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Manuscript Releases, vol. 21 [Nos. 1501-1598]

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    MR No. 1559—The Use of Drugs vs Simple Remedies; Ellen White's Diet

    (Written August 1, 1897, from “Sunnyside,” to Dr. J. H. Kellogg.)

    I scarcely know how to write to you. I hoped yesterday evening after the Sabbath to receive the Vancouver mail, but it did not come, and my mail for America must go tomorrow morning.21MR 289.1

    I have read the manuscript Willie sent me for the book Christian Temperance. I see nothing that I object to except the subject of drug medication. As matters have been opened to me from time to time, as I have been conducted through the rooms of the sick in the sanitarium and out of the sanitarium, I have seen that the physicians of the sanitarium, by practicing drug medication, have lost many cases that need not have died if they had left their drugs out of the sick room. Cases have been lost that had the physicians left off entirely their drug treatment, had they put their wits to work and wisely and persistently used the Lord's own remedies—plenty of air and water—the fever cases that have been lost would have recovered. The reckless use of those things that should be discarded has decided the case of the sick.21MR 289.2

    I will not educate or sustain the use of drugs. I try not to speak of these things, but if the book is already out, I shall have to insert something that I may place the truth of the matter before the people. After seeing so much harm done by the administering of drugs, I cannot use them, and cannot testify in their favor. I must be true to the light given me by the Lord.21MR 289.3

    The treatment we gave when the sanitarium was first established required earnest labor to combat disease. We did not use drug concoctions; we followed hygienic methods. This work was blessed by God. It was a work in which the human instrumentality could cooperate with God in saving life. There should be nothing put into the human system that would leave its baleful influence behind. And to carry out the light on this subject, to practice hygienic treatment, and to educate on altogether different lines of treating the sick, was the reason given me why we should have sanitariums established in various localities.21MR 289.4

    I have been pained when many students have been encouraged to go to Ann Arbor to receive an education in the use of drugs. The light which I have received has placed an altogether different complexion on the use made of drugs than is given at Ann Arbor or at the sanitarium. We must become enlightened on these subjects. The intricate names given the medicines are used to cover up the matter, so that none will know what is given them as remedies unless they obtain a dictionary to find out the meaning of these names.21MR 289.5

    The Lord has given some simple herbs of the field that at times are beneficial; and if every family were educated in how to use these herbs in case of sickness, much suffering might be prevented, and no doctor need be called. These old fashioned simple herbs, used intelligently, would have recovered many sick who have died under drug medication.21MR 290.1

    One of the most beneficial remedies is pulverized charcoal, placed in a bag and used in fomentations. This is a most successful remedy. If wet in smartweed boiled, it is still better. I have ordered this in cases where the sick were suffering great pain, and when it has been confided to me by the physician that he thought it was the last before the close of life. Then I suggested the charcoal, and the patient slept, the turning point came, and recovery was the result.21MR 290.2

    To students when injured with bruised hands and suffering with inflammation, I have prescribed this simple remedy, with perfect success. The poison of inflammation was overcome, the pain removed, and healing went on rapidly. The most severe inflammation of the eyes will be relieved by a poultice of charcoal, put in a bag, and dipped in hot or cold water, as will best suit the case. This works like a charm.21MR 290.3

    I expect you will laugh at this, but if I could give this remedy some outlandish name that no one knew but myself, it would have greater influence. But Dr. Kellogg, many things have been opened before me that no one but myself is any the wiser for in regard to the management of sickness and disease—the effect of the use of drug medication, the thousands in our work who might have lived if they had not sent for a physician and had let nature work the recovery herself. But the simplest remedies may assist nature, and leave no baleful effects after their use.21MR 290.4

    I have been studying my own case. I have not applied to any physician since living in this country. I did pay four pounds the first year for electric baths, which did me no good. If indisposed I would just as soon think of calling in a lawyer as a physician.21MR 290.5

    I have recently left off the use of all liquids, such as homemade coffee, with my meals. I eat my food as dry as possible. The result is excellent. In the morning I take lemon and water. I drink nothing between meals unless it be occasionally some lemon and water. At the table I do not eat many things either. I use dry peas boiled, then strained, then baked, and canned tomatoes. When fresh, I use the tomatoes uncooked with bread. This is my principal article of food.21MR 290.6

    I write you this because I asked you some questions in reference to the heart. But now, after bringing myself to a very strict diet, I find no special difficulty. When overtaxed, I suffer from exhaustion and inability to breathe. But I think I shall not die but live to declare the works of the Lord. I adhere strictly to the two meal system, and know this to be a blessing to me. If I could walk much, I would do considerable walking, but my right hip will not admit of this. I am as active upon my feet, in walking about the house and about my premises, as I have been at any period in my life.21MR 291.1

    But I must close this. I wish to say that I am never troubled with an offensive breath or a bad taste in my mouth. I relish my food. I enjoy apples very much, but good apples are not to be obtained here as in America. A few barrels of Northern Spys, such as we used to have in America, would be a treat. But we cannot procure these here.—Letter 82, 1897.21MR 291.2

    Ellen G. White Estate

    Silver Spring, Maryland,

    February 28, 1991.

    Entire Letter.