This section is from the book "The Hygienic System: Fasting And Sun Bathing", by Herbert M. Shelton. Also available from Amazon: The Hygienic System Vol III Fasting and Sun Bathing.
Typhoid fever patients become comfortable in three to four days if the fast is instituted at the "onset" of the "disease," and in from seven to ten days are convalescing. The patient will have such a comfortable sickness and recover so speedily that friends and relatives will declare he was not sick. And, indeed, he will not be very sick.
It requires feeding and drugging to convert those simple natural processes we call acute "diseases" into serious and complicated troubles. It is not possible to have a typical case of typhoid fever, as described in allopathic text-books, without typical text-book treatment. Unthwarted nature never builds such complications and such serious "diseases" as are described in allopathic works. All this mass of pathology is built by drugging, serum squirting and feeding.
In a voluminous work on diet, contributed to by a number of medical authorities in dietetics and edited by G. A. Sutherland, M.D., F.R.C.E., and entitled A System of Diet and Dietetics (published by the Physicians and Surgeons Book Co., of New York City) I find a few interesting paragraphs in the chapter on Diet In Fever and Acute Infectious Disease, contributed by Claude E. Ker, M.D., F.R.C.P., Ed., which are worth quoting. He says, in discussing the "starvation treatment" in enteric fever (typhoid fever):
"The same idea which underlies the empty bowel theory is no doubt responsible for the attempts made to treat enteric fever with either no food by the mouth at all, or at the most with very little quantities. Thus Queirolo has recommended that feeding should be entirely rectal, a lemonade made up with a little hydrochloric acid being the only drink allowed, provided that the bowel of a patient so treated was first emptied by a dose of calomel, or other suitable purgative. Such method of dieting should secure complete rest for the affected parts and absolutely exclude the possibility of fermenting masses of partially digested material lying in the gut. The nutritive value, however, of rectal feeding in a prolonged disease is so limited that this method may be fairly regarded as a treatment by starvation.
"Similar in its objects and effects is the method suggested by Williams, who, believing that the exhausting diarrhea of the fever is due to improper feeding, endeavors to secure that the bowels shall, as far as possible, remain empty. Only water is allowed in severe cases, sometimes for days at a time, and he regards half a pint of milk in twenty-four hours as a liberal diet, seldom apparently exceeding this amount until the temperature is normal. The method seems drastic, but I have reason to know that the cases do remarkably well. I have often marvelled at the amount of starvation which a typhoid case can safely tolerate after a hemorrhage, and it is only rational to suppose that the patient would support starvation even better before such a depressing complication had occurred. Under such a regime Williams probably more nearly attains the ideal of the 'empty bowel' than any other observer. It seems almost incredible that patients so treated should occasionally gain weight and that they do not in any case waste more than patients more liberally fed; but it is, after all, obvious that, if food is not assimilated there is no benefit to be derived from it, and in many cases of enteric fever assimilation is undoubtedly extremely poor.
"The theoretical objection to both these methods of treatment is that, if ulceration has once started such a remarkably low diet would apparently give the intestinal lesions only a poor chance of repair. On the other hand, it is possible that the absence of irritation would go far to counterbalance this defect, apparently as the patient seems to stand the starvation so well. If plenty of water was supplied this would be more easily understood, but some of Williams' patients were limited, for a time at least, to one pint of water per diem, which seems to be a most inadequate amount."
Dr. Ker is unwilling to recommend what he mistakenly calls the "starvation treatment," but thinks there is much to be learned from such things and adds: "It encourages us to starve for two or three days, if necessary, severe cases with marked gastric and intestinal disturbances, probably very much to their advantage. It is, however, unnecessarily severe for the average patient, even while we admit that in enteric fever there is no certainty as to what may happen from day to day."
We have it stated that the exhausting diarrhea of typhoid is probably due to improper feeding.
We have it admitted that a "starvation treatment" seems complete rest for the affected parts of the intestine.
We have it admitted that typhoid patients may "starve" for days and make remarkable improvement during this time.
We have it admitted that they may do this even after a hemorrhage.
We also have it admitted that in this "disease" "assimilation is undoubtedly extremely poor." (It is so poor that there is none). We have it admitted that "starvation" leaves no rotting food in the intestines to irritate and poison the inflamed and ulcerated intestinal wall.
Every one of these things, Hygienists have been pointing out for a hundred years. We have been denounced as "quacks" and "ignorant pretenders" for so doing and our methods have been rejected by the medical profession as a whole, and, even now, the authorities, in adopting our methods in part, and in reporting favorably upon them, neglect to give credit where credit is plainly due.
Dr. Ker overlooks the important fact that where typhoid patients are not fed, ulceration is not likely to occur, and that hemorrhages are extremely rare, while he seems to be wholly unaware of the body's ability to heal wounds, broken bones, open sores, ulcers, etc., while fasting.
The theoretical objection offered to fasting, in enteric fever, is based on ignorance. It completely ignores the preceding statement that "assimilation is undoubtedly extremely poor," and it appears to be made in utter ignorance of the body's own internal resources. The author does not seem to be cognizant of the fact that repair of tissues does go on during a fast. What is more, he overlooks the fact that if feeding is stopped at the "onset" of the "disease" there is not likely to be any ulceration or any hemorrhage. Besides this, the patient is more comfortable and the "disease" of shorter duration--providing no drugging is resorted to. It is encouraging to note that he does not offer, as an objection, the old notion that fasting lowers one's resistance to germs.
The fault I find with the method of Queirolo is that he does not stop feeding at the outset instead of waiting until the "disease" becomes well developed and not that it is "too severe for the average patient." On the contrary, it is the easiest, safest and best plan. The feeding and drugging plan is the drastic plan; the plan than intensifies and prolongs the patient's suffering. It is no ordeal to do without food in acute illness. The ordeal consists in eating at such times. All we ask when acutely sick is to be let alone and to be free of worry of any kind.