This section is from the "Nature Cure: Philosophy and Practice Based on the Unity of Disease and Cure" book, by Henry Lindlahr.
With regard to the origin of the modern treatment of typhoid fever, however, the learned doctor is either misinformed or he misrepresents the facts. The credit for the introduction of hydropathic treatment of typhoid fever does not belong to the "remarkable experiments of the Paris and Vienna schools." These schools and the entire medical profession fought this treatment with might and main. For thirty years Priessnitz, Bilz, Ruhne, Father Kneipp and many other pioneers of Nature Cure were persecuted and prosecuted, dragged into the courts and tried on the charges of malpractice and manslaughter for using their sane and natural methods. Not until Dr. Braun of Berlin wrote an essay on the good results obtained by the hydropathic treatment of typhoid fever and it had in that way received orthodox baptism and sanction, was it adopted by advanced physicians all over the world.
Through the Nature Cure treatment of typhoid fever, the mortality of this disease has been reduced from over fifty percent under the old drug treatment to less than five percent under the water treatment.
But the average medical practitioner has not yet learned from the Nature Cure school, that the same simple fasting and cold water which cure typhoid fever so effectively, will just as surely and easily cure every other form of acute disease, as, for instance, scarlet fever, diphtheria, smallpox, cerebrospinal meningitis, appendicitis, etc. Therefore, we claim that there is no necessity for the employment of poisonous drugs, serums and antitoxins for this purpose.
Referring to the last two sentences of Dr. Osler's article, homeopaths have, as a matter of fact, lost less patients than allopaths. The effect of homeopathic medicine, moreover, is not altogether negative, as Dr. Osler implies. The discovery of the minute cell as the basis of the human organism on the one hand and of the unlimited divisibility of matter on the other hand explains the rationality of the infinitesimal dose. Health and disease are resident in the cell; therefore, the homeopath doctors the cell, and the size of the dose has to be apportioned to the size of the patient.
When Dr. Osler says that most drugs have no effect whatsoever, he makes a serious misstatement. While they may not contribute anything to the cure of the disease for which they are given, they are often very harmful in themselves.
Almost every virulent poison known to man is found in allopathic prescriptions. It is now positively proved by the Diagnosis from the Eye that these poisons have a tendency to accumulate in the system, to concentrate in certain parts and organs for which they have a special affinity and then to cause continual irritation and actual destruction of tissues. By far the greater part of all chronic diseases are created or complicated on the one hand by the suppression of acute diseases by means of drug poisons, and on the other hand through the destructive effects of the drugs themselves.
Dr. Schwenninger, the medical adviser of Prince Bismarck, and later of Richard Wagner, the great composer, has published a book entitled The Doctor. This work is the most scathing arraignment and condemnation of modern medical practice, especially of poisonous drugs and of surgery. Dr. Treves, the body physician of the late King Edward of England, is no less outspoken in his denunciation of drugging than Drs. Osler and Schwenninger.
Just a few men like these, foremost in the medical profession, who have achieved financial and scientific independence, can afford to speak so frankly. The great majority of physicians, even though they know better, continue in the old ruts so as to be considered ethical and orthodox, and in order to hold their practice. It is not the medical profession that has brought about this reform in the treatment of typhoid fever and other diseases. They have been forced into the adoption of the more advanced natural methods through the pressure of the Nature Cure movement in Germany and elsewhere.
Dr. Osler's statements, made with due deliberation in a contribution to the Encyclopedia Americana, are certainly a frank declaration as to the uselessness of drug treatment, and on the other hand, an unqualified endorsement of natural methods of healing.
But it seems to me that Dr. Osler pours out the baby with the bath water, as we say in German. That is, I am inclined to think that his opinion regarding the ineffectiveness of drugs is entirely too radical. There is a legitimate scope for medicinal remedies insofar as they build up the blood on a natural basis and serve as tissue foods.
Many people who have lost their faith in "Old School" methods of treatment have swung around to the other extreme of medical nihilism. In fact, Dr. Osler himself stands accused of being a medical nihilist.
Many of those who have adopted natural methods of living and of treating diseases have acquired an actual horror of the word medicine. However, this extreme attitude is not justified.
It also appears that some of the readers of my writings are under the impression that we of the Nature Cure school absolutely condemn the use of any and all medicines. This, however, is not so.