DEAR MR. BARKER, As a regular reader of “THE HOMOEOPATHIC WORLD,” also of your works on health, may I be allowed to draw your attention to what appears to me to be a deficiency in what you advocate for your system of obtaining health? In Chronic Constipation your recommended line of cure is entirely by dieting and hygiene, whereas in your monthly journal and in Miracles of Healing one gathers that all disease can be eradicated by drugs.
Now life is a discipline (or should be), and to eat natural foods which are less palatable than most of the foods we are used to requires self-control. The homoeopath says, in effect, to patients, “You eat what you like and come to me if you are ill, and I can cure you.” It seems to me that some kind of co- ordination of the two systems are necessary. Suppose a man suffers from diabetes, does his cure call for dieting and fasting, or a homoeopathic drug, or both; and how is one to tell which line to adopt? Perhaps you would be good enough to write an article on this matter in your journal.
50 Studland Road,
Hanwell, W. 7.
DIET AND DRUGS.
EVERY good homoeopath is an enthusiast for homoeopathy, for he knows from experience that the wonderful medicines employed by him will cure rapidly, pleasantly, and permanently numerous diseases and disorders which have been declared “absolutely incurable” by leading orthodox physicians and specialists. The wonderful successes which one has with homoeopathic remedies, given in infinitely small doses, are apt to blind one to the supreme importance of diet and other commonplace factors.
Homoeopathy was discovered by Samuel Hahnemann more than a hundred years ago. Unfortunately his writings are not read as much as they ought to be. In innumerable passages in his books, articles and letters to patients Hahnemann insisted that common sense regulation of the daily life should precede, homoeopathic medication. If a girl takes poisonously strong tea, cocktails, dances all night long and smokes countless cigarettes, she will probably suffer from nervous developments for which she may consult a homoeopath.
If the homoeopath merely studies the symptoms of the case, he may prescribe Ignatia, Chamomilla, Nux vomica, Scutellaria, or some other drug which will marvellously benefit the patient. However, the good effect of the remedy chosen can by no means permanently correct the injury done by insufficient sleep and abuse of alcohol, tobacco, etc. The mistakes made by the young lady will lead in course of time to the return of the nerve troubles, or to something worse, and then possibly some other remedy will be given which will benefit only temporarily, but the case will be spoiled.
Every homoeopathic physician, after having carefully listened and noted down the complaints of his patient and his replies to numerous questions, should ask the patient: “Please tell me in full detail what you eat and drink at every meal and in between, what you smoke, how many baths you take, what exercise, how much sleep, whether you take much or little sugar, salt, pepper, mustard, vinegar, pickles, do you take your food and drink hot, very hot, or cold, how are your excretions, etc.?”.
The average patient will gaily assure the doctor: “My stools are perfectly normal.” As a rule this means that the patient has one solid dark motion, which is considered normal, but which in reality means chronic constipation, of which the patient is not aware. When asked about his diet, the patient will frequently say: “I just have ordinary food like everyone else.” Detailed questioning may reveal the fact that the patient takes fifteen cups of tea with four lumps of sugar in each cup, or that he takes tea as black as ink and boiling hot, or that he takes salt by the tablespoonful, or that he smokes forty or fifty cigarettes, inhaling the smoke, etc. When demonstrated with, the patient will say: “I cannot drink cold tea,” or, “I like my tea nice and sweat,” or, “I am very fond of salt and pepper,” or something of the kind.
Most patients are not aware that their diseases and disorders are largely, or principally, due to their mistakes. A lady complained about anaemia, weakness and inability to get warm. Questioning revealed the fact that she took three hot baths per day as hot as she could stand them, stopping half an hour in the water. When her action was criticised, she explained that she never felt warm except in a hot bath. Her previous doctors had not enquired about her baths, and had therefore failed to cure her weakness. She was ordered to take only rapid warm washes, preferably without soap, to be followed by rubbing olive oil into the whole body, which naturally benefited her greatly.
It is not easy to cure chronic constipation with homoeopathic remedies alone, even if one goes into the case with the utmost care and selects the indicated remedy after studying the repertories and the materia medica. It is absurdly easy to cure life-long constipation, even if accompanied by colitis, piles, fissure, etc., if one treats the patient at the same time by diet and medicine.
Of course, in dietetic treatment individualisation is as necessary as it is in homoeopathic medicinal treatment. There is no standard diet for constipation or anything else. Each case has to be treated individually. The textbooks on dietetics with their lore of calories, vitamins, etc., are, unfortunately, worthless. Hahnemann cured his patients with homoeopathy and diet combined, and his successors should do likewise. J.E.B.
THE EVILS OF AN ORDINARY DIET.
DEAR SIR, Not long ago I read your book Miracles of Healing. A lot of it I did not understand but it was of very great value to me in that it lead me to seek out and read another of your works, Good Health and Happiness.
I do not know if there is a “cheap” edition of the latter book. I hope there is because most certainly it should be placed within the reach of the multitudes who never think of buying publications costing more than, say, half-a-crown. I refer more particularly to the clerical worker, who forms a very large class of our modern population and who, for the reasons you set forth so well, is perhaps more in need of enlightenment than his more actively employed neighbour.
I am 42. I lead and have lead an active life, taking plenty of exercise and so forth. But the importance of diet, or should I say, the evil consequences of moderate indulgence in “ordinary” diet has never before been impressed on me.
I never remember a time when normal activity of the bowels was not a matter of concern in my mind. But it was always a difficulty and I felt without being told that even the mildest of drugs should be unnecessary.
I trace back my years of semi-chronic stasis to my school days. I was in a house of fifty boys and I remember that there were only three W.C.s for us all. Until may last year or so when I was one of the bigger boys, it was a matter of extreme difficulty to secure a vacancy at the proper time, after breakfast. Hence the development of a habit of repression in an extremely important period of life.
I imagine that such circumstances are common even in these slightly more enlightened days.
After reading your book I commenced a course of natural diet. I had some difficulty in this because I happen to be in rooms here and the landlady, who is noted for her table of “good strengthening food” (?) looked on me as a mental case when I cut out meats and demanded bran and oatmeal porridge, potatoes in jackets, salads and fruits. However, the battle is won and I now express my deep gratitude to you for the results, which are beyond even my most enthusiastic expectations.
(MAJOR) J. RECKITT. Victoria Barracks, Belfast.