked himself to death. Graham broke down
from overwork more than once. Dr. Trall had the idea that there
is no such thing as mental overwork and overlooked the fact that,
while this may be so, he overworked his body by his long hours
of arduous mental work. I advise everybody to get plenty of rest
and fail to get sufficient rest myself. I believe everybody should
have a vacation once or twice a year. I have not had a vacation
in over twenty years. In my work there are no Sundays, no holidays,
no vacations. I work every day and every night, way into the
night. During the recent world-wide murder-fest staged by the
rulers of earth, when help was scarce, because murder comes first
and constructive work can go to the devil during the periodic
spasms of bloodletting the rulers delight in, I had double work
to do. If I had been triplets, I could have done all I had to
When I first became acquainted with Nature Cure I lived in a
small Texas town. I was born on a farm and I had spent practically
all of my life in the open. The woods and prairie had been my
background. All the "Back to Nature" people seemed
to live in Chicago and New York. I went to both these two cities.
I was amazed at the advocates of "back to nature."
I said of them, after watching them for a few months: "they
go back to nature for three days and back to the city for life."
It was like pulling a tooth to get Dr. Lust to go to Butler on
Saturday mornings. He was back at the store early Monday morning.
The store was low, dirty, dusty and full of unpleasant odors.
Here he spent his days. For the past several years his store
has been a great improvement over what he had on 41st St.
They preached the "back to nature" and lived in crowded,
noisy, gassy, odoriferous cities that are unfit for even bugs
and mice to live in. For some reason or other they were not able
to get away from the environment they appeared to detest and
which they condemned so roundly and rightly in their writings
and lectures. Often it was their work that would not let them
get away. Paradoxical as it may seem, the work of leading people
away from the city, often keeps the leader in the city. This
is a case of the leader sacrificing himself for the good of others.
"10. How about the continuous persecution of the enemies
of truth he invariably must face?" How about it? It is as
big as a mountain and not every man, despite his courage, can
face it with calmness and poise. They are greatly affected by
it. Jennings finally gave up practice because of it. Trall was
subjected to a continuous barrage of it. Graham not only had
to face it, he was even the object of a mob on one occasion,
but he was a sensitive individual who was greatly affected by
all of the unkind and cutting things that were said about him.
He did not have the thick skin of your editor, who has learned
to laugh at the barbs of his enemies. Jackson, Walter, Tilden,
Dewey, Lindlahr, Lustthey all went through years of the
most intense persecution. Dr. Lust is, I believe, however, the
only man among them who was arrested more times than I have been.
Some of them were never arrested. The arrests and persecution
of Dr. Gian-Cursio have been recounted in the Review.
There are many ways to put to death those who father new ideas
and new movements or act as midwives at the birth of a new truth.
Burning such benefactors of the race has gone out of fashion,
but the more subtle and more refined, but long-drawn out, methods
of killing them are still in vogue. Herward Carrington once advised
that we learn to laugh at those who laugh at and ridicule us.
This I have learned to do, but there are arrests, trials at which
stool pigeons try to lie your life away, periods spent in jail,
and many other annoyances that can't be shoved aside with a laugh
and a shrug of the shoulder.
Dr. Bergholtz says: "The human machine has limitations.
No nature curist has ever denied this." As he so truly says:
"A review of the history of individuals who preach self-discipline
will usually find them adhering, and, in defending the truth,
will have the enemies of truth arrayed against them, plus the
imposition on their vitality of the rigors of an abnormally active
life in the humanitarian care of, generally, the sickest of the
sick, who seek Nature Cure as a last resort."
Dr. Bergholtz died shortly after his article was first published.
It is of interest to note, therefore, that he made it clear that
he did not expect to live to a ripe old age. He stated that he
was not possessed of a vital physical inheritance, that he had
had his thyroid gland removed and that this alone precluded all
possibility of living long. "Right here and now as a matter
of record," he says, should he die before he reached the
"alloted three score and ten" he wished that "no
man judge the principles by his seemingly early passing."
He added: "The principles are there and not dependent upon
him" to "verify their validity."
There is no doubt, however, that he did verify their validity
as far as he understood and correctly applied them in his life.
The fact that he lived as long as he did after he was made into
a physiological cripple by the surgeons is a verification of
those principles. Longevity is not alone the criterion of the
correctness of the principles. All factors must be considered.
He says truly: "It should be clear by now to the critical
onlooker who judges only by a lifespan, that he is decidedly
unjust in his observations and actually makes a scientific fool
of himself to be so simple minded in his hasty, ill considered
In her book, Freedom in Education, Mrs. Firm says that no man
is good enough to serve as a model for the rest of us. With this
statement I agree. It, therefore, becomes essential that we follow
principles rather than men. Leaders often have feet of clay.
They are often misleaders. They make mistakes. True principles
should, therefore, guide us. The lives of others are of value
to us only insofar as they exemplify the working of principles.
In this connection it is well to emphasize that no man's life
is an exception to the operation of natural law. Whatever their
mode of living, if we fully understand all the details, we would
find that each man kills himself according to law.
Herbert M. Shelton
Herbert M. Shelton Ph.d.,D.C.
Man's Pristine Way of Life
What is a poison? What is a medicine? How do drugs act on the
living organism? It is vitally important that we distinguish
scientifically between food and poison, because they are confounded
in the popular mind and employed indiscriminately by physicians,
it being frequently asserted, as a justification for the employment
of drugs, that "there is poison in everything." Due
to the fact that the question: what is a poison? has not been
satisfactorily settled, there is much ambiguity of language indulged
by speakers and writers who are unable to distinguish between
a poison and a Hygienic means.
Who does not know that for over 200 years physicians, chemists,
pharmacologists, etc., have sought to prove that alcohol (a protoplasmic
poison) is both poison and food, or either, according to circumstance?
Of this substance it was said: "Alcohol is like every other
chemical, whether it be a poison like strychnine or a food like
protein--that is, there is an amount below which it is not a
poison, and above which, it is a poison. Too much table salt
is a poison; a little is not." Thus, one fallacy is used
to support another; in reality, the fallacy is the same in each
instance. It is the fallacy that poisons are such by quantity
and not by quality. Salt is a poison only because we get too
much of it and not because it is intrinsically a poison, so with
alcohol. Even if alcohol is partially oxidized in the body, all
evidence is still lacking that this provides the body with any
energy or usable substance or that it takes part in the useful
functions of life.
As vital structure can be evolved only out of food, air, water
and sunshine, we can distinguish between food and poison without
reference to popular opinions. Every substance in the earth has
a definite relation to the living organism; either it may be
used with which to build and maintain the organism and carry
on its functions or it may not. If it is usable, it is food;
if it is not usable, it is, so far as its relation to the organism
is concerned, a poison. This principle was early arrived at by
As Wm. Bailey Potter, M.D., said in an article entitled "Health
Reform" (third in a series, the Journal, June 1859): "Eat
a pound of bread--it will not injure a well person. The natural
appetite craves it. The stomach digests it, and it is assimilated
and becomes a part of the living organism. It is a food. Eat
a pound of tobacco--it will kill you. The natural appetite rejects
it. It is not digested by the stomach, nor assimilated, nor changed
in the system. It is a poison. If you drink a pound of alcohol--it
will kill you or at least seriously injure you. The natural appetite
rejects it. Early navigators found that savages at first disliked
it. So do children who have never used it; but such are scarce.
It is not digested in the stomach, not made into tissue. It is
certainly a poison. A pound of tea, cooked and eaten as food
would kill any person." Thus, the distinction between usable
substances (foods) and nonusable substances (poisons) is made
We may now answer our question: what is a poison? Everything
is poison that cannot be assimilated by the living organism and
used by it to sustain life. Every substance that can have no
place in the normal metabolic processes of the body wastes the
body's energies in resisting and expelling it, thus inevitably
inducing debility and premature death. In other words, poisons
are those substances which the living organism cannot use, but
must resist and expel.
That which cannot be appropriated to the growth and strength
of tissue is neither food nor drink, but poison. If a substance
cannot be appropriated to the development of living tissue and
employed in healthy action, it is hurtful to the structures of
the body. Poisons are such substances that are chemically incompatible
with the structures and physiologically incompatible with the
functions of the living organism. They are those substances which
are not in any form or quantity, convertible into any of the
structures of the human body, nor employed by the organism in
the performance of any of its functions. This definition is true
in itself; it lets all substances take care of themselves.
To reiterate: all things in existence are, in their relations
to the vital organism, either foods or poisons. Foods are those
things which the organism uses by appropriating them into the
formation of tissue; poisons are those things which the organism
cannot use in the formation of tissue and, hence, rejects. On
the basis of this principle, we unhesitatingly declare that all
those substances (drugs) that are employed as medicines are destructive
of the structural integrity and functional vigor of the organs
and tissues of the body.
All drugs are physiologically incompatible with the functions
of the human body. Take epsom salts as an example: when a dose
of these is taken into the stomach, there is immediate and great
disturbance of function. Fluid is poured out to dilute it and
to protect the tissues against its chemical incompatibilities,
while the alimentary canal and the abdominal muscles contract
violently to expel it. It is not conceivable that such a violent
disturbance would follow the salts if they were compatible with
or in friendly relation to the vital structures and functions.
When opium is first given, the preternatural excitement which
is followed by stupor, delirium, convulsions and, if the dose
is large enough, death, and in smaller doses, a lesser degree
of the same symptoms, it is impossible to miss the physiologic
incompatibility of the drug with the vital organism. A whole
catalogue of drugs could be listed and the same and similar disturbances
of function would indicate their physiologic incompatibility
with the vital organism.
What phenomena indicate the alleged modus operandi of drugs?
Pain, agitation, disorder of body, derangement of mind, nausea,
vomiting, griping, spasms, trembling, dizziness, drunkenness,
staggering, blindness, deafness, prostration, and so on to the
end of the catalogue of abnormalities. Certainly these symptoms,
feelings, effects, phenomena, operations, or whatever else one
chooses to call them, are no part of the healthy or natural state.
They are symptoms of disease, symptoms of poisoning.
When drugs are "chemically incompatible," as are all
the metalic or mineral poisons, with the structures of the body,
they corrode, decompose and destroy some portion of some of the
constituents of some of the fluids and solids of some organ or
structure. Take these examples from among the older drugs: carbonate
of potassa resulted in ulceration and in corrosion in the stomach;
an application of Spanish fly to the skin occasioned vesication
(blistering), followed by corrosion or decomposition of the skin;
tartar emetic or ipecec, applied to the skin, destroyed the cuticle
and corroded or destroyed the true skin, leaving large scars
where they were applied; calomel and mercury in other forms produced
salivation, decay of the teeth, violent diarrhea and many other
effects; sulphuric acid burned or corroded the structures like
fire. Such results prove to a positive demonstration that drugs
or apothecary stuffs are not assimilable by the living body,
that they cannot be transformed into the substances of the tissues
and that they are chemically incompatible with the structures
It will now be readily seen that drugs interrupt the functional
harmony of the body, first, by their chemical incompatibility,
and second, by their non-usableness, which renders their immediate
removal an object of particular concern to the living tissues,
and third, by the fact that their very presence occasions vital
resistance in direct proportion to the difficulty of expelling
them. Drugs assassinate the human constitution.
None of the medical schools existing at the time the Hygienic
System came into being was able to make valid distinctions between
drug poisons and Hygienic means nor between food and poison.
Poison is poison and food is food and they are as distinct from
each other as life and death. They cannot be used interchangeably
and any effort to so use them must result in evil consequences.
The prescription of a physician lacks all power to convert one
into the other; they remain the same under all conditions and
circumstances. Poisons are poisons by virtue of their own elemental
character. They are not poisons by virtue of their simple relations
to some individual organism.
Substances that cannot be metabolized, and this means substances
that cannot be transformed into cell substance, are of no possible
use to the living organism in either a state of health or in
a state of disease. The presence of such substances in the body
can serve only as disturbing elements. They are foreign bodies
and must be expelled, often at great expense to the organism.
Metabolism is defined as "tissue change, the sum of all
the physical and chemical processes by which living organized
substance is produced and maintained and also the transformation
by which energy is made available for use by the organism."
Metabolism is the sum of the biological processes upon which
the processes of growth and repair of the cells and tissues depend.
As it is common to confine the process to the cell, it has been
said that "metabolism is the cell; the cell is metabolism."
This, however, is a mere play on words. The process of metabolism
is comprised of three activities, as follows:
The preliminary stage of taking food substances. The transformation
of these materials into cell substance. The elimination from
the cell of products resulting from cellular activities and which
are not to be retained in the cell as part of its protoplasm.
From the foregoing it may be seen that metabolism may be defined
as the sum of the processes by which nutritive materials are
utilized and ultimately discarded. As substances are discarded,
they require to be replaced-hence the need for a more or less
constant supply of food materials to the cell. All of this involves
another consideration that is not commonly noted by physiologists:
namely, the kind of materials that can be metabolized. Metabolism
refers to the changes that foods undergo in being appropriated
and used by the body. It involves the actual incorporation of
food materials into the substances of the cell. It is a large
part of the process by which we live and grow and develop.
Substances which are not adapted to the normal processes of metabolism,
whether introduced into the body from the outside or generated
within the organism itself, are not usable by the body and nvaribly
prove to be harmful. A sane method of caring for the sick will
not attempt to force the body to utilize substances that are
not subject to its metabolic processes.
The metabolism of the human organism is radically different from
that of the plant. Whereas plants can appropriate and utilize
elements from the soil, the animal organism is unable to do so.
As a matter of fact, the animal organism will not tolerate the
presence of soil elements in inorganic form, but resists and
expels them to the limit of its capacity. Iron, for example,
can be assimilated by the animal organism only as it comes to
us in the organic combinations found in food. Otherwise, it is
a poison. Although for many decades drug preparations containing
iron have been fed to anemic patients in large amounts, no cases
of anemia have ever been remedied by this type of drugging. It
is stated by a writer in the Scientific American, May 1966, that:
"At least 12 children a year in the U.S. die of eating the
sugar-coated iron-containing pills (ferrous sulphate) that their
mothers may be taking for anemia. In Britain this raiding of
the medicine cabinet for ferrous sulphate tablets accounts for
about 10 per cent of all the fatal poisonings of children. In
South Africa, the Bantu, who drink a beer made in iron vessels
and thus ingest 50 to 100 milligrams of iron daily, commonly
suffer from many ailments partly induced by iron, including cirrhosis
of the liver, by the time they reach middle age." These
are merely a few examples of many evidences that iron is a poison
when taken in inorganic, hence, non-metabolizable form. What
is true of iron is equally true of sulphur, phosphorus, iodine,
calcium and other minerals that form normal constituents of the
Pharmacologists and biochemists have developed the habit of talking
of the metabolism of drugs. For example, one man says that some
"apparently normal individuals" have impaired ability
to metabolize "certain chemical agents" and suggests
that this may be due to "inherent defects in their cellular
metabolism." Pharmacologists speak of the "concentration
of the metabolite," meaning an end-product of drug metabolism.
They speak of drug metabolites in the same way that physiologists
speak of the metabolites that are the normal end-products of
the metabolism of food. They also speak of the "capacity
to metabolize the drugs," and of "drug-enzymes"
that exist in the microsomes.
Some drugs are said to have "variable rates of metabolism"
and it is said that "each person seems to have his own pattern
of metabolism for these drugs" and that "the consequences
of individual differences in drug metabolism are exaggerated
in long-term therapy and may account for the variable time of
onset for side effects." The pharmacologists have developed
the habit of speaking of "drug-metabolizing enzymes"
and of saying that "the importance of the drug-metabolizing
enzymes in drug therapy is demonstrated by the prolonged action
and high toxicity of many drugs in new-born infants, whose microsomal
enzyme systems are not developed during their very early days
of life." This simply means that because infants are "ill-equipped
to metabolize drugs," they have less power to defend themselves
than do adults.
It is becoming quite a habit among physicians and pharmacologists
to talk learnedly of the metabolism of drugs when what they are
talking about is not metabolism at all, but the mere chemical
changes that drugs undergo in the organism as the body defends
itself against them or prepares them for excretion. They speak
not only of drug metabolites and of the body's capacity to metabolize
drugs, just as though drugs were handled by the living organism
in the same way as food is handled, but they speak of drugs that
are slowly metabolized and of those that are quickly metabolized
and of variability in the ability of different animals and of
different individuals to metabolize drugs.
We are told that recent studies suggest that enzymes which metabolize
drugs are not the usual enzymes of intermediary metabolism. Rather,
it is speculated that they are the results of evolutionary developments
that had to take place before animals could migrate from water
onto the land in order that the organism could protect itself
from a multitude of fat-soluble compounds which it would receive
in its food. We are also informed that, in general, drugs are
not metabolized by processes acting on substances normally present
in the body and that usually they are not even metabolized in
the organ where they are supposed to act. Instead, so we are
told, their action is terminated by specialized microsynes which
have a predilection for fat-soluble compounds. It is customary
to go further in this discussion of drug metabolism and speak
not only of the metabolism of drugs, but of their tissue distribution.
For example, they talk of the tissue distribution of thalidomide.
Distribution is the action of distributing, apportioning, arranging
or disposing. To distribute is to divide among a number, a portion;
share; make a distribution; to classify or arrange; to separate,
as from a collection.
Within the broad meaning of this definition, drugs are not distributed.
It is true that they are carried by the blood to various tissuesbut
they are not apportioned; they are not allocated. They are not
divided among the tissues; they are not shared by the tissues.
As the tissues have no need for them, can make no use of them
and must reject and expel them and, as they are poisonous to
every tissue in the body, they have to be met with resistance.
To speak of the mere carrying of toxic substances by the blood
stream throughout the body as their distribution is to misuse
the term and to mislead the unwary reader.
That drugs undergo chemical changes in the body, in the digestive
tract, in the blood stream, in the liver and elsewhere, as the
body seeks to protect itself from them, that is, as it seeks
to lessen their toxicity and to render them more easily excreted,
has long been known. But this is a far cry from the biochemical
process by which food substances are metabolized. Drugs do not,
as a consequence of these changes, become cell constituants and
they are not used in performing the functions of life. They provide
the body with no energy. There is nothing in the changes that
drugs undergo in the body that contribute to tissue change or
that help to build and maintain organized substance or that provides
energy for the use of the organism. The drugs are simply "detoxified,"
altered and expelled. They never become part of the body's tissues;
they are never used in performing any of the functions of the
body; they form no part of any of the body's functional results.
Drugs are not, in other words, metabolized in the body and all
efforts to confuse the changes they undergo in the body, as the
body seeks to protect itself from their chemical union with its
tissues, with the metabolic processes by which foods are assimilated
and disassimilated, can only lead to greater confusion.
It would be proper to speak of drug changes as metabolism if
the cell could actually incorporate drugs into their substance
as integral parts of their protoplasm and make use of them in
the same way they do food substance. Inasmuch as this transformation
of drug substance into living protoplasm is not possible, but
as drug substance must be expelled as foreign material, it is
not proper to talk of the chemical changes that may take place
in the drugs while in the body as metabolism. If they could be
metabolized, they would be classed as foods and not as medicines.
It is not enough to understand the normal relations of various
substances to living organisms as a whole, for many organisms
can metabolize substances that other organisms cannot make the
slightest use of. Soil is food for plants, but is useless to
animals. The tobacco leaf is food for certain forms of insect
life; it is a virulent poison to man. Belladonna is poison to
man, but is food for the rabbit. We need, most of all, to understand
what has a normal relation to man. If certain types of organisms
flourish in sunless caves, this is no clue to the needs of man.
It is so appropriate to judge of things in their relations to
life by their effects, rather than by their names, that it is
a matter of wonder to us that the principle has been so long
overlooked. A substance is not beneficial or injurious because
of its name, but because of its effects on the living structure.
Without reference to its name, a substance is to be regarded
as good or bad in its relation to the living organism in exact
ratio to the beneficial or injurious effects it produces. All
things must be measured by the same standard and accepted or
condemned under the same rule.
It is stupid for physicians and pharmaceutical chemists to speak
of the physiological effects of toxic substances. Their effects
are always pathologic and experiments to determine their pathological
effects are understandable.
It is not difficult to demonstrate that drugs that are poisonous
to man are also poisonous to animals; that if a dose is large
enough it will kill the animal if it will kill man. Chloral will
hypnotize a rabbit or a pigeon; bromide or potassium will render
the pigeon stupid; alcohol will do the same for birds; strychnia
will induce spasms, coma, paralysis; chloroform will anesthetize
a gold fish--but what has all this production of disease in animals
to do with curing the sick? That poisons will sicken and kill
both men and animals is well known. We want something that will
There is a large element of stupidity in the belief that when
it is demonstrated that drugs will produce disease (coma, paralysis,
narcosis, etc.) and death in animals, this demonstrates that
they are valuable in the treatment of sick human beings. We must
learn to respect that which saves life, not that which destroys
it. Anything that finds its way into the organism or that evolves
within the organism that is unusable and must, therefore, be
expelled may necessitate greater than usual or modified vital
actions for its removal-this is disease.
It was demonstrated by Hygienists more than a century and a quarter
ago that the living organism seeks to repel or expel anything
that is harmful to its constitution. This is to say, it rejects
and expels anything that it cannot transform into living structure.
Whatever is not a normal constituent of the fluids and tissues
of the body is foreign to the organic constitution and must be
resisted and expelled. As we will learn later, the actions of
resistance and expulsion that follow the ingestion of a drug
are mistaken for the actions of the drug; whereas, the drug is
just as inert and passive in the body as in the bottle on the
druggist's shelf. Perhaps now we can answer the question: what
is a medicine? The body wants and can make use of only such substances
as it can assimilate and use as food. There are no substances
that can be so used in disease that cannot be used in health.
This is to say, anything that is to be used remediably must bear
a normal or physiological relation to the living organism and
must be useful and needed in a state of health. When the public
learns the truth, it will see the absurdity of talking about
the physiological influence of drugs on the human body and will
understand that no drug can have a physiological effect or influence,
but that its influence is always and invariably pathological
and that no man who understands the nature of disease or the
so-called modus operandi of drugs will ever apply the term physiological
to any disease-causing substance. Then the public will abandon
the nonsensical and frankly contradictory facts of the medical
profession and the practices built thereon.
Can a logical reason be provided why a person should swallow
or permit to be sent into his blood and tissues by injection,
a nauseous, noxious substance because he is sick? No such reason
has ever been given; if it can be done, is it not high time somebody
did it? It is everywhere admitted that drugs are poisons, that
they are always poisons to persons in health. All of us are very
careful to exclude them from our food and drink; we are well
aware that if we take them into the body while we are well, we
will become sick as a consequence. What person would dare to
take an ordinary dose of penicillin, streptomycin or cortisone
while in health? Yet, let him become sick and he swallows them,
not only without fear, but as the essential condition of safety
and recovery. It should be obvious that there is a terrible delusion
abroad on this subject.
W. T. Vail, M.D., writing in the Journal (October 1858) asks
how could one in wisdom and goodness "invite you to embrace
and press to the very bosom of your life, the most deadly enemies
of your being?"
He thought that "a demon might take upon himself to persuade
you that the fair and innocent look of some poisonous element,
so disorganizing in its nature that a simple drop placed upon
the tip of your tongue should destroy your life in a few moments,
might, under form of certain reductions and combinations, in
consequence of some delusive temporary effects, be good for you
to introduce into the life currents of your bodies, there to
be diffused in contact with all the delicate tissues and minute
fibers of your wondrous composition . . . ;" but he thought
it difficult to conceive of an intelligent and philantropic man
The practice of poisoning a person because he is ill is based
on erroneous notions of the essential nature of disease. In all
the teachings of the medical schools, disease is regarded as
something foreign to the system, as an attacking entity, and
poisons are administered to war upon, drive out or destroy the
enemy. But, as the truth is the exact contrary to this ancient
notion, all poisoning practice is exactly wrong; it is nothing
more nor less than a blind war upon the human constitution. When
the great, grand, glorious and revolutionary truth that disease
is remedial action, that it is the action of the living system
itself instead of a foreign something making war upon the body,
is generally understood, then the whole poisoning practice will
be viewed with disgust and horror.
It is the general opinion that men die of disease and that they
are sometimes saved from dying by taking poisons. There is no
evidence that these are the facts. There is no valid authority
for saying that disease is a crippler, a destroyer, a killer.
No one has any evidence that poison is a savior. There is no
evidence to controvert, but much to sustain the opinion that
poison is always destructive to man and that disease is a conservative
effort of the living organism to free itself of poison. It is
by no means certain that anyone ever died of disease. There is
strong reason, however, to think that all who have not died of
violence or exhaustion have died of poisoning and that all who
have died of exhaustion did so prematurely by being robbed of
life by poisons.
Can organic function be restored and organic structure be repaired
by means and measures that are destructive of structure and subversive
of function? Can the exhausting narcotics and deadly chemical
poisons of physicians, choking and irritating the bodies of the
sick, the pungent, smarting compounds, the caustics, corrosives,
stupefyers, the bowel-rasping, stomach-emptying, blood-poisoning,
brain-disordering medley of poisons that dose the sick into a
state of lethargy, muttering delirium and phrenetic excitement
be expected to restore the sick to health? Let the truthful answer
be: these things are all health destroying and too many deaths
from slow poisoning are passed off as deaths from disease. Viewed
in this light, the administration of drugs is seen to be a crime.
There is no mystery in this. It is not difficult to understand
why poisons do not save us from suffering and death. The mystery
lies in the fact that, after the truth is demonstrated, the mass
of mankind go on to their destruction nevertheless. When one
considers the immense masses of poisons that are merchandized
in the drug trade, some of it so toxic that a small drop of it
will kill an ordinary pig in a matter of minutes, one cannot
help but think that human life is shortened under the drugging
practice. It is a bit foolish to think that all of this poison
can be diluted and swallowed at intervals in such a way as to
promote health instead of impairing and destroying life.
Drugs never have a remedial influence, but their administration
is always and necessarily attended by a loss of constitutional
power. To bring disorganizing poisons into contact with the living
tissues of the body is to damage and destroy, not to build and
renew. The fact that these poisons are prescribed by a physician
does not alter their relationship to the tissues nor render them
adaptable to the purposes of life. Prof. Martin Paine said in
the latter half of the nineteenth century, after admitting that
all drugs are poisons: "In a remedial sense, however, we
do not know them as poisons, but as among the choicest blessings
bestowed upon man." How actually absurd!
However good and benevolent the motive that leads to the administration
of poisons as medicines, it cannot alter their actual qualities,
nor mitigate their hurtful, even deadly, effects on the powers
of life. If they are poisons before they enter the living system,
they must of necessity be poisons after they enter. As soon as
the people fully understand the intrinsically poisonous character
of all drugs, they will convict the medical profession of manslaughter
and destroy their fame as healers and their character as useful
Medical men cling to their implanted fixations which were developed
in advance of all experimental verification and before the development
of biologic, physiologic and pathologic knowledge. The only relation
which a true interpretation of facts shows drugs to have to the
human organism is that of poison and no amount of falsification
of nature can make this relation any different. What recent discoveries
in physiology have been made which show that drugs (poisons)
have the same relations to the human organism as foods? Medical
authors neglect to give us even a brief account of such discoveries.
The relation of all drugs to the living organism, even in those
cases in which they may be useful, as in anesthesia, is always
anti-vital. It may be thought that so-called sleeping drugs serve
some good purpose, but it should be known that stupefaction is
not slumber. The barbiturate physician might as well benumb his
patient by a blow on the head.
It is not true that substances which are poisonous in health
become innoxious in disease. Nothing changes its relations to
the human organism when it is well or sick. If it is a poison,
it is so once and always--under all possible circumstances. If
it will corrode the tissues of a well person, it will corrode
the tissues of a sick man. The unceasing clash of the organism
with these unassimilable substances gives rise to pathologies
galore. The body must maintain a state of perpetual vigilance
against poisons and this reduces it to the status of a maladept.
When poison is taken, the powers of life are excited to increased
actions to resist and expel it. This will be followed by reaction,
more or less severe, depending on the prior expenditure. The
introduction of foreign elements into the blood stream is sufficiently
guarded against by the living organism and only men of science
recklessly disregard these safeguards of internal purity and
break through the defenses and deliberately introduce foreign
materials, some of them highly toxic, into the blood. Many drugs
produce no appreciable immediate damage but are retained, as
they are eliminated with difficulty, and accumulate in the body
and it is said by toxicologists of some of these that small amounts
of such drugs may be retained in the body for months and even
Most people think that it is necessary to take drugs when ill;
they must take them, if not for cure, at least for relief from
discomforts and pains, so many of us once thought. But millions
today are rejoicing in better health because they have learned
that there is no balm in poison; they have been emancipated from
the belief in the necessity of drugs and have been freed from
their diseases. It is possible for every reader of this book
to free himself from his slavery to drugs. The daily consumption
of drugs as mere palliatives or subterfuges, to paralyze some
aching nerve or to goad some faltering organ into renewed (increased)
activity, is a practice that cannot be justified on any scientific
ground. Today, the American public is practically pickled in
drugs. Anodynes, analgesics, antacids, laxatives, cathartics,
sedatives, soporifics, tranquilizers, for headaches, gastric
distress, constipation, emotional disturbances, sleeplessness,
etc. are swallowed by almost everybody. Indeed, drugging has
become a way of life. For the reader to free himself from his
slavery to drugs, it will cost him a little effort, a little
resolution, some persevering effort, the exercise of some faith
in the powers of his own body, some transient sacrifice; but
the rewards are well worth the cost.
To call this poisoning of the life currents and the body's tissues
a rational, scientific mode of treating disease is to do violence
to human reason. Taking poison, so far from diminishing disease,
always makes more work for it to do. There is no surer means
of evolving chronic disease than that of treating acute disease
with poisons. There never can be and never ought to be any congenial
relationship between the living organism and rank, disorganizing
poisons, no matter how these are sugar coated.
Man must disabuse his mind of the fallacy that when he is ill
or that when we call drugs medicines and take them upon the directions
of the physician, that poisons are transformed from deadly foes
into kindly friends, ready to do him good in his time of need.
When, with all the gravity they can command, the professors of
medicine assure us that there is no other source under heaven
whereunto we may turn when ill with any hope of succor, than
the myriads of poisons that exist throughout the earth, we must
think them to be laboring under a delusion.
Instead of the most poisonous and deadly substances being good
for us in the days of our suffering, only the friendly and congenial
substances can be of genuine service to us. These are serviceable
in restoring health as they are serviceable in preserving health.
It is false to think that what is poisonous in one circumstance
or condition of our being is the very supporter of life in another,
that what will destroy health when we are well can be made to
build it up and establish it when we are sick. There is no more
harmony between drugs and the sick body than between drugs and
the healthy body. There is never a circumstance in which there
is a genial relationship and adaptability between drugs and the
To invalids of every age and description, who are subjects of
disease, suffering, weakness, irritability or despondency, who
hope to secure a return to the normal vigor of their organization
or to realize the joys and rich blessings of uninterrupted health
through the agency of poisonous and disorganizing substances,
I address this important question: is it logical to think that
the causes of disease and death are also the causes of health
and renewed life?
The Apparent Actions of Drugs
Herbert M. Shelton Ph.d.,D.C.
Why is one substance poisonous and another not? Why do the actions
of the body in relation to different substances differ so greatly?
Why does not an apple occasion vomiting and bread occasion purging?
Why does not a baked potato occasion profuse sweating and brown
rice copious urination? Why are these substances, when taken
into the stomach, treated so differently from the way in which
a drug is treated? We know that normally they are digested and
taken into the bloodstream and utilized in the replenishment
of the tissues of the body. We class them as foods, because they
may be used for tissue replenishment.
Why are not drugs digested and used? Why does one drug occasion
catharsis, another emesis, a third diuresis, etc? Why do some
drugs, when applied to the skin, cause vesication, others rubification
and others corrosion? Why is one drug, when swallowed, followed
by stimulation and another by narcosis? Why do foods not occasion
stimulation or narcosis? It is customary to say that vesication,
diarrhea, diuresis, emesis, narcosis, etc., are actions of the
drugs. This, however, is no different from saying that digestion
is the action of foods. We know that emesis, diarrhea, diuresis,
etc., are actions of the living organism, not of the drugs, just
as digestion is a physiological process and is not done by foods.
But the swallowing of different drugs is followed by different
actions. Castor oil, for example, is commonly expelled by diarrhea,
tartar emetic is commonly expelled by vomiting. Aloes and rhubarb
occasion sweating. Why do different drugs occasion so many different
actions? It is not to be thought that these drugs go through
the organism seeking out, from choice, the different organs and
tissues for which they have an affinity. They do not possess
even this rudimentary type of intelligence that enables them
to seek for and act only on certain structures.
Let us try to answer our first question first. Certain substances,
such as an apple or a nut, can be utilized by the body in the
replenishment of tissue. These substances are foods. Certain
substances cannot be utilized by the body in the production of
tissue. These substances are not foods. The answer to our question
seems to lie, then, in the usability and nonusability of a substance.
A substance is not a poison if it is usable, it is a poison if
it is not usable. We define food as any substance that can be
transformed into living 'structure'. This is to say, food is
any material that the cells of the body can take into and incorporate
into their substances as integral parts of themselves. If it
can be transformed into cell substance, it is food. Anything
that cannot be transformed into cell substance is not food.
This last statement leaves us with a whole world of matter, both.
Organic and inorganic that is not food, at least, not for man.
It leaves us with far more nonusable than usable materials in
the universe. If a substance is not usable, it must be expelled.
But substances that are nonusable are not merely nonusable; they
are also chemical substances governed by all the laws of matter.
They tend to unite with other chemical substances. They tend
to unite with the elements of the cells. Such unions would be
destructive of the cells. In plain English, the union of a drug
with the substance of a cell would result in the death of the
cell. This creates the urgent necessity to resist the union and
to hurriedly expel the substance.
Substances that tend to form chemical unions with the substances
of the cells and thus destroy the life of the cell are incompatible
with life. Toxicity may be defined as the degree of incompatibility
between a drug and the cells of the body. Some substances are
highly toxic, others are only slightly so. Two forms of incompatibility
must be recognized: namely, chemical incompatibility with the
structures of the body and physiological incompatibility with
the functions of life.
The actions that occur following the swallowing of a substance
that is incompatible with life are very varied. They depend in
part upon the character of the substance, but for the most part
they vary with the tissues with which they come in contact. Each
tissue acts in keeping with its own powers. A drug that is expelled
before it reaches the kidneys will not occasion any kidney action.
A drug that the kidneys excrete with great difficulty, may be
expelled through the skin or through some other channel. It was
the view of Dr. Trail that drugs are expelled through those channels
and by those means that cause the least wear and tear on the
system. This gives the body a certain power of selection in its
work of expelling drugs.
But there are drugs that are resisted at every point and that
are expelled through a number of channels. It would seem that,
as a matter of necessity, every tissue in the body must resist
and expel, as far as it can, nonusable substances with which
it comes in contact. But not every tissue is so constituted that
it can expel drugs from the body. It can expel them only from
itself. It can offer local resistance. It would seem to be correct
to say that the tissue must offer resistance if the drug comes
into contact with it. This seems to be the explanation of the
alleged "side efects" that are so often mentioned today.
But why is one drug an emetic, another a purgative, another a
diuretic, another an expectorant, another a stimulant, another
a nar cotic, etc.? Do these different apparent actions of different
drugs represent actions of the drugs, as is taught and believed,
or-are they different actions of the living organism in relation
to different drugs? If so, why does the body behave differently
in the presence of one poison from what it does in the presence
If we attempt to answer our last question first, it seems that
there is no basic difference between the actions of the body
in relation to one drug and its actions in relation to another.
The differences are more apparent than real and are the results
of the structural and functional differences of the organs and
tissues involved in the actions. Basically, the action is one
of resistance and expulsion and this is not radically different
in any tissue.
In a work published in 1874 by the office of the Health Reformer,
apparently from the of M. G. Kellogg, M.D., who says that he
derived his views from Graham, Trall, Alcott, Shew and Tanner,
the idea is presented that different organs excrete different
drugs because the presence of the different substances is perceived
by different nerves. He draws a parallel between the nerves of
the organ-systems and the nerves of special sense. Just as the
nerves of the eyes perceive objects and light and the nerves
of the ears perceive sounds, those of the nose perceive odors,
those Of the tongue perceive flavors, etc., so the different
nerves of the organsystems perceive one drug and not another.
The different ganglia perceiving a certain substance to be such
that "it cannot be used to replenish any of the tissues
of the body," causes activities to be instituted to secure
the expulsion of the drug. He suggests that the different ganglia
differ in their perceptions, just as do different parts of the
brain, hence the action following the taking of a drug will be
determined by the particular ganglion that perceives its presence.
Assuming that there is a grain of truth in this idea, it does
not seem to cover the whole of the phenomena that follow the
taking of drugs. Although, he is probably right in saying that
"all matter does not possess the same sensible properties;
if it did, we would know of but one kind of matter," and
he is probably correct in saying that it is through the "various
senses" that we can recognize various nronerties of matter,
'there seems to be a necessity that the useless and harmful be
recognized by all of the tissues and by all of the 'nerves. There
would seem to be, as a matter of fact, a cellular recognition
of the unsuitableness of drug substances.
He but echoes the words of Trall when he says that "instead
of medicines (drugs) having special affinities for certain organs
and tissues of the body, the vital organism has a special dislike
for drugs, and makes a special effort to eliminate them as rapidly
as possible. "It is not amity, but antagonism that gives
rise to those vital actions of defense, resistance, expulsion
and repair that are mistaken for the actions of drugs. But he
may have hit upon a vital element in the explanation of the different
actions that follow the taking of drugs in his suggestion that,
due to the fact that we recognize different substances through
the media of different nerves, we act according to that recognition.
For example, it would seem to be the part of organic wisdom to
expel all drugs, when swallowed, either by vomiting or by diarrhea.
Why should any of them be permitted to be absorbed into the bloodstream?
Why send some of them to the. Kidneys, for instance, for excretion?
Why excrete others by diaphoresis and others by expectoration;
why excrete some through the liver?
Can this be because the nerves of the intestinal tract do not
adequately recognize the useless or injurious character of some
substances? Do drugs slip past the sentinels of the prima via
because they do not "appear" to the nerve end endings
in the gastrointestinal canal to be of a specially hurtful nature?
Must their injuriousness be perceived by other nerves and must
they then be appropriately dealt with by other organs and sent
out through other channels? Why, when a certain drug is taken,
is it later expelled by the kidneys (diuretic)? Was its useless
and hurtful character not perceived in the stomach and why was
it not expelled by emesis or diarrhea? Perhaps the explanation
lies in the suggestion of Kellogg.
He is certainly wrong, however, when he says, after giving the
actions that follow certain drugs, "if each of the medicines
named above is given in proper doses, it will occasion the effects
named, and no other." There is no known drug that occasions
but one action on the part of the body in resisting and expelling
it. Perhaps but one effect will be produced if it is all expelled
by the primary effort at expulsion, as when vomiting may expel
all of a drug that is swallowed. But if it is not all thus expelled,
it may occasion a diarrhea or small amounts of it may be absorbed
into the bloodstream and it may then be expelled by diuresis
or by diaphoresis or by expectoration or by all three of these
The secretion of digestive juices upon the food eaten is controlled
by the nervous system. We get one kind of juice or another kind
of of juice depending on the character of the food eaten and
this is appreciated and appropriate nerve and glandular action
instituted, when the food comes into contact with the nerve endings
(taste buds) in the tongue. The character of the saliva, as well
as of the gastric juice, is thus determined. If we eat a potato
we have the outpouring of one type of gastric juice; if we eat
a beefsteak we have the outpouring of another type of digestive
juice. If we swallow a marble there is no outpouring of digestive
juice. If we take sugar there will be a copious outpouring of
saliva, but it will contain no ptyalin. Control of action here
lies in the nervous stem and its perceptions of the character
of the food eaten.
Suppose, instead of food, we swallow a teaspoon full of castor
oil. This is a poisonous oil that must be expelled. Its presence
and its character are recognized by the same nervous system that
appreciates the differences between foods. There is again a copious
outpouring of juice into the stomach, but it is not a digestivee.
It is a watery mucus. The muscles of the stomach also act, but
their action is somewhat different to what goes on in digestion.
They hasten the mucus and oil to the pyloric orifice of the stomach
and the valve opens and the mixture (oil and mucus) is expelled
into the intestine, where, instead of being met with digestive
juices, it is met with more mucus. Here, also, instead of the
regular movements of peristalsis and antiperistalsis, there is
only a hurried peristalsis, thus hurrying the mixture along towards
the colon. When it reaches the ileocecal valve, this opens and
the mixture is expelled into the colon, which, in turn, hastens
it to the rectum, where it is expelled from the vital domain.
What part did the oil play in all this activity? It did not perceive
its own toxic character. It did not pour out mucus to dilute
it and flush it along. It did not perform the muscular work of
the stomach, small intestine and colon. It did not expel itself.
Indeed, being lifeless, inert and as incapable of any action
as a dry stick or clod of earth, it was passive in the hands
of the forces of life. It no more acted in the stomach than it
acted in being poured into a spoon and taken to the mouth for
ingestion. It was as passive and actionless during the whole
of its journey through the alvine canal as while resting in the
bottle on the shelf.
Living hands poured it from the bottle; living hands took it
to the mouth; living organs of deglutition swallowed' it living
nerves percieved its presence and its character; living glands
poured out mucus upon it; living muscles propelled it through
the digestive tract; living muscles expelled it from the rectum.
The living organism was the actor from start to finish. The living
organism alone possesses the instruments of action and the energy
of action. It is specialized in myriads of ways for the performance
of myriads of actions.
Kellogg suggests that certain drugs are diuretics, this is to
say, they are expelled through the kidneys, because "the
properties of this class of poisons are not recognized by the
nerve centers which preside over the stomach, hence vomiting
does not occur." They are thus permitted to enter the bloodstream
and circulate in the blood to all parts of the body. But their
useless character is immediately recognized by other nerves and
they are excreted through the kidneys. There is increased action,
diuresis, to expel the poison Here, again, it is the living organism
that does all the acting. Diuresis is as much an action of the
living organism as is diarrhea. In diuresis the kidneys and bladder
and the other parts of the urinary apparatus are the actors rather
than the intestinal tract.
Kellogg may be correct when he says of the diuretic that it did
not occasion vomiting "simply because they (the diuretic
drugs) were not recognizable by the nerve centers which preside
over the stomach." But there is reason to think that this
may not be the whole explanation. Ipecac is classed as an emetic.
In a dose of a certain size it occasions vomiting. In a much
smaller dose it occasions diaphoresis and expectoration. It may
be that in small doses the nerves of the stomach fail to recognize
the poison; it may be that when sufficiently camouflaged with
food or other substances, they fail to appreciate its character.
This drug can be classed according to the faulty classifications
that have been adopted by pharmacologists and physicians, as
an emetic, an expectorant and a diaphoretic. Applied locally,
it can be given other classifications. It is entitled to but
one classification-it is poison. Its presence in the body is
resented; it is expelled, not through one channel, but through
Trall indicated that just as the special senses take cognizance
of external elements in our environment, so the nerves of organic
life take cognizance of things that find their way into the body.
Kellogg followed this thought in his suggestion that different
drugs occasion different actions due to the fact that their presence
and character is detected by different nerves. Graham had previously
indicated such explanation, calling the perceptive faculties
of the nerves of organic life, organic instincts.
Graham and Trall and later Kellogg took the position that, just
as the brain sets in action the organs of voluntary motion and
causes these to act, according to its recognition (through the
special senses) of external objects, so the nerves of organic
life (the organic instincts, to use Graham's term) set in motion
the appropriate glandular and muscular activity in accordance
with the character of the substances that are within-actions
designed to use one type of substances and actions designed to
expel another type. As every organ and tissue is under the control
of the nervous system, there is nothing illogical in thinking
that the nervous system is the controlling mechanism in determining
the actions of the body in relation to not only foods but poisons.
Thus it is that the presence of poisons in the body occasions
unusual vital activities in the various organs of the body. We
commonly, refer to such unusual betivities as disease; at other
times we simply recognize them as symptoms of poisoning.
Each organ is capable of a certain kind or kinds of activity,
depending on its structure or structures. Each organ acts in
relation to toxins in accordance with its functional capabilities,
as determined by its structural adaptations. The number and varied
assortments of actions of the human body are possible only because
of its almost infinite structural complexity and the resulting
functional capacities. Drugs are simple substances, lacking both
structural specializations and functional abilities. They not
only lack the instruments of action, but they are also lacking
in the energy of action. We are correct, then, in saying that
the body acts; the drugs are acted upon.
Herbert M. Shelton
of Normal and Abnormal Processes
Vol. XXXIV March, 1973 No. 8
The Unity of Normal and Abnormal Processes
Herbert M. Shelton
Most of the early Hygienists held to the principle of the unity
of disease. Jennings and Nichols were perhaps the most outspoken
in affirming this principle. Jennings was not the first to suggest
that the seeming multiplicity of diseases represents a unity.
Dr. Benjamin Rush, who was Surgeon General of the Continental
Armies during the Revolutionary War, stressed the importance
of the principle. Samuel Thompson, founder of the medical system
known as Physio-medicalism made the principle a fundamental part
of his system. Dr. Samuel Dickson, of England, founder of the
medical system known as Chrono-thermalism, published his book
The Unity of Disease in 1838. He later defended this theory in
his book, Fallacies of the Faculty. The allopathic medical profession
rejected the principle of unity of disease and adhered to the
notion that there are many diseases. When I was a student the
textbooks listed 407 diseases, but the process of fragmentation
was already under way and today many thousands of diseases are
Today, when the effort is being made with more or less success
to interpret all natural phenomena as parts of one pattern, or
as expressions of one universal form of progress, the medical
profession still clings to its dualisms about health and disease
and to its old belief that there are hundreds of diseases. They
refuse to recognize the single underlying phenomenon of which
their many diseases are but varied and evanescent expressions.
Life, health, disease are ultimately to be interpreted as different
aspects of an underlying process. It is our own shortsightedness
that blurs for us the wholeness and unity of life. The terms
and expressions of contemporary medical literature which we have
inherited from the past carry implicit assumptions regarding
the general nature of disease, and one of our main tasks is to
show where they are invalid.
Man is not always sick despite the fact that he lives in a sea
of extraneous causes that are said to cause disease. Indeed,
these extraneous causes fail more often than they succeed. Yet
we know that disease is always a potential in man. Abnormal though
it is, it is just as natural as health. In fact, if we can ever
escape from our dualisms of thought we will recognize that health
and disease are but two phases of the same living processes.
We will discover that there is no distinct line of demarkation
between health and disease and that they are not so unlike as
we now believe. We will readily understand that disease is a
manifestation of life itself and that there is a fundamental
unity in all of life's manifestationsnormal or abnormal.
The principle of continuity and unity becomes a guide to the
correct organization of pathological knowledge, which is already
vast, in conformity with the laws of nature. This principle provides
for a major and all important reorientation which eliminates
the prejudices and false views that have hitherto obscured our
vision and made it impossible for us to see the woods for the
trees. The change of position thus produced transforms the interrelations
of everything so that a simple order is revealed.
Change is as constant in pathology as in all other departments
of existence, yet the change is not arbitrary; each change develops
continuously out of the preceding developmentearlier and later
developments do not confront each other as the senseless juxtaposition
of one chaos beside another, but are linked by similarities which
pervade all change. The meaningful order which underlies the
progressive changes seen in pathological evolution is realized
in the continuity of the sequence of change.
Fundamentally, there are but few pathological changes, both of
structure and function, that can occur in even the most complex
organism. Great and complex variations in the appearance of these
fundamental changes are possible, due to the many differentiations
of tissues and to the wide variety of functions subserved by
them. The basic pathology (atrophy) in atrophy of the liver and
atrophy of the pancreas is the same, but the complex of systemic
changes of functional aberrations that is based on this atrophy
varies as the functions of the two organs vary. Basically, the
"special pathology" in the lungs in pneumonia and that
in the kidneys in acute nephritis, is the same. Differentiating
symptoms and changes relate to the differences of structure and
function of the two organs. Inflammation of the stomach may check
the secretion of gastric juice and inflammation of the pancreas
may check the secretion of insulin, but in both cases the fundamental
change is the checking of secretion. The kind of secretion that
will be checked will depend upon the kind of secretion turned
out by the inflamed organ. Duly considered, this simply means
that the many different so-called diseases are not different
diseases. They are but different locations and different stages
in one and the same process.
The diagnoses and classifications of diseases listed in medical
textbooks are all illusions that grow out of the medical man's
notions that the symptom-complexes, though richly variable even
for the same so-called disease, represent entities instead of
being symptomatic of an underlying substratum common to all symptom-complexes.
The same unity of the body is preserved in disease as in health.
We deal with a sick whole, not merely a sick part. Just as in
physiology the whole widely extended state of function is a unit,
so in pathology the whole widely extended state of processes
that constitute the remedial process is a unity.
When there is irritation of the nose, throat, sinuses, and elsewhere,
this represents a systemic condition, not a series of local infections.
Should any part of the digestive tract from the mouth to the
anus become inflamed the name given the "disease" will
correspond to the part involved, and the state of the inflammation
will be: first irritation or inflammation, then ulceration, then
induration and cancer. All pathologic change is named in keeping
with the part involved. Inflammation of the stomach is called
gastritis; when ulceration develops out of inflammation, it is
called gastric ulcer; when the ulceration takes on induration
(hardening), it is called gastric cancer; if the development
involves the pyloris, it is named pyloric cancer. If the inflammation
extends to the duodenum, it is called duodenitis; if the duodenum
ulcerates, it is called duodenal ulcer; if induration follows,
it is duodenal cancer.
While we tend to think of so-called diseases as local affections,
the entire body is always involved in the process. This is not
to give utterance to the stupid prevalent notion that every "local
disorder" deranges all the functions of the body; rather,
it is meant to express the idea that the whole organism is involved
in every remedial process. In the case of a diarrhea, for instance,
it is a disturbance only in relation to a larger and otherwise
unitary whole which it interrupts. There is no thought of derangement,
but of redirection. The central and basic powers of life are
those engaged in nutrition, including those of digestion, respiration,
circulation, assimilation, excretion, and reproduction. The normal
performance of these functions is health. When any or many of
these powers are much modified to meet abnormal conditions, the
modification is disease. The modification is protective, reparative,
expulsive, remedial. All such modifications are in the service
of life, not in the service of death. These modifications are
integral to life, not foreign agents at work in the body. Disease
is a vital process, not an entity.
A local disease is an impossibility. Every so-called local disease
is but the local manifestation of a general condition. Every
local pathological manifestation is an expression of a systemic
pathological condition. This is so because the body is a unit.
Local diseases, so-called, are the local expressions of general
states. For the successful care of the sick, therefore, it is
not sufficient to confine our attention to the organ or part
affectedwe must care for the whole organism. When indigestion
produces irritation of the stomach lining, inflammation, or gastritis
develops. When irritation occurs to the point of irritation it
becomes a point of toxemic crisis. The hairsplitting seen in
differential diagnosis is made necessary by a lack of knowledge
of cause. It is a compensation for ignorance, an effort to appear
scientific when there is no science.
When we know that the processes and elements of disease are the
same as the processes and elements of health, is it probable,
nay, is it possible that disease, any disease should have no
order in its seeming disorder, that diseases should present no
unity in their seeming multiplicity, should suffer no explanation
by the discovery of some central and sublime law of mutual connection?
If all organs of the body are governed by the same laws why such
a multiplicity of diseases as are recognized by so-called medical
science? Each organ has its own peculiar histology (tissue or
structure peculiarity) and each has its own peculiar function
to perform. Every organ of the body, and this includes the brain,
is under the same physiological and pathological laws. By the
co-operating principles of causation and differentiation do we
derive the many so-called diseases out of a common source. The
many so-called diseases of the medical nosology are but symptom-complexes
of a constitutional toxemic state; they are the effects of accumulated
waste products of metabolism.
Every inflammation has symptoms all its own, yet all inflammations
are basically the same. Although the symptoms of tonsillitis
differ greatly from those of acute gastritis, the inflammation
is identical in the two organs; although the symptoms of pneumonia
are greatly different from those of hepatitis, the inflammation
in the liver is the same as the inflammation in the lungs. The
dissimilarity of these so-called diseases is due to the varying
functions of the organs inflamed and to the differences in histologieal
(tissue) structure of these different organs. Why do professional
pathologists, trained also in histology and physiology, continue
to view inflammation in many different parts of the body and
imagine that each inflammation is a specific disease?
The shades of differences existing in the different so-called
disease are apparent because of the different tissues involved.
It is our confirmed opinion that too much attention is given
to minute pathological distinctions and too great value is placed
upon these. Every part of the body, when irritated, gives rise
to its own symptom-complex, or what is known as a special disease.
The brain and nervous system have their own complexes; the liver,
kidneys, lungs, etc., each has its own complex. Singling out
one or more of the pronounced symptom-complexes that make up
the composite of the sick man's symptoms, diseases, complications,
etc., all of which arise out of the one and only efficient cause-toxemiaand
specializing in its treatment, is an important procedure in what
is known as "modern scientific medicine."
Congestion and inflammation may develop simultaneously in different
organs; or, what is more frequently the case, one organ may become
congested and inflamed; and, as time passes and the general health
of the individual declines, one after another of several structures
may be-come congested or inflamed. It is in this manner, in part,
that complications always develop in longstanding chronic castes.
As the chronic disease continues due to the persistence and intensification
of the cause of the disease, one after another of the organs
of the body is brought into the pathological field; the complications
become more numerous. Thus, it is true that many complications
are due to the persistence and increase of cause. The sick man
sets out, at the beginning of his suffering with dyspepsia. After
ten or twenty years he finds that he has disease of the throat
and lungs, bowels, liver, kidneys, heart and perhaps of the spine.
If the individual is a woman she probably finds that she also
has one or more "female diseases."
All so-called diseases are but varying symptom-complexes growing
out of a common cause. True, there are many causes, but if they
are carefully studied, it will be found that they are all auxiliary
to one universal, efficient cause-toxemia. Disease-inducing habits
are responsible for many symptoms. Many complexes of symptoms
are given distinctive names and listed as specific diseases.
The regular profession labels almost every symptom inducted by
bad habits as a separate diseaseunless they decide to call them
"syphilis." Add to the symptoms induced by bad habits,
those induced by drug poisoning, and you have about all the symptoms
that man presents when he is sick.
Herbert M. Shelton
Vol. XXXIV April, 1973 No. 8
The Hygienic Etiology
Herbert M. Shelton
In this article I desire to set forth the formulation of the
cause of disease contained in the writings of Dr. T. L. Nichols.
In doing this let me re-emphasize the fact that Dr. Nichols,
who was a contemporary of and co-worker with Jennings, Graham,
Trail, et. al., but expressed the generally accepted Hygienic
theory of the cause of disease. Let me begin with the following
quotation from Nichols' book, Esoteric Anthropology, for in this
paragraph he clearly states the essential unity of the many diseases.
"Medical books are filled with the names of vast numbers
of diseases, as a precisely similar affection of each organ of
the body receives a corresponding name. Thus we have encephalitis,
meningitis, arachnitis, parotitis, otitis, iritis, glossitis,
pharyngitis, laryngitis, tracheitis, bronchitis, pleuritis, pericarditis,
carditis, gastritis, enteritis, peritonitis, hepatitis, nephritis,
cystitis, etc., etc., and all these hard words ending in ITIS,
mean simply an inflammation of the brain, its membranes, the
parotid gland, ear, tongue, throat, etc. The laws of one of these
affections govern all. Everywhere we have nearly the same phenomena,
the same causes, and similar modes of treatment."
In tracing the cause of disease he says: "As all the functions
of life are carried on by the nervous energy, a loss of that
is not only a direct cause of functional debility, but by diminished
vigor of excretion, it prevents the waste matter being carried
out of the system; and this matter, thus retained, acts as a
poison, and is a cause of almost every kind of disease. This
reacts again; exhaustion causes impurity, and impurity produces
"Consequently, anything which exhausts the power of the
organic and animal systemanything which destroys the nervous
energy, is in many ways a cause of disease . . ."
Here is a very clear and concise statement of the development
of enervation and toxemia and their basic importance in the development
of the many diseases. He says, "All disease is attended
by a lack of nervous energy, or the presence of morbid matter
in the system, or both combined."
Among the causes of nervous exhaustion (enervation) and contributors
to the general poisoning (toxemia) of the body, he lists the
following: "Intense labor, care and anxiety, protracted
watchings, domestic unhappiness, any source of grief, may exhaust
the nervous energy, and be a cause of disease. Sedentary employments,
or monotonous labors, overtaxing one set of organs and leaving
the others without employment, may have the same effect.
"The undue, and, therefore, disordered activity of any passion
or appetite, is a cause of disease by turning aside or exhausting
the nervous energy that should be given to the whole system.
Inordinate eating and drinking, avarice, ambition, all single
and excessive passions, destroy the equilibrium of the system.
But there is no passion so exhausting as amativeness. Its abuses
are in proportion to its use. The nervous exhaustion from its
excess is the cause of most cases of dyspepsia, rheumatism, consumption,
palsy, epilepsy, apoplexy, the nervous and uterine disease of
women and, in fact a large proportion of all the diseases of
Nichols lays much stress upon the exhausting effect of all forms
of sexual excess, both in and out of marriage in young and old
and both sexes alike. There seems, however, no reason to single
out this form of excess and attribute a whole catalogue of particular
so-called diseases to it. Enervation is enervation by whatever
habit or combination of habits produced. The toxemia thus resulting
is the real disease producer.
He mentions among the causes of exhaustion and poisoning, overcrowding,
lack of cleanliness, foul air, "diseased foodas the flesh
of diseased animals; the milk of distillery fed cows; fish and
flesh in the process of putrefaction; sausages made of offensive
materials; measly pork, narcotics and stimulating drinks; beer
and porter, made worse by drugs; tobacco . . . Uncleanly habits,
wearing filthy clothes, the neglect of daily bathing . . .
"The stimulants I have just mentioned, whether taken to
relieve this or any other debility, are all exhausting to the
nervous system from the reaction of their stimulating effects,
and they are also poisons, which are retained in the system,
acting upon the nerves, as a direct cause of disease. The concentrated
extract of coffee, and tobacco, will kill small animals like
so much prussic acid. Tobacco is one of the most insidious and
debilitating of narcotics, stupefying and gradually weakening
the nervous system. When used by the young its tendency is to
stupefy the brain and bring on early impotence."
Flesh eating, wrong dress, lack of light, monotonous and exhausting
labor and working under improper conditions are listed by him
among the causes of exhaustionenervation. To list all the causes
mentioned by him would unduly extend this article.
We pause here to summarize briefly what has gone before: Bad
physical and emotional habits, the use of stimulants and narcotics,
wrong diet, and all unfavorable influences exhaust nervous energy.
Nervous exhaustion lowers functional powers. Lowered functional
powers permit the accumulation of morbid matter (toxins) in the
These toxins produce disease of all kinds. As he puts it: "All
the waste matter of the body, arising from the action and consequent
disintegration, combustion, or destruction of all the tissues,
which are continually renewed by nutrition, becomes, if retained,
a cause of disease, a real virus, a true poison. This is known
to be true of urea, or the solid matter of the urine, bile, the
faecal matter, the matter of perspiration, and the carbon excreted
by the lungs. Any interruption of the functions of the skin,
liver, kidneys, intestines, or lungs, is, therefore, a cause
of disease by the retention of morbid matter."
It will be interesting to follow Dr. Nichols a little further
and note briefly how he proposes to prevent -and remedy disease.
He says: " 'Prevention is better than cure.' Even the ratio
in which it is better is sometimes set forth; and we are told
that 'an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.' Doctors
find that prevention is in no demand, or that it is too cheap
to afford them any profit; for they do not deal in the article.
Quacks advertise their nostrums as preventives of disease, especially
when there is some prevailing epidemic. Doctors are generally
in favor of vaccination, for they are paid for it; and if disease,
as many believe, is thereby propagated and even the smallpox
but little, if any diminished, it is a profitable preventive."
This is to say, the prevention of disease would put physicians
out of jobs; therefore, they are not interested in its prevention.
They have cures to sell and if there is no disease there is no
demand for their wares. It is for this reason that they have
made the prevention of disease seem difficult and mysterious
and taught the people that disease prevention depends upon physicians
with their expensive technical processes.
"How can disease be prevented?" asks Dr. Nichols. He
answers: "Simply in two ways: by living, as far as possible,
in accordance with all the conditions of health; and by avoiding,
in like manner, every cause of disease. By keeping up the strength
and purity of the system; by avoiding all excesses, and every
means of exhaustion; and by living so as to keep free from all
matter of disease."
Remedy is equally as simple as prevention. Nichols says: "As
diseases consist of exhaustion and impurity; as exhaustion causes
impurity and impurity produces exhaustion, two things are requisite
to a cure. These two should be written in letters of gold-INVIGORATION
"Let me make this emphatic by two definitions:
"Pathology"Exhaustion and impurity resulting in disease
"TherapeuticsInvigoration and purification resulting in
health and life."
Today we say that health follows when toxemia is eliminated and
nerve energy is restored to normal. The terms are different;
the meaning is the same. In the days that have elapsed since
the pioneer Hygienists lived and worked we have been able to
fill in many details and correct many errors, but the broad outlines
as constructed by these men and women have not been altered.
Often, today, we are able to state our principles and theories
with greater clearness or with more accuracy, but we cannot justly
claim to have added much to the real fundamentals of the science
of Natural Hygiene.
The present day Hygienist rejects a few of the measures employed
by many, or most, of the early Hygienists. We cannot say that
we reject any of those employed by Jennings, for his practice,
after he abandoned the use of bread pills, was pure Hygiene.
Perhaps we know more about the emotional and social causes of
disease than the pioneers knew, but we must acknowledge that
they were not far behind. Dr. Jackson placed so much emphasis
upon psychological factors in health and disease that he preferred
to call his work psycho-Hygiene.
Dr. Nichols enumerated a whole group of social causes of disease
and then pointed out that "some of the benefits which patients
receive" at institutions and resorts "come from their
having left such causes of disease behind them; but when they
go back (home), they are apt to relapse," because they go
back to the same causes a scolding, nagging wife, an irritable,
domineering husband who demands too much of his wife in the sexual
It has long been recognized in Hygienic circles that many people
do not get well until they get away from home; away from their
well-meaning, but misguided and often selfish friends and relatives;
away from old associates and influences and into a new and different
environment with its inspiration to right living. Once well,
all too many of these people tend, upon returning home, to slip
back into old ruts, old habits and practices often only because
old associates and influences impel them in these directions.
We know more of diet, of fasting, of exercise and of sunshine
than did these men. We have a greater knowledge of physiology.
Some admirable progress has been made since these men lived and
labored. But we do well always to remember that they laid the
foundation and erected much of the superstructure.
Herbert M. Shelton
Education vs. Treatment
Vol. XXXIV April, 1973 No. 8
Health Education vs. Treatment
Herbert M. Shelton
More than three million people in this country are incapacitated
by illness every day. Great numbers of these are cared for in
hospitals. New hospitals are continually being built and older
ones are enlarged. We are always preparing to care for an increasing
number of sick people; all the while the story goes out that
"preventive medicine" is such a howling success. It
is obvious, however, that the art of keeping well is not well
understood and that knowledge of how to stay well is not spreading
very fast. The great amount of sickness observed among those
who are closest adherents of the schools of so-called healing
reveals that they are not receiving the right kind of health
education. If our people knew how to keep well we could do with
fewer rather than more institutions for the care of the sick.
But if we look at the living habits of the practitioners of the
various schools of so-called healing, we shall soon discover
that they are not doing any better in preventing disease in themselves
and in the members of their families than are the supposedly
more ignorant laymen. Not only do we see a great amount of sickness,
both acute and chronic, among medical men and the members of
their families, with relatively early passing of most medical
men, among osteopaths and their families, among chiropractors
and their families, among naturopaths and their families; but
when we observe the manner in which these men and their families
live, we see that they do not, on the whole, live any better
than their patients.
The great majority of medical men, osteopaths, chiropractors
and naturopaths smoke or use tobacco in some other form. Great
numbers of the members of these professions drink alcoholic liquors.
A sizable percentage of them are addicted to other drugs. Most
of them use tea and coffee and drink soda fountain slops. Go
into their homes and watch them eat and you soon discover that
they eat, for the most part, a conventional fare prepared in
the conventional manner and combined as indiscriminately and
haphazardly as the foods of the laity are combined. Note that
they are fat and plethoric or skinny, just as are the people
in general. They use "antacids" after eating and take
laxatives or enemas and colonic irrigations as much as their
patients. The members of their families are not examples of good
health and their length of life is often much less than that
of the lay folk.
In the medical profession we often see the paradox of a cancer
specialist dying of cancer, a heart specialist dying of heart
disease, a tubercular specialist with tuberculosis, an asthma
specialist with asthma, an allergist with hay fever, an alienist
becoming insane, a gastro-enterologist with peptic ulcer, a genito-urinary
specialist dying of cancer of the prostate. When the specialists
do not know enough about the causes and patho-genesis of the
diseases in which they specialize to present the evolution of
these diseases in themselves, how can they prevent or remedy
them in other people? Have we not a situation in which the ancient
advice, "physician, heal thyself," is apropos? If a
heart specialist dies of heart disease in his forties, what can
he know of the cause and prevention, not to say the cure of heart
disease? If a cancer specialist dies of cancer at a comparatively
early age, how much can the public depend upon early diagnosis
Is it not patently obvious to everyone, when such facts are considered,
that the schools of so-called healing taken collectively, are
helpless in the face of the mounting incidence of chronic disease?
Whether they remove organs or administer antibiotics, pull legs
and twist and contort the patient, bake and boil and electrocute
the patient, give herbs, peddle vitamins, or in other ways treat
symptoms and ignore causes, their approaches to the problems
of sickness are superficial, irrational and illusory. Therapeutics
is tremendously overworked and, as carried out today, amounts
to a stupendous confusion.
Although the allopathic profession is continually boasting of
its monopoly of medical science, it is a curing system that merely
palliates and pretends to cure without removing cause. They boast
of their great institutions of research and of the mighty work
that is being done in these. But the intelligent observer, watching
the results of this research over a period of several years,
soon discovers that these mountains labor and bring forth only
a mouse a dead one, a stillbirth. They provide more treatment
for the sick, but no better health. They devise newer and often
more novel techniques of treatment, but the sick continue to
suffer and die as of yore. Medicine makes great progress, but
it is progress in the dealing art, not in the healing art.
The belief in diseases and cures stands as an effective barrier
to a true education in healthful living. The medical profession
is not teaching the people how to live. In fact, as already pointed
out, it does not know how to live. The same is true of the other
schools of so-called healing. They are all busily engaged in
treating the effects of wrong life and ignoring the cause. The
medical profession has opposed every effort at improvement in
living. The only prevention they have fostered is that of immunization
by means of vaccines and serums. True, after the people have
adopted something that they opposed and it has proved to possess
genuine merit, they have championed it, called it their own and
the short memories of the people forget their original opposition.
Thus they are today receiving credit for innovations that they
had nothing to do with, except to oppose.
Our schools and colleges are not teaching the people how to live.
Our school textbooks are carefully censored. Not a line, not
a word can vary from standard authority. There is no possibility
of a new and revolutionary truth reaching the school child or
the older scholar by way of the educational institution. The
teachers and instructors are also kept closeted behind the iron
curtain that prevents all variant ideas from filtering into them
and that prevents them from giving expression to an idea that
is not "sound." The mind is thus enclosed in a carapace,
which, unlike that of the lobster, turtle or crab, cannot be
shed as the mind grows larger. Mental fixation is the inevitable
result of this process of intellectual canning.
To whom does the teaching profession turn when it wants a new
textbook? Does it turn to the man who knows; to the man who has
broken society's mental fetters and blazed new trails? It does
not. It gets its texts from men and women who are guaranteed
incapables; individuals who never had an original idea in their
lives. This is the, reason that the teaching profession is doing
nothing to free the world from its religious, medical, legal,
economic, financial and political superstitions. The "home
fires" of orthodoxy must be kept burning and all hetero-doxical
ideas must be kept from the students. This is not altogether
the fault of the teachers, but of the powers that hold the whip
hand over their heads.
No better example of this slavery of the educational system to
the superstitions that exist around us can be found than in the
high school and college texts of biology. Biology has, from its
origin, sucked the teats of the medical profession; much of their
intellectual pap has been drawn from this source. The biologist
does not know anything about the subject of medicine. He derives
all of his "facts" and opinions from the profession.
What he thinks and does not think is a subject of no importance,
for he is intellectually enslaved by the pill rollers. His textbooks
are crammed with paragraphs and pages about pathogenic bacteria,
viruses, antibodies, allergy, serums, vaccines, immunization,
curing, etc. He will discuss the antibiotics with an air of authority
and, when these have passed to the limbo reserved for the cures
that pass in the night, he will revise his texts and discuss
with an equal authority the newer cures that have replaced the
antibiotics. He is but a phonograph talking out what has been
talked into his head. It is no laughing matter that he so often
plays on a cracked record.
The physiological juggernauts that cloud, suppress, pervert and
distort the minds of young and old of our age are everywhere
and, so fully convinced are we that the "authorities"
know what they are talking about and doing, we dare not question
the prevailing fashions in thought. The psychologists have taught
us that intelligence is the ability to adjust ourselves, which
is merely another term for the old tyranny that demanded conformity.
The nonconformist is as deadly to the powers that be in our era
as in any past era.
We have a large standing army of physicians and surgeons and
We have another large army of Ph.D.'s engaged in "research,"
and these men are all thinking, planning and coordinating their
work, exchanging ideas and knowledge, not only among themselves,
but with similar armies abroad; but where are the results? They
are still carrying on in the same old way searching for entitative
diseases or entitative causes, searching for cures and immunizers
removing appendices, excising tonsils, poisoning the sick, vaccinating
the well, ignoring the cause of disease and trying to cure disease
without removing its cause. After many years devoted to a wholesale
slaughter of the tonsils they have no more idea today about what
causes tonsillar enlargement than they had thirty years ago.
Every year they remove thousands upon thousands of the reproductive
organs of women and not one of them can explain the cause of
a fibroid tumor or a cancer. Indeed, with all their searching
and researching, they have not yet discovered the cause of the
Their only conception of cause is that germs and viruses cause
all disease. They are cutting out cancers the same as they did
fifty years ago; they follow the operation with X-rays and radium
as they have been doing for years and the undertaker is still
completing the job for them as he has been doing for years. They
are "researching" for everything except truth. The
pathologist spends a lifetime studying the endpoints of pathological
processes and ends with no more knowledge of cause than when
he started. Cause is not to be found in the morgue, but he will
never grasp this simple fact.
We have a great army of invalids and semi-invalids who are going
from specialist to specialist, from hospital to hospital, from
sanitarium to sanitarium, from one health resort to another,
from climate to climate, from the seashore to the mountains,
or vice versa, seeking, ever seeking for health. They go from
one school of curing to another! School of curing, but they never
find health. They spend time and money in their search for health,
but all in vain. What is wrong? If the drugs and operations and
sea bathing and sunshine and mountain air and different climates
and the great specialists and the famous hospitals and clinics
and sanitariums and the practitioners of the different schools
of curing cannot cure them, what is the reason? If "modern
scientific medicine" with all of its great wealth of cures-its
old drugs, its miracle drugs, its antibiotics, its gland extracts,
vitamins, X-rays, radium rays, operations, etc. fails them and
they turn to the lesser schools of curing, and these also fail
them, what shall they do?
The answers to all of these questions are simple ones. These
people are not getting well for the reason that the causes of
their illnesses are not being removed. Enervating habits are
being permitted to sap their functioning power. Enervating treatments
are adding their share to the depleting influences to which they
are subjected. The consequence is that they remain toxemic. They
continue to eat in a manner to maintain a constant and seething
mass of putridity in their digestive tracts. They do not need
to change climate. They do not need to go to the mountains or
to the seashore. They need to change their modes of living. They
can get well as soon as they cease to build disease. When they
learn a correct way of life and conform to it, they can have
health. Until then, they are destined to go on suffering and
chasing cures until the undertaker relieves them of the necessity
of further chasing. What then, is their greatest need? Knowledge
they need to be taught the simple, wholesome ways of life that
build and maintain vigorous health.
Health schools and not hospitals, health teachers and not symptom-treaters
these are the needs of the people. If they will substitute an
orderly and lawful way of life for the treatment of disease,
obedience to the laws of life for plans of immunization, knowledge
for superstition, they may substitute health for disease. We
need a more radical approach to the problems that con front the
sick and less superficial and enervating palliation. Let us get
at the root of the troubles that afflict mankind and cease trying
to cure effects without removing causes.
Herbert M. Shelton
a Faith Cure?
Vol. IV April, 1943 No. 8
Is Ours a Faith Cure?
Herbert M. Shelton
Is the Hygienic System a "faith cure"? We have been
accused of having only a "faith cure" by many who have
only noted what we reject and have not investigated what we stand
for. One man objected that our faith in nature and nature cure
is identical with Christian Science - is Christian Science, as
a matter of fact, in a new dress. We never knew whether, by this
statement, he wanted us to understand that he has no faith in
nature, that he believes only in the unnatural and anti-natural.
What is nature? Let us define it as the existing cosmos. The
universe is cosmic and not chaotic. There is an all-pervading
orderliness, nor can we conceive of the universe existing except
in an orderly state. What is wrong with faith in this system
The bodies and properties of living things are also orderly,
that is, cosmic, and not chaotic. There is an all-pervading orderliness
in life and we cannot conceive of an organism existing for one
moment in any other state.
For us, then, nature is the orderly universe with all of its
relations and interdependencies. Science, as well as religion,
directs men's minds to the eternal aspect of things and our faith
in the unchangeable uniformities of nature is well founded.
Nature cure, which is not something that the Hygienist does with
his hygienic agencies, but something nature does, is the result
of the lawful and orderly operations of the forces and processes
of life, working with the regular, normal elements of livingness.
Our faith in this nature and its work is no blind or dead faith.
It is rather a faith that leads to work, a faith based on knowledge.
These - knowledge and faith - lead to reform and intelligent
cooperation with the forces of life. It is not a matter of folding
our arms and sitting down and waiting for nature to do for us
what we, as parts of nature, can only do for ourselves. We do
not expect the laws of nature to be violated because we pray
for them to be violated, nor do we expect them to cease to exist
because we deny their existence.
However we have no objection to being called "faith curists"
if we may be allowed to define our faith. Ours is a faith in
the orderly, invariable laws of nature. All science is a study
of the fixed laws of nature. So far as man's senses can reach,
we always find nature orderly and as faith is "confidence,
reliance, trust," and as we find no exceptions to the orderly
sequences in the processes of nature, we can certainly have:
faith in these. Faith in the uniformities of nature is not a
mystical conviction that has never been verified, nor is it the
power to say we believe things that are incredible.
We know that water always runs down hill; we know that a magnetized
needle points to the magnetic pole; we know that when hydrogen
and oxygen unite in certain proportions the product is always
water; we know that two times two are four. We have faith in
the compass; we have faith in the mathematical processes; we
have faith in chemical processes; we have a whole science of
hydrostatics built upon the invariable conduct of water under
Faith describes the confidence we feel that the sun will "rise"
tomorrow, that it will "rise" in the East, for it always
has done so. We do not doubt that iron will continue to rust
if exposed to moisture, for this is what it has always done.
We do not expect to see brick of certain sizes and density and
composed of certain materials become lighter or heavier than
brick of these sizes and materials have always been.
That unbroken and cosmic order has reigned throughout the universe
throughout its duration is something we cannot prove. We cannot
prove that there is a law that water must run down hill when
we get out beyond the reach of our senses. But we accept it as
a truth because of our faith in the universality of law and order.
Now, cure (healing) is the same yesterday, today and forever.
Healing is the same today as that which has taken place from
the beginning of time. It will take place in the same old way
as long as time lasts.
Theories of cure may change, as they have in the past. The methods
of "cure" may continue to change ceaselessly. But the
real, orderly and lawful healing processes of nature are as changeless
as are the laws of gravity, of chemistry, of hydrostatics, of
We have the same faith in these lawful, orderly and invariable
processes of cure - natural processes - as we do in the lawful,
orderly and invariable processes of nature in all other parts
of the cosmic order. The processes of life are not chaotic, capricious,
changeable, unlawful, disorderly. They do not change from country
to country, nor from age to age.
Faith in the orderly processes of life is not a makeshift to
serve us where knowledge fails. Rather it is confidence in the
facts and laws of which we have knowledge. We have no knowledge
of a "natural law" except as an invariable and orderly
sequence. The term "law" is a very unfortunate one.
Our faith is in the fixed and orderly sequences of nature.
If life were not as orderly and lawful as the non-living world
about us, we could expect to gather figs from thistles or to
sow to the wind and reap not the whirl-wind, but a gentle zephyr.
If there were no fixed order in life we might plant a peach seed
and have a pecan tree spring therefrom. We insist upon the "reign
of law" in the organic (the living) world; we insist that
order is supreme and that chaos and "old night" are
figments of primitive man's minds. What is wrong with a faith
cure that depends, not upon faith to cure, but "upon the
orderly processes of nature?
That person who takes a drug has faith that it will cure him
but his faith is not based upon any demonstrable orderly, sequence
an unfailing curative process set up by the drug. The physician
who administers the drug may have faith in the curative powers
of his drugs, but his so-called faith is a mere superstition
- a hangover from primitive times. It is not a faith based-on
a knowledge of the orderly processes of life. True, he claims
a knowledge of the drug; but what he knows about the drug from
a study of its chemistry and toxicology is the exact opposite
of what he believes about it under what has been dignified with
the name pharmacology. His faith and his knowledge are in conflict.
He knows that poisoning does not heal, that it does not produce
health. He believes that it does. He received his knowledge as
a result of modern scientific study; his faith from his ancient
The physician that expects to restore health with agents that
always destroy health and attempts to save life with the foes
of life, may have full confidence in his agents; but his faith
is in a reversal of the laws of nature. It is a faith in disorder,
in chaos, He believes he can reverse, or annul, or suspend, or
change the laws of nature. As well attempt to make two and two
equal three or five, or expect to destroy any other realm of
The body always rejects drugs. It has its choice of several methods
of rejecting them, but it never appropriates them. This is a
universal experience to which there is no known exception. The
physician who puts his trust in drugs has a faith that flies
in the face of law and order and beats its brains out against
the unyielding solid rock of immutable "law." He is
The man who takes a sweat bath may have faith in it. But such
faith is not based upon knowledge. The man who gives the bath
may explain that sweating eliminates toxins from the body. This,
too, is a blind faith. If the man knows physiology, he knows
that sweating is not an eliminating process and that the sweat
bath does not eliminate toxins. Faith in the sweat bath is merely
a lingering superstition we derived from those who used it originally
to sweat out evil spirits.
Faith of some degree may be said to enter into everything we
do. But faith, per-se, is not the thing that does. Faith does
not cure; though it may enable us to rely upon the forces and
processes that do heal. Nor can faith cause a thing to heal that
does not otherwise heal; although it is often affirmed that it
Nature has always built flesh out of food and we are convinced
that she will always do so. She has never built flesh out of
drugs and we do not believe she will ever do so. Exercise and
not drugs has always been essential to the development of the
body and we don't believe that we can ever use drugs for this
purpose and dispense with exercise. In plain English, we place
our faith in the ancient and invariable order of nature.
Rest, and not stimulation, has always been essential to the reinvigoration
of tired, fatigued or exhausted organs or organisms. Stimulation
has always lashed them into impotency. This has always been the
order of nature - it has not changed. We impose our faith in
this fixed order and not in theories and practices that are "at
variance with this invariable order."
The Hygienic System uses the same agents and forces that nature
now uses and always has used to build up and maintain the whole
of both the vegetable and animal kingdoms. It rejects those forces
and agents that have never been used in this process. It rejects
those things that have no vital relation to life - things that
are anti-vital - that have no normal part in life's plan.
Using the term cure (Latin cura, care) in its original and proper
sense and not as a synonym for the word healing, there is only
one proper cure for any abnormal condition of the living body;
namely, remove the cause. When the cause of the "disease"
is removed, health returns by virtue of the normal, orderly,
lawful operations of the processes and functions of life. This
is nature cure. This is a cure such as has taken place since
the beginning of time.
Nature, the great restorer, the only healer, helps those who
help themselves. This is not a "faith cure" as commonly
understood. The so-called "faith cures" around us ignore
causes. They seek to heal by faith without removing causes. This
kind of faith is a slap in the face of law and order. It is not
a faith that "worketh repentance," nor is it known
by its works. It is a faith that only talks.
The Hygienic System is nature's system understood and applied
carefully and intelligently both in health and in sickness. It
is simply an enlightened compliance with the laws or uniformities
of life, as these have been revealed by study and experience.
For, we have no knowledge of what a natural law is, beyond the
fact of universal and undisputed experience.
Herbert M. Shelton
Action vs. Drug Action
Vol. IV April, 1943 No. 8
Vital Action vs. Drug Action
Herbert M. Shelton
Dr. Trall was in the habit of talking much about what he called
the "law of vitality." If he ever tried to define or
formulate this law I have been unable to find the definition
or formulation. However, he frequently gave examples of its operation,
especially in explaining the modus operandi of drugs, or so-called
It was the medical theory of the time, and the theory is not
quite dead, that drugs, by virtue of their "inherent affinity"
for some part, organ or structure of the living body, act on
or make "impressions" on such part, organ or structure,
and this affinity, or action, or impression, was termed its "property".
Drugs were supposed to possess inherently in themselves certain
special properties or affinities (which constitute their "remedial
virtues," or in which these virtues reside), for certain
parts, organs, structures, or tissues, of the living organism,
and these supposed or assumed properties were termed "elective"
and "selective" because they were supposed to be "exerted"
on or to "have an effect on" some parts or organs in
preference to others. They were supposed to act "preferentially",
that is, to select or elect the part upon which they act. Thus:
Emetics were said to act on the stomach, because they have a
"special affinity" for that organ.
Cathartics were said to act on the bowels, in virtue of an "elective
affinity" for these organs.
Diaphoretics were presumed to "select" the skin as
a place of action.
Diuretics "selected" the kidneys as the theatre of
their "operative effects."
Nervines and narcotics were said to "exert their influences"
especially on the brain and nervous system.
Stimulants, tonics and antiphlogistics were said to make "affinities
preferentially on the muscular and circulatory" systems.
One needs only a slight acquaintance with the most recent standard
works on materia medica to know that these classifications of
drugs and ideas of their "actions" are far from being
merely interesting bits of medical history.
Drugs are said to have both local and general effects. They are
still said to have "selective action." A standard text-book
of materia medica tells us that "no drug effects all the
organs or tissues of the body. The ability of a drug to affect
chiefly certain organs or tissues is called selective action.
Thus strichnine usually acts chiefly upon the cells of the spinal
cord, morphine upon the cells of the brain, etc."
Some drugs are supposed to aid other drugs. This is called their
synergistic action. Some drugs are supposed to antagonize others.
This is called their antagonistic action. Drugs are supposed
to have different effects in diseased and in healthy conditions.
Their effects in disease are called their therapeutic actions;
their effects in health are called their physiological actions.
They are supposed to act differently in different quantities,
and the effects resulting from an "overdose" are called
their poisonous or toxicological actions. Empiric action is the
"effect that results from the use of a medicine (drug) in
disease but which has not been corroborated by laboratory experiments."
When the drug has other effects than those the doctor desires,
these are called its side actions. Drugs that are excreted slowly,
so that they tend to accumulate in the body if repeatedly given,
are said to have cumulative actions.
It will be noticed that all actions are attributed to the drugs.
The drugs act on the liver, or stomach, or bowels, or kidneys,
or skin, or glands, or nerves, or muscles, etc. As an instance
of this, the text-book of materia medica previously quoted from
tells us that "verifuges are drugs which expel worms."
Now, vermifuges don't expel anything. Vermifuges are expelled
and if the worms are expelled with them, they are expelled in
the same way and by the same actions that the vermifuges are
expelled. It was this idea that drugs act and the body is acted
upon that Trall fought all his life. He insisted, and rightly,
that it is the body that acts and the drug that is acted upon.
He proclaimed the obvious fact that the truth about the so-called
"action of remedies" is the exact contrary to what
medical men teach.
He declared "it is the living system which acts" and
not the lifeless drug. He declared also that "the 'property'
is in the living system; and that property is not 'affinity'
but antagonism." Medical authors he said, by their theories
and terms "endow these dead (lifeless), inorganic, and actionless
substances (actionless except in the mechanical or chemical sense)
with instinct, if not with intelligence." "Such teachings
reverse the order of Nature. There is no affinity between poisons
and the living system." He affirmed that any "relation
of affinity" in "any approved or conceivable sense
of the word between a vital structure and a poison," since
it would result in the ruin or destruction of the vital structure,
"would be in derogation of the very first law of Nature,
that of self-preservation." Hence "there cannot, in
the very nature of things, be any relation but that of absolute
and eternal antipathy between vital organs and poisons."
He did not mean, either, that the drug had a special antipathy
for the vital organism, but that the vital organism had an antipathy
for all poisons. Physicians explained that drugs acted on tissues
and organs for which they had special affinities, while the body
"responded" to or "reacted" to the drug.
He replied that the action was all on the part of the body while
the drug does "just nothing at all." The drug is "just
as quiescent, inert, inactive, actionless, affinityless and propertyless,
in the mouth, nose, throat, lungs, stomach, bowels, blood, and
brain, of a human being, as it is in the box, bottle, paper etc.,
in which it came. "And it would remain quiescent in the
vital domain forever if the vital organs would let it alone.
But this they will not do. This they cannot do. So long as they
possess life, vitality, so long they will and must war upon all
Living matter is active, and lifeless matter is passive, in their
relations to each other. Living matter acts on lifeless matter
to expel it or to render it harmless, and not contrariwise, as
is popularly taught and believed. We may attempt to state Trall's
"law of vitality" thus: "Whenever action occurs
in the living organism, as the result of extraneous influence,
the action must be ascribed to the living thing which has the
power of action and not to the lifeless thing whose leading characteristic
is intertia." This formulation was made by Dr. Robt. Walter,
one of Trall's most distinguished pupils, and called by him the
''Law of Action."
To illustrate this law, suppose an emetic is given to a patient.
The drug is in a bottle and the bottle sits on the "medicine"
shelf. Neither the drug nor the bottle can get off the shelf.
The doctor, nurse or attendant must take it down, uncork the
bottle, pour the drug into a spoon and carry the spoon to the
patient's mouth. Up to this point, at least the drug has done
nothing. All the action has been by a living organism.
At this point the patient takes the drug into his mouth, he swallows
it, it is carried down the esophagus to the stomach by the peristaltic
action of the muscles of the esophagus. Up to this point the
drug has still done nothing. The act of taking the drug into
the mouth is not drug action. The act of swallowing is not drug
action. The action is still action by the living organism.
Soon vomiting ensues. The drug is ejected or does the
drug eject itself? Which is it that acts, the stomach or the
drug? Which is ejected? The drug is cast out, the stomach remains.
It is evident that the expulsive effort by which the drug is
vomited is as much action by the living organism as was the action
by which the drug was- swallowed.
When vomiting follows a dose of ipecac, this does not mean that
the drug has acted (or is acting) beneficially upon the stomach
to enable it to eject something else; it indicates that the stomach
"recognizing" the presence of a foe of life, acts to
eject the ipecac. Epsom salts, C. C. pills, calomel, milk of
magnesia, etc., do not act on the bowels to move these or to
enable them to move. The bowels do not eject the drugs because
of any beneficial action the drugs may be supposed to have, but
because they "recognize" in them foes of life. The
actions of the body in the presence of poisons are not due to
any supposed affinity between its organs and the drug, but to
the eternal antagonism that exists in these organs against the
drugs. (The "affinity" of drugs is chemical, not organic.)
Their action in relation to drugs are first, last and all the
time, true to the instinct of self-preservation.
There is no modus operandi of "medicines." They don't
operate by any method. They are operated on. The drugs do not
act at all. The living body acts acts on or against them
to expel them.
The power of selective action also belongs to the body, not to
the drug. Emetics are not drugs that act on the stomach to produce
vomiting they are drugs that are acted on by the stomach
to expel them the expulsive process is vomiting.
Purgatives, cathartics, laxatives, do not act on the bowels to
produce diarrhea, the bowels expel the drugs by means of diarrhea.
Diuretics do not act on the kidneys, but are expelled by the
kidneys. Drugs are expelled through such channels and by such
means as produce the least wear and tear on the system.
What, then, are those "physiological actions" of poisons
we read about in materia medica? They are figments of the medical
imagination. Drugs do not have physiological actions. Poisons
are pathogenetic disease producing. They are never anything
else. Medical men "might as well talk of the living principles
of death, or of the eternal laws of non-existence" as to
talk of the "physiological action" of poisons. There
are no such things as physiological poison or pathological health.
The only legitimate study of drugs in their relation to the body
is that of toxicology. The local, general, synergistic, antagonistic,
therapeutic and physiological "actions" of drugs are
myths, equally with their "empiric actions." That they
accumulate in the body, that they occasion "side actions"
that they poison and injure, we do not deny. We only deny that
they ever do anything else.
The integrity of the vital structures can be maintained only
by preventing chemical union between the elements of the living
structures and elements external to them. It is precisely because
this chemical action must be prevented that the body must act
to rid itself of drugs, chemicals, dye stuffs, etc., that are
foolishly introduced into it to "cure" it of disease
that is, to "cure" it of its actions and processes
designed and- instituted to rid it of other deleterious substances.
The vital organs, therefore, resist and expel all foreign substances
from the organic domain with an intensity proportioned to the
chemical affinities existing between the elements within and
the elements without the living structures. All so-called morbid
or abnormal vital actions relate to the expulsion of injurious
substances from the body and the repair of damages. They are
as truly vital actions as the regular, normal or physiological
"What difference does it make," asks some reader, "whether
the drugs act on the body or the body acts on the drugs, so long
as actions and effects result?"
It makes all the difference in the world. When we understand
that the action is vital action and that it is accomplished by
a waste of vital power and, as is frequently the case, by a determination
of power to one organ when it is urgently needed elsewhere, we
can see that the drug must inevitably produce harm. Using drugs
to provoke action the action of violent resistance
not only disturbs the whole vital machinery and takes its attention
off the task in hand, but it inevitably expends the funds of
life. It draws fearfully upon the capital stock of energy and,
even if it does not result fatally, it prolongs the disease or
prevents complete recovery, leaving the patient with chronic
It makes a vast difference in results whether the drug acts to
vomit itself or purge itself or urinate itself, or the body is
forced to waste its energies and divide its efforts in ejecting
the drug. If it is drug energy that is expended in the vomiting
or purging, the body's energies are conserved; but if it is the
body's energies that are expended, a more profound enervation
is produced, hence a crippling of the healing processes results.
If the body is busily engaged in freeing itself of the toxins
that cause disease and is forced to divert part of its energy
and attention from this work to that of expelling poisonous drugs,
recovery is retarded, even if it is not prevented altogether.
If coughing is checked by the depression of the nerves of respiration
that follows the taking of certain drugs; if diarrhea is checked
by the depression of the nerves of the bowels which follows the
taking of certain drugs, then, the very substances in the respiratory
tract or bowels that the coughing and diarrhea were intended
to remove are left in these structures to produce the very harm
their removal would have prevented. Suppression of the body's
efforts at elimination and self-defense is the most frequent
cause of death.
Herbert M. Shelton
Vol. XXV August, 1964 No. 12
Herbert M. Shelton
In line with the old concept of disease as something imposed
from without, an attacking entity, medical men and the public
have been taught to think of causation in terms of germs, viruses,
parasites; resistance as the capacity of the body to marshal
its phagocytes to overcome or repel an invader or to marshal
antitoxins to neutralize the toxins of germ activity; cure in
terms of antagonists, antidotes, antitoxins. They employ the
term toxemia, but they mean by it poisoning by germ activity.
No germs, no toxemia, is their general attitude.
Our concept of toxemia is fundamentally different from that held
by the medical profession. To us toxemia is the result of the
accumulation in the blood, lymph, and tissues of retained metabolinmetabolic
waste. It is an autogenerated state, the toxin arising as a normal
by-product of the regular and necessary activities of life. Toxin
accumulates as a result of inhibited excretion (checked elimination).
Basically, we hold that any influence, whether physical or mental,
that results in an excessive expenditure of nerve energy leads
to toxemia. This means that the chief causes of enervation are
found in the voluntary habits of the individual.
What is meant by the term enervation? It means the reduction
of nerve energy sufficient to interfere with or reduce the organic
activities of the body. The nervous system presides over and
controls the functions of the many and various organs of the
bodysecretion, excretion, circulation, digestion, respiration,
absorption, etc., etc. Hence the term enervation simply means
a reduction of the capacity of the nervous system below the level
required to maintain a normal level of physiological activity.
As man in civilized life does not possess perfect health, we
hold that everyone is more or less enervated, hence more or less
toxemic. This lowering of the body's capacity to function on
a high physiological level is what we mean by lowered or broken
resistance. But we have a different concept of what is resisted.
We resist heat, cold, poisons, fatigue, and other inimical influences.
When our energy is sufficiently low that we present inadequate
resistance to cold, for example, exposure to severe or prolonged
stress by cold, results in a sufficient added check being placed
upon excretion that there is a sudden increase of the body's
toxic load, thus precipitating a crisis.
A gradual accumulation of waste (toxin) occurs when continual
draughts upon the nerve energy of the body are made by various
activities, stresses and exigencies of life that prevent the
maintenance of complete elimination. This accumulated waste constitutes
what we understand as toxemia. This is not to say that there
are no other sources of intoxication (such as drug poisoning,
toxins absorbed from decomposition processes going on in the
intestine, etc.) but we prefer to differentiate between poisons
of en-dogeneous origin and those of exogeneous origin, by calling
the one toxemia and the other poisoning.
Poisoning from any source causes suffering-diseaseso that
we have also defined toxemia as the presence in the fluids and
tissues of toxins from any source. Tobacco poisoning causes disease;
acute disease when the tobacco is first taken, chronic disease
after toleration has been established. The same facts are true
of all poisons. Bacteria produce toxins in their activities,
but they are as helpless as a feather in a whirlwind in a healthy
body. The body must first be enervated and toxemic before bacteria
can gain a foothold therein and thrive. This means that we must
first be sick before bacteria can add a complicating and, perhaps,
differentiating toxemia to the primary or metabolic intoxication.
It should be borne in mind that there can be no toxemia, as we
have here defined it, without a previous checking of elimination
and that this is due to lowering of functioning power-enervation.
The order of events (sequence) in the evolution of cause is habits
of mind and body and environmental influences that use up nerve
energy in excess of the body's power to regenerate it during
the hours allotted to rest and repose, enervation, checked secretion
and excretion (indeed a lowering of the power of function in
general), retention and accumulation of body waste, toxemia.
In the last analysis toxemia is the result of fatigue of the
nervous system to a sufficient degree to lessen the functioning
power of life and cripple the effort to maintain normal functions.
While we may speak of an absorptive-toxemia arising from gastro-intestinal
decomposition or from an abscess, or we may speak of a toxemia
resulting from great emotional stress or from profound physical
fatigue, in the final analysis these are results of enervation.
Intoxication (alcoholic, narcotic, tobacco, etc.) may occur even
in those of perfect health, if poisons are deliberately introduced
into the body, but let us keep this variety of poisoning separate
in our thinking from the toxemia that is the result of habits
of life and environmental influences that reduce nerve energy;
all the while keeping in mind that indulgence in poison habits
add a profoundly enervating influence to their poisoning.
Enervation may grow out of any possible combination of the following
practices and influences:
Such emotional stresses as fright, grief, worry, apprehension,
anxiety, hurry, anger, irritability, hate, resentment, jealousy,
over ambition leading to overwork (mental or physical); physical
overexertion, excessive venery, lasciviousness, pain and shock,
injuries, loss or blood, surgical operations, disease processes,
constant coughing, loss of sleep, lack of rest and relaxation,
drug treatments, the stimulations and inhibitions of osteopathic,
chiropractic, naprapathic, hydropathic, electrical, thermal (heat
and cold), and similar treatments, the digestive strain caused
by overeating, wrong food combinations, condiments, drinking
with meals; exposure to cold, and wet, exposure to heat and humidity;
eye-strain, malpositions anywhere in the body; a lack of exercise,
of fresh air, of warmth and comfort, lack of cleanliness, lack
of sunlight, inadequate food; in short, the universal excesses
and deficiencies of which mankind is guilty and the treatments
which are heaped upon the sick, are the most common causes of
Another great source of enervation is the almost universal indulgence
in poisons of one kind or anotherthe various alcoholic
beverages and soft drinks, tobacco (smoking and chewing), betel
chewing, arsenic eating, drinking of tea and coffee, the taking
of narcotics and other drugs, poisons absorbed from the intestinal
tract, chemical and bacterial poisons taken in by mouth, lungs,
mucous membrane or by injection. Poisoning of any nature and
from any source causes a waste of nerve energy in resisting and
expelling the poison. Toxemia, once it is established, causes
a waste of nerve energy in the activities needed to resist and
expel the toxin.
Thus it will be seen that enervation results in toxemia, toxemia
increases enervation, thus increasing the toxemia; enervation
causes the individual to resort to enervating depressants and
stimulants for relief of discomforts and the enervation thus
caused calls for more enervating means of relief. Soon the individual
finds himself in a complex of vicious cycles, from which he sees
no way of escape. The more he resorts to the treatments, the
more enervated he becomes. The more enervated, the more toxemic
and the more he thinks he needs treatment. The more he lashes
himself with stimulants, the weaker he grows and the more he
resorts to stimulation.
How do we break up this complex of vicious cycles? Certainly
not by resort to more enervating treatments, not by surgical
vandalism, not by more of the hair of the dog that bit you. A
radical, a revolutionary change in the way of life is the only
way out. Every cause of enervation must be abandoned or corrected.
Every bad habit of mind and body must be abandoned and good habits
of life substituted therefor. Anything short of a radical change
in the way of life will fail to enable the man or woman to evolve
into a state of good health.
A housecleaning is in order. Toxin must be eliminated. This is
not to be accomplished by the artificial and forcing methods
that have been employed for ages by the curing cults, for the
effect of these is to produce more enervation while failing to
secure toxin elimination. The body has its own blood purifiers
and these will do the work if they are given an opportunity and
supplied with adequate functioning power. Where is functioning
power to come from in a body that is already profoundly enervated?
It can come only by hoarding what one has; this is, by ceasing
all unnecessary expenditure. Energy saved from one activity is
available for use in other activities. This is the reason physical
and mental rest result in an immediate increase in excretion.
It is also important that we look toward stopping the absorption
of toxic materials from the digestive tract and from drug habits.
An empty digestive tract and discontinuance of all drug habits
enable the body to free itself of poisons already accumulated.
The fundamental error of all the curing systems lies in their
effort to force the sick organism to act in accordance with the
practitioners' conceptions of how it ought to act, ignoring all
study and observations of how it is constituted to act. They
try to force healthy action upon the sick body and cause more
suffering by their very efforts.
Herbert M. Shelton
Herbert M. Shelton
From "Superior Nutrition"
The Devil builds chapels wherever God erects a house of prayer,
and, as Defoe has it, "it will be found, upon examination,
the Devil has the largest congregation." This is strangely
true in the realm of diet. It is not only true that the great
majority of people eat and prefer the common denatured and inferior
foodstuffs that are everywhere eaten, but it is also true that,
when some of them break away from the conventional diet and make
an attempt to find a more wholesome mode of eating, the majority
of them are misled by the claims made for the superiority of
the many substitutes for natural foods that are now offered the
public by manufacturers and salesmen.
One of my correspondents once very seriously urged me to give
more attention, in the Hygienic Review to such "high pressure
vital foods" as cod-liver oil, brewer's yeast, wheat germ,
blackstrap molasses, and yogurt. Today certain of these foods,
among which is powdered skim milk, are now frequently referred
to as "wonder foods." Honey and apple cider vinegar
are also included by some among the "wonder foods."
The many exaggerated claims made for the healing virtues of these
foods are made by those whose motives are purely commercial.
Like synthetic vitamins and mineral concentrates, they are offered
to the public as supplements to their diet of white sugar, white
bread, white rice, denatured cereals, canned vegetables, sulphured
fruits, embalmed meats, pasteurized milk, candy, cake, pie, etc.
Instead of teaching the people the truth about their diet and
trying to lead them into rational eating practices, they offer
them supplements," so that their diet of foodless foods
may be rendered adequate. There are diet compounds, also, that
are said to "contain all the minerals for the body in organic
form," which are offered to the people as a substitute for
a much needed dietary revolution.
There is also a search for long-life foods and the people are
being led to believe that they can prolong their lives by eating
freely of high grade proteins, brewer's yeast, powdered skimmed
milk, yogurt, black strap molasses, honey, vinegar, etc. The
modern Ponce de Leons search, not for a magic spring, the waters
of which restore and prolong youth, but for foods that have this
magic power. This search is of a piece with the ancient search
for an elixir vitae that would enable man to live for hundreds
of years, if not forever. It is the same as the search for the
Fountain of Youth. As soon as men give up the effort to discover
special chemical compounds, or a special pool that will guarantee
them long life in spite of every possible reason why they should
die young, they turn to something else in their age-long quest
for some holy grail. Gland extracts, gland transplantations,
rays of various kinds and foods, have been looked to as sources
of length of life. Perhaps Metchnikoff started this food way
to long life when he popularized the sour milk fad. He asserted
that it was responsible for the long life-span of the Bulgarians,
who actually take but little sour milk and are not a long lived
Not until the present frenzied search for food specifics and
food panaceas has run itself out can we hope for sanity in the
approach to food and feeding. Food is now the new magic-it is
the mysterious compound that will do what we once expected drugs
to do. Foods now cure without the necessity of removing cause;
they now prevent, also without the necessity of avoiding cause.
They are replacing drugs and serums in the armamentarium of the
magician. This absurd eulogizing of special articles of food
in each case, being greatly altered products, and imputing to
them peculiar virtues, is, when not a purely commercial trick,
the expression of childish credulity.
One of these peddlers of "wonder foods" urges proteins
and more proteins-emphasizing, with the exception of yeast, only
animal proteins: meat, egg, milk, cheese. He stresses the fact
that powdered skim milk is a rich source of protein and points
out that besides being a rich source of protein, yeast also contains
seventeen vitamins. He also stresses the richness in minerals
and vitamins of blackstrap molasses. But, with all the vitamins
contained in these foods, he urges fortifying the diet with vitamin
extracts taken daily. He urges vitamins and more vitamins. His
scheme of feeding is to get a redundancy of amino acids, vitamins
and minerals, it seems not to matter what kind of minerals, into
the body. Take the proteins and vitamins in great quantities,
even if you do not need them. As nature made no provision for
us to get adequate vitamin D, he advises fish-liver oil in capsules.
The idea is rapidly gaining ground that, if a thing is good,
we must over-eat of it. We must have a super-abundance of this
or that vitamin, or of this or that amino-acid, or of this or
that mineral in order to get enough. The evils of redundancy
are being. Completely ignored by the new school of overfeeding.
Today, they dose their patients with special foods or special
food factors as the medico's dose theirs with drugs, and for
the same reason. They are not feeding people to nourish them
but to cure them. Foods are no longer nutritive substances, but
medicines. They are elixirs of one kind or another.
Your gum-willies, who write and talk about diet, have decided
that all human ailments are the results of deficiencies. To prevent
them, to remedy them, we need only provide ourselves with a super
abundance of the vitamins, minerals or amino-acids that are deficient
and, presto! we can live longer and look younger. They have created
a fool's paradise in which they sport themselves for a brief
time and then pass to that bourne from which no man returns.
That life is more than food and the body more than raiment, that
man shall not live by bread alone, is a principle that these
men never heard of. That living is more than eating, that we
cannot eat ourselves into the millennium, that we need something
in life other than the B complex and amino-acids-these are matters
that these men seem incapable of thinking about. In their works
they talk only of foods and they write about their foods as a
De Kruif might write about an anti-biotic.
These miscalled dietitians offer the people only altered and
denatured food products. Not only this, but one of them actually
declares that natural foods are dangerous and unusable. One man
declares that salads are harmful to many people, acid fruits
are harmful to many more, spinach robs the body of lime, coffee
stimulates the adrenals and is needed by many people, sunbaths
are harmful to many more. He finds that at least seventy-percent
of people are harmed by salads. Of course, if nature's products
are hurtful, we must depend on the manufacturers for their "superior"
Honey, which is a poor food and much inferior to sweet fruits
as a source of sugar, is urged upon the gullible public as a
miracle' food. Yogurt, which is an inferior form of sour milk
(having been pasteurized and boiled before culturing), is another
"superior-food, that is sold at big profits. Cider vinegar,
the poisonous product of fermentation of apple juice, is urged
in certain quarters as a superior source of food values.
A large part of the nutritional problems of both the North and
the South grow out of our refusal to eat natural foods. Our preference
for the manufactured articles-those that have been demineralized,
devitaminized, denatured, standardized, pasteurized, homogenized,
cooked, canned, frozen, and in other ways rendered less valuable
as foods-creates dietary problems that are not adequately solved
by the present reliance upon supplements and substitutes. We
go to great lengths to spoil our foods and then complain about
the climate. We live on a diet of white flour products, degerminated
and! demineralized corn meal, denatured cereals ("breakfast
foods" that stick to your ribs), white sugar, pasteurized
milk, embalmed flesh l foods, canned fruits and vegetables, candies,
cakes, pies, etc., and expect to render such diets adequate by
"supplementing" them with' oils, brewer's yeast, wheat
germ, black strap molasses, honey, yogurt, powdered skimmed milk,
cider vinegar, etc.
If we purchase fresh fruits and vegetables from the stores and
vegetable and fruit markets, or if we take these from our own
gardens and orchards, we refuse to eat them until they have been
cooked out of all resemblance to food. Spinach is cooked until
it is black and mushy and no one is able to tell from its taste,
what it was before cooking; cabbage is boiled until it is unrecognizable;
potatoes are peeled, boiled and mashed, apples are baked and
then drowned in sugar (white sugar), peaches are stewed and plenty
of white sugar added, nuts are roasted, perhaps salted. We eat
so little unchanged, unspoiled foods that we can't possibly have
optimum nutrition and, then, we blame our poor nutrition upon
the climate. If it were not for the so obvious fact that the
same kind of diets produce poor nutrition in warm climates, it
might be possible to sustain such a position.
How true it is that he who fills his belly with substitutes often
abolishes his hunger for real foods. The food manufacturers and
the physicians feed people on counterfeit "foods" so
that the people know not the value of the genuine article. It
is like the receipt of truth-people reject truth because they
are so filled with fallacy that they cannot receive truth- "there
was no room at the inn" for the mother pregnant with the
savior child. Truth is often born in a manger (and all too often
left there to languish) because the inn is so filled with crowds
of thoughtless revelers that there is no room there for its birth.
We are offered all manners of supplementary food factors ranging
all the way from supplementary roughage to supplementary vitamins,
minerals, amino acids, chlorophyll etc. Even if these things
possessed all the value their manufacturers say they possess,
their use would not make the conventional diet of denatured foods
adequate. On the other hand, natural foods will be adequate without
the addition of the supplements. It is important that we teach
people how to get back to a normal mode of eating rather than
that we offer them substitutes for a natural diet. The "compensatory"
program is a commercial program, not a program of sane nutritional
It must be emphasized that science does not yet know all of the
factors essential to human nutrition, nor does it understand
all of the correlations of the various food factors, so that
it cannot, at least in its present state of ignorance, put together
arbitrarily, a balanced system of diet.
Herbert M. Shelton
Vol. XXXIII May, 1972 No.9
Eating and Cancer
Herbert M. Shelton
Lawrence Lamb, M.D., authors a syndicated isn't too surprising,
medical newspaper column that appears in many newspapers over
the land. How many physicians he has associated with him in the
production of this column, I shall not try to guess. I shall,
however, assume that there is a sufficient number of physicians
at his side to give his article the stamp of medical authority.
In his column dated February 6, 1972, Lamb quotes the following
words contained in a letter from one of his readers: "Dear
Dr. Lamb What precautions do doctors take with their families?
We never hear of any of them having cancer."
To this query Lamb makes the following significant reply: "Dear
ReaderUnfortunately, doctors and doctors' families have just
about as many cancers as other people. I suspect that you are
just not acquainted with that many physicians and their families.
There are really no secrets about preventing cancer. Almost anything
that a doctor and his family might do, you can do as well. One
thing is regular checkups and I might add that doctors aren't
always too good about this in reference to their own families.
Many a doctor's wife has complained that she needed to make an
appointment at the office to find out what her own medical status
Incidentally, doctors as a group are not the most healthy segment
of our population. This A good many of them, like other middle
class Americans, eat entirely too much of the wrong foods. Their
profession, as such, does not permit them to enjoy a lot of physical
Aside from tacitly admitting that physicians do not know how
to maintain health in themselves and their families and suffer
more disease than many other groups in our country, Lamb admits
that the profession and its families suffer with cancer about
as often, if not more so, as other segments of the population.
He tries to excuse the profession by saying that they tend to
eat too much of the wrong food and fail to get enough exercise,
as though these factors taken together constitute a healthy program.
Has Lamb joined the ranks of the faddists and quacks? Does overeating
on wrong foods and insufficient exercise cause or aid in causing
cancer? His reply to his reader's question would seem to imply
as much. If this is what it means and if he knows what are right
and wrong foods, why does he not give this information to his
So physicians tend to eat too much, do they? I wonder, by what
valid standard, Lamb or some other member of his profession determines
when a man has had too much to eat. When did physicians ever
give enough attention to the subject of food and feeding to cause
them to assume that they know how much food is enough.
So they eat the wrong kind of food, do they? What is the right
kind of food? What are the wrong foods? Physicians customarily
advise their patients to eat what agrees with them or to eat
what they like. They commonly tell them not to worry about their
diet, a piece of advice that would be well heeded if by worry
they really mean worry. Unfortunately what they mean is that
one should give no intelligent attention to what one eats, but
should just eat as haphazardly and indiscriminately as his friends
When and where did and do physicians study the subject of diet?
How do they know when they are eating the wrong kind of food?
If they do know when they are eating the wrong land, why do they
continue to do so?
A few days before we entered World War II, I was in the office
of a physician friend here in San Antonio. His office was on
the eleventh floor of the Medical Arts Building and I arrived
just before his office girl brought in his noon lunch from the
cafeteria on the first floor. On the tray was a stack of white
bread, an oversized helping of mashed potatoes, a liberal dish
of cheese and spaghetti, a small dish of spinach, a half pint
of cream and a few other items. The physician explained to me
that he was eating all of that gooey mess of starch and grease
in an effort to gain weight. He was underweight, he said, and
had been trying for some time to gain.
I suggested that a more adequate form of diet would be more likely
to enable him to gain weight than the one he was eating. Before
eating this lunch, he indulged in his customary smoking of a
cigarette. I suggested that if he would give up smoking he would
probably gain more readily. He agreed, saying, "I know I
should give them up. I don't know why I don't."
A few days later we entered the war and he attempted to volunteer
for medical service in the army. He had been rejected and I met
him as he came from the army medical center. He was staggering
like a drunk man, although I knew he did not drink. He fell into
my arms and I think would have fallen had I not held him. To
my query: "What is wrong, doctor?", he stated, that
he had been turned down for medical service in the army because
of a small hernia. This was not enough to account for the state
he was in. He regained his composure after a few minutes of talk
with me and returned to his office. A few days later I was informed
by his office girl that he had gone away to the country for a
rest. He returned at the end of six weeks and attempted to resume
his practice but after two weeks of this he gave up and retired
to his home, where he died after another three or four weeksof
In view of the present thought about fat in causing heart and
arterial diseases, we are constrained to wonder how much his
cream drinking to gain weight had to do with hastening his death.
Also, we may add: what was the office of cigarette smoking in
which he had indulged since his student days, in producing his
heart disease. The heart disease had gone unnoticed and unsuspected
until uncovered by the army medical examiners. How much influence
did the emotional state created by this disclosure have in hastening
his death? When he was told he had heart disease (the exact diagnosis
is unknown to me) it was like a blow on the head, hence his staggering
which I previously described. A few years before the death of
this physician I had another experience with him. We were driving
in early one morning from attending a birth in a suburban home.
As we drove along he said to me: "Dr. Shelton, when you
feed a woman through her pregnancy, we have no trouble. The birth
is soon over and there are no complications. The woman rapidly
recuperates and she always has plenty of milk for the baby."
Then, he added: "I know nothing about diet." To my
question, why don't you learn something about it?, he gave the
stock reply: "I don't have time." A few years passed,
and I called him one evening to attend a birth. On the telephone,
he said to me: "I am sorry, Dr. Shelton, but I'll have to
send my assistant. I'd like to come myself, but I am taking my
thirty-third degree in Masonry this evening, and I've got to
be present." Immediately my mind ran back to the time when
he said he did not have time to study diet. I thought of all
the time he had to waste in study, and in ritual exercise to
become a thirty-third degree mason. I believe the real answer
was given to me by a woman physician who lived in and practiced
in Ohio. I met her in New York, where she was attending special
classes in Columbia University. Our conversation turned to diet
and, after saying that she believed that there is much value
in diet, she added that she did not know anything about it. To
my question, why do you not learn something about it, she gave
the stock reply: "I do not have time." I pointed out
to her, that while she was in New York with a lot of spare time
on her hands would be an excellent time to devote some attention
to the study of diet. Then she said: "My profession regards
dietetics as quackery and I cannot afford to get the reputation
of being a quack."
Now the answer was out in the open: It is scientific to poison
the sick; it is quackery to attempt to feed them correctly. So
long as this is the accepted view of the profession, there is
no hope that they will ever give any intelligent attention to
the subject of food and feeding. They will continue to overfeed
their patients, their families and themselves on "wrong
Herbert M. Shelton
Vol. XXXIV October, 1972 No.2
Reforming The Unreformable
Herbert M. Shelton
I am indebted to Harry Clements, N.D., D.O., of London for the
following quotation from Medical News-Tribune (May 1, 1972),
which he carried in his column in Health For All (July, 1972):
"Every doctor who prescribes drugs must be aware of the
possibility that the remedy might be worse than the disease for
which it is prescribed, warns a leading Dutch pharmacologist.
These drug-induced diseases are so varied that there are indeed
few pathological conditions that may not be brought about by
some drug, Professor L. Meyler, Professor of Clinical Pharmacology
at Groningen University, told the International Meeting of Medical
Advisers to the Pharmaceutical Industry in London."
After calling attention to the fact that Professor Meyler "does
not use the euphemism 'side-effect' which may mean much or little:
he talks of drug-induced disease, which makes the matter perfectly
clear," and that Meyler "makes it plain, also, how
complicated the subject is and warns doctors (physicians) to
be on the lookout for symptoms of such induced diseases every
time they are confronted by a patient, since the symptoms may
be the result of drugs prescribed by other doctors (physicians)
or by remedies (drugs) used in self-medication (self-drugging),"
Dr. Clements further quotes Meyler as saying: "some drugs
produce immediate effects after administration, such as anaphylactic
shock. Others cause reactions only after weeks or months, such
as aplastic anaemia after chloramphenicol. Sometimes, the effect
can only be discerned after several years, such as retinitis
pigmentosa, caused by chloroquine and some phenothiazines, and
interstitial nephritis caused by analgesics."
So far as I am aware I am the only writer in the world who has
consistently and persistently, for more than twenty-five years,
stressed the fact that the so-called side effects of drugs, are
part of their regular effects. They are simply effects of poisoning
and have been called side-effects only because they are not the
effects which the prescribing physician seeks to produce. It
is surprising therefore to have Clements say that "Just
how complicated the whole matter is becoming must be clear to
everyone and it is perfectly obvious that the doctors (physicians)
are as much in the dark about the subject of drug-induced disease
as anyone." As soon as physicians and "everyone,"
including even Dr. Clements, become willing to recognize that
every drug is a poison and that it poisons every tissue in the
body as it circulates in the blood stream all this alleged mystery
about drug-induced diseases will become clear. So long as it
continues to be believed by physicians and their imitators in
the other healing professions that drugs may have physiological
and therapeutic effects and that drug-induced disease is something
separate and apart from these physiological and therapeutic effects,
the whole thing will continue to be shrouded in mystery.
Dr. Clements says that Professor Meyler emphasizes the complexity
of the subject of drug-induced diseases when he says: "study
of adverse reactions is in its infancy, but progress is being
made. The main factor is that the prescribing doctor must be
aware of the possible effects of what he prescribes. He must
not only look for the known adverse reactions, but he must also
be prepared for unknown reactions hitherto not described anywhere."
The confusion exists in the minds of men who can speak of the
adverse reactions of drugs in such a manner as to imply that
drugs may have favorable reactions. All the alleged actions of
drugs, whether they are termed physiological, therapeutic, synergistic,
antagonistic, side, or by some other term that hides the essential
character of the drug effects are the direct outgrowth of the
"toxic quality of the drug or drugs. Instead of the actions
which follow the ingestion of a drug being drug actions, they
are one and all actions of the living organism designed to resist,
reject and expel the drug. There is no such thing as pharmaco-dynamics.
There is only bio-dynamics. No amount of study of so-called adverse
reactions can lead to anything except greater confusion so long
as the basic character of alleged drug actions is unrecognized.
In this same column in July Health For All, Dr. Clements writes:
"The British Medical Journal paper read by Dr. D. Stafford-Clark,
summarized it in part as follows: 'The public was disillusioned
with the medical profession because the doctor had little time
to listen, understand, and perhaps give affection. Today's medical
student was arrogant and ignorant. For years people had turned
to doctors as men of education and broad background, but today
frequently this was not true. It was essential that all doctors
look on themselves as teachers. He reminded them that, like parents,
much was taught by example and that it should be the aim of every
doctor firstly to set an example for all those he came into contact
with, and only secondly to be a technician."
Nothing emphasizes the mind beclouding effects of medical tradition
and a medical education as much as does the fact that man can
observe and study all the disease-inducing effects of drugs and
continue to believe that the same drugs, in the same dosages
and in the bodies of the same patients, can also produce beneficial
or curative effects. It is a strange delusion long hugged by
the men of medicine that poisons can be both our bane and our
boon. Instead of seeking to restore the sick to health by the
employment of beneficial substances and conditions, medical men
seek for all of their curative agents in the most toxic substances
which they can discover. There is a mountain of evidence, accumulated
during the past thirty years, that aspirin has produced more
damage and killed more people during this time than has penicillin,
yet a cure-deluded profession continues to prescribe this poison
on a large scale and to encourage self-drugging with aspirin.
The drug induced diseases resulting from the use of aspirin should
be enough to cause any intelligent man to condemn its use for
any beneficial purpose. Aspirin is but one of many thousands
of rank poisons that the medical profession is sending down the
throats or injecting directly into the blood and tissues of their
victims in the name of healing and then expressing wonder and
mystification over what they term their side-effects.
Commenting upon this item from the British Medical Journal, Dr.
Clements says that "the most significant part of this summary
is not the criticism of the attitude of the doctors, but the
proposition that they should regard themselves as teachers, since
this raises a very important question: To what extent, and how
effectively are they taught to be teachers and what are they
taught to teach? Surely, no one would expect that a doctor practicing
drug-therapy would want to teach his patients about it. The millions
of patients who go to the consulting rooms go for their prescriptions,
and little else.
"However, if the doctor is to become a teacher, presumably
of matters appertaining to health and disease, his whole curriculum
will have to undergo radical changes with more emphasis being
placed on food and nutrition and the other environmental factors
which play so important a part in the maintenance and recovery
of health. In short, it will have to embrace a good deal of the
nature cure philosophy, and if the doctor is to become an example
of healthful living for his patients we can foresee the need
for some big changes. It looks as if Dr. Stafford-Clark is setting
the stage for what could be some sort of medical revolution."
Is Dr. Clements kidding when he suggests that Stafford-Clark
is setting the stage for a revolution? Dr. Clements is too well
aware of the fact that revolutions arise spontaneously out of
revolutionary situations and do not occur because somebody sets
the stage for them. He must know that Stafford-Clark has in mind
nothing more significant than a few petty reforms. Like Meyler,
who suggests more study of adverse-reactions rather than a discontinuance
of practices that inevitably and necessarily give rise to so-called
adverse-reactions, Stafford-Clark would not think of suggesting
anything that would deprive him and his profession of their pills
and potions. Revolution is the farthest thing from his mind that
is conceivable. A revolution in medicine, long overdue, will
destroy it, root and branch, and this no leader in the medical
profession would dare to suggest.
Dr. Clements heads this part of his column "Doctor or Teacher,"
as though there is a difference. He continually used the word
doctor, which means teacher, as a synonym for the term physician.
A physician is one learned in or skilled in the art of physics.
Physic is a drug, particularly a purgative drug. It is what Shakespeare
had in mind when he put the words "Throw physic to the dogs,"
into the mouth of one of his characters. "Where can you
find a dog that will take it," asked one of his contemporaries.
I am sure that it is known to Dr. Clements that at first the
schools of physic conferred the degree Dr. of Physic only upon
men who were to be teachers of physic. Men who administered drugs
at the bedside were not doctors, but practitioners, and were
not called doctors but were known as practitioners.
I am constrained to wonder just what Dr. Clements himself means
by revolution in this instance. In this same column in this same
issue of Health For All, under the subtitle "Worth Quoting"
he quotes the following words from a recent work entitled Cure
or Heal by E. Graham Howe, M.D., in which Dr. Clements says Howe
has given to the vis medicatrix its proper significance and that
Howe reaffirms his confidence in the healing power of nature:
"given the right attitude on the part of both patients and
therapist and a sufficiency of time, our old friend the vis medicatrix
naturae, which mends our broken bones and heals the common ailments
of our bodies (with some help maybe, but also sometimes in spite
of more than a little hindrance from the doctor), works on every
level, and all the time, to heal us of our ills."
If a statement of this kind which gives the healing power of
nature a subordinate position gives to the healing power of nature
its proper significance, there still remains a lot of healing
or curing to be done by the therapist with his "bag of tricks."
There is no room in a statement of this kind for a revolution.
There remains only the work of trying to reform the unreformable.
Herbert M. Shelton
Vol. XXXIII March, 1972 No. 7
A Salad A Day
Herbert M. Shelton
I coined the slogan "a salad a day keeps acidosis away."
It is rare that a slogan is strictly accurate, but this one came
as near being fully accurate as slogans do. It is true, however,
only if the salad is of the right kind. Shrimp salad, potato
salad, egg salad and salad covered with oil or vinegar will not
answer the purpose assigned to salads.
The word salad is from a Latin word meaning salt, and our salad
vegetables are abundant sources of mineral salts in their most
readily assimilated form. There is no substitute for green foods
in our diet. It is important that these be taken, largely if
not wholly, in the raw or uncooked state. In general the green
leaves of plants are our richest sources of organic salts (minerals),
are rich sources of vitamins, are sources of small quantities
of the highest grade proteins and are the best sources of chlorophyll,
which, while it will not deodorize your breath and body, is essential
in animal nutrition.
Salads are not so important in the diet of one who lives largely
on uncooked foods and whose diet is made up largely of fruits
and vegetables. One who eats largely of flesh, cereals, legumes
and other starchy and high protein foods has an urgent need for
one or two large green salads daily.
A British author says that "two or three hunderd years ago
our meat-gorging ancestors, if they happened to be wealthy enough
to gorge on meat, went through a fifteen course meal without
the mention of fruit, from duck to chicken, to pork and pheasant,
then fish and meat again, 'till they gasped and often passed
out in surfeit or apoplexy. Some Red Indian tribes, living almost
entirely on meat, scorned fruit and vegetables as woman's food,
and the hunters of Asia and Africa, though there are really only
few of them, do not make much fuss over fruit." Taking a
salad with a meal of that kind is somewhat on the order of taking
an antedote with a poison.
Of the number of green foods that are commonly eaten in this
country, the following is not a complete list, but contains a
sufficient number to show the variety of such foods that we use:
spinach, kale, chard, turnip greens, beet greens, cabbage, broccoli,
okra, green beans, fresh peas, asparagus, collards, lettuce,
celery, Chinese cabbage, boctoy, mustard greens, etc. All of
these vegetables are palatable in the raw state and may profitably
be added to a salad. There are several varieties of lettuce that
may be used, often two or more kinds at a time. In some parts
of the nation escarole, endive and other green vegetables are
obtainable. The cucumber makes a very delightful addition to
a salad and may be eaten whole.
The variety of different salads that may be made is great and
one or more of these may be had at ail seasons of the year. Indeed,
it is important to have some fresh green food every day of the
year and not take salads only at intervals. It is well to eat
a large salad and not skimp on this part of the meal. The salads
served in most homes, restaurants, cafeterias, hotels, and other
eating places are commonly too small to adequately meet the needs
of the persons eating them. A big salad should be the rule.
I get complaints from many people that they cannot take so much
of what they call "roughage." Dr. Kellogg pointed out
years ago that this so-called "roughage" were better
termed "bulk." The fact is that the small amount of
indigestible cellulose in these foods is not rough. It is, on
the contrary, rather soft and filled with water. On the other
hand, if a large salad is run through a juice extractor and all
the water extracted from it, it will be seen at once that the
amount of bulk in what looks like an enormous salad is but a
small measure. The cry that they contain too much "roughage"
is not based on fact.
The widespread practice of cutting, chopping, and shredding salad
vegetables and serving them with dressings of one kind or another
cannot be too strongly condemned. Dr. Tilden used to advise his
readers to make such a salad and then he would add that the salad
should be "dressed with lemon juice, oil and salt to taste."
If cabbage was the only vegetable to be procured, as at certain
seasons of the year it often is in some parts of the country,
he advised eating it in the form of cabbage slaw. "The slaw
may be dressed with salt and lemon or vinegar; or a sweet, sour
dressing may be used; vinegar and lemon juice, sugar, salt, and
a little sweet or sour cream." Both of these are bad dietetic
practices and must be looked upon as concessions by Tilden to
the popular taste.
When vegetables and fruits are sliced, cut small, ground, shredded,
or otherwise broken into small particles, so that the oxygen
of the air gets to them, much food value is lost through oxidation.
The longer they are permitted to stand before eating, after they
have been thus treated, the greater is the loss of food value.
The loss of certain vitamins through oxidation is especially
rapid. Such practices are permissible only when feeding the toothless
individual who is unable to chew whole foods. Then the food should
be fed immediately after preparing, so that a minimum of loss
through oxidation is sustained.
The dressings added to salads are not incompatible with the salads
per se, but they do interfere with the digestion of other foods.
Acids used in the dressings interfere with the digestion of both
starches and proteins. Oils added to the salad interfere with
the digestion of proteins. Whether cream is sweet or sour, its
addition to the salad will interfere with protein digestion.
Sugar added to the salad dressing inhibits protein digestion.
Thus, while there is no serious reason why oil or cream may not
be added to a salad when it is to be taken with a starch meal,
it should not be added to a salad that is to be taken with a
protein meal. Lemon juice and vinegar should not be added with
either meal. There can be no objection to the addition of lemon
juice or oil or both to the salad if a salad is to be taken alone
as we often like to do, or, as often happens, the salad and a
cooked green vegetable is to be eaten as the meal.
Herbert M. Shelton
Vol. XXXV September, 1973 No.1
Herbert M. Shelton
Men and institutions are springing up here and there that are
called Hygienic that do not deserve the name, because they are
not faithful to the principles of Hygiene. They do not yield
themselves gratefully and in full conformity to it. They do not
believe in Hygiene strongly enough to live by it. We demonstrate
our fealty to a principle by living by it, not by doing lip service
to it. When we are controlled by a principle and do not try to
warp it to suit our financial interests, we pursue a course of
action that is the exact opposite of that pursued by these men.
If we are possessed by a principle, we follow it to its ultimate
end; we do not try to use it merely for our convenience.
I do not deny the right of these men and institutions to the
designation Hygienic from any low, base, mean or sordid motive,
while they believe in the curative powers of their drugs and
treatment or administer them in their practice, but for the reason
that I am bound to give my supreme loyalty to that great and
fundamental truth that recovery of health corresponds and coincides
with the law of creation or, if you prefer, the law of evolution.
This means, simply, that the processes by which we recover health
are the same processes by which we came into being; that the
materials which may be legitimately employed in recovery of health
are identical with those by which health is built and preserved
in the first place. Only those materials and influences which
are useful in the preservation of health are useful in the restoration
of health. To this principle Hygienists make but one exception:
namely, constructive surgery, as employed in wounds, broken bones,
accidents, dislocations, etc. I cannot consent to demean so glorious
a truth as that which underlies the Hygienic System by approving
of those who connect its practice with the drugs of the physician
or the various modalities of the drugless practitioners.
These practitioners unwittingly, perhaps, constitute a class
of "go-betweens." They take for their motto the old
Latin aphorism, "Medio tutissimus ibis." Translated
into English, this means: "The safest road is the middle
road." They take this road, when not impelled by baser motives,
because they are afraid of "extremes." "Truth
lies between extremes," they often repeat. This is a poor
job, pitiful sophism. When it was first declared that the earth
is round and revolves on its axis and goes around the sun, this
new idea was contrary to the older idea that the earth is flat,
stationary and the center of things, with the sun, moon and stars
going around it. These were the two extremes: how could a middle
ground "between these two extremes" have been found
as a resting place for truth?
All revolutions, and Hygiene is a revolution, have been beset
by this same conservatism, this same compromising spirit. They
have been besieged from all four sides by those who would ostensibly
preserve from ruin the new idea. These would-be friends of the
revolution, these conservators and conservatives have always
constituted, not the vanguard of the revolution, but advance-agents
of the counter-revolution. Their influence has always been to
retard and to even wipe out the gains made. Truth is always extreme;
truth is never on the fence; it never faces both ways. It is
in the heart of this conservative spirit that the egg is formed
which hatches treason. Truth is not between two extremes, but
is one extreme or the other. It is not between a flat earth or
a round earth, but is one or the other.
Whether we can see it, feel it or know it, this is true: Truth
is always an extremist. Instead of fearing it, from all considerations
of caution, of self-respect, of self-preservation and of success,
we must accept the truth in its entirety and reject all that
falls outside that truth. Applied to Hygiene, we must be as radical
as the principles that underlie it. Its practitioners, to entitle
them to the name, should, both in their lives and practices,
conform to its principles as earnestly and truthfully, as sincerely
and unremittingly, as undoubtingly and uncompromisingly as do
the devotees of any other established science and art. Just as
one is not a Christian who mixes his Christianity with demonism,
so one is not a Hygienist who mixes his Hygiene with the therapeutic
modalities of the drugless schools or with the poisons of the
The few Hygienists who are now in the vanguard of Hygienic work
have sedulously labored to keep for the people, the great truths
which belong to them, and to keep these vital truths above ground
to the end that they may see them, and seeing them, can appreciate
them. We have surrendered to principles of such magnitude, of
such glory, of such strength and life, that they will revolutionize
the lives of all who accept them and live by them and we shall
not compromise these glorious principles by subordinating them
to or mingling them with the fallacies and wrong practices of
the schools of curing. For years we have followed the straight
and narrow path of Hygiene. Where the truths of Hygiene have
led, thither have we gone. Trustingly, confidently, humbly, have
we folIowed and we have not been disappointed. Hygiene has never
let us down.
The schools of curing are all devoid of fixed principles. The
intricacies and complexities of the systems are as unstable as
quicksand and as changeable as the wind. The theory of today
is supplanted by that of tomorrow; the practice of today gives
way to a new one tomorrow. Practices that are greatly in vogue
in one generation are strongly condemned by the succeeding. All
is chaos; all is confusion; all is uncertainty; all is rapid
change. Doubt envelops all their theories and distrust surrounds
all their modalities. We cannot afford to mingle the eternal
certainties of Hygiene with the evanescent fallacies of the schools
of curing. We know that law and order rule in the biological
realm and we base our practices on the unchanging principles
of nature. These are our authorities and they are supreme.
The laws of nature are greater than the greatest men of all the
schools of curing. We study the human organism from the point
of view of natural law and (normal) need, and we have faith in
the normal means of life. We stand in this matter, as it were,
where we can summon the mighty forces of organic existence, to
the aid of the sick and to the aid of the well, for whoever corresponds
in his work and activity to the course of law, by so doing secures
the force and strength of that law to himself.
If the practitioners of the schools of curing cannot comprehend
the simple principles that underlie Hygiene, if they cannot know
the superior effectiveness of the normal elements of healthy
existence; if they continue to scout nature and adopt art, if
they reject the glorious truths of Hygiene and continue to hug
their therapeutic delusions, we cannot stop them, but we must
keep the fair name of Hygiene free from contamination with any
admixtures. If they take the "wisdom of man" as it
has accumulated through the ages, and attempt to guide themselves
by it; we take the principles of nature, as they were at the
beginning, and conform to them.
They seem unable to understand that a true art of care, both
of the well and the sick, must be marked by simplicity of means.
They cannot comprehend the simple and fundamental fact that to
the extent that the practitioner adjusts himself and his charge
to the employment only of those means which are established in
nature for the uses of the living organism, will his strength
and usefulness increase. Men who do not have an unswerving confidence
in the foundation-principles of Hygiene, a confidence that that
knows no abatement, that deepens with time and experience, and
that teaches them that healing is the prerogative of the living
organism, such men are not fit to bear the name Hygienist. They
may be good men, honest, truthful, sincere; they are not Hygienists.
Do I assert that Hygiene has reached maturity; that we are now
in possession of all the knowledge of principles and of the application
of means to ends that we shall ever have? By no means. Beyond
our present knowledge lies an arcanum, the greatness of which
will astound the sharpest and the dullest comprehension. What
we know is but a sand-grain of the sum-total which is yet to
be known upon this vast subject. But the fact that there is yet
much to be learned does not justify us in abandoning what we
do know for the fallacies and hurtful practices of the schools
of curing. Our knowledge is to be extended and increased, not
by a search in the fields of fallacy, but by a more intensive
cultivation of the truths that now belong to us. Let us dig a
little deeper, analyze a little more, separate the truth from
the dross to an ever greater degree, but let us not soil pur
hands and our work by digging in the muck of therapeutic fallacies.
Let us all be loyal to the principles and practices of Hygiene
and seek to extend these. Let us honor our system and proclaim
it from the housetops. Under no temptation let us swerve. Let
those who have faith in poisons use them, but let us not consent
to the addition of any part of the poisoning practice to Hygiene.
Let those who trust in the curative virtues of electricity, water
applications, baking and freezing, manipulations and adjustings,
etc., have these to their heart's content, but let us not admit
such practices and the false theories upon which they are predicated
It is not needful that we should speak harshly, either of practitioners
of these various curing systems or of their devotees, but we
must keep before the people the fact that the Hygienist gives
no drugs, employs no treatments and does no manipulating; that
he has a much better way, a way that is found in the natural
order and will not pass away with the passing of the present
generation of disease-treaters. What a glorious work we have
to do! If we can educate the people to the extent that they can
realize the harmfulness of drugs and treatments and the helpfulness
of the normal elements of health, we shall have worked the mightiest
revolution that has ever taken place in human existence. We must
demand more Hygiene, not less. Those practitioners who, posing
as Hygienists, merely employ some Hygiene as a weak adjunct to
their therapeutic modalities should be made to realize that they
are damaging a system to which they render homage, and are retarding
the progress of a revolution that will, when it is finished,
sweep all such into oblivion.
Herbert M. Shelton
Orthopathic Home Study Course
Herbert M. Shelton
There are numerous magic breathing methods being exploited. We
have "deep breathing", "costal breathing"
"diaphramatic breathing," "full breathing,"
the 'Yogi breath," "dynamic breathing," "superdynamic
breathing," "rythmic breathing," "brain breathing,"
"vitalic breathing," etc. We hear of the "head
breath," the "bowel breath," the "lung breath,"
the "kidney breath," the "regenerative breath,"
and other breaths and also "air massage."
The exploiters of this form of hocus pocus claim wonderful, even
miraculous things for their methods of breathing. The great virtue
in their methods lies in the peculiar way you fix your lips or
your tongue in breathing, or the funny noise yon make in exhaling,
or in the positions you get your body into or the motions you
go through while breathing. This brand of bunk appeals to that
element in human nature which loves the weird, the mysterious,
The purpose of breathing is to supply the body's need for oxygen.
When the chest wall is raised, by the action of the muscles of
the chest and the diaphragm is depressed, the chest cavity is
enlarged. A vacuum is formed into which the air rushes, as into
any vacuum. When the chest in contracted and the diaphragm raised,
the air is forced out of the lungs. The blood flows through the
lungs and gives off, in exchange for oxygen, which it carries
to the cells, carbon dioxide, which it has brought from the cells.
This whole process is automatic. The rising and falling of the
chest is automatic, The rapidity of breathing is automatically
controlled. The respiratory center in the medulla is stimulated
by carbon dioxide. The more carbon there is in the blood, the
more stimulation the respiratory center receives and the faster
we breathe. Oxygen inhibits this center so that the more oxygen
me blood possesses the slower we breathe. Thus the breath rate
and volume is always automatically adjusted to the body's actual
If the lungs are forcefully and perhaps rapidly expanded and
contracted, no more of this air can get into the body than the
blood, takes up and it can only take up what the body needs.
So-called deep breathing, which is not the result of an internal
need for more oxygen is a snare and a delusion. All the claims
made for it are false.
Deep breathing forces nothing out of the body. It burns up nothing
in the body. It does not feed the nerves. The breath cannot be
forced into the head, or the kidneys, or the bowels, or in any
organ of the body, except the lungs. There is no "regenerative
breath," Air does not stagnate in the lungs and become poisonous,
the lungs cells do not collapse and become diseased due to "shallow
We learn to breathe a few seconds after we are born. When we
forget how to breath we die. We begin to breathe naturally from
the start and we keep it up throughout life, unless the process
is interfered with.
The things which interfere with breathing are. Disease of the
nose and throat; (2) disease of the lungs and chest; (3) disease
In the abdomen; (4) tight bands (belts, corsets, brazzier,, etc.)
around the chest and abdomen; (5) faulty positions of sitting
and standing which cramp the chest; (6) "breathing courses"
which deliberately cultivate wrong habits of breathing, among
these the habit of breathing through the mouth and the habit
of holding the breath.
Proper and sufficient breathing depends on: (1) Health of nose,
throat, chest lungs and abdomen; (2) Proper body posture; (3)
Freedom of movement (lack of restricting bands) of the chest
and abdomen; (4) pure air well ventilated homes, bed rooms,
offices, shopsand out door life. Given these few simple
conditions and breathing will take care of itself.
Chest gymnastics to develop the chest, to expand the chest and
increase its capacity; to develop its muscles and strengthen
its frame work, are commendable and advisable. The majority of
men and women in civilized life are flat chested and weak for
lack of these. Their chests when fully expanded are about the
size they should be and give the appearance they should present,
when passive. Modern life does not develop the chest. For this
reason the modern individual's BREATHING RESERVE is small compared
to that of savages and animals.
Herbert M. Shelton
of Good Digestion
Vol. XXXIII February , 1972 No.6
The Value of Good Digestion
Herbert M. Shelton
What shall we eat for health? The old advice to "eat nothing
for breakfast and something you don't like for dinner" is
a false approach. The wholesome foods of nature are as delicious
and delightful to the sense of taste as anything can conceivably
be. We can eat things that we like and be healthy. It is true
that we can learn to like things that are far from wholesome,
and once we have acquired a perversion of the sense of taste,
we may no longer relish wholesome foods, but it is not difficult
to re-acquire a relish for that which is wholesome.
The subject of food and feeding has been fully studied and the
many foods we eat have been thoroughly tested and analyzed and
there can no longer be any excuse for any man pleading ignorance
of diet. If he is ignorant, this is because he has chosen to
be so. The food which a man eats, though very important, is no
more so than the efficiency of his digestion; for poor digestion
will fail to prepare the best of food for nutrition.
Many factors or conditions impair or retard the process of digestion
and thus interfere with the work of preparing what may otherwise
be wholesome foods for entrance into the body. Extensive tests
have shown that the residues left in bread by baking powders,
retard the digestion of proteins. Although most of these tests
were made with cream of tartar powders, there does not seem to
be any powders that are exempt from this effect. Strong alkalies
in food must go far to neutralize the acid of the gastric juice
and thus annul the digestive power. The food eaten is then left
to ferment instead of digesting. Baking soda, milk of magnesia
or other alkali taken following a meal retard the digestion of
the meal. The resort to alkalies as "medicines" is
a patent abuse of the body. Physicians with their drugs as well
as cooks with their concoctions make dyspeptics. Indigestion
is frequently caused by taking laxative and cathartic drugs.
This eternal swallowing of drugs ruins many constitutions.
The sour stomach, sour eructations, heavy stomachs, gas, distress
and discomfort that are so common after the conventional meals
do not teach our deluded people that their ways of life and particularly
their ways of eating are out of harmony with the laws of being.
They think that if they can take a dose of baking soda, or an
aspirin and "relieve" their distress, all of the evil
consequences of their wrong eating are wiped out and they may
go on in continual violation of the laws of life.
These drugs are advertised to give absolution of our daily gastronomic
sins and free indulgences for repetitions of this agreeable weakness.
This use of alkalies is of modern and comparatively recent origin;
in fact the indiscriminate use of them dates back not more than
a hundred years.
Would you eat rotten apples? Of course you couldn't. It borders
on insult to even imply that you would condescend to take such
an unwholesome substance into your mouth. Do you drink hard cider?
Do you use cider vinegar? If you take either of these substances
you are taking rotten apples. You may properly be classed with
a person who eats ripened (rotted) poultry or spoiled cabbage
In the production of cider and vinegar we start with a good apple,
which is wholesome food. The apple juice begins to undergo decomposition
as soon as it is extracted from the apple and soon becomes loaded
with decomposition products. The two most abundant of these products
are alcohol, which is a protoplasmic poison, and acetic acid,
which is more toxic than alcohol. Alcohol precipitates pepsin
and thus interrupts and retards protein digestion. Acetic acid
chiefly retards starch digestion. Both alcohol and acetic acid
occasion irritation of the stomach and thus impair digestion
Experiments have shown that even as small a proportion of vinegar
as one part in 5,000 appreciably diminishes the digestion of
starch by its inhibiting or destructive effect upon salivary
amylase. One part in 1,000 renders starch digestion very slow
and twice this quantity arrests it altogether. From these facts
it becomes evident that vinegar, pickles, salads on which vinegar
has been sprinkled and salad dressings containing vinegar and
other foods to which vinegar is added are unwholesome, especially
when taken with starchy foods such as cereals, bread, legumes,
potatoes and the like.
As I dictated this article, my secretary, who is taking down
the dictation in shorthand, asked me if I had ever eaten sauerkraut.
She stated that she had tried it once in her life and could not
remember how it tasted. She remembers only that it was repulsive.
It probably is repulsive to everybody the first time it is tried,
but by repeated eating one can acquire a relish for the rotten
cabbage and the brine in which it is pickled. Just as one may
acquire a liking for sauerkraut or for tobacco, which is even
more repugnant to the unperverted taste, so one may acquire a
relish for the repulsive taste of vinegar. By frequent repetition
we thus succeed in beating down our instinctive warnings against
I recall my boyhood experiences in trying to eat cucumbers and
beets pickled in vinegar and my efforts to use pepper sauce,
which was made by pickling pods in vinegar. I was never quite
successful in learning to relish these unwholesome "foods."
In those days many housewives made their own vinegar so. that
it was free of adulteration and chemical additives, but its taste
was nonetheless repugnant. The only way I was ever able to eat
it was as the filler in the vinegar pies my mother used to make.
In these pies the repulsiveness of the vinegar was camouflaged
by an abundance of sugar. The whole concoction was unwholesome
and I do not recommend it as an article of diet.
Other acids, even wholesome ones such as those of the lemon,
lime, orange, grapefruit, tangerine, pineapple and other fruit
acids, destroy the salivary amylase and retard or suspend starch
digestion. It is unwise to eat acid foods and starches at the
same meal. As the hydrochloric acid of the gastric juice, so
essential to protein digestion in the stomach, also destroys
ptyalin or salivary amylase and thus retards starch digestion,
it is not wise to eat protein foods and starch foods at the same
meal. Bread, potatoes, cereals, beans, peas, and other starchy
foods are best eaten at meals separate from nuts, cheese, eggs
or flesh foods.
In the largest sense no food is digestible or indigestible per
se, but according to persons, times and circumstances. Overeating
is among the chief causes of indigestion. The competition of
our public dining rooms tempts us to eat three big meals a day,
often two of them at a time.
The rate of action of the digestion enzymes depends not alone
upon the pH of the medium in which they act, but also upon the
temperature of the medium. They are most efficient at the normal
internal temperature of the body. Making the contents of the
stomach cold by drinking cold water or other cold drink or by
eating ice inevitably reduces the activity of the digestive enzymes.
Very hot liquids raise the temperature of the mouth and stomach
above the normal temperature and bring about certain equally
undesirable changes in the enzymes. Neither hot nor cold drinks
or foods should be taken. Ice cream, ice, sherberts, etc., taken
at the end of the meal, play havoc with digestion.
The stomach has been termed the "center of sympathies."
Certain it is, irritation of the digestive tract can occasion
more vertigo, trembling, muscular weaknesses, etc., than irritation
of almost any other region of the body. Indigestion is among
the most common causes of physical discomfort and emotional stresses.
Palliating these discomforts with drugs instead of removing the
causes of the indigestion leads to ruinous consequences.
What is the extent of the role played in the evolution of disease
by impaired function of the digestive tract? The fouling of the
food supply and the deterioration of the tissues of the body
that results from poisoning by absorption of septic materials
from a digestive tract that is reeking with decomposition, this
largely, if not wholly from the small intestines, are factors
that we must reckon with in any consideration of etiology, even
of the simplest as well as of the most complex diseases.<
Herbert M. Shelton
Vol. XXXIX August, 1978 No.12
Herbal Medicine Phytotherapy
Herbert M. Shelton
The worst type of blindness is intellectual blindness"There
are none so blind as those who can see and won't." Modern
man likes to think of himself as "enlightened" despite
the fact that his intellectual equipment contains a preponderant
admixture of ancient errors and superstitions. The survival in
modern times, of the ancient herbal practice is a case in point.
Here we have an ancient method of treating the sick that has
as its sole claim to superior merit, the fact that it is less
lethal in its effects than the virulent poisons employed by the
modern physician. The two superstitions are of a piece and it
is not to be forgotten that "modern medicine" is a
direct outgrowth of the ancient herbal practice. The physician
regards his present practice as an improvement on the ancient
practice; the herbalist or "natural therapist" looks
upon "modern medicine" as a perversion and departure
from what he likes to think of as the "natural cure."
It is difficult to differentiate between the two superstitions.
Herbalists attempt to rationalize their herbal practices by discussing
their use in the light of modern nutritional science. As an example
of this, one writer on "natural therapeutics" says
that, "as an aid to the natural cure, some positively beneficial
herbs and herbal juices may be used. These should be such as
are locally available and of such nature as to make up for the
known deficiencies of the sickthe various organic minerals
and vitamins. These are not strictly medicines; they must be
considered as part of the curative diet." If the herbs so
used are nonpoisonous, they are true foods; but it will be observed
by the student of these practices, that nonpoisonous herbs do
not give rise to the alleged physiological actions that they
seek to produce. Only poisonous herbs are considered "medicinal."
I frequently find the herbal practice designated a "Nature
Cure method." That herbs, all of them, the nonpoisonous
as well as the poisonous ones, are natural is true. But they
are no more natural than mercury and arsenic. All that is, is
natural. The bite of a rattlesnake or the sting of the nettle
are both natural. The venom of the cobra is as natural as the
opium of the poppy. A stroke of lightning is as natural as the
digitalis of foxglove. The eruption of a volcano with its poisonous
gases, is as natural as the prussic acid of the bitter almond.
The cyclone and tidal wave are as natural as the nicotine of
tobacco. That a thing is natural does not mean that it has any
normal relationship to the living organism. It does not belong
in the human body merely because it is natural. The various molds
from which the antibiotics are derived are as natural as any
herb that grows. It is objected that the medical man does not
use the whole herb, but extracts of the herb, I reply that the
herbalist uses teas, infusions, extracted juices, and in other
ways, employs, not the whole herb, but extracts of it. But I
deny that his use of the whole herb is any more rational than
his use of infusions and juices made from the herb.
One could easily get the idea, after listening to the fulsome
eulogy lavished upon aloe by certain of the herbalists, that,
this plant is some kind of king or queen of the plant world and
a real wonder drug among the medicinal herbs. A genus of plants
of the lily family, of which there are several species, the dried
juices of the leaves of several of these species provides the
herbalist and the physician with a laxative. An aloetic is defined
as "a medicine containing aloes." Time was, and this
was in the not distant past, when aloetic pills were very popular
and were prescribed by physicians in a variety of so-called diseases.
It is difficult to understand why so much praise is lavished
on this "laxative" herb. Any other laxative would do
as much mischief, indeed, some of the more poisonous herbs are
purgatives and drastics.
Some of the self-styled "natural therapists" never
tire of extolling the virtues of the simple "home remedies,"
by which they mean herbs, that were employed in the past, and
which they tell us were "harmless." The so-called "medicinal"
herbs were not harmless. Many of them, on the contrary, can be
deadly, as deadly as any drug the physicians now use. None of
them removed the cause of the patient's trouble; all * of them
were directed at the suppression of symptoms; all of them gave
rise to evils of their own. The herbal practice was the original
drugging practice and only those drugs were used that occasioned
marked defensive actions on the part of the body. They were given
to produce vomiting, purging, diuresis, diaphoresis and expectoration,
to reduce fever, relieve pain, allay coughing, to produce blistering,
as sedatives, stimulants, narcotics, etc., etc. They are still
employed for the same purposes, despite all the loose talk about
their alleged richness in minerals and vitamins. Few of them
have ever been analyzed to determine their mineral and vitamin
content. That they are possessed of these food factors, as all
plants are, is not denied; that they are superior sources of
such nutrients has not been proved. Certainly a drug that induces
vomiting and one that occasions purging does not yield up any
minerals and vitamins to the sick organism.
The sick organism is suffering from poisoning, not from deficiency.
Deficiencies do exist, but the so-called deficiency diseases
are not numerous. The acutely sick patient is as unable to digest
and assimilate medicinal herbs as he is to digest and assimilate
the nonpoisonous herbs. The presence of poisons in herbs renders
their digestion all but impossible. Imagine trying to digest
a salad of fresh green tobacco leaves!
I have taken the following examples of the "medicinal"
use of herbs from but one issue of a magazine devoted to what
its editor and publisher and its contributors all agree in calling
"Nature Cure" and "Natural Therapeutics."
Were I to take time to go through several issues of this same
journal or to go through several issues of several similar journals
and take out the great wealth of similar examples that could
easily be collected I could fill a book with them. The few that
I have offered here, however, will be enough to reveal to the
reader that the herbal practice is not a nutritional program
but a drugging practice. Herbs are used to suppress symptoms
and not as a means of supplying nutritive deficiencies. The fact
is, as every student of the subject is well aware, that the herbal
practice antedates our knowledge of nutritional deficiencies
by several hundreds of years and grew, not out of any effort
to supply the nutritive needs of the body, but out of the assumed
necessity of driving evil spirits out of the sick. Under the
spell of this ancient etiology, the more of nausea, griping,
purging and convulsions a drug occasioned the more effective
was it supposed to be in exorcising the malignant imp that had
taken up housekeeping in the body of the sick. Spikenard may
serve as our first example of the way in which herbs are used
as nutritive substances. This herb is described as a "good
stimulant, digestant, carminative, diuretic, expectorant, and
a good antispasmodic and nervous tonic in hysteria, chorea, convulsions
and epilepsy." In India this herb is said to be good in
"leprosy, old fever, internal heat, diarrhea, diseases of
the eye, asthma, dyspnoea or difficulty of breathing, rheumatism."
Penicillin will have to move over and make room for a new wonder
drug. All the "therapeutic" classes into which this
drug falls, prove it to be poisonous. Certainly none of these
alleged "medicinal" qualities have anything to do with
nutrition. Like all herbal "medication," the use of
this herb is purely symptomatic. Not only is the use designed
to "treat the symptoms as they arise," but its use
is on the allopathic principle. As an antispasmodic it is used
to suppress spasm, not to remove cause.
After talking of the vitamins and minerals in herbs, they offer
us pastes made from herbs that are applied externally. It is
a carminative. It is a good rubefacient "linament."
If all this has anything to do with nutrition, I fail to understand
the relationship. Of another plant we read that "the leaves
are astringent, detergent and deodorant. The flower is refrigerant
and soporific. The seed is deodorant. The bark is astringent."
What have vitamins and minerals to do with all these effects?
Here is another herb of which it is said: "its nutritional
value is very little." But it is declared to be a "beneficial
stomachic. It aids digestion . It is given even to feverish patients."
It is said to be useful in asthma, bronchitis, consumption, fever,
dullness of digestive fire, rheumatism, paralysis, etc. It is
an expectorant, diuretic, and carminative. Its seed is a drastic
purgative." Its alleged therapeutic actions are evidences
of its poisonous character.
Here is another herb that is said to be "cathartic, anthelmintic,
aphrodisiac, lithontriptic." It is useful in "tapeworm,
chronic skin disease and hookworm." It is said to kill the
tapeworm. Another herb is described as a "good purgative"
and causes small thread worms to "come out." Here is
another herb that is described as "sedative" in its
effect and is advised in cases of irritation in the digestive
tract. It is said to form a coating between the lining of the
intestines and the food and feces, thus protecting the surface
of the stomach and intestine from irritation. Here is another
herb that is described as "a mild astringent, refrigerant,
diuretic, demulcent and emollient." It is taken internally
and applied externally. It is "useful" in a wide variety
of diseases, ranging all the way from headache (in this complaint
it is applied to the forehead so that the minerals and vitamins
may be absorbed through the cranium, I suppose), biliousness,
dysentery, scalds, burns and skin diseases, to "syphilis."
Certainly this herb should be kept in every "medicine"
cabinet in the land. It is almost as "good" as penicillin.
A self-styled "natural therapist" who uses and advocates
a great medley of herbs, many of them highly poisonous, so far
forgets the basic tenets of his herbal practice as to parrot
(repeat without understanding) the Hygienic principle that people
are sick because of their errors in living and that they can
escape from their ills only by correcting their ways of life.
He goes so far as to repeat the Hygienic teaching that responsibility
for disease rests squarely upon the shoulders of the sick and
suffering and that responsibility for recovery rests upon the
same shoulders. After he has repeated these Hygienic teachings,
he offers his readers a great array of herbal "remedies."
Can he give herbs to stop sexual excesses and abuses; will herbs
correct gluttony; will they cause the patient to control his
emotional life or to secure more sleep; will they render white
bread adequate or make unclean living safe? What have herbs to
do with right and wrong living? He speaks of the necessity for
making "amends for past transgressions." Perhaps the
herbal "remedies" will make amends.
Too many of the "natural therapists" are trying the
impossible task of riding two horses at once, the horses going
in opposite directions. The mental gymnastics and logical somersaults
that they perform in trying to reconcile their two opposite courses
of action fill all rings of a five ring circus. But their antics
are neither amusing nor entertaining. To be intelligent and informed,
these things are saddening. Here we have a large group of men,
represented in almost all parts of the world, who have hibernated
in antiquity and who seem unable to free themselves from fallacies
that were born in the fecund brain of the ancient shaman. Physically,
they live in the second half of the twentieth century; intellectually
they are with the cave man.
Herbert M. Shelton
Vol. XXXIX February, 1978 No.6
Suffering In Cancer
Herbert M. Shelton
Cancer sufferers are said to die fiendish deaths. Their suffering
is persistent and almost unbearable. This intense suffering lasts
for days or weeks, or until death puts a merciful end to the
horror. This tragical ending results from the usual treatment,
which is about as follows: the surgeon amputates, excises or
extirpates a cancer and gives X-ray treatments to prevent a return.
Such treatment renders the patient exquisitely sensitive, requiring
(according to "medical science") mild anodynes, which
are all too soon supplanted by the king "painkiller,"
opium or morphinea habit-forming drug which in a short
time produces more pain than it relieves. Drugs are the chief
cause of these fiendish deaths.
The two chief causes of intolerable suffering in cancer are:
1. anodynes (drugs to "relieve" pain), and
2. eating any food at all when uncomfortable.
As both of these procedures are regular parts of standard medical
practice, it is not amiss to say that most of the suffering of
cancer patients is caused by their physicians. When, through
feeding and drugging, pain is established and intensified, a
drug habit is established. From this point on pain is dictator.
Day and night, patient, physician, nurse, family and friends
must dance attendance on this tyrant. Unless feeding and drugging
are discontinued, the pains must persist and grow in intensity
until the cancer patient pleads for death as a "relief"
from his intolerable suffering.
The most terrible pains are induced by drugs to "relieve"
suffering. These are continued until a drug habit is formed after
which, the amount required to relieve must be continuously increased
until the most "potent" anodyne will no longer afford
respite from suffering. When this point is reached, the poor
sufferer clamors for a gun or for sufficient drug to kill. What
a dreadful penalty to have to pay at the end of lifea penalty
that is made necessary by feeding and drugging, after physicians
and surgeons have cut, slashed, X-rayed, and radium-ized to their
If there were no physicians with their dreadful disease-breeding
influence on the people and their deadly disease-producing drugs
and prophylactic measures, good health and long life would be
as common as disease and early death are today. When the patient
realizes that his or her case is hopeless, when hope is gone,
there is no longer any courage to fight. The desire for "relief"
increases day by day and the patient will use all of his or her
persuasive powers to get enough drug to end it all. All who have
cancer must die of that disease plus scientific treatment.
There is but one logical and successful way to stop pain and
this is to cease feeding and drugging. No food until comfortable,
then fruit juices for a few days, then raw fruits and vegetables,
with due attention to bathing and exercise. If there is pain,
another fast until comfortable with warm water to control the
pain, drinking hot water ad libitum. This done, in a reasonable
time, the patient will be comfortable. This assures keenness
enough of mind to enjoy friends to the end. If the end is near,
the patient can remain rational to the last minute of life; if
the end is some weeks or months away, light eating of fruits
and vegetables will maintain comfort during this period. How
truly did Tilden speak when he wrote: "The end of a cancer
patient under food and drug poisoning is like the wailing of
lost souls as depicted by writers of an earlier age when describing
the tragedy of perdition."
Few such patients are willing to eat sparingly enough to live
comfortablyfriends arid relatives usually take the position
that "she has but a few days to live anyway, she may as
well enjoy herself while she can." What they overlook is
the fact that she does not enjoy herself, but greatly intensifies
her misery. Most people prefer to go to their death drunk on
food, alcohol, or drugs. I saw one woman deliberately prepare
and "enjoy" a meal she wanted and, then, take enough
pain-"relieving" drug to kill herself, rather than
persist with the dietary restrictions that were enabling her
to live in comfort. I saw a man deliberately cast aside the dietary
restrictions that had kept him free of pain for an extended period,
return to eating habits that he had been warned would result
in suffering, and, then, when he suffered, refused another short
fast and a return to dietary restrictions, but demanded an operation
he had been warned would kill him. He died on the operating table.
I saw another man in his middle thirties with two inoperable
cancers, who had grown stronger, was free of pain for an extended
period, and had discarded drugs, eat a forbidden meal (a meal
of dove) which was followed in two hours by intense pain. He
took another three day fast and became comfortable. By adhering
to the prescribed dietary restrictions he was free of pain for
another month. Then he repeated his former offense which brought
immediate suffering. He refused another fast, refused another
period of dietary restrictions, returned to his use of anodynes
and was soon numbered among those who had been but are no more.
These three patients chose death rather than life without their
favorite indulgences. The first of them wanted pie and coffee,
the second wanted salt and bread, the third wanted flesh foods.
None of them wanted to live without these things, which they
valued higher than life itself. Old Mother Nature has a way of
accommodating those who choose death.
Our people do not know the meaning of self-restraint. They are
unable to interpret the language of their senses. They have been
taught to "go the limit" and, then, when they suffer,
to palliate their suffering with drugs. Thus they become slaves
to habits that destroy them. They lose all desire to break their
fetters and be free again. The unbearable suffering that grows
out of their incorrigibility and drugging ends only at death.
The ancient admonition: "Choose life that ye may live,"
is as unintelligible to men and women of today as it was to those
to whom it was given. Today we choose suffering and premature
Herbert M. Shelton
Vol. IV November, 1942 No. 3
The Importance of Rest in Disease
Though sleep and rest are important to the healthy, they are
more essential to those who are ill. A sick man must not only
sleep and rest sufficiently to recover from the daily wear and
tear, but must also rest more than the amount necessary to balance
current expenditure so as to facilitate curative action. During
sleep, and in a lesser degree while resting, the body makes the
greatest advances in removing the immediate causes of disease.
Also, during periods of complete relaxation the body accumulates
potential energy which can be used at some future period. Therefore,
rest is not only important for the immediate welfare of the organism
but also for some future state.
Individuals who are not sick enough to be forced to bed by
nature will learn that a voluntary increase of sleep and bed-rest
requires effort and is not as simple as it appears, especially
if distressing reactions occur. Illustrative of this is the recent
experience of an acquaintance. He complained that getting eight
hours sleep made him feel listless and less at ease than when
he only slept six hours a day. He could not comprehend why, with
the increase of rest, he should feel less refreshed. Like many
others he concluded that too much sleep was not conducive to
bodily comfort. Why this happened is explanable; this person's
organism had become adjusted to a six hour cycle without perturbation
to the individual, even though the amount of sleep was insufficient.
By sleeping two hours more for a few nights the organism was
given an opportunity to better itself. As part of this program
of betterment Nature began to remove the deleterious effects
that had occurred from years of insuffici
In On Regimen In Acute Diseases, an ancient book of medicine
supposed to have been written by Hippocrates, not only is the
sanatory benefits resulting from enforced rest described but
also the resultant temporary uneasiness following the "rest
cure. " Therein it is stated, that "if a person having
received a wound in the leg, neither very serious nor very trifling,
and he being neither in a condition very favorable to its healing
nor the contrary, at first betakes himself to bed, in order to
promote the cure, and never raises iris leg, it will thus be
much less disposed to inflammation, and be much sooner well,
than it would have been if he had strolled about during the process
of healing; but if upon the fifth or sixth day, or even earlier,
he should get up and attempt to walk, he will suffer much more
than if he had walked about from the commencement of the cure,
and if he should suddenly make many laborious exertions, he will
suffer much more than if, when the treatment was conduc
Those who have rested completely during a fast will find that
the resumption of activity, when eating is resumed, will be associated
with a feebleness and unease that some attribute to the fast.
The fast is only partly responsible for the apparent weakness,
for complete bed-rest alone will often result in this discomfort.
On the fast the body is more efficient in decreasing the expenditure
of energy, and the redistribution of the vital power during the
early post-fasting days is very gradual. Because energy is converted
into work slowly after physiological rest, does not mean there
is a lack of potential. The person who does not rest during a
fast appears and acts stronger, but has less potential energy
for future development. The deleterious effects often ascribed
to physiological rest, are fleeting and always the consequence
of an organismal effort that is beneficent.
The individual who is unable to adjust himself to inactivity
will sometimes become unruly and difficult to manage. The common
complaint of those who need bed-rest is that they are not accustomed
to staying in bed. The fact that the patient acts so contrary
to what is right indicates that he is in dire need of recuperation.
Lack of balance within an individual is shown by erratic behavior
and is indicative of orgamsmal deterioration. The Natural Hygienist
who is often burdened with this type has to listen to many outbursts
of "This resting in bed is killing; I'm not so sick that
I have to stay in bed." "Don't you think I will get
weaker if I stay in bed." "I will never get my strength
back unless I walk around a little." Such ideas are delusions
and the deluded one becomes so distorted that to him the Natural
Hygienist is a jailer and the Sanatorium a prison. I have had
patients of such a rebellious nature that they refused to give
Natural Hygiene a chance because they thought restin
An individual can become so habituated to squandering energy
that he becomes deaf to the warnings of the body. The organism
is not insensitive to a deficiency of recuperation and the innumerable
forms of unrest are an indication of this. Very often to overcome
disquietude, and produce temporary exhilaration a person resorts
to gluttony, smoking, drinking, and other unnatural acts. Only
the Natural Hygienist fully recognizes how the stimulation associated
with the expenditure of energy can delude one. Dr. Robert Walter's
address, Nature Cure, delivered before the Sixty-second Session
of the American Institute of Homeopathy, in 1906, emphasized
this fact and in this regard stated:
"We Lose power by going to bed very much as air and water
lose gravity when the storm ceases and the water finds its level.
The existence of both gravity and vitality is known only by their
work; when the work ceases, the evidence to our senses of their
existence also ceases. But who will say that the gravity is thereby
lost or destroyed? Then why conclude that vitality is lost because
our consciousness of it has ceased? As long as any hind of power
continues in repose, whether gravity or vitality, its very existence
is purely a matter of faith; it is only when it is doing work,
and is consequently being expended in the work done, that it
becomes evident to our senses, for which reason we are easily
deluded into the belief that we are getting what we are unconsciously
The mechanism of the body is a most obedient servant but it
will obey no further when the destructive influences become too
encroaching. The organism is very obliging and adjusts itself
with facility, for how is she to know if the vital action demanded
of her is for necessities or things that are not indispensable.
The body is obedient to the will, even to furnish power for driving
twenty miles for such a non-essential as a barbecue or some other
palate tickling mixture. Since most individuals are not discerning
and wise, their bodies are endangered until the preservative
instinct demands a halt.
If a sick person should increase the amount of rest, to twice
the amount necessary to balance the current or daily expenditures,
the body will be able to convert more energy into restorative
work. If nine hours sleep is all that is needed to recuperate
from the previous daily work, then by staying in bed nine more
hours the energy accumulated during the previous period of sleep,
will be used by the body while it is resting and free from the
usual stresses. Because of this there is greater efficiency in
the usage of vital power. If this individual should stay in bed
twenty-four limits then the energy accumulated will be used by
the body or a longer period of inactivity and with a corresponding
increase in benefit.
The feeling of well-being that follows a complete rest is
usually a preliminary for a period of great reaction in which
there is an acceleration in the removal of encumbrances and structural
impairment. The body works rhythmically, and the periods that
distress are in production during the time when the individual
feels well. During the periods of increased action against morbific
agent there will be further prostration until this particular
stage of organismal renovation is completed. This prostration
is sometimes so profound that even music produces a depletive
and disconcerting effect. The unusual sensations that occur during
a "rest cure" are not the result of a destructive process
but are due to constructive and remedial action that takes place
within the living organism. With the increase of rest the body
reacts with greater force against toxins. If any structural impairment
exists remedial action is augmented in that particular structure.
When remedial activity is in the ascendency there is often
an aversion to the perverse pleasantries that necessitated the
illness. One can become so sensitive that the slightest deviation
from the natural produces repulsion. The body becomes greatly
intolerant especially in acute disease, a type of remedial action
that will not tolerate interference.
Rest, to be complete, necessitates twenty-four hours a day
in bed. During this kind of rest, not only is the musculature
rested, but also all of the vital organs. By slowing the expenditure
of energy the recruiting of energy is accelerated. In complete
muscular and digestive immobilization the activity of many organs
is decreased. Not only does a particular organ recuperate, but
because it does, it decreases its demand upon other organs. Other
organs, because they are resting, do not require as much from
that particular organ. A defective organ when its work is lessened
to a minimum increases in ability to maintain functional and
structural integrity. As is becomes more efficient in this respect
it becomes less tolerant of any morbific agent within its structure
or found- in the blood. In complete physiological rest the whole
body profits, especially when a particular impaired organ becomes
more efficient and increases in ability to help the body as a
By complete rest I do not intend to convey that inertia of
a part ever takes place. Vital inertia only occurs upon the death
of a structure. The elemental parts of an organ, the cells, when
they are not discharging energy, are active in its recuperation.
Vital activity Is continuous and has two phases the discharge
of energy and the recovery or recuperation of energy.
Complete rest not only requires inactivity of the musculature,
but involves curtailment in the use of the auditory, visual,
and vocal structures. Over-use of any of these organs interferes
with the healing endeavors of the body, because energy is diverted
to them; energy that could be used to greater advantage elsewhere.
Sounds are quite depleting to the sick or well. Just because
one is able to resist the vibrations of sound without any sensible
discomfort does not mean that energy is not lost. Resistance
to a stimulus requires an expenditure of vital force, and thereby,
results in a leakage of vitality. It is commonly said that noise
only affects sick people because of their weakened condition.
This is erroneous, for noises affect all; only in sick people
because nature demands a conservation of energy, there is an
increased sensitivity to anything that causes a wastage of energy.
It can be said that they are hypersensitive to depletive influences.
Voluntary inhibition of the actions of the many organs is not
fully resorted to even by those who consider rest important.
The reading of newspapers makes use of the visual energy. Also,
associated with the use of the visual organs, perception takes
place and this necessitates vital activity and the resultant
expenditure of vital force. Books and other
The Natural Hygienist is often questioned as to what Nature
can do in the cases that in the past apparently received no benefit
from Nature Cure. I can say that this was not the fault of the
natural forces as they exist in the living body. The failure
is in man not in Nature. Unusual results will never occur unless
unusual efforts are made by a person, who comprehends fully the
conservation of vital energy. No limit can be set as to what
can be attained in regeneration if one conserves every particle
of vital power. By perfection in practice the failures of today
can become the successes of tomorrow.
Vol. IV May, 1943 No. 9
Defense of Natural Hygiene
I was accused of practicing medicine on a woman whose only
chance of recovery (if recovery was possible) was an immediate
fast. For this purpose she was brought to my home. Concerning
this prosecutor Smith said: "anyone in the family could
have administered water, why entail great expense by going to
such an institution." This remark contains a double fabrication.
The implication of commercialization, and that handing a sick
person a glass of water is all there is to fasting.
Those who have studied the fast know that it is not for the
incompetent nor for the well versed layman in serious cases.
Without knowledge of fasting and the principles of Natural Hygiene
there is not enough sustaining force in the individual to conduct
a fast to its proper termination. This knowledge comes by observation
and the proper interpretation of what is observed. Medical doctors,
with me, have watched fasting cases and have seen the organismal
renovation that has occurred, especially in persons considered
by them beyond the help of medicine. These doctors though above
the general practitioner in intelligence, concluded that the
fast is a most intricate method and one that they recognized
as taking study and practice to properly master; yet Smith near
the close of her summation stated: "The only person who
is to determine if a person is to be given nutrition or not (fast)
is a regularly licensed physician." There is no medical
school in the country or in the world where physi
The recent fast of forty-five days by a conscientious objector
in New Jersey was broken by medical doctors with injections of
glucose. The method used to break this fast shows how little
knowledge is possessed concerning the fast by the medical fraternity.
The doctors assumed that the administration of the glucose was
essential, for what they evidently considered a state of hypoglycemia
(low in blood sugar). Yet prior to the breaking of the fast,
the faster was, according to the doctors, in an amazing physical
condition and in no more need of glucose than he was of the many
other nutrients. Glucose taken alone after a fast, especially
by the injection method, is dangerous. Nature produces glucose
(dextrose or grape sugar) associated with other nutrients. It
is a monosaccharide that is found in conjunction with other important
nutrients in fruit. All nutritive substances needed to supply
the wants of the body must enter the alimentary tract. Entrance
gained elsewhere is unnatural and
In order to show that I was incompetent, the prosecution thought
that with a flourish of words, she would make Allopathy replete
with fasting experts. Moreover, if one was to believe the prosecution
the knowledge needed to conduct a patient through a fast (through
crises and minor reactions) is universal and so simple that any
one can supervise a fast. Yet, when she sought to make me out
as an incompetent she said that only "medical doctors"
were learned in fasting.
The attorney for the prosecution was indulging in unusual
mental gymnastics and acrobatics. For her selfish purpose she
attempted to show incompetency where knowledge existed, and competency
were ignorance prevailed.
During the summary of my first trial she said I lacked training
and that "ignorance and incompetency on the part of the
defendant was a very dangerous thing to the community."
This was not a new tactic; for in many of her previous trials
of drugless practitioners she emphasized the lack of education
and ability to help sick people. But as one individual ex-incurable,
that Natural Hygiene had helped, said, "If ignorance and
incompetency gave me a new lease on life, then ignorance and
incompetency is a virtue that should be cultivated by all doctors."
To the prosecution, the fast was a thing insane and inhuman.
She tried to sell this idea to the jury and the judge and hoped
that it would be a point to sway them in her favor. In the summation
of the first trial in what she thought to be one of her salient
points, she said, "The drastic fast was dangerous to a sick
woman, who to begin with was weak and diseased." The outburst
of laughter that this statement brought from the several score,
some of whom had fasted three weeks or more, vividly conveyed
to the greatly astonished prosecutor that the courtroom was filled
with believers in fasting.
At the second trial, in her summation, she again called the
fast dangerous. This time she was more cautious. Instead of a
positive statement her remarks were in the form of a question
and she said concerning the fast: "Can a strong person sustain
that?," and then as though the jury decided the person could
not, "How can a, weak person?"
One can see that the strategy of the prosecution was not logical,
for earlier in her summation she claimed that only a legally
recognized Allopath was capable of conducting a fast. By this
remark she admitted the possibility that the fast was proper,
but not for a Natural Hygienist. This pseudo-authority on Natural
Hygiene took her derisive stand against the fast without even
investigating the first principles of fasting. If Smith had fasted
one person for a day and observed the changes that occur and
then based her conclusions as to the efficacy of the fast upon
this sole experience, she would have some semblance of knowledge
of what the organism does, when alimentation is suspended.
Sixty-five years ago Dr. Henry Tanner, M. D., proved for all
time that a long fast is physiological. He did it in a manner
filled with hardships. Many doctors have been glorified over
the radio and on the screen, and in most cases the basis for
glorification is fictitious. But the life of Dr. Tanner contains
enough true drama to fill two movie scripts. In 1877 Dr. Tanner
fasted 42 days, and what he thought would terminate in death
at the end of ten days resulted in his recovery from a severe
heart condition. Prior to the fast he was so sick that seven
doctors told him that his heart was apt to cease functioning
at any moment. His distress was such that he could not lie down
but had to sleep sitting in a chair. Tired of living he thought
that to cease eating would hasten the end and therefore, embarked
on what he thought was a suicidal course and as he said:
"I had found a short cut out of this vale of tears, and
wilderness of woe', and had made up my mind to pack my trunk
and depart to find rest from physical sufferings in the arms
But instead of dying, he began to improve and on the eleventh
day he was so well that he realized he had discovered a means
of regeneration. On that day he went to a fellow-physician, Dr.
A. Moyer, who upon examining him said: "Why doctor according
to all authority, you ought to be at death's door, but you certainly
look better than I ever saw you before." He was so astonished
that as Dr. Tanner said "he could not believe the evidence
of his own senses." Dr. Tanner then told what he had done.
In an attempt to be witty Dr. Moyer said that if he kept it up
he would go as long as any of the fasters as related in the Old
and New Testaments. Dr. Tanner was not in a humorous mood for
he had realized the importance of his great discovery prior to
seeing the doctor. Dr. Tanner had expected to terminate the fast
but now it had to be defended, so he decided to continue his
fast, and prove that a protracted fast was possible. He fasted
42 days. Dr. Moyer was no longer a doubter and feeling that
I was not willing to run the gauntlet of the scorn, sneers
and ridicule of the law-makers of medical ethics, who would if
they had dared resort to all the tortures of the inquisition
to compel submission to their arbitrary mandates.
Dr. Tanner's guarded secret did not stay that way long. Dr.
Moyer related the fasting experience to another doctor who happened
to be the editor and publisher of the Duluth Herald. From then
on it was sensational news for the press of that locality. The
medical doctors singly and in a group reacted to the fast with
words of denunciation. Dr. Tanner was called a fraud and imposter.
Realizing that his standing in the community was at stake he
proposed to the Henepin County Medical Society of Minn., that
he would fast again for them to observe that a long fast was
possible. Instead of accepting his proposal they met it with
further ridicule. Considered a mad quack Dr. Tanner said he was
shunned by all classes of people high and low, cultured and uncultured.
My business has gone a glimmering; reputation ditto, my old time
friends upon whom I had banked, shunned me as they would a person
with the contagion of small pox in their garments.
In 1879 opportunity offered itself to clear himself of the
stigma, in defense of Mollie Fancher against Dr. W. A. Hammond.
Dr. Hammond had called the fasting girl a fraud and was willing
to pay her one thousand dollars if she fasted 20 days. Dr. Hammond
accepted Dr. Tanner as a substitute. After Dr. Tanner traveled
to New York, Dr. Hammond backed out. Dr. Tanner had so much trouble
and hardships during six weeks in New York that he lost 36 pounds.
His troubles are too lengthy to relate here, but he finally found
a group that would oversee his fast: the United States Medical
College in New York City under the sponsorship of Dr. R. A. Gunn.
The fast began on June 28, 1880 in Clarendon Hall. Watched at
various times by sixty volunteer physicians the watch was as
rigid as "satanic ingenuity could make it." He lay
on a canvas cot, with six gas jets that were lit all night projecting
a glare on his face. The cot was devoid of sheets and mattress,
and he had only a piano spread for a coveri
On the 10th day of the fast Dr. Bradley falsely accused Dr.
Tanner of taking food. The resulting disturbance was so great
that as Dr. Tanner said he was so agitated that it was like fasting
an additional five days. The Herald Tribune expended almost two
thousand dollars after the first week to see that justice was
done and named its own watch for 32 days which consisted of a
double watch of 32 men in 24 hours, not only to watch the faster
but also the other watchers. In an editorial at that time the
Herald Tribune said that the "behaviour of the watchers
was inhuman." The fast attracted so much attention that
close to the end of the fast he received six hundred letters
a day. The fast was broken on August 7th, as Dr. Gunn said amidst
"The deafening chaos and the wild enthusiasm of the audience."
It was a real holiday and Tanner writes of it:
"The hall was crowded with a throng of enthusiastic and
excited people. The streets were a jam for blocks away. Thousands
upon thousands who couldn't find entrance into the hall were
earnest to see the breaking of the fast. Hammond had predicted
my death in less than 24 hours after the breaking event, ministers
congregated in numbers to offer spiritual advice and prepare
me for the change. The pastor of the Strangers Church, a well
meaning man, was particularly anxious to fix my attention on
things pertaining to my eternal welfare, to all of which I turned
a deaf ear, my thoughts were centered on the things of earth
at that hour as never before."
Headlines throughout the Nation acclaimed Dr. Tanner as a
With Dr. Tanner's happy ending one could think that misrepresentation
would no longer exist but apparently the press today is much
more orthodox and medically inclined than it was during Tanner's
day. Even today untruths are published about Dr. Tanner. A few
years ago in a national weekly magazine there appeared an article
on fasting, wherein it was falsely stated that Tanner attempted
to fast forty days "but reconsidered after 14 days."
In this same article another false remark is that Dr. Tanner,
a professional faster, fasted forty days in 1890 and that he
received a thousand dollars and that weakness forced him to give
up. Dr. Tanner was not a professional faster. He sought to prove
that a long fast was possible and, as he said in a letter that
appeared in the New York Times on January 18, 1880, he wanted
to awaken nations and individuals "to thought and action"
concerning the fast: not for money, for all he asked was a suitable
apartment to fast in, all other expenses entailed he
The Associated Press recently (July 11, 1942) in a dispatch
from San Antonio, Texas, again tried to distort the truth about
the fast. The fast was accused of producing a lethal effect and
according to the dispatch that appeared in a Jamestown, N. Y.,
paper a woman "died of starvation as a result of a fasting
treatment." "This woman lived on a diet of water to
which a few dried vegetables were added in the final days of
treatment." Charges were placed against that staunch and
fearless fighter for truth, Dr. H. M. Shelton. The writing of
this dispatch must have been done by a ninconpoop. Who ever heard
of a water diet? A person does not die of starvation as the result
of a fast. Fasting is physiological, while starvation is pathological.
The object of the fast is to suspend nutrition and no food is
given. Water is not a food therefore fasting is not a water diet.
Water (H2O) enters the body, stays there
a certain time and is then eliminated as H2O.
Diet means according to Taber's Medic
As for the dried vegetables, no one in the history of fasting
has ever advocated the use after a fast, of dried lettuce, celery,
spinach, carrots, potatoes or the any other vegetables. A Natural
Hygienist does not give dried vegetables in any form. To read
this report one would certainly come to the conclusion, that
fasting is destructive, but the truth is otherwise. To begin
with the woman had what is considered in medicine as an incurable
disease. Though she fasted 34 days she had been eating two months
before she left Dr. Shelton's place. She died about two weeks
later in a hospital. How could starvation be the cause of her
death? Even if she had died on the fast, it would not have been
the result of the fast, since it was conducted by one of the
few authorities on the fast. The woman was discharged by Dr.
Shelton because she refused to cooperate, showing that lie not
only had a patient with a severe physical condition but one whose
conduct was erratic.
Dr. Tanner would never have believed it possible in 1942,
yet Dr. Shelton's trouble proves that pioneering is not over
and that true health reformers like of yore still exist.
The unpleasantries that we as Natural Hygienists have undergone
and will undergo are not unexpected for we knew before entering
the work that we would have many troublesome days, for as Dr.
James C. Jackson said in a speech on New Year's Day of 1859:
"The man who has settled it,- that he will be faithful to
his convictions happen what may to him or his, must also settle
that he will have trials." And how can it be otherwise for
we have before us as Jackson continues "principles sublime
enough in and of themselves to make a true man glad to spend
his strength in their defense." The laws that govern this
universe have not gone amiss when it makes the path of the Natural
Hygienist so strewn with obstacles, for truth will win even though
eons must pass before victory becomes a reality.
In my trials the prosecution stressed to the jury that since
it was obvious that I was guilty of a crime it was up to them
to see that I could no longer plague the community with my destructive
methods. For, as she stated, "The State has set a high standard
as to who is to practice medicine so as to safeguard the health
of the people," and then continued: "Furthermore, did
this defendant have the qualifications and the right to take
care of hopeless cases." Hopeless cases it is true! Often
have we wished that we could get a few cases that are not hopeless
so as to spare us much depletive work. But since the sick cannot
be forsaken and since to starve practicing Natural Hygiene is
more conducive to my equanimity than getting rich at a much easier
avocation, I will never cease doing this work.
Those who have persecuted the Natural Hygienists should realize
the magnitude of their wickedness. Some day Nature will demand
an accounting. The laws of nature are not nullified for them.
The harm that their efforts have brought to others is only momentary
but the destruction to themselves is much more lasting. As Marcus
Aurelius Antoninus said: "He who does wrong does wrong against
himself. He who acts unjustly acts unjustly to himself, because
he makes himself bad." This is an orderly universe; chaos
has its day, but that day must eventually come to an end.
Those who have aligned themselves against truth must realize,
as Orlando J. Smith says, that:
Everything in Nature, conscious and unconscious, animate and
inanimate, is busily engaged in paying its debts. By what system
is this perfect accounting made? We see no books, observe no
management, and yet the numberless settlements are made with
as much exactness as if each one were superintended by a group
of experts, combining more of knowledge and justice than are
possessed by all of the mathematicians, scientists, thinkers,
philosophers and judges in the world. We cannot explain this
accounting on the theory of chance or accident; we must conclude
that it is the justice which regulates the affairs of the world.
A Natural Hygienist will not allow intolerance and persecution
to alter him but for the better. Moreover, oppression will only
produce more determination to resist the forces of destruction.
Though our enemies bring hardships, ruin can never befall us.
The wise words of Seneca are fitting here:
"Why do many adversities befall good men? i No evil can
happen to a good man; contraries do not unite, just as so many
rivers, so many showers of rain pouring from the heavens, so
great a number of medicinal fountains, do not change the taste
of the sea, nor even modify it, so the shock of adversity does
not affect the mind of a brave man. He remains ready for action,
and whatever happens, he gives to it his own color, for he is
more powerful than all I external circumstances. I do not say
that he does not feel them, but he overcomes them and even quietly
and calmly rises superior to their assaults."
My acquittal is not one that vindicates me, ' but Natural
Hygiene, and one that shows that in this world, tormented by
war, men still understand and see the good there is in Nature