THE VALUE AND RELATION OF DIET TO OUR HOMOEOPATHIC REMEDIES


THE VALUE AND RELATION OF DIET TO OUR HOMOEOPATHIC REMEDIES.
  Read before I.H.A., Bureau of Clinical Medicine, June 1931.

ELIZABETH WRIGHT …


Homoeopathy is so rich in remedial agents that often its practitioners tend to rely on their drugs alone, and to disregard hygiene and other adjuvants to cure. Especially do they fail to work out diets in detail for their patients. It is essential that they bother to do this for a number of reasons. In the first place, for the psychological effect upon the patient. Patients want to feel that every scientific care is being given them, and that the doctor takes flattering pains with them; and they need something to do, a call to active co-operation on their part. Especially is this last the case when the actual remedy administration is in so pleasant, simple and sparse a form as homoeopathy prescribes. In the second place, without any drug of any kind, diet can do wonders for many types of cases as modern medicine ably demonstrates.

Let us consider, for instance, the value without any drug, of strict diets in such diseases as : Diabetes, nephritis, high blood pressure, renal colic and the uric acid diathesis, arthritis, gall-stones and jaundice, gastric and duodenal ulcer, mucous colitis, visceroptosis, constipation, obesity, and last, but by no means least, tuberculosis and cancer. Every homoeopathic physician must be grounded in the classical dietary treatments; must know when to give a diabetic the Newburg high- fat diet; and the difference between diets for nephritics and nephrotics; must enforce purine-free diets on the chronic renal colics; must be conversants with the Lippe diet for ulcer; and the Lahey-Jordan diet for mucous colitis (with its cream of wheat and celery, whose roughage combined with the concomitant rest prescribed does such wonders in those obstinate cases). The physician must know how to influence acidity, strong urine, asthma and eczema by dietary means.

It is good training for us, and a helpful method of experimental control of our remedies, to start chronic patients who have someone of the above mentioned diagnoses, on diet and regimen plus Sac. lac. without any remedy, and see how far you can improve their condition. Thus do we learn what scientific common sense will, and will not, do for us. Meanwhile you are getting closer to the patients true similimum, and can give it in prepared ground, with startling and enlightening effect.

Diet can often replace the use of drugs – a valuable help for the homoeopath. Take a patient who has been “living” on soda bicarbonate for years. Teach them that soda, chemically alkaline, produces acid, physiologically, in the stomach, and train them to substitute lemon juice and the citrous fruits in general, and watch. You will be amazed that so simple a means will work so well. Meanwhile the soda intoxication symptoms will pass off, and your case values will begin to be unravelled.

The physician must also at the onset remove articles of diet and diet habits of eating which hold the patient back from cure, and which cover the spoor on the trail to a totality”, and therefore to subsequent healthful progress. He leans in this quest the idiosyncrasies to food on the part of the patient. These, as every homoeopath knows, are of great help and import. In this connection there is a wise rule: Chronic cases should not eat to excess that which they especially crave, whereas acute patients may-and should-eat largely of what they crave, if the craving comes on with the illness. The most extraordinary lapses from classical procedure show admirable results when this rule is followed.

But, be sure that it is a true craving, unusual, individualizing the patients reaction to the )so-called) acute disease. The craving for and aversions to food in chronics will, of course, give you sound generals for your hierarchy of symptoms. If, in chronic cases the remedy is given, it will, little by little, enable the patient to assimilate that food which he craved, at the same time, quite reasonably, modifying the craving. For example, I have an Argentum nitricum patient who craved sugar and was ill from it, and who, under Arg. nit. no longer craves it, but can eat it with impunity. Similarly, I have a Calcarea child, who, after Calc., ceased craving chalk and indigestibles and can assimilate lime from the food.

In connection with being made ill by specific articles of food several interesting points arise : Try at first to see whether it is a combination of foods which disagree, or the one given element of diet. A wise professor once told me that almost anyone could eat almost anything if they ate it by itself. Next in the case of certain acids, try giving cream cheese or cottage cheese with them. For instance, those with whom strawberries disagree, can often take strawberries if cream cheese is eaten at the same time; and similarly with tomatoes.

This also applies t shellfish in some patients. Beware the combinations of acids and sugars, starches with meat, in people with delicate digestions. Buttermilk will often so alter the colons flora and fauna that putrefaction is regulated and much can be digested which hitherto did not agree. A famous German homoeopath, Dr. Schlegel the elder, told me that if everyone would drink buttermilk the race would profit enormously, and if they would add honey (formic acid) and radishes (which are anti-uric acid) even more trouble would be saved. Remember that onions help keep blood pressure down (the excitable Italians with their garlic and onions rarely have hypertension).

In idiosyncrasies of preference rather than actual aggravations, ingenuity will save much trouble. Your child or patient who will not take milk may enjoy it if vichy or seltzer be added, or if milk and cream are mixed half and half with ginger ale or sarsaparilla. Or the difference between hot and cold milk may change the dislike.

Those needing iron who claim cabbage gives them gas can often take raw cabbage with sour cream dressing. Spinach pureed with egg chopped on it will tempt the anti-green child. Cider and raw apples are marvelous for thinning the arthritic patient. Brown sugar, molasses, maple syrup and honey will not harm him as other sweets will. These hints may seem feminine and trivial, but I assure you, they work. I hope the discussion of this paper will provoke much more lore in this lines.

There is another sphere where diet aids materially in cleansing the system. We have mentioned buttermilk and lemon juice. White of egg, with lemon or orange juice makes a detoxifying liver wash for the bilious. The egg albumen forms albuminates with the poisons which accumulate in the liver. Tea made from red clover blossoms and drunk, two quarts daily, helps the cancer patients and appears to cleanse the system. (An old German adjuvant).

So far we have not even mentioned the important relationship between certain foods and the best action of our remedies. But surely you all know these symbioses and antagonisms. For example, Aconite and acids do not agree, coffee antidotes the action of Nux vomica. These relationships are legion and can be found in Clarkes Dictionary of Materia Medica and in many other of our classics, under the separate remedies.

Certain theoretical problems of enormous interest to me come up under this subject. For instance, we use articles of food as remedies. What reaction, if any, may these have on patients sensitive to them, even in the crude, combustible form? And vice versa, can we aid the suitable remedy by giving its crude counterpart as a food simultaneously? Furthermore, should we not make and prove the whole range of vegetables, fruits and nutritive articles, so that when we find a patient with an idiosyncrasy to something we can compare his case with the proving of the offending food and see whether it may not fit and aid? These foods should be proven on those with a sensitivity to them. For instance, I should prove egg-plant, our friend, Dr. Roberts, has proved tomato, and a patient of mine, who is violently ill from even a dash of red pepper lurking in the soup – though he has plenty in his disposition – would make an admirable prover of Capsicum.

These last considerations are offered to you as “articles of diet”. Think them over, digest them, and give the society a valuable and full discussion of this too often neglected phase of concomitant homoeopathy. NEW YORK CITY.

DISCUSSION.

DR. W.J.S. POWERS : This is a very difficult paper to discuss. It is full of great deal of material and on a subject that we know virtually very little about. It is practically the working out of each individual as we gradually gather our information and put it together. It is all we can do.

Dr. Hubbard mentioned in one part of the paper the idiosyncrasies to food, and being very careful of the idiosyncrasies that the individual has, I have found that by using the raw vegetables and raw fruits, with plenty of dairy fats, I do not have to pay such close attention to those idiosyncrasies. I have found people who could not eat fruit. One woman could not eat fruit.

Every time she ate fruit she broke out with little lumps all over her body. That was a puzzle for me for a moment, but I asked her to try the raw vegetables and raw fruit and go easy at first on the raw fruit. She did so, and inside of two weeks she could eat any kind of fruit without any disturbance whatsoever. I found this in several different instances. Some people cannot eat cooked cabbage, for instance, but they can eat raw cabbage.

Of course, in the different diseases of the organs, such as nephritis and diabetes, we must regulate their diet according to the experience of others and according to the individual. But in regard to ulcers of the stomach and those so-called alkaline producing diets, I feel that we must go very slowly, that we can do a great deal of harm. It is necessary to feel our way very slowly.

Diet is a thing that has to be worked out for each individual. All we can do is to take what we have all gathered together and let every therapeutist use it in the way he thinks best.

DR. E. UNDERHILL, JR.: I have had an unusual opportunity to consider diet from the comparison standpoint. We learn things best by comparison. Prior to 1929, I paid almost no attention to diet. I followed Dr. Thachers general diet scheme. When the patient said, “Doctor, what about my diet?” I said, “Well, eat anything you want.” “Could I have tomatoes?” “If you want them, eat them. If you dont like them, dont eat them.” Dr. Thacher was one of the best prescribers we have had.

In 1929, at the Summer School in Boston, I happened to meet Dr. Kavcic from Jugo-Slavia. He was a diet enthusiast, to say the least. I got acquainted with them and invited him to Philadelphia, and I got pretty nearly off my base on diet. It has taken pretty nearly a year for me to get back on some rational basis. However, I learned much from that and corrected my own diet with a vast improvement in my health.

Since Dr. Thachers death, I have taken over a large part of his practice, and since Dr. Gladwins death almost all of Dr. Thachers patients are in my care. I have all his records. Only very occasionally have I needed to deviate from the remedy he prescribed. The first thing I did in those cases was to correct the diet, which he had not done in many cases. I have achieved conspicuous results in so many of those cases that the patients say, “Why, doctor you have done more for me than Dr. Thacher ever did! How dies that happen?” I explain what the diet did. I did not change the prescription in most instances.

This shows what diet will do. Some of these patients had been under his care for years, and just a correction of diet has stepped them up just as much as the homoeopathic remedy could possibly do. In my own cases I noticed a great difference after I corrected the diet.

It is not as hard a job or as big a student as one would think. Go at it from a simple, common sense standpoint. There are certain combinations that do not agree. Acid fruits and tomatoes can be classed together and should not be combined with starch, or any carbohydrate, for that matter. The patient says, “Doctor, I cant take tomatoes.” They never blame the bread and potatoes they ate with the tomatoes.

If they take acid fruits by themselves or with milk, which will combine, it is all right. Milk or cream will combine with acid fruits, but you have watch out for idiosyncrasies. Some people have aversion to milk. There is no use in mixing milk with acid fruits for those people.

A single article of food will be all right if it agrees with the patient himself, or a single combination – hot cakes and butter and maple syrup, or hot cakes and butter and honey. There is no reason why they cannot make a breakfast out of it. If one cake wont do, maybe ten will. That will certainly agree if the patient has a craving for it and is not just sensitive to that thing.

The long detour from soup to nuts is really a terrible proposition! It is a wonder people get away with it as long as they do!.

I think it is a most excellent thing to carry out the suggestion I brought out in the paper I wrote, to have the patient bring in a two-day menu. They can do it for you just as well as not. Let them bring it in all written out, breakfast so-and-so, dinner, supper, and anything they ate between meals. Take your pencil or pen and cross out the wrong combinations. Start with the patients diet as it is and modify it. After you have corrected it a few times, the next week or the week afterward have them bring in another two-day menu.

In a short time, by simple steps, you have corrected and simplified that patients diet. Usually you need to add more raw fruits and more raw vegetables. The cooking of food certainly does not improve the energy value of it. These vitamins or living proteins are largely destroyed by heat. When you cook food, therefore, you more or less kill it or drive the energy out of it. It is an unnatural process. It is one of the things that has gone along with our civilization.

I dont think I had better say anything more about diet, but i commend that procedure to each and every one of you and hope to hear about it next summer.

DR. A.H. GRIMMER: I just want to say that the doctor has given us a concise and clear-cut arrangement to start in this matter. We can go farther.

It is refreshing that so many things have been said about diet. Dr. Underhills remarks yesterday and his essay were practical. One of the criticisms that has been made against the high potency homoeopathic prescriber has been that he pays no attention to anything else, gives his remedy and performs miracles. They perform miracles many times, but they will perform more miracles and do much better work if they will heed the chemistry of food, the thing that builds the body.

If idiosyncrasies appear after we have given the diet, and we find it still aggravates those patients, the patient is undoubtedly susceptible to the influence of that one ingredient in the diet.

We have a remedy, Succus fruiti, that was brought out some years ago by some member of this Hahnemannian Association, one of the older men. He was able to remove the susceptibility to ordinary raw fruits with the other Succus fruiti, which is the juice of the pear, apple, plum and one or two other fruits, I think, like the peach. It is the combination of fruits potentized, and it is effective.

I remember years ago reading in some of the proceedings – I dont know which one it was – of a patient who was peculiarly susceptible to mutton. She was given potentized mutton, and could eat mutton after that. Where we find a real susceptibility, we can remove it with a single dose of the high potency. Tomatoes undoubtedly will fall in that line.

I think this is a very constructive paper. We ought to take it home and study it and try to bring out something more constructive next year, as Dr. Underhill has suggested.

DR. C.L. OLDS: I am very much pleased that so much has been said about diet, I am not a diet crank, but I think that that is one of the things that we, as homoeopaths, should consider very carefully, aside from our homoeopathic remedy. It seems to me that the remarks of Dr. Underhill, about the patients of Dr. Thacher who improved so very much without any further change of remedy, prove the value of the diet.

We have to remember what Hahnemann says about the things that obstruct. A faulty diet can obstruct just as much as faulty medicine. He gives us a long list of things that are to be avoided when we are making provings. This is a pretty good indication of what he thought about the influence of foods.

I am glad that this has been brought up.

DR. B.C. WOODBURY: I am glad Dr. Wright Hubbard brought up the matter of proving foods, because that is a subject in which I have been interested for a long time. I made, at one time, a series of what I called food provings, which were very interesting. They were more or less individualistic. My idea was to have the thing done on a much larger scale in places so that we could have a number of provers to check up our results.

The doctor brought out one point in that different foods should be proved on sensitive provers. That is also an interesting thing. I wrote three papers on that subject. One of them was called Food Provings; another was called The Homoeopathic Diet; another was called The Natural Diet in Cancer. Those three articles particularly have reference to this subject.

In regard to sensitive foods, onions, of course, we know are met by Lycopodium and Thuja. Dr. Patch had a patient who was very susceptible to oranges. I think Medorrhinum was the remedy in that case. I also remember the remarks of Dr. Hering, or Dr. Boenninghausen, with respect to Carbo veg. in people who drank wine. You could always pick out a Carbo veg. patient by the reaction to wine at the table. I had a patient who was poisoned by strawberries, and I gave a potency of Fragaria.

I also have a potency of fifteenth trituration of Egg, which was given to me by Dr. William Boericke in San Francisco. He used it successfully in children who were susceptible to egg poisoning. This is a serious thing in some children. They cannot tolerate eggs. Egg intolerance it is called.

One other point is in the selection of food, should it be by a scientific study, by elimination, or by the natural instincts of the patient? Hahnemann, in his little essay called Dietetic Conversation with My Brother, refers to that matter of the instinct. He says that in the normal human instinct is a safeguard. I take it that nowadays, when we have so much food perversion, so much food adulteration, that we cannot so safely trust this instinct; whereas, in Hahnemanns time, when he made his observation, this homoeopathic diet, of which he spoke and which was referred to by Dr. Olds, was the thing he had worked out to his own satisfaction as being the most complete list of foods which could be deleted from the patients diet list.

I think those are the essentials to bear in mind. I should like to see this Society or some other allied homoeopathic society take up the matter of food provings.

DR. H.A. ROBERTS: I want to speak particularly in emphasis of the people susceptible to certain foods as being the chosen vessels for the proving of the food, for this reason: The proving of a potency of the food will often produce absolutely unsuspected symptoms in that individual.

Dr. Hubbard refers to my proving of Lycopersicum, tomato. I proved Lycopersicum because I was particularly susceptible to it; I couldnt eat much if any. If I did, it produced a very free urination, very profuse, and a diarrhoea. When I proved the remedy in high potency, I could not believe my eyes, for the reason it produced nothing of that kind at all, but it did produce a congestive condition, very much similar to the condition of influenza, with a rise of temperature, even to the point of delirium.

Being a member of the Solanum family, associated with the Belladonna, Hyoscyamus, and that class of remedies, it produced an entirely different picture from what I expected. At first I would not believe that it was that. I thought it was simply a “happenstance”, and I had taken a severe cold or something of that kind.

Finally I took it in the 200th potency and pushed it to the point where I wished I hadnt. I became unconscious of what was going on around me. I became violently delirious. Fortunately, I had at my elbow, Dr. Phillips, who is a homoeopath, and I told him what I had done. I was conscious enough to do that. I said, “Watch it.” I was in bed for over three days with the effect of it.

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Elizabeth Wright Hubbard
Dr. Elizabeth Wright Hubbard (1896-1967) was born in New York City and later studied with Pierre Schmidt. She subsequently opened a practice in Boston. In 1945 she served as president of the International Hahnemannian Association. From 1959-1961 served at the first woman president of the American Institute of Homeopathy. She also was Editor of the 'Homoeopathic Recorder' the 'Journal of the American Institute of Homeopathy' and taught at the AFH postgraduate homeopathic school. She authored A Homeopathy As Art and Science, which included A Brief Study Course in Homeopathy.