I have described some of my successful heart cases, but, of course, I have had failures. Unfortunately many of my failures were caused by my patients. Nothing is more dangerous for a patient than too rapid a recovery, which often causes him to get reckless. Mrs. M. herself had a bad set-back or two through taking risks, running after a bus when she had been strictly forbidden to run, etc.
I had a very similar case to Mrs. M. The woman in question was doing wonderfully well and I had told her very strictly not to take any risks, not to rush, and to avoid excitement. Her daughter-in-law was to have a baby. Being an excellent mother and mother-in-law, she went around at the critical moment. Labour pains began as soon as she arrived, there was no nurse and the doctor had not come. She got terribly excited, rushed about frantically, trying to fetch help and help her daughter-in-law, collapsed and died.
There was in the West End of London a most devoted couple, a Mr. and Mrs. A.F.D. They were childless. They lived for one another. Mr. D. was fond of social life, he liked tobacco and alcohol, and he had a weak heart and a high blood pressure, which frequently go together. It got worse and worse. One day he went to a Harley Street consultant and he was horrified to be told that he had a blood pressure of 300 and that his heart had gone to pieces.
He refused to accept this opinion, he went immediately to two other consultants, who confirmed the ghastly verdict of the first. Totally broken down by the stunning news he sought his wife and told her that all was over with him. With bitter tears in her eyes she knelt down and prayed that God should send her a saviour.
At that very moment a friend of mine, Sir R.P., was walking in a street nearby and it occurred to him that he might call on Mrs. D He did so, found her in tears with her husband weeping as well. He was thunderstruck and suggested: “Send for Mr. Ellis Barker.” I saw the pair on the next day and I noticed that the husbands face was jaundiced, drawn, greasy-looking, and that his eyes were very watery.
These are indications of salt-poisoning. He told me about his blood pressure and his symptoms and showed me his prescriptions, which seemed to me worthless. “Did your doctor or did the consultants tell you anything about your diet?” “Not a word.” It came out that the man took large quantities of meat, strong coffee, strong tea, alcohol, and smoked numerous cigarettes, a deadly combination in a heart case. It appeared that he took in the course of the day a tablespoonful of salt and he took other condiments as well in huge quantities.
In view of the very clearly marked symptoms of salt-poisoning, I gave him a stringent diet from which all heating and irritating things were eliminated, forbade absolutely the use of salt in cooking or at the table, and gave him Natrum muriaticum 30, dose of three pilules to be taken three times a day.
Natrum muriaticum is table slat, and I gave it to him in the 30th potency, which means by the decillionth of a grain. A decillionth is 1 with 60 noughts behind it. In this high potency salt is a very powerful remedy. It is my favourite prescription in cases of salt poisoning. Mr. D. started improving at once and the homoeopathic medicine caused him to sweat salt from every pore. A few days after our first meeting he told me laughingly: “You cant deprive me of my beloved salt.
If I want to have a taste of it, I need only lick my lips or my hands. They taste like concentrated salt.” He also spat out phlegm tasting like concentrated salt. In a few weeks he had improved greatly. His blood pressure rapidly went down from 300 to 180.
A little while after this he went to his club in the West End, where he met some of his friends. They wished to celebrate his marvellous recovery. There were cocktails and wines with which salmon, beef and game pie were washed down, there were Stilton, ices and strong black coffee and brandy to wind up with, and then they smoked. Unfortunately Mr. D. took all these things which I had strictly forbidden. When the meal was over he stepped into his car to drive home. Suddenly he felt like dying.
He pulled up the car and sat helpless for more than two hours, gasping for breath. That glorious meal was the turning point. Up till then he had reacted magnificently to treatment. The debauch finished him. He went down steadily. He tried a number of doctors and consultants, but the utmost skill of the doctors, both allopathic and homoeopathic, and the sleepless devotion of Mrs. D. proved unavailing. He had improved too quickly.
Frequently people with high blood pressure come to me and report that they have been told by their doctors that nothing can be done for high blood pressure, that the hardened pipes through which the blood is running with difficulty cannot be widened by any possible means. Whether this often-heard statement is correct or not, I do not know.
The body has unsuspected powers of rebuilding and of repair, if rightly treated. Very likely hardened arteries will remain hard if the sufferer is given iodine or some compound of it perfunctorily. Possibly the hardened arteries may be favourably influenced by wisely chosen diet, which cannot possibly do any harm, but may do some good. Possibly facts may be helpful. At any rate there is second factor, apart from the size of the arteries, which has to be considered in a case of high blood pressure.
I habitually explain to patients that far more pressure is required to drive a thick liquid through a given system of pipes than a thin liquid. Far more pressure would be needed to drive tar through a one-inch pipe than to drive water through a one-inch pipe. Usually people with high blood pressure have thick blood. In the olden times such peoples were bled profusely. This was very beneficial to the patients. The loss of blood was immediately made good by water from the tissues and the thick blood was promptly made thin.
Medicine is ruled not by sense but by fashion. A century ago practically all patients were bled profusely, whether they needed it or not. If a doctor attended a case where injury had been inflicted by a sudden accident, he would probably immediately bleed him, even if the accident had already resulted in great loss of blood. Had he refused to do so, he might have been censured by his colleagues or might have been lynched by the populace. Hahnemann protested with the utmost vigour against the indiscriminate bleeding of patients.
Bleeding was considered the most important procedure in treatment. Hence, when, a century ago, an important new medical journal was started in London, it was given the title The Lancet. Nowadays hardly one doctor in a hundred uses the lancet or knows how to apply leeches. The subcutaneous syringe rules supreme, and it is used as indiscriminately and as foolishly as lancet and leeches were used a century ago. The mania of treating everything with serums will, of course, disappear.
It is doing infinite harm to the patients of the present. Doctors had better study once more the art of bleeding and leeching which is once more being employed by a few medical men who use their brains.
The thinning of the blood can be affected by dietetic regulation which is apt to reduce blood pressure gradually in practically all cases, especially if it is accompanied by bowel regulation. People with high blood pressure usually suffer from constipation and auto-intoxication and they live as a rule on a concentrated, stimulating and heating diet, which is supposed to give them strength, but which in reality weakens them, keeping the blood thick and the blood pressure high.
In nearly all cases which have come under my care I have been able to reduce blood pressure considerably by dietetic means alone. If the blood pressure is brought down by drugs, the improvement will not last. As soon as the drug is withdrawn, blood pressure shoots up again.
On the 4th February, 1932, Mrs. B.A.B., wrote to me from Birmingham:.
“My mother-in-low, who is 70, has had two very severe heart attacks, and other minor ones. Up to this age she has enjoyed fairly good health, and had no attack whatever. These attacks come on at night and the specialist says she will always be subject to them and that to the end of her days, which will be short if she has any severe ones. She must consider herself an invalid.
The trouble is high blood pressure which causes the walls of the heart to collapse. It is really tragic for her to realize what all this means. Could you suggest a diet or other means whereby her days may be made less wearisome. I should be most grateful if you could give me some advice”.
With the usual brutal crudeness a specialist, considering only the mechanical action of the heart and the deteriorated state of the arteries, had made a statement which gave the invalid no hope, but filled her with despair, aggravating her condition. I immediately asked the usual questions, which the specialist had not asked, as to her way of living, diet, etc. Her daughter informed me that Mrs. lived on white meat and fish, milky foods, etc. by doctors orders. A white diet may e very artistic.
It harmonises with the white walls of hospitals, the white dresses of nurses, and it may suggest purity or cleanliness to the brainless. But white meat and fish become as putrid in a stagnant bowel as “butchers meat” which was not allowed by Mrs. Bs advisers. She was very constipated, and had been given tonics for her heart, and she did not perspire at all. On the basis of the information given by her daughter and of a photograph, I sent on the 2nd March directions to the old lady whom I had never seen, worded as follows:.
“You are 70 years old, not a very great age, you look somewhat flabby, and you are troubled with your heart and nerves. The health of the heart and of the nerves depends on their nutrition. I hope to strengthen both vastly by purifying and strengthening your blood and body, and I hope you will help me and become rejuvenated. I have handled successfully far more serious heart cases than yours.
“Go to stool three times a day, whether you feel the need or not, but do not strain.
“Take three times a day, three-quarters of an hour before meals, about a tablespoonful of liquid paraffin, you regulating quantities by results. Stools should be as loose as cow dung and as yellow as mustard. Having swallowed the paraffin, sip half a tumblerful of cold water.
“Breakfast. Thick barley gruel with plenty of milk in it, a lightly boiled, poached or a raw egg stirred in milk, stale whole meal bread and thin butter, grated mild meagre cheese, two cups of very weak China tea, slightly sweetened.
“Mid-day meal. Vegetables boiled without salt or soda in the minimum of water, vegetable water to be reduced by cooking separately, and to be drunk at some convenient time, mashed potatoes done with plenty of milk the potatoes used for this purpose should be boiled in their jackets a lightly boiled, poached, or a raw egg stirred in milk pudding or macaroni cheese.
“Afternoon tea, two cups of very weak China tea, slightly sweetened, with little stale wholemeal bread, thinly buttered, and honey if liked.
“Evening meal. More or less like mid-day meal.
“After evening meal. Sip vegetable water.
“Before going to bed, take hot footbath, strengthened with mustard to improve circulation, and to draw blood away from heart and head. Have the headposts of your bed gradually raised with the same object in view, have some extra pillows under your head, and have two hot water bottles to your feet. Get up very slowly and gradually, particularly if you have to make water or empty your bowel.
“Report progress once a week and act with wise discrimination, not with mechanical obedience to these directions, for no one understands the working of your body better than you do yourself. If you are in difficulties, write at once.”.
She was given a small dose of Sulphur 3x night and morning to clear the blood and re-establish perspiration, and she was to take between meals a dose of Crataegus 1x. The diet was rich in mineral elements and vitamins, was not heating and was likely to strengthen her body. In the introductory paragraph and in an accompanying letter I had given the patient every possible encouragement. She felt hopeful and confident and gradually forgot the gloomy forecasts of her former doctor and the heart specialist.
Medicines were frequently changed. She was given Ceanothus 1x because her spleen was enlarged, etc. On April 18th, six weeks after the beginning of the treatment, her daughter wrote: “My mother-in-law is doing remarkably well and has gone out to tea, looking quite well and walking with quite strong steps and upright. Various people have seen her lately and remarked how very much better she is doing and looking.” She improved steadily and became a totally different woman. Her daughter-in-law wrote to me on June 21st.
“I know that my mother-in-low is ever so much better. The doctors and the specialist said she would be a confirmed invalid. When she started your treatment she spent all her hours lying down. Now she rests in all about two hours each day”.
On October 10th I was told:.
“My mother-in-low has had a most wonderful summer, walking a good deal and everybody remarking how well she looked. It is a twelve month now since she had her first attack.”.
A few months later the daughter-in-low considered Mrs. B. cured.