Arthritis and Folk Medicine
About The Usefulness of Iodine
-147 hand written pages of advice to correspondents-
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An Energy Disease
Our Changing External Environment
Excerpt From Arthritis and Folk Medicine
Dr. D.C. Jarvis
Also by Dr. Jarvis
The Two Blood Vessel Beds
The Treatment of Arthritis
The Influence of Weather Changes on Health
WE ARE BORN with an elaborate equipment for living. In many respects this equipment is fixed; a baby will never have more than two eyes and one nose. But in many other respects considerable leeway exists at birth for the modification of this constitutional equipment.
The equipment the infant brings with it at birth has been determined in important ways by the hereditary, physical, chemical, endocrine, and nervous impulses to which it has, already been subjected. Its further development and health are affected at every turn by its own reaction to different factors in its environment.
Human beings, we may assume, have never succeeded in establishing a way of living in which adaptation to environment has not been a problem that must be solved. This assumption is implied in the stock phrases of the biologist: "the struggle for existence" and "the survival of the fittest."
There are so many factors involved in adaptation to environment that a perfect individual adjustment is perhaps beyond human attainment. All we can hope for is to secure as nearly as possible a satisfactory working adjustment to environment that will allow each individual to live every day with some degree of pleasure and profit.
We do not live in a static world, as everyone knows. Our environment is constantly changing, with increasing speed as the decades of this century go by. Horse-and-buggy days now seem to us in the distant past, and long hours of laborious handwork have given way to mechanical gadgets which make living easier both within and without the home. Vacuum cleaners have replaced brooms. Automatic washing machines do the weekly wash better and quicker than olddfashioned tub and washboard. Electric and gas stoves elimiinate the backbreaking work of making ready a woodpile for the winter months. Thermostatically controlled oil furnaces banish coal and ashes. Radio and television provide armmchair entertainment.
It is becoming increasingly apparent that we live in a period of unusually rapid changes in every field- economic, political, social, and scientific. The tempo of living has speeded up correspondingly, making increased demands on the individual. We are faced with the need of a daily adaptaation, both mental and physical, to an environment of everrincreasing complexity.
Today a baby is born into an environment that bears little resemblance to the one that molded the bodies and minds of our ancestors for centuries. Yet the change has taken place almost without our noticing it or realizing its importance. Any modification in environment, however, inevitably and profoundly disturbs all living beings. "We have come a long way since the horse-and-buggy days, when we traveled slowly but safely along dusty roads, enjoying the scenery with the assurance that the horse would take us home.
Our manner of living has changed, too, simultaneously with the change in environment. Each of us does a great many more things than his parents and grandparents ever did. We take part in many more events, and every day we come in contact with more people. Quiet, unemployed moments are exceptional during the day.
In this modern environment of ours the demands on the physical side of our make-up have changed. It is a common observation how little it is necessary for us to walk these days, even when the distance is short. A good many people use their automobiles to ride only a few blocks, and jet planes whisk us over long distances in fantastically brief peeriods of time. Such body exercise, familiar to countless gennerations, as walking and running, tilling the land, and mannual labor in rain, sun, wind, cold, and heat, all these have diminished greatly and in fact have virtually disappeared among our great urban populations.
These profound changes have occurred within a relatively short time span, and so it becomes necessary now to evaluate just how much the substitution of a new mode of existence for the old one influences the chemistry and physiology of the human body.
Every living thing depends intimately on its surrounddings and adapts itself to any modification of these surrounddings by an appropriate change. The problem, then, is to deetermine in what manner we have been influenced by the mode of life, the customs, the daily food intake, and the eduucation imposed on us by our present civilization. We must, of necessity, gain a much better understanding of ourselves by doing so, and learn how better to adapt ourselves to our present environment.
The human body is a complex structure made up of many independent cells. In order to bring the whole to any degree of efficiency it is necessary to correlate the action of these cells. That is accomplished by means of hereditary control, chemical changes, endocrine gland secretion, nerve impulses, and our daily food intake.
The body lives in an ever-changing environment which
permits rest, work, and acts of defense. These three states
make different demands on the factors that correlate cell action. Acts of defense-closing the eyelids at the approach of dust, drawing the hand away from fire, the contraction of muscles for escape from danger-depend upon rapid and correlated action.
At present the environmental load our bodies carry includes food, water supply, weather changes, respiratory hazzards, prolonged mental work, insufficient sleep, emotional unrest, unproductive worry, menstruation, accident, industrial injury, micro-organisms, viruses, insects, parasites, drugs, and allergens which produce an allergic reaction.
Health is a state of body and mind resulting from the succcessful adjustment of the body to environmental factors. Sickness is a departure from health, and is essentially the body's failure to adjust itself satisfactorily to environmental factors.
Between health and sickness there is a presickness zone in which the individual realizes that all is not well. In this zone the body is failing to maintain a satisfactory adjustment to environment, and if that adjustment is not made, because the individual no longer knows how to make it, then he must adjust or be destroyed, in accordance with nature's law. For destructive purposes nature possesses harmful microoorganisms, viruses, and such degenerative diseases as heart ailments and cancer.
As a necessary consequence of failure to adjust there must be an overcoming of the natural elasticity of the body funcctions beyond the margin of safety. That margin can be illusstrated by the buffers of the blood, which keep the blood reeaction stable within narrow limits during the course of normal physiological functions.
'When the limits of natural elasticity of body functions
have been passed, however, changes of a more or less permaanent nature
will come about, which will be hidden tempoorarily by a compensatory mechanism
permitting the body to
function, seemingly without flaw, perhaps, but neverthele-: with a certain loss of elasticity. This process may well be continuous, so that in time even the margin of compensation is reached, and for the first time symptoms will show themselves. The margin of safety may be lessened from the very beginning of life by the racial, family, chemical, and anatomical patterns the individual inherits.
The ease with which the body carries the environmenta load can be determined by observing the ease with which it recovers from fatigue. Recovery may be rapid, slow, or impossible because of chronic fatigue.
When the environmental load becomes too great to be carried successfully the individual becomes conscious of it by changes in his normal state of well-being that tell him something is wrong. At that point there may be no symptoms present which even a thoroughly competent physician could recognize. But if the situation continues unchecked, in time the symptoms appear which any doctor will recognize readily. That is the beginning of disease.
A business or professional man regards his work as in dispensable to the success of his life, and recoils from am thing he feels might take him away from it. In the pursuit of his career he regards it as possibly fatal to everything he has worked for if he must take time out to regain his health For him the path is foreordained-an apprenticeship during which his executive ability ripens, and then a fulfillment of his talents at a time when he has still enough of life remaining to enjoy his reward. If he is to remain undefeated, however, he must be taught how to be sure of his health so he may practice the virtue of endurance. That means he must learn how to adjust himself to his environment, and be able to carry the environmental load successfully.
As I have pointed out, every human body has fighting equipment that enables it to organize for aggressive action either mental or physical. This organization was intended to be temporary, but our modern environment has made it perrmanent. When the body organizes for aggressive action, nervous, chemical, and endocrine gland changes take place temporarily, but if the organization becomes permanent the changes are no longer desirable.
"Whatever environment an individual finds himself in deetermines how the body must organize itself. If he lives close to the soil the demands will naturally be primarily on his muscles, and, conversely, if he is in business or a profession his brain will be called upon most.
According to the Bible God created man in His own image-a perfect being. After the creation he was placed in a garden where fruits, berries, edible leaves and roots, and honey were provided as his food. These were all acid in reaction and rich in minerals. The body that was designed for these primitive conditions has been subjected to the presssures of an utterly different environment in our time, but it contains within it still the ability to adjust itself if we would only follow the original plan for daily food intake.
If man fails to consume the needed acids and minerals or processes his food so it is lacking in these elements he beecomes sick eventually. He is maladjusted.
Nature has established a wisely directed order for the benefit of man and beast, but in his ignorance man tries to rearrange things. vVild animals, who know better, follow the order and never try to rearrange it. We have to learn that we can live scientifically, yet in doing so follow nature's order.
But let us see what else happens to us in the modern ennvironment which is so far from natural law. vVhen, for exammple, the sympathetic division of the autonomic nervous sysstem is organized to arouse the body for aggressive action other changes take place in the body. The sympathetic diviision controls the alkalinity of the blood, so that when it is activated, naturally there is an increase of alkalinity. We can see that process reflected in the change of the norm2-1 acid reaction of the urine to alkaline.
Then, as we have already discovered, since calcium is preecipitated in an alkaline medium, increased blood alkalinity produces a calcium effect on the walls of the body cells so that permeability of the cell wall decreases, preventing food material and oxygen from entering. The decrease shuts down the cell factory, which manufactures heat, energy, carrbonic acid, lactic acid, phosphoric and sulphuric acid. Thl:s the action of the sympathetic division of the autonomic nervous system and of the adrenal glands cuts off the vital activity of the body cells.
In modern life new factors have appeared in our environ· ment which convert this emergency arousal of the sympa. thetic division and the adrenal glands into a permanent orrganization which it was never intended to be. These are the factors:
1. Wheat foods and wheat cereals.
2. White sugar.
3. Pasteurized milk, which changes the normal acid reaction as it comes from a healthy cow to an alkaline reaction not in· tended by nature.
4. Muscle meats like beef, lamb, and pork, which modern refrigeration has made available for food every day.
5. Citrus fruits and their juices transported to places where they do not grow naturally.
6. Mild or severe cold.
7. Prolonged physical work.
8. Prolonged mental work, made possible by artificial lighting:
9. Emotional upsets.
11. Unproductive worry caused by the necessity to meet economic needs.
12. Financial upsets.
13. Social conflicts.
14. Family maladjustments.
15. Nervous tension states.
16. Cigarette smoking.
17. 'Weather changes.
18. Drinking water rich in calcium.
19. Processed foods.
The permanent emergency organization produced by these factors, singly or in various combinations, causes a marked change in an individual's character. Irritability, failure to correlate decision and action, inability to engage in swift action, chronic fatigue-these are some of the symptoms.
Further, the nature of his food intake begins to change.
He develops a s'weet tooth to supply the liver with the sugar which an overactive sympathetic division demands must be thrown into the blood stream to suffuse the blood. There is a decrease in the desire for vegetables, fruits and natural acid drinks made from fruits, and vegetable juices, with the reesult that the environmental factors nature depended on to terminate the emergency action of the sympathetic division and adrenal glands are no longer available to the body .
With that failure the permanent organization is firmly esstablished and makes its presence known by the following symptoms:
1. There is a loss of the will to win.
2. Loss of physical and mental endurance takes place.
3. Irritability appears, and the individual becomes unsocial.
4. The face is unusually pale, suggesting the possible presence of anemia.
5. Sensitivity to cold.
6. Feet, hands, and nose are usually cold.
7. There may be increased frequency of urination.
8. The nose is inclined to be wet at times, and there may be an increased amount of moisture in the eyes.
9. Postnasal dripping is generally present.
10. There may be seepage from the paranasal sinuses.
11. Belching of gas from the stomach and heartburn are often present.
12. Digestion is weakened.
13. Constipation is the rule.
14. The systolic blood pressure is likely to be increased.
15. A dry skin is the rule.
16. There is a tendency to thickened places on the skin, as shown by the presence of corns and calluses on the feet.
An individual with a permanent organization of the emergency mechanism in the body may not have all these changes present, but a majority of them will be.
If you want to know whether your body is permanently organized for emergency ask yourself these questions:
1. Do you sleep well at night? Whether your emergency equipment's overactivity is temporary or permanent, sleep will not come when you want it. You will not fall asleep easily, and when you do it will not be sound, and will not bring you to the beginning of a new day refreshed as you would be by normal sleep.
2. Is your appetite good? One of the results of overactivity is depression of digestive activities, and with this goes a lessening or failure of appetite.
3. Are you constipated? Normal movement of the intestinal tract is slowed when emergency equipment is dominant.
4. Have you gained weight recently? In the emergency state your waistline measurement is likely to increase as time passes.
If you answer yes to these questions there is certainly temporary or permanent organization of the emergency equipment in the body. It can be terminated by taking two teaspoonfuls of apple cider vinegar and two teaspoonfuls' honey in a glass of water at each meal. One must, in brief know how to restore the body physiology and chemistry to normal. I have learned how to do this from Vermont fol medicine. I have summarized the prescription, but let me spell it out a little more carefully now.
Besides the vinegar-and-honey treatment, we must return to natural foods. White flour foods and white sugar must be removed from the daily food intake because they are highly reefined, which removes the minerals the body depends on to rebuild and maintain body tissues. 'Without these needed minerals the body deteriorates, like a piece of land that has lost its fertility and run down.
A man's inheritance may carry him to fifty years of age, but after that it is up to him to rebuild his body and mainntain it successfully during the later years if he wishes to come to the sunset years with good eyesight, good hearing, mental and physical vigor, and no appearance of senility.
Native Vermonters living close to the soil refer to white flour, white sugar, packaged cereals, and processed foods as "civilized foods." They exchange white flour bread for rye or corn bread and other rye and corn foods. Corn oil is used in cooking. This oil helps allergic conditions.
I learned from Vermont folk medicine that a child with asthma who wheezes at bedtime will stop and get a good night's sleep if he gets a tablespoonful of corn oil. In an adult it decreases the wheezing fifty per cent if taken at beddtime. Corn oil, furthermore, if applied to the eyelids at beddtime as one applies an ointment to the edge of the eyelids, will favorably influence granulation.
For these and other reasons corn oil is used in cooking beecause it contains several unsaturated fatty acids which help to terminate the organization of the emergency organizing equipment.
White sugar is exchanged for honey to sweeten foods, beecause it acts as a sedative and has a mild laxative action. Muscle meats like beef, lamb, and pork are taken only once a week because they stimulate the emergency equipment. Meat is exchanged for eggs, cheese, fish and other seafood. Yogurt and cottage cheese are also valuable foods to help terminate the emergency situation. Citrus fruits and their juices must be removed from the daily intake if you live in the northern part of the United States.
Heat changes the chemistry of the body, which is shown by the presence of an alkaline urine reaction before taking a hot bath and the presence of an acid reaction afterward. In Vermont, cold produces an alkaline urine reaction and citrus fruits produce the same thing in the majority of natives. For that reason we exchange citrus fruits and their juices fo fruits that are grown in cold climates, like apples, grapes and cranberries. All these grow wild in Vermont.
As I study the foods native Vermonters remove from their intake I have learned that the majority of these foods shift the normal acid urine reaction to alkaline, which is evidence that they activate the emergency organizing equipment. Instead of them the Vermonters use leafy and root vegetables berries, apples, grapes and cranberries, honey, nuts, fish game, and poultry.
To these may be added a food supplement in the form of kelp tablets. I learned about the use of kelp from Professor Cavanaugh, of Cornell, who did a great deal of research on it. Because of its mineral and vitamin content derived fror the ocean it represents an ideal food supplement.
The potassium in honey, kelp, apple cider vinegar,
vegetbles, fruits and berries will depress an overactive emergency organizing
equipment and lessen its activity so that it will be available only when
needed. Two teaspoonfuls of apple cider vinegar and two of honey in a glass
of water, taken at each meal or between meals, will also help a great deal
to bring about this happy and healthy result.
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