AT the back of the cavity of the mouth to the right and left of the tongue there are two round lumpy excrescences called the tonsils. The existence of the tonsils is, as a rule, disregarded until there is a feeling of discomfort. The tonsils are small organs which are meant to swell and decrease like the glands at the side of the neck. If they become considerably enlarged they create an unpleasant sensation and they may make swallowing difficult.
When we have a feeling of physical discomfort we are apt to go to the doctor. If we complain about a sense of fullness and heat at the back of the throat, the doctor will look into our mouths and will say : The tonsils must come out.” Doctors and surgeons look upon local conditions as if they were purely local, as if they needed only local treatment, as if every part was an independent entity which led a life totally apart from the body as a whole.
Every year millions of tonsils are cut out by doctors and surgeons throughout the civilized world. That operation has become a mania very profitable to the medical profession but very disadvantageous to the people as a whole. Doctors and surgeons tell us that the tonsils are of no particular use and that they should be cut out as soon as there are indications of abnormality such as swellings and more or less unimportant septicity.
The tonsils are not unnecessary structures but they are apparently organs of elimination. If one rubs some Indian ink on the gums the black colour appears after a little while on the tonsils. The black substance has been absorbed by the gums, has gone into the blood stream and is excreted by the tonsils.
We know far too little about the functions of the tonsils. I have seen large numbers of people who have cursed the day when their tonsils were taken out. They have never felt well since. On the other hand there are people who enthusiastically proclaim that ever since they underwent tonsillectomy they felt in much better health and no longer suffered from colds, etc. Excisions of the tonsils, like so many other operations, are somewhat speculative. Sometimes they do good, sometimes they do harm.
At any rate it has become clear to many thinking doctors that the reckless excision of tonsils by the thousand is an outrage. I have seen doctors examine the mouths of children at school, and say in about fifty per cent. of the cases, “The tonsils must come out.” It is amazing that parents are foolish enough to obey these directions made without sufficient knowledge.
I have a very large clientele. I have seen an enormous number of patients who complained about enlarged or septic tonsils, but so far I have never found it necessary to have any tonsils cut out. In practically all cases the trouble can be cured without operation. After all, providence knew what she was doing when creating the human body. There is not a superfluous organ or structure. We do not know the exact functioning of the tonsils, and therefore tonsils are cut out with the same recklessness with which appendixes are operated upon.
There are specialists engaged in appendix operations who demand that the appendix should be cut out as a routine measure. There have been abdominal surgeons who have demanded that all colons should be cut out, there have been kidney specialists who have demanded that all kidneys should be stitched up, etc. Some specialists are a danger to the community.
I, personally, have had enlarged tonsils all my life. Occasionally they have given a little trouble, but they have always adjusted or re-adjusted themselves, and I have always disregarded the recommendations of medical men who have looked down my throat and have advised that a tonsillectomy should be effected.
Homoeopaths are not in favour of unnecessary operations. In most homoeopathic text-books we find directions how to cure enlarged or septic tonsils. It is quite an easy matter if we look at the body as a whole, not merely at the enlarged or septic tonsils. In some of the homoeopathic text-books I have read statements that 90 per cent. of all tonsils can be cured homoeopathically. I am inclined to think that the true proportion is either 99 per cent. or 99.9 per cent.
The average homoeopath looks only at the tonsils and recommends treatment in accordance with the symptoms observed in the tonsils. I have found it necessary in the case of diseased tonsils to study the condition of the body as a whole, and then one can deal successfully with tonsils of every kind however badly diseased they may be, and however emphatically their immediate removal is urged by distinguished throat specialists.
Enlarged or septic tonsils are an unmistakable sign that something is wrong with the body. It is difficult to imagine diseased tonsils in a perfectly healthy body. The thing seems to me illogical and therefore inconceivable. In some cases of enlarged or septic tonsils one can quickly discover the cause. Very frequently the cause is to be found in a more or less generalized septicity. If there is a foul bowel, or if there are grossly neglected teeth, the tonsils can be normalized by regulating the bowel or attending to the teeth.
As a rule there is not a cause but numerous causes which in their conjunction are responsible for the swelling or septicity of the tonsils. In other words, the tonsils are a kind of indicator of the general health of the body. One might compare them to the barometer in the hall. One cannot improve the weather by smashing the barometer.
Some time ago a man came to me bringing his little girl who was about ten years old. The doctor had ordered the excision of the tonsils. The father did not like the idea of an operation and brought the child to me for my opinion. The child looked in poor condition. Her eyes had no sparkle, her hair had no sheen, her face was pale and anaemic, she looked depressed, was poorly nourished and seemed ill-grown.
I wanted to study the body as a whole, so I asked the father to undress the child completely. He objected : “But it is only the tonsils which are at fault.” I replied : “I wish to study the body as a whole, not merely the tonsils.” Reluctantly and grumblingly he assisted in undressing the child. As soon as the child was undressed I pointed out that she had a rupture in the right side of the abdomen, of which the father and doctor had had no previous knowledge.
I then pointed out to him that the child had a very poor chest, a very impure body skin, that she was knock-kneed, that her ankles turned, that she had flat feet and that her hair looked dead. Then I noticed that some pus came from the ears. I ran my hand along her body and I found that the child had a temperature. I put the thermometer in her mouth and found to my surprise she had several degrees of fever.
I told the father to dress the child as quickly as possible, take her home, put her to bed, and fetch the doctor to observe the child. There was a possibility of measles or some other feverish disease developing. Father and daughter departed. I immediately sent dietetic directions and some medicine partly to build up the body of the child as a whole, partly in order to deal with the discharge from the ears which possibly was responsible for the fever. The ears are very near the brain, and the danger of infection from the ears spreading to the brain might have been responsible for the fever, which would have been a very suitable warning of danger.
The next day the father reported to me that the doctor had called. He did not know the cause of the fever but suggested that it was due to the tonsils. However, he said that the tonsils could not be cut out so long as the child was feverish. He therefore, had, reluctantly, to hold his hand. He expressed the opinion that the rupture should be treated surgically, and he gave neither advice nor medicine as regards the fever of the child.
The childs fever disappeared promptly, and so did the discharge from the ear, for which I had prescribed Mercury. I continued treating the girl for about six weeks, and then she was brought to me again. She looked totally different. She was merry and bright, her eyes sparkled, her hair was glossy, her complexion had improved, she had red cheeks and had gained a few pounds in weight. Once more the child was undressed. When she first came to me she was knock-kneed, had weak ankles and flat feet.
I had steadily given her Calcarea phosphorica 3x night and morning. As a result her legs had straightened, ankles and arches of feet had improved greatly, and the strengthening of the tissues had caused the disappearance of the rupture. For blood-clearing purposes I had given at the same time Sulphur. The effect was that the body skin was no longer pimply and blotched. The child was vastly improved, had a good appetite, was cheerful and happy and full of energy.
When the child came to me first I had not had time to look at the tonsils because after the inspection of the body as a whole I had sent her home to bed. The father had told me at the first interview that the child had to sleep with her mouth open because of the enlarged tonsils, and that she complained about fullness in the throat. At the second interview I asked the father: “Does the child still complain about an obstruction in the throat, and does she still sleep with her mouth open ?”
He replied : “No, she no longer complains about her throat, and she sleeps with her mouth closed.” I smilingly replied : “I did not look at the tonsils six weeks ago, and I suppose I need not look at them now. If she has no discomfort in the throat and if her breathing at night is normal, with a closed mouth, the tonsils must have shrunk greatly. I suppose I really need not look at them.” That ended the treatment for tonsillitis in the case of this little girl.
Scores of people have brought me their children. In every case I was told that the doctor had ordered the excision of the tonsils. Doctors, like dictators, do not give r recommendations, they give orders. In every case the tonsils became normal without operation. After all, an operation causes a considerable physical and mental shock, and also causes great expenditure, both of which seem to be avoidable.
In the case of the little girl Calcarea Phosphorica, the need of which was shown by the condition of the bones and ligaments of legs and feet, proved curative. If the tonsillar swelling is worse on the right side, then Lycopodium should be given which acts particularly on the right side of the body.
If the left tonsil is bigger than the right, then one should consider one of the remedies which act particularly on the left side of the body, especially Lachesis, which I usually give in the 6th centesimal potency, and Thuja which I give in any potency from the 1x upwards. Thuja is particularly indicated if there is any evidence or suspicion of vaccinial poisoning. Children of the Sulphur type need Sulphur. Children who are fat, flabby and have a sour smell about their bodies and have clammy hands and feet should be given Calcarea carbonica.
Enlargement of the tonsils is very frequently an indication of a tubercular tendency. Hence I am apt to give Bacillinum 30 or 200 once a week, which may do very great service and which cannot possibly do any harm. If tonsils are septic then any of the septicity remedies may produce a cure. I like to employ Gunpowder in the 3x potency, a dose night and morning, and I might reinforce Gunpowder with Hepar sulphuris 3x or 6x, and give in addition a dose of Pyrogen 200 once a week.
Naturally I do not limit the tonsil treatment to medication. The pale and anaemic child whose case I have described needed building up. I gave her plenty of bran, especially as she was constipated, eggs, milk, cheese, an abundance of raw fruit, vegetables, salading, wholemeal bread, etc., and the diet led to the disappearance of her anaemia, to the strengthening of the body, and the strengthened body could, of course, more easily normalize the abnormal tonsils. If the patient is too stout one should reduce him.
If he is too thin one should feed him up. If he is anaemic one should give any of the blood-making medicines, if he is plethoric one has to deal with that condition as well. A normal body should have normal tonsils.
There are many other tonsil remedies which could be described, but I hesitate to do this. Those who wish to get full information should study the homoeopathic text-books and the repertories of symptoms which will give them all the information they may desire. I only wish to show in these pages the principles which have guided me in my treatment, and to enumerate a few of the more important remedies which will enable beginners and doctors unacquainted with Homoeopathy to treat cases with success without much further study.