The short answer will be found in a little booklet which I wrote about fifteen years ago. As this booklet is now out of print I quote from page ten of that booklet where I state quite categorically that the primary cause of most disease is toxaemia, and not the deficiency of some element in the diet. I stated further on page fifteen: "I believe that only in rare cases of starvation does true deficiency disease occur".

In order to compare the opinions of various eminent pioneers in the field of natural health, I am listing briefly those factors which they thought were the cause of disease.

Let us begin with the discoverer of Nature Cure, Vincent Priessnitz. In 1829, he said: "Various causes engender vicious juices (meaning body fluids). The principal are: food of bad quality, the excess of good food, the suppression of perspiration, the want of exercise, and mental affliction acting violently upon the system such as anger, sorrow, care and melancholy. The causes of bodily disease, which do not proceed from external injury, are material, and consist of foreign matter introduced into the infected system." Today we would call this condition toxaemia.

Now let us turn to Dr R T Trall in 1880. He attributed disease to toxaemia. In his book The True Healing Art he said this: "There are, aside from accidents—mechanical injuries—but two sources of disease in the world, viz, poisons or impurities taken into the system from without, and effete or waste matters retained."

Three years later, the German naturopath Louis Kuhne, stated in his book The New Science of Healing, that disease was caused by the presence of foreign matter in the body causing what he called an encumbrance.

In 1918, Hereward Carrington stated in his book Fasting, Vitality, and Nutrition that disease was caused by poisonous waste material.

In his book Fundamental and Requirements of Health and Disease, Dr Thomas Powell stated that disease was caused by a poisonous substance which he called a Pathogen. This word is synonymous with toxaemia.

In 1913, Henry Lindlahr in his book The Philosophy of Nature Cure stated that the primary cause of disease is an abnormal composition of the blood and lymph.

In 1916, James C Thomson and Stanley Lief accepted and promoted Lindlahr’s definition of the cause of disease.

In 1926, Dr John H Tilden wrote his book, Toxaemia Explained, in which he stated that the primary cause of all disease is an impaired composition of blood and tissues called toxaemia.

In 1928, Dr Herbert M Shelton adopted Dr Tilden’s definition of toxaemia.

In 1930, Professor Edmond Szekely stated that the lack of internal and external cleanliness was the primary cause of disease.

In 1950, K Lakshmana Sarma of India adopted Louis Kuhne’s encumbrance theory.

On reflection, we come to the conclusion that these eminent authorities all said virtually the same thing, each in his own way—"The primary cause of every disease is an impaired composition of body tissues called toxaemia."

Toxaemia is the name given to the abnormal presence in the blood, lymph, body secretions and cells, of any material which is detrimental to the normal healthy functioning of the human body. If this material is present in sufficient quantities it will impair or degrade the function of organs and essential parts.

As there is a normal amount of toxic material in the human body at all times, we can say that when the amount of toxic material is excessive, toxaemia is in existence. Toxins are being generated every second of our lives and only become hazardous to health when we allow them to accumulate beyond the normal limit of tolerance.

Toxins are caused by the normal breaking down of body tissues by the process called catabolism. Catabolism is the degradative or destructive phase of metabolism which occurs in our normal everyday activities. The normal processes of urination, respiration and perspiration expel this toxic material as fast as it is produced. This elimination of potentially poisonous material keeps the body tissues clean and fresh, thus maintaining good health.

If this normal metabolic activity is impaired or degraded in any way, the elimination of this toxic material is checked or restricted and these toxins are not expelled as quickly as they are produced. They tend to be retained in the body tissues and accumulate there. This abnormal retention leads to toxaemia.

We can say without fear of successful contradiction that toxaemia represents the poisoning of the body by its own abnormally-retained excretions. Efficient and prompt elimination of body wastes is maintained by an ample supply of nerve force or nerve energy, which we now know to be electricity. This nerve force can be lowered by anything in our lifestyle which uses up nerve force in excess of the ability of the body to replenish. Anything in our way-of-life which causes a state of lowered nerve force produces enervation. Enervation means a weakness or reduction of normal nerve strength. This lowered nerve force interferes with the normal elimination of toxic wastes and this results in the body poisoning itself. Self-poisoning is caused by retention of body wastes. Enervation is a state of functional weakness and diminished nerve force.

Every function of the human organism and its many organs is under the direct control of the nervous system. The organs function weakly or strongly depending upon the availability of nerve force. Normally, the flow of nerve force alternates and varies in strength from day to day and from hour to hour depending upon the nature of our activities and the condition of our environment. All of our physical, chemical, emotional, and mental activities influence the availability of nerve force. Our nervous energy is dissipated by all of our human activities and it is conserved and replaced by rest and sleep.

Under normal healthy conditions the body ensures that it gets sufficient rest and sleep in order to recuperate itself after the daily expenditure of nerve force which our lifestyle demands. This is how it should be, but under the pressure of modern civilisation not everyone is able to exist in such perfect conditions. Today, mankind strives for financial gain, social position, political power and eminence in sport or profession. This often leads to people ignoring the signals which the body supplies to tell us that we have exceeded the point of tolerance and that rest is needed. In many cases we ignore the monitor which is warning us. Fatigue is ignored and stimulants are resorted to. These stimulants have two effects. One is intended to spur us on and urge us to continued efforts while the other, the side-effect, causes enervation with its inevitable decreased efficiency and toxaemia. We cannot have one without the other. Every stimulant eventually produces depression and impaired function. Impaired function always follows enervation.

When anything in our lifestyle causes enervation it is followed by impaired function, and gradually we deplete our reserves of nervous energy. The function of our organs gradually deteriorates and their efficiency is lowered.

Naturally, the weaker organs suffer first and most, but inexorably all organs must suffer. Inefficient elimination of toxic wastes, impaired digestion of food, slowing-down of glandular secretions, and inhibition of glandular activity will occur following excessive expenditure of nervous energy. Functional impairment of some kind always follows enervation.

It has been wisely observed that good health depends upon nutrition and drainage. By this is meant an efficient supply of suitable food material coupled with efficient and speedy drainage of body wastes and toxic material from the body cells. By this means internal cleanliness is preserved.

The vital importance of efficient drainage is demonstrated when we reflect upon the fact that if the voiding of urine is suppressed for about two days we can succumb to self-poisoning. Similarly, with the lungs, we must expel carbon dioxide regularly and if this is inhibited for only a few minutes death can ensue.

The normal activities of a human being produce toxic wastes which can poison the body if retained for a long period. Most illnesses are caused by the abnormal retention of body wastes and their absorption into the tissues. If the kidneys, skin and lungs fail to excrete their normal metabolic wastes regularly the accumulation of this autogenic toxin occurs with all of its dire consequences. It will be seen that drainage as well as nutrition is vital for our survival in normal good health.

by Kenneth S. Jaffrey

Extracted from: Jaffrey, Kenneth S. 1973. What Is The Cause Of Disease? Townsville, Australia: Jaffrey.