This section is from the "Nature Cure: Philosophy and Practice Based on the Unity of Disease and Cure" book, by Henry Lindlahr.
Under Division II of "Secondary Causes or Manifestations of Disease" we find mentioned germs, bacteria, parasites, inflammations, fevers, skin eruptions, chronic sinus discharges, ulcers, etc.
Modern medical science is built up upon the germ theory of disease and treatment. Since the microscope has revealed the presence and seemingly entirely pernicious activity of certain microorganisms in connection with certain diseases, it has been assumed that bacteria are the direct, primary causes of most diseases. Therefore, the slogan now is: "Kill the bacteria (by poisonous antiseptics, serums and antitoxins) and you will cure the disease."
The Nature Cure philosophy takes a different view of the problem. Germs cannot be the cause of disease, because disease germs are also found in healthy bodies. The real cause must be something else. We claim that it is the waste and morbid matter in the system which afford the microorganisms of disease the opportunity to breed and multiply.
We regard microorganisms as secondary manifestations of disease, and maintain that bacteria and parasites live, thrive and multiply to the danger point in a weakened and diseased organism only. If it were not so, the human family would be extinct within a few months' time.
The fear instilled by the bacterial theory of disease is frequently more destructive than the microorganisms themselves. We have had under observation and treatment a number of insane patients whose peculiar delusion or monomania was an exaggerated fear of germs, a genuine bacteriophobia.
Keep yourself clean and vigorous from within, and you cannot be affected by disease taints and germs from without.
Bacteria are practically omnipresent. We absorb them in food and drink, we inhale them in the air we breathe. Our bodies are literally alive with them. The last stages of the digestive processes depend upon the activity of millions of bacteria in the intestinal tract.
The proper thing to do, therefore, is not to try and kill the germs, but to remove the morbid matter and disease taints in which they live.
Instead of concentrating its energies upon killing the germs, whose presence we cannot escape, Nature Cure endeavors to in-vigorate the system, to build up blood and lymph on a normal basis and to purify the tissues of their morbid encumbrances in such a way as to establish natural immunity to destructive germ activity. Everything that tends to accomplish this without injuring the system by poisonous drugs or surgical operations is good Nature Cure treatment.
To adopt the germ-killing process without purifying and invigorating the organism would be like trying to keep a house free from fungi and vermin by sprinkling it daily with carbolic acid and other germ killers, instead of keeping it pure and sweet by flooding it with fresh air and sunshine and applying freely and vigorously broom, brush and plenty of soap and water. Instead of purifying it, the antiseptics and germ killers would only add to the filth in the house.
All bacteriologists are unanimous in declaring that the various disease germs are found not only in the bodies of the sick, but also in seemingly healthy persons.
A celebrated French bacteriologist reports that in the mouth of a healthy infant, two months old, he found almost all the disease germs known to medical science. Only lately, a celebrated physician, appointed by the French government to investigate the causes of tuberculosis, declared before a meeting of the International Tuberculosis Congress in Rome that he found the bacilli of tuberculosis in ninety-five percent of all the school children he had examined.
Dr. Osler, one of the greatest living medical authorities, mentions repeatedly in his works that the bacilli of diphtheria, pneumonia and of many other virulent diseases are found in the bodies of healthy persons.
The inability of bacteria, by themselves, to create diseases is further confirmed by the well-known facts of natural immunity to specific infection or contagion. All mankind is more or less affected by hereditary and acquired disease taints, morbid encumbrances and drug poisoning, resulting from age-long violation of Nature's Laws and from the suppression of acute diseases; but even under the almost universal present conditions of lowered vitality, morbid heredity and physical and mental degeneration it is found that under identical conditions of exposure to drafts or infection, a certain percentage of individuals only will take the cold or catch the disease. The fact of natural immunity is constantly confirmed by common experience as well as in the clinics and laboratories of our medical schools and research institutes. Of a specific number of mice or rabbits inoculated with particles of cancer, only a small percentage develops the malignant growth and succumbs to its ravages.
The development of infectious and contagious diseases necessitates a certain predisposition, or, as medical science calls it, "disease diathesis." This predisposition to infection and contagion consists in the primary causes of disease, which we have designated as lowered vitality, abnormal composition of blood and lymph, and the accumulation of waste, morbid matter and poisons in the system.