Medically, things were never worse for the world. Discussing arthritis, a television commercial says: "There is no cure, but there is anacin . . . " It was then explained how anacin provides temporary relief from symptoms. This was an advertisement for a patent medicine, television having supplanted the newspapers and billboards as channels through which to purvey such products; but the advertising follows the approved medical line--there is no cure, but we can give you relief. "Palliate the symptoms," "tickle the senses"--this is the rule of practice. Causes are systematically and consistently ignored.

Drugging to relieve symptoms--to relieve a headache, to relieve flatulence, to relieve constipation, to reduce fever, to check a cough, to allay nervousness, etc.--is the common practice. The cause of the headache or of the constipation is completely ignored, both by the patient and his physician. Wine, for example, may "relieve" a sense of flatness and inertness by the momentary glow and fillip of excitement; but the "relief" thus occasioned is "like the heat of a fire of thorns." There is constant inducement to repeat and increase the "remedy." Thus, drug addiction becomes one of the most commonplace facts of modern life.

Medicine is a system of spectacular palliation. A man is in pain. Something must be done. He demands relief and he is determined that the physician's drug and not his own natural powers shall provide the relief. He takes aspirin upon the advice of his physician and while this provides a temporary respite from pain, it causes irritation of the stomach with hemorrhage; or he prescribes a "pain reliever" containing phenacetin, which may provide a few minutes respite from distress, but damages his kidneys. Mankind pays a fearful price for its drug-provided relief.

Basically, there are two ways to handle the sick. These are: (1) remove the causes of the disease; and (2) treat the symptoms with a view to palliating them. The drug system is devoted to palliating symptoms; it does not seek to remove cause. It administers an aspirin, for instance, in headache and ignores the cause of the ache. The patient does not get well of the headache, but does suffer from the drug and does develop a drug habit. Drugging is not the answer to a single one of the many problems presented by human suffering.

Another case in point is the treatment of peptic ulcers, when these are treated with the diets commonly prescribed and the drugs commonly used. It has come to light that scurvy is a frequent result of such treatment. But a few years have elapsed since Donald Berkowitz, M.D., warned that "milk and antacids, the mainstays of therapy for peptic ulcers, may lead to metabolic alterations potentially more serious than the primary disease being treated." He continued by showing that such treatments may produce many changes in the body of the patient, including the evolution of gout. Naming as a new disease pattern what he called the milk-alky syndrome, he called upon the medical profession to realize the "necessity of re-evaluating and re-appraising these therapeutic concepts in the light of newer findings and beliefs, with the hope that these undesirable side-effects of the medical treatment of peptic ulcer be prevented."

For years we have warned that the diets fed in peptic ulcer are deficient or inadequate and tend to the production of deficiency disease. Now, Berkowitz adds to this the fact that the alkalies given for the purpose of palliating the hyperacidity tend to upset the acid-alkali balance of the body and, if continued, lead to the development of alkalosis. How much safer, more convenient, more effective and more sane is the fast followed by a Hygienic program of care and feeding!

Palliation deals with symptoms only. It seeks to deaden pain or relieve discomfort in the shortest possible time and do this with any means at its command. This kind of treatment must always carry the stigma of callous evasion of the necessity to remove the cause of the suffering before health can be restored. Such cures as aspirin for headache, morphine for pain, barbiturates for sleeplessness, Miltown for emotional disturbance, digitalis for the heart, quinine for malaria, mercury or arsenic or penicillin for "syphilis," collapsing the lung for tuberculosis, surgical removal of organs or parts of organs to cure disease, the cause of which is unknown, fail to restore health. This curing program amounts to a smothering of all of man's discomforts with palliation, continuing to palliate so long as it seems to be effective--at the same time, trying to make the sucker like it and continue to pay for it.

How long is it going to take us to distinguish between spectacular palliation and getting down to basic causes and removing these? Any fool can take an aspirin for a headache, but it requires intelligence to ferret out the cause of the headache and remove it. Any ignoramus can trim a corn; it requires more intelligence than most people seem to possess to get a properly fitting shoe. The land is overflowing with people who take an antacid after every meal, but few try to find and remove the cause of their almost perpetual gastric distress. How few correct their mode of eating so that they may enjoy gastric comfort!

Let us take the man whose gastric acidity is so intolerable that he keeps taking alkalies with which to neutralize it--it is never suggested that he remove the cause of the hyperacidity. His meals may well be described as a "heterogeneous comminglement of compounded contrarieties." No matter how much his stomach protests and cries out in pain and sourness, he will continue to eat indigestible mixtures and palliate his symptoms with drugs.

What a depressing prospect lies before the sick who devote most of their time to palliating and suppressing their symptoms. They finally end within the ever-narrowing confines of the vicious circle of symptoms grown to complexity from very simple beginnings. The suppressing, depressing, stimulating, and enervating effects of drugs are not health building under any circumstances of life. When a drug is taken to silence pain, we but defy the warnings of nature. Instead of obeying the admonition that is pain, we slay the messenger boy and pretend that no warning has been given. To remove an organ and ignore the cause of its impairment is to fly in the face of nature.

There is no recovery where cause is not removed. The practitioner who putters with palliatives and treats effects and ignores causes is a pretender, a charlatan. The man who cuts out affected parts of organs and permits cause to continue until it destroys the patient is a criminal.

Drugs and manipulations, heat and cold, electricity and super-sound, prayer and psychological soothing syrups may palliate for a time; but there must inevitably come a time when these fail. There is but one genuine road back to good health and this is a radical about face in the way of life. If disease is the result of gluttony, there can be no restoration of health until the overeating is discontinued. If tobacco is the cause of suffering, nothing short of giving up tobacco will enable the body to return to a state of health. If alcohol is the cause of discomfort, only sobriety will enable the sufferer to evolve into a state of good health. Whatever the habit or habits that are impairing health, they must be discontinued and their places taken by constructive habits of life.