This section is from the "Nature Cure: Philosophy and Practice Based on the Unity of Disease and Cure" book, by Henry Lindlahr.
We do condemn the use of drugs insofar as they are poisonous and destructive and insofar as they suppress acute diseases or healing crises, which are Nature's cleansing and healing efforts; but on the other hand we realize that there is a wide field for the helpful application of medicinal remedies insofar as they act as foods to the tissues of the body and as neutralizers and eliminators of waste and morbid materials.
In every form of chronic disease there exists in the system, on the one hand, an excess of certain morbid materials, and on the other hand, a deficiency of certain mineral constituents, organic salts, which are essential to the normal functions of the body.
Thus, in all anemic diseases the blood is lacking in iron, which picks up the oxygen in the air cells of the lungs and carries it into the tissues, and in sodium, which combines with the carbonic acid (coalgas) that is constantly being liberated in the system and conveys it to the organs of depuration, especially the lungs and the skin. In point of fact, oxygen starvation is due in a much greater degree to the deficiency of sodium and the consequential accumulation of carbonic acid in the system (carbonic acid asphyxiation) than to the lack of iron in the blood, as assumed by the regular school of medicine.
Foods or medicinal remedies which will supply this deficiency of iron and sodium in the organism will tend to overcome the anemic conditions.
The great range of uric acid diseases, such as rheumatism, calculi, arteriosclerosis, certain forms of diabetes and albuminuria, are due, on the one hand, to the excessive use of acid-producing foods, and on the other hand, to a deficiency in the blood of certain alkaline mineral elements, especially sodium, magnesium and potassium, whose office it is to neutralize and eliminate the acids which are created and liberated in the processes of starchy and protein digestion.
In another chapter I have explained the origin and progressive development of uric-acid diseases. Our volume on Natural Dietetics will contain additional proof that practically all diseases are caused by, or complicated with, acid conditions in the system.
Any foods or medicines which will provide the system with sufficient quantities of the acid-binding, alkaline mineral salts will prove to be good medicine for all forms of acid diseases.
The mineral constituents necessary to the vital economy of the organism should, however, be supplied in the organic form. This will be explained more fully in subsequent pages.
From what I have said, it becomes apparent that it is impossible to draw a sharp line of distinction between foods and medicines. All foods which serve the above-named purposes are good medicines, and all nonpoisonous herb extracts, homeopathic and vitochemical remedies that have the same effect upon the system are, for the same reason, good foods.
The medical treatment of the Nature Cure school consists largely in the proper selection and combination of food materials. This must be so. It stands to reason that Nature has provided within the ranges of the natural foods all the elements which Man needs in the way of food and medicine.
But it is quite possible that, through continued abuse, the digestive apparatus has become so weak and so abnormal that it cannot function properly, that it cannot absorb and assimilate from natural foods a sufficient quantity of the elements which the organism needs. In such cases it may be very helpful and indeed imperative to take the organic mineral salts in the forms of fruit, herb and vegetable juices, extracts or decoctions. Among the best of these food remedies are extracts of leafy vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, Scotch kale, cabbage, Swiss chard, etc. These vegetables are richer than any other foods in the positive mineral salts. The extract may be prepared from one or more of these vegetables, according to the supply on hand or the tolerance of the digestive organs and the taste and preference of the patient. They should be ground to a pulp in a vegetable grinder, then pressed out in a small fruit press, which can be secured in any department store. One or two teacups per day will be sufficient to supply the needs of the system for mineral salts. This extract should be prepared fresh every day.
Then there are the Kneipp Herb Remedies. Most of these are the Hausmittel [home remedies] of the country population of Germany which have proved their efficacy since time immemorial. Their medicinal value lies in the organic mineral salts which they contain in large quantities and in beneficial combinations.
The homeopathic medications, as will be explained at length in another chapter, produce their good results because they work in harmony with the Laws of Nature.
We never hesitate, therefore, to prescribe for our patients homeopathic medicines, herb decoctions and extracts, and the vitochemical remedies which assist in the elimination of morbid matter from the system and in building up blood and lymph on a normal basis, that is, remedies which supply the organism with the mineral elements in which it is deficient in the organic, easily assimilable form. Herein lies the legitimate scope of medicinal remedies.
All medicinal remedies which build up the system on a normal, natural basis and increase its fighting power against disease without in any way inflicting injury upon the organism are welcome to the adherents of the Nature Cure methods of treatment.
On the other hand, we do not use any drugs or medicines which tend to hinder, check or suppress Nature's cleansing and regenerating processes. We never give anything in the least degree poisonous. We avoid all anodynes, hypnotics, sedatives, antipyretics, laxatives, cathartics, etc. Judicious fasting, cold-water applications and, if necessary, warm-water injections in case of constipation will do everything that is claimed for poisonous drugs.