This section is from the "Impaired Health: Its Cause And Cure" (Volume 1) book, by John H. Tilden. Also available from Amazon: Impaired health its cause and cure: A repudiation of the conventional treatment of disease
Animate agents which have to do with the life and health of man may be divided into Parasites and Microbes, or Bacteria.
Parasites, in biology, are organisms that inhabit another organism and obtain nourishment from it. Microbes, or bacteria, are micro-organisms which should be thought of as yeast fungi, and as the inciters of fermentation, which are as necessary to man as his own unorganized ferments--his digestive secretions. These fungi, or germs, may be divided into as many genera and species as the microscope and the imagination of the bacteriologist may suggest. That the explorers of the microscopic world have some excuse for the infinite number of varieties already discovered, there is no question; for these infinitely small beings have the habit of taking on an individuality, or personality, in keeping with the chemic changes of the medium with which they are correlated. Instead of the bacteria setting up changes peculiar to themselves, they excite fermentation; and the resultant is the sum of the elements involved. These microbes become putrefactive germs when they carry their ferment to nitrogenous--protein--matter. The germ subject is wonderfully simplified when we know that the metamorphosis is in keeping with the chemistry, or the chemic changes taking place in the medium.
Ferments are divided into two classes--namely, unorganized, or enzymes, and organized, or bacteria, or microbes. The unorganized are produced by animal and vegetable life. Enzyme is a product of all living cells; without it there could be no tissue formation. Pepsin is a type of animal ferment, and the so-called vitamin is one of the refined products of metabolism.
When man's body is normal, the digestive secretions--the unorganized ferments--are quite sufficient protection against the metamorphosis of microbes into toxic germs in numbers great enough to do the body harm from the fermentation and decomposition which they may set up in the food intake.
When man's digestive and assimilative powers are reduced, and he fails to digest the food intake, the ever-present germs establish a pathological fermentation which hastens the disorganization and exit from the body of the superfluous food.
The monistic doctrine--the theory of the unity of all things--appears most rational, and should be satisfying to the most philosophic mind. When used medically, it clears the mind on the subject of cause and effect, wiping out many fallacies and superstitions
The negative and the positive, the good and the bad, health and disease, life and death, are two different states of one and the same thing. Of course, this is a theory that the child-mind cannot be expected to grasp instantly; for it requires a very great experience, and much reflection; it requires a priori--beforehand--knowledge, and a posteriori--from experience--knowledge.
In applying the monistic philosophy to digestion, a posteriori--according to experience--we know that digestion is carried on by ferments which are secreted by the body. In keeping with the great truth of the unity of all things, and the dual attributes of all things, a priori we reason that, if digestion is carried on by a ferment--a physiological ferment--indigestion must be the negative side of this phenomenon--it must be a pathological ferment. We must have indigestion if we have digestion; one is the reverse of the other, and one is as necessary as the other. If physiological digestion (fermentation) does not take place, then pathological fermentation (digestion) must; for action and reaction are going on all the time; nothing stands still.
Since Pasteur et al. discovered that there are microorganisms everywhere, which only await a favorable condition to set up fermentation, we reason, a priori, that this fermentation is the other half of physiological digestion or fermentation; and, in harmony with this monistic philosophy, this phenomenon--pathological fermentation--is necessary and physiologically conservative, rather than pathologically destructive.
Bacteriology assumes, a priori, that bacterial ferments cause disease; but all the cures based upon this assumption have failed, and all the testimony advanced in support of it has been more partisan than loyal to truth.
It is reasonable to assume that the ever-present bacteria, or germs of fermentation, are as necessary for physiological fermentation as they are necessary for pathlogical fermentation. Without the aid of these neutral germs of fermentation, it is doubtful whether the unorganized ferments--the digestive ferments of the body (ptyalin, pepsin, et al.)--would be capable of serving the great purpose of nutrition. I say "neutral," as they are found unchanged in nature. But they may be converted into allies or enemies--it all depends upon the chemic nature of the medium. It should always be borne in mind that yeast per se is non-toxic; toxicity is developed by the chemic changes which take place in disorganization. Food is disorganized when pathological digestion fits it for expulsion from the body.
These friends of man, against which Pasteur and Metchnikoff warred, and the influences of which in their own bodies they possibly were successful in controlling sufficiently to render them both semi-invalids, are in reality for man's good rather than his bane.
In this connection, perhaps it would be well to reflect, or to assume a priori, that when mind enters potentially into a compound in which the microbe, or ferment, and nitrogen, or protein, are associated, the character of the resultant must take the form of the mental concept. That is, the toxin that develops must correspond to the chemic change; but the form of the disease must be mentally directed. The disease may be a hydrophobia, a syphilis, or a tuberculosis. The location of the disease is perhaps chemically directed, but the type of symptoms may be directed by the mental concept.
To be more specific: A person is bitten by a supposedly mad dog. This fact starts a chain of morbid suggestions and expectations. Fear perverts digestion; pathological fermentation supplants physiological fermentation; the microbe, or neutral ferment, is made to take on a toxicity in keeping with the chemic agents involved; and all are given form by the mental suggestion, plus the added compound, protein-serum injection, known as the Pasteur serum. When the element of fear cannot be overcome, it is well to keep in mind the possibility that antitoxin serums may be reconverted into toxins and act contrary to expectation. Psychology must be considered.