Many homoeopathic doctors have told me that my homoeopathic prescriptions were inadequate, and that my successes were due to my diet. If doctors tell me this, I usually reply: “You know from my writings what diets I give to people. If I have such great successes owing to my dietetic prescription, why do you not act similarly? If you did, your successes in treatment would be much greater”.


MOST homoeopaths, and particularly some of the most eminent representatives of homoeopathy, are most anxious to cure their patients homoeopathically. They take down in full detail all the important symptoms and then endeavour to base their prescription on the constitutional needs of the person before them in accordance with the old-establish rules which are to be found in the textbooks.

Homoeopaths who carefully base their prescriptions on the totality of the symptoms, and who give only a few doses of medicine in a high potency at very long intervals often imaging that they are true Hahnemannians, that they act in accordance with the teachings of the founder of the new art and science of healing.

Unfortunately most homoeopaths are so completely absorbed by the technicalities of case-taking and prescribing that they do not realize how far they diverge from the methods employed by Dr. Samuel Hahnemann. Most homoeopaths, while professing to carry out the directions of the founder, do not know how the founder acted because they have not read his life and his numerous writings.

Hahnemann was not only a great scientist and investigator of medicine, he was a man of common sense, and he was great as a dietician, as teacher of sanitation, etc. He was endowed with wonderful common sense. In many of his writings he insisted that doctors should not give drugs to their patients until all common sense measures necessary had been taken. Hahnemann was aware that illness is frequently due to faulty nutrition, faulty methods of living, absence of fresh air and of exercise, non-use or abuse of baths, and so forth. Hahnemann has written copiously on hygienic. He was an eminent hygienist.

If he saw a patient, he enquired not only into all the symptoms which would enable him to only into all the symptoms which would enable him to prescribe, but he enquired particularly into his diet, etc. He enquired whether he slept with the window open or closed, whether he slept in four-poster beds with the curtains drawn, whether he took adequate exercise, inadequate exercise or no exercise, what clothes he wore, what baths he took, etc. Very frequently Hahnemann gave at the first interview only hygienics and dietetic directions and asked the patient to come again for medical prescription.

As I have stated in the foregoing, most diseases are caused by faulty living or are terribly aggravated by mistakes in the management of ones life. I have seen hundreds of patients who have been treated by English, American and continental homoeopaths, and only too often I was told that the homoeopathic doctors consulted gave only medicine and no common-sense advice whatever. They had forgotten, or did not know, that Hahnemann would have acted quite differently.

There is, of course, something to be said for not altering the diet and way of life on a patient. If one makes considerable alterations in these matters and gives at the same time some homoeopathic medicine, one cannot tell whether the improvement effected is caused by the medicine or by the dietetic or other changes effected. It may be a great satisfaction to homoeopathic doctor to be able to say: “I cured a serious case of tuberculosis with six doses of Drosera given in extremely high potencies in the course of eighteen months,” or “I cured a case of duodenal ulcer with a single dose of Arsenic in the 100,000th potency.”

If no dietetic or other changes were made, one can assume that a cure was due to medication alone. The consciousness of having effected such a cure may be very precious to the prescriber, but after the art of curing should be exercised on the principle of acting for the good of the patient, not for pleasing enthusiastic homoeopaths who imagine that they act in accordance with the recommendations of the great founder.

1, personally, have never had the heart to rely on medicine alone in order to be able to boast: “I cured such and such cases with so many or so few doses of medicine.” It is relatively unimportant to me exercises given, or the other changes, or whether the disease was overcome by homoeopathic medicines. My only aim is to cure the patient as quickly as possible. I do my level best to select the right medicine, but I am equally keen upon reforming the unhealth-creating factors which may have caused the disease of the patient. Therefore I give to every patient the diet, exercise, fresh air, baths, etc., which he or she may need.

There are people who take far too much exercise and others who take far too little. There are people who take too much food and others who do not eat enough. I once put an elderly man who ate a lot of meat on a lacto-vegetarian diet, and told him in my directions to take two or three eggs a day. After two or three days he complained of indigestion. He was afraid that he would lose his strength if he went without meat, and he therefore ate between six and eight eggs per day, prodigious quantities of cheese, and drank incredible quantities of milk. Funnily enough he blamed the fleshless diet and the homoeopathic medicines for the gastric upset from which he suffered.

As I have explained elsewhere, I place nearly all my patients on a vegetarian diet because it cleanses the system and starves out the organisms of putrefaction. I give to my patients a diet rich in vitamins and mineral elements by giving them the most natural foods in the most natural condition. I forbid artificialities of every kind, tinned food, white bread, white sugar, white flour, etc. Improvement is, as a rule, instantaneous, and neither I nor anyone else can say whether the improvement has been caused by the health-giving diet or by the medicine. To me it is a matter of indifference so long as the patient flourishes.

I am an enthusiastic homoeopath, but I would not jeopardize the health of my patients by relying on homoeopathic medicines alone. It is unreasonable to expect that a patient can get well if he takes fifteen cups of boiling hot, poisonously strong tea with four or five lumps of sugar in each cup, or if he smokes fifty cigarettes a day, take cold baths which chill him to the bone, takes no exercise while over-feeding, or takes an undue amount of exercise, weakening himself.

I have met delicate women who complained of anemia and extreme chilliness, women who complained a anemia and extreme chilliness, who took two or three hot baths every day, lying in them for three-quarters of an hour or longer because they felt most comfortable in a hot bath, and that was the only time they were warm. I had to explain to them that this procedure, while temporarily warming, leaches their strength out of the body and makes them far more susceptible to colds. People who catch cold easily are told to take only very short baths, and to follow up the bath by rubbing oil into the skin as did the athletes of ancient Greece and Rome.

Many troubles are due to smoking, I know many men who smoke forty or fifty cigarettes a day, inhaling the smoke. I never allow my patients to draw tobacco smoke into their lungs. Formerly lung cancer was almost unknown. It is becoming terribly frequent, and I imagine that the increasing incidence may be due to injury done to the lungs either cigarette smoke drawn into them or from the smell of motor-cars breathed in.

There are doctors and nature curers who act in a way similar to mine. They give a vegetarian diet to the patient, and frequently they notice with dismay that such diet, though theoretically perfect, upsets the patient badly. There are numerous patients who are unable to digest vegetables, especially coarse vegetables such as badly cooked cabbage, particularly if the cabbage is put on the table in an insufficiently cooked condition or over- cooked.

Vegetables which have been boiled in salt or soda lose the precious juices which contain the health-giving elements. I suggest to people that the water in which vegetables have been boiled should be taken in soups, stews, or drunk at some convenient time. Naturally, I forbid the use of soda or bicarbonate of soda, which may give to the vegetables a starting green colour but which ruin them as food.

There are thousands of people who cannot digest vegetables, and especially coarse vegetables. If they have been living on a devitaminized and demineralized diet, one must give them vegetables, salading, etc. In such cases one must introduce patients gradually to a reformed diet. For instance, I may start them on ordinary porridge or on basins of bread and milk. Patients are told at the same time that on improvement of their digestive apparatus they should take brain in the form of bran porridge, and so forth.

Some vegetables contain thick and thin ribs which are tough, and which hold up the leaves. If people suffer from indigestion, particularly after having taken coarse vegetables, raw fruit, etc., vegetables, especially coarse vegetables, frequently produce violent indigestion and very severe flatulence, etc. In cases where it is doubtful whether a patient can digest vegetables, one can start him with vegetable juice. It can either be expressed cold from the raw vegetables, and most people can digest raw carrot juice and other vegetable juices, or one can give the vegetable essences in the form of vegetable water, which means water in which vegetables have been boiled without salt or soda.

The water in which turnips or carrots have been boiled is extremely palatable and contains the essences of these vegetables. Thus one can give patients the essential elements contained in the vegetables without the roughage. Those who cannot digest vegetables cooked in the ordinary way can take vegetables frequently in the form of soups. If one passes vegetables two or three times through the mincing machine the fibre is broken up. If vegetables minced in this way are boiled for a very few minutes, they produce a delicious soup which usually causes not trouble.

In case of patients who have a delicate digestion and cannot take vegetables, I frequently begin the diet by giving them vegetables mashed and sieved, and I tell them to commence with non-leaf vegetables such as carrots, turnips, swedes, which are digested more easily than leaf vegetables. Or one can introduce people to vegetable by starting them with vegetable extracts, then give them vegetable soups, then mashed and sieved non-leaf vegetables, and then vegetables in the ordinary condition.

Occasionally one has case in which a vegetarian diet is not suitable. I remember a case of extreme flatulence. The unfortunate patient was a civil servant in a good position. He was so terribly plagued with was that for years he has been unable to lie down in bed. He slept in a chair. During the interview his speech was constantly interrupted by most horrible and noisy eructations. I tried on him a baby diet, reinforcing it by medicines designed to assist digestion.

As my attempts to feed him on non-putrefactive diet were unavailing, I changed completely and recommended him a diet consisting exclusively of lean, well-cooked meat without gravy, crisp toast without butter, and hot water. This diet suited him admirably. His fearful flatulence disappeared and after a few weeks he was immensely improved. The irritation and inflammation of the alimentary tract had disappeared, partly owing to the diet and partly owing to the medicines which I had given him, and then I introduced him gradually to a mixed diet and he lost his old trouble completely.

If people need meat, I give them meat specially prepared if their digestion is unsatisfactory. For instance, I tell them to run meat three times through the mincing machine drop it into rampantly boiling water, boil a minute or so, and then serve and eat in the form of soup. I tell them to take liver prepared in the same way. Then I have devised meat patties made as follows.

Run lean meat three times through the mincing machine. Form into patties with the yolk of egg, put under a white hot griller and brown the outside, and eat when the insides is practically raw. Raw meat is far more digestible than cooked meat. Patties prepared in the manner described do not revolt by looking raw.

Many people who are extremely weak and ill are under he delusion that they can strengthen themselves by exercise, cold baths, etc. I have seen totally emaciated patients weakening themselves with physical jerks, and forcing themselves against their instinct to go for walks.. Such patients ought to have rest, not exercise. I have seen other patients in a similar condition taking ice-cold baths to strengthen themselves. After such a bath they are chilled to the bone and it takes them a long time to get back their warmth.

A cold bath gives a fearful jolt to the circulation. Other people are unwise enough to go in for sun- bathing, although prolonged exposure to the sun at its hottest is extremely dangerous. Injudiciously taken, sunbaths are apt to produce very serious skin rashes and eruptions, so-called dermatitis, and occasionally these these skin lesions are followed by sun cancer. Many people who ought to take the rest cure endeavour to improve their condition by harmful energy and exercise, and other whose physical condition calls for exercise do not take any exercise whatever, but run about in motor-cars/.

There are prescribes who condemn all stimulants tea, coffee, alcohol, etc. Tea, coffee and alcohol should of course, be cut down severely if they are taken to excess. The same applied to tobacco. There are people who smoke all day long, who smoke forty, fifty and more cigarettes, a day, and eventually they are apt to contract tobacco blindness, a very dangerous disease which frequently proves incurable.

Alcohol is an excellent tonic and an internal disinfectant. It is one of the best food disinfectants I know, and is easily digestible. Babies who cannot digest their milk rapidly fall off, but their lives may frequently be saved if one puts a few of brandy into their milk. There are people with abstract notions who would rather die than abandon the path of dietetic rectitude which they have followed.

I know vegetarians who would rather die than take meat-who would not even take a few doses of thyroid or of any other medicine derived from animals. A friend of mine was desperately ill. He needed alcohol, and I sent him some champagne, but he refused to touch it. He would rather die. The argument that Christ and the Apostles drank wine proved unavailing.

Even cleanliness can prove harmful. Doctors and nurses frequently insist upon the daily bath or the daily wash. I remember the case of a patient suffering from pneumonia who was killed by being washed quite unnecessarily. The patients protests were disregarded, and the end was disaster. I explain to people who are greatly weakened through fever, influenza, or ordinary disease, that they must on no account he chilled, and that it is much better for them to be dirty and uncomfortable than to be clean and dead. If one takes a bath one washes off the natural grease exuded by the skin which protects the body against chilling.

The athletes of ancient Greece and Rome were in the habit of anointing themselves after every bath. That was very good principle. If one washes off the natural protective fat one ought to replace it by some equivalent protective fat such as olive oil. The objection that the oil might make spots on ones body linen is ridiculous. It is better to be alive and healthy with oil stains on ones shirt than to be dead with immaculate shirts. Besides, olive oil rubbed into the skin is so rapidly absorbed by the skin which requires oil that stains on the body linen hardly ever occur.

One must not only correct the diet of patient, but one must insist upon their chewing properly. Many patients are ashamed to admit that they bolt their food, or that they eat and drink things boiling hot, or that they take undue quantities of sugar and condiments. If the prescriber can manage it, he should watch a patient at a meal, and he will find that the patient swallows his food unchewed, or that he takes it boiling hot, etc.

One must explain to the patient very seriously and impressively that his manner of eating is responsible for his ill-health, and then he will, as a rule, change his habit. I induce people who take boiling hot drink, and their number is legion, to hold a finger in a cup of very hot water. When they have burnt their finger they realize that it is dangerous to swallow tea at 150 or 160 degrees.

Hahnemann regulated first the methods of life of his patient, and then prescribed for him. I do both simultaneously. As a rule my patients are vastly better within a week, and then the question arises whether the improvement is due to the changed diet, to medication, to the prohibition of certain exercises, baths or whatever I may have ordered. As my only aim consists in making my patient well, it is quite immaterial to me which factor has been most helpful.

Many homoeopathic doctors have told me that my homoeopathic prescriptions were inadequate, and that my successes were due to my diet. If doctors tell me this, I usually reply: “You know from my writings what diets I give to people. If I have such great successes owing to my dietetic prescription, why do you not act similarly? If you did, your successes in treatment would be much greater”.

J. Ellis Barker
James Ellis Barker 1870 – 1948 was a Jewish German lay homeopath, born in Cologne in Germany. He settled in Britain to become the editor of The Homeopathic World in 1931 (which he later renamed as Heal Thyself) for sixteen years, and he wrote a great deal about homeopathy during this time.

James Ellis Barker wrote a very large number of books, both under the name James Ellis Barker and under his real German name Otto Julius Eltzbacher, The Truth about Homœopathy; Rough Notes on Remedies with William Murray; Chronic Constipation; The Story of My Eyes; Miracles Of Healing and How They are Done; Good Health and Happiness; New Lives for Old: How to Cure the Incurable; My Testament of Healing; Cancer, the Surgeon and the Researcher; Cancer, how it is Caused, how it Can be Prevented with a foreward by William Arbuthnot Lane; Cancer and the Black Man etc.