Article #2: What To Do In a Cold by Dr. Herbert M. Shelton
“A cold is simply an effort of the system to relieve itself of its accumulated waste panicles, said accumulation resulting from overeating or inefficient breathing, or breathing of foul air … “The foregoing words are quoted from an article by Dr. Robert Walter, which appeared in The Science of Health in August 1873, and well sums up the Hygienic theory of the nature of a cold and of its cause. We regard the cold as a remedial effort made necessary by a toxic state of the body. It is not surprising, in view of this, that there is no drug known that will “cure” a cold.
The U.S. Public Health Service says that nearly every person in the United States “catches” at least one cold a year, but that the average is about three colds a year. It says that in January and February some sixty million people in America have colds. The cold is the most common of all the diseases with which man suffers. It is said to disable people in this country to such an extent that two billion working days a year are lost. They are said to cost industry five billion dollars annually in lost production, wages and medical expenses.
The Public Health Service says that there is no known drug that will “cure” a cold. So determined are miseducated people to take drugs that they spend over a quarter of a billion dollars each year for cold and cough “remedies.” The so-called wonder drugs—the antibiotics and sulfas—are said by the American Medical Association to have no effect on the “cold virus.” It is stated that “most remedies do little more than subtract from the pocket book.” Drugs that are called pain killers are said to relieve some of the aches and pains, but “do nothing for the cold.”
The U.S. Public Health Service says that the best thing the cold sufferer can do is to stay at home, take a hot bath, go to bed, eat a balanced diet and wait for the body to do the rest. This is not good advice, as we will make clear in this article.
Here is a relatively mild disease that is more prevalent than any other disease with which man suffers, and one with which he has suffered throughout history. Millions of dollars have been spent in research trying to find the cause of colds and a remedy for them. Uncounted thousands of cures for colds have been discovered, given a thorough test and discarded. Today, medical science, about which we hear so much boasting, stands empty handed and helpless before the cold and can offer the cold sufferer nothing more than a balanced diet.
The advice of the Public Health Service contains the admission that recovery from a cold is the work of the body itself, unaided by so-called remedies. Whatever may be the nature of the cold, and whatever may be its cause, the sufferer must depend upon his own resources for his recovery. So-called medical science can offer him nothing more more than questionable palliation of some of the more annoying symptoms. Palliation is always directed at symptoms and in all cases represents the suppression of symptoms. Palliation is never an attempt to remove the causes of suffering.
For a long time efforts have been made to find a serum or a vaccine that will “immunize” the recipient against colds. Numerous such vaccines and serums have been found and have been tried and, although much money has been made from the administration of such serums and vaccines, they have one and all failed to produce immunity to colds. Often, indeed, those who have been inoculated have suffered more with colds than the uninoculated. It may seem strange to my readers that a relatively mild disease should so long and so persistently defy the efforts of the men of “science,” while more formidable and less common diseases yield so readily to their vaccines and serums, to their “wonder” drugs, and to their other efforts. The men of “science” have tried to prove that they can protect us against the crunch of a tiger, but are helpless in protecting us against the bite of a house cat.
Colds are preventable; but before we can learn to prevent them, we have to learn their causes. So long as it is assumed that germs and viruses are the causes of colds, and so long as our efforts at prevention are directed at these microscopic and submicroscopic beings, the cold will not be prevented. So long as we hug the old delusion that a cold is something that we “catch” or that “catches” us, and against which we have to defend ourselves by the employment of some anti-vital and unphysiological substance, whether taken by mouth or by injection, just so long will our efforts at prevention prove futile.
The Hygienic conception of the cause of colds is that these remedial efforts are made necessary by the accumulation in the blood, lymph and tissues of unexcreted metabolic waste and by the absorption from the digestive tract of toxic products of indigestion. The ultimate cause of the cold, therefore, consists of those habits of living and eating that reduce digestive power and check excretion. In a sentence, a cold is due to a way of life that produces enervation, thus checking secretion and excretion and permitting the fouling of ‘he internal environment. To use a new phrase, we may call this fouling of the internal environment a physiological smog.
When the toxemic saturation resulting from inhibited excretion and the absorption of toxic materials from the digestive tract reaches a certain intolerable state, the body initiates a process of supplementary elimination, requisitioning the mucous membrane of the nose and throat to do vicarious duty in freeing itself of the accumulated waste. The cold lasts a few hours to several days, depending on the time required to excrete the toxic debris. Due to the fact that the cold is a remedial process the sufferer recovers health in almost every instance and this enables him to credit his recovery to the aspirin he took, to the whiskey he drank, to the quinine he dosed himself with, to the hot foot bath, or to whatever else he did as a “cure.” In point of fact, the Public Health Service correctly describes what occurs when it advises the cold sufferer to wait for the body to do the rest.
Aspirin is perhaps the most widely-used drug today for palliating the discomforts of a cold. Medical News for November 4, 1966, carried the following statement: “Salicylates (aspirin), phenylbutazone and oral cortisone drugs can cause local erosions of the gastric mucose by direct contact with the tablet, Dr. M. S. Israel told Medical News after the Erasmus Wilson Demonstration at the Royal College of Surgeons of England.” For a number of years now it has been admitted that aspirin causes bleeding from the stomach; this discovery that the contact of aspirin with the mucous membrane lining the stomach causes an erosion of this membrane explains why the bleeding occurs. It just does not make sense for a man suffering with a cold to dose himself with a drug that produces such damaging effects, along with many other damages. Certainly, he should be better off if cared for by helpful means rather than by means that are productive of damage. It is certain that the depressing effect of aspirin prolongs the cold.
The duration of a cold may be shortened by means that increase toxic elimination through the regular channels of excretion. These means will also decrease the headache, fever, soreness of the throat, huskiness of the voice, sneezing, running of the nose, watering of the eyes, etc., that constitute symptoms of a cold. The best means of promoting elimination is to go to bed in a well-ventilated room, keep warm, and take nothing into the stomach except water and this only as thirst demands. Fasting and rest will not only make the cold sufferer more comfortable and reduce the likelihood of complications, but they will definitely shorten the duration of the cold and do all of this without the production of unwanted side effects. The advice of the Public Health Service to eat a balanced diet completely ignores the lack of physiological demand for food and the absence of the physiological conditions necessary to the efficient digestion of food. Drugging and feeding are the chief causes of complications in colds and the chief reasons that colds frequently evolve into more serious diseases.