The greatest curative agency of all is found in sunlight, either by its action on the skin or through foods which have been grown in sunlight, and yet it is only a few years since it was once again recognised as a powerful agent in the cure of disease.
The great industrial revolution brought about an emigration from the country to the towns in order to supply the demands of the factories for labour. The Government and employers of that period failed to foresee what would happen as a result of this migration. People were crowded into hovels not fit for cattle, in fact the cubic space set aside for a valuable horse far exceeded that per head of the poor.
Fresh food again became scarce and, up till very recent days, medical men of high standing in the eyes of their profession preached that the people might eat and drink what they liked and yelled aloud from the rostrum that teaching the public how to maintain health would only end in making people neurotic, and that those medical men who thought otherwise were cranks and fadists. Today the position has changed and those who preached against the pioneers are now taking a hand in the great work of preventive medicine.
When a house is to be built the architect draws up a specification of what will be required and in it sets out at length the qualities and quantities of the material to be used in its constriction. Where this is not done you get jerry built houses which will not stand the test of time.
We have in England today a very large number of these places, costly to maintain and a source of danger to their unfortunate inmates.
The ignorance of human mothers in matters of correct food both for themselves during the ante-natal period and their children after birth has produced a jerry built people, costing the State immense sums year by year since these people are always unable of their own efforts to provide their full maintenance.
We need today a system of education which will see that the rising generation understands the main points as to the structure of the body and rules as to diet. The people must realise that the body has in it the power to adjust itself to the various demands made upon it by ill use, and that it is only when the reserves are exhausted that the calls become so insistent that they cannot be ignored, otherwise permanent damage to the vital organs will result. They must understand that the brain cells are not renewed during life and that these important cells need rest and correct dietary if they are to develop their best qualities.
The stress and strain of modern life is far beyond that of our ancestors and the toxins of worry are very potent. People who lived in the open air and did strenuous manual work were able to consume large quantities of meat with comparative immunity in short, they were able to burn up the persons, and the free action of the skin resulting from hard physical exertion assisted the kidneys in clearing the waste from the tissues. Today, clerk sitting in stuffy offices, carried to and from those offices in crowded buses or trains and reaching home too tired for physical exercise, are throwing a serious strain on their bodies if they eat and drink the wrong things or eat to excess.
When we are tired our appetites flag and we have no desire for food. This is Natures way of pointing out the path we should tread. Yet many so-called intelligent folk, under these conditions take drugs to stimulate their appetites or so tickle their palates with sauces and condiments that they can force unwanted food into a tired stomach, the result being a headache and general lassitude next morning. Then, instead of reviewing their lives and seeking the cause of the headache, they fly to self-medication and swallow a dose of some drug which, in effect, is a dope.
The ancients understood the importance of fasting and regular fast days form part of the religious observances of all nations, though we find feast days also were held.
Feasts are good occasionally, but those who habitually eat beyond their actual requirements pay a heavy penalty for their greed and find life shortened to a very marked degree by the resulting load of fat, which not only hampers their voluntary movements but has a more serious effect on the actions of various organs, particularly the heart.
The so-called lower animals have far more sense than humans in regard to their food requirements: they only eat when they are hungry. I naturally do not include amongst these wise animals those lap-dogs which have been debased by their association with humans and have lost their instinctive knowledge.
Homoeopathy came into the medical picture a hundred and twenty years ago as a sort of reaction against the over-drugging with powerful and dangerous drugs in very large quantities which then was the fashion. Syphilitics were given Mercury until they spat saliva by the bucketful and occasionally spat out their teeth as well, and many died of Mercury poisoning. Calomel was given in unbelievable large doses with disastrous results. Sick people were bled and purged with the utmost recklessness and many died of the drastic treatment received.
Hahnemann protested loudly against these dangerous method and demanded gentle medication. However, his protests and proposals were premature. He was ahead of his time. Homoeopathy met with the usual reception of all new ideas, being held up to ridicule and misrepresentation by the high priests of orthodox medicine. It is always so much easier for the orthodox of all professions to exclaim that a new idea is just rubbish than to suppress their prejudices and study the question with an open mind. This obstinacy of thought is not confined to the medical profession but is met with in other scientific bodies.
There is room today for both Homoeopathy and Allopathy in the ranks of medicine, each contributing its share to the common pool, but members of each school should recognise that, when they have done their best, recovery will ultimately depend on the extent to which the body has retained in itself the “means of cure” and, above and beyond all, we must follow the maxim of Hippocrates that if we cannot do good we must take care that our remedies do no harm. There was much wisdom in the plea of the old French writer, Montaigne, in which he said with reference to drugs:
“When I am sick, instead of entering into league or composition with it, I begin to hate and fear it most: and answer such as urge me to take Physique that at least they will till such time as I have recovered my health and strength again; that then I may the better be enabled to endure the violence and hazard of their potions. I let Nature work and presuppose unto myself that she had provided herself both of teeth and claws to defend herself from such assaults as shall beset her and to maintain this contexture or frame whose dissolution it so much hate. In view of bringing help unto her when she most strive and is combated by sickness, I greatly fear last I bring succour unto her advertise and surcharge her with new enemies.”.