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Health, or, How to Live

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    POISONS

    “IT does not take a man with a divining rod to tell that the same general law which wards off disease, is that by which disease is cured, and that any knowledge which one has, by means of which he can cure the sick is of no avail unless it also includes a knowledge of means by which when a person is cured, he may ‘stay cured.’ For it is palpably absurd to be shut up to the necessity of curing people constantly. Such a process is only a sham. In reality there is no cure. It is merely a labor quite unfruitful of benefits. — Without health no man can be as great as Nature designs him to be. Philosophically speaking, as well as practically, Health is wealth. — Without it the highest mental culture can never be attained, for in its absence the closest application of one’s intellectual powers cannot be exercised. Without health there cannot be a thorough moral discipline or religious growth, for to the degree that one is sick does he lack power of control over his passions, as well as over the emotions of his higher nature. There is no curse on this earth this day so heavy upon the people as the loss of health. It makes those who suffer it so dependent, so miserable, placing them on a charity list, where if they are not dependent for bread, they are for other little things, which, good in themselves, sicken and sadden when daily had under circumstances inevitably calculated to press home to those to whom they are tendered the conviction of their own nothingness.HHTL 167.3

    “Many of the ablest medical writers admit the impossibility of curing chronic diseases by medicine. Many more admit it in their daily practice, who have patients to whom they give no medicine, recommending instead, means entirely hygienic. In acute diseases, drug doctors speculate and experiment more extensively, but in this department men occasionally arise who have the magnanimity to admit that they can calculate with no certainty on their medicines, these utterly failing under the most favorable combination of symptoms to exhibit those effects, for the production of which it is supposed they are specifically adapted.HHTL 168.1

    “Thus calomel, opium, quinine, lobelia, belladonna, aconite, toxicodendron, arsenic, iodine, podophyllin and the other poisons whose name is legion, and in whose tails there are a thousand stings, are daily given, and specific effects are looked for and calculated upon, but exactly opposite effects are produced. Am I not right? If not, how then is opium given to induce sleep, and the patient made all the more wakeful for it? Is it not a common fact that calomel when administered with a view to excite the liver to increased action, produces as a result greater inactivity of that organ? Do not physicians daily give cathartics to relieve costiveness, and thereby making it a permanent condition of the bowels? Do they not give brandy to tone up the stomachs of dyspeptics, and thereby, oftener than otherwise produce complete loss of tone of that organ? Do they not give cantharides to cure dropsy, and then have to commence the process of tapping, and keep it up till the patient dies? Do they not give iodine to reduce enlarged lymphatics, and have suppuration of the glands follow its administration? Do they, or do they not get results such as the books tell about, in half the cases they treat? I do not ask if their patients live through the attacks of their diseases and the administrative attendance of their physicians. That is not just now the question, but do these medicine-givers with their so called specifics get specific effects?HHTL 168.2

    “In a monograph on Typhus Fever published in 1831, Prof. Nathan Smith, of Yale College says: ‘I am clearly of opinion, that we had better leave Typhus Fever to cure itself, as medicines, especially powerful ones, are more likely to do harm than good.’ The Prof. was right. Drugs kill, or if they do not kill, they tend to kill, and so do more harm than good. — Think of the curative properties of poisons. — What makes arsenic everywhere labelled a poison? Why, by universal consent is prussic acid stamped, labelled, and considered a poison? — Why do legislators pass enactments forbidding druggists to sell arsenic or other drugs without labelling them so plainly when done up as to leave no possible ground for mistake that they are poisons? Is it not because the legitimate effects of them on the human body is to destroy its vitality and kill it? Then by what cunning, or skill, or power of transmutation, is it that a man with a piece of parchment in his office hung on the wall, written all over in Latin characters, can take these substances and introduce them into the body, set them going into the circulation and have them tend to cure, and not to kill. Is it that by their introduction they are chemically altered? This is not the fact. Persons who are killed by arsenic show its presence in their stomachs on post mortem examination. Persons who have taken mercury, have had it pass from the body through the skin in a natural state. Persons who have had iodine administered for scrofula, have had the smell unmistakably exhibited in their puss. — Those who have taken oil of turpentine, have months, yes, years after taking it, sent forth its odor in their urine. Sick persons have taken the wine of colchicum, and have tasted it plainly a year after its administration. Persons after taking lobelia have had its presence exhibited, and usual effects shown, years after it was given. Opium eaters are liable to attacks of lethargy for years after giving up its use. Men have gone from the East to the West, traveled through it, and returned to have the Western fever, eighteen months after their return and die from it. Men go into a room where typhus fever is, and come out without injury; others go in, come out, are taken sick and die. Men settle down on the edge of a stagnant mill-pond, and in a little while have intermittent fever. — Men take some little pills of strychnine from the hands of a physician, and are smitten with paralysis for life. Boys chew and smoke tobacco, and are palsied, smitten in their early budding. What in the name of Heaven do these facts prove, but that poison is poison everywhere, always is poison, that its effects are modified by the vitality of the person taking it, and not by any change undergone, and that the worst possible use you can put a sick man to, is to give him medicine, that if you want to kill him you have only to drug him, and if you do not kill him, you will waste away all the greenness and freshness of his existence, so that life looks to him as desolate as a burned prairie.”HHTL 169.1

    —DR. JACKSON, Laws of Life, for Aug., 1862.

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