Article #3: “Good Drugs”
In one of his recent syndicated articles, Dr. Irving S. Cutter says that he received a letter that read: “A medical student at Harvard told his father that he was taught that there are only 13 essential remedies. My physician says he is of the opinion that there are only four. Were you to make a list how many would you include?”
After dealing with the old belief that “since the good Lord had sent disease to curse mankind, He had planted in the earth an antidote for every symptom,” which we only need to find, and how this led to a search for remedies in everything and, ultimately to the development of shotgun prescriptions, he tells of the development, in the middle of the 19th century, of pharmacology, so that “today every product, before it is applied to human use, must pass the rigid test—what will it do to help the body rid itself of disease?”
Then he adds: “It should be clear that nature is the great healer. All that any medicine can accomplish is to place the tissues and organs in the best possible condition to repel illness.” This is a perversion of the old threadbare statement that “it is nature that heals, medicine only aids nature.”
I am certain that Cutter is well aware that “medicines” never “place tissues and organs in the best possible condition.” He may not know that the body does not “repel disease,” for he still thinks that “disease” is some kind of a mysterious attacking force that must be repelled as any invader should be repelled. But he has studied too much toxicology to believe the mass of lies in the pharmacology about the “physiological action” of poisons.
He tells us of pharmacology, that it deals ‘”with the action of drugs.” But he omits to mention the fundamental defect in pharmacology, if he is aware of this glaring defect: that it fails to distinguish between the “action” of drugs and the action of the body. Pharmacology attributes all the action to the lifeless drug—the chief characteristic of which is inertia—and none to the living body, the leading characteristic of which is action—”action is life.”
He believes that epsom salts act on the bowels to produce a diarrhea; and does not understand that the diarrhea is bowel action—that the living thing and not the lifeless thing does the acting. It is the bowels acting on the drug to eject it that produces the diarrhea. Pharmacology is a mass of fallacy simply because it mistakes vital action for drug action.
Drugs do not “place the tissues and organs in the best possible condition.” On the contrary they force them to assume a condition of defense. They are compelled to defend themselves against the drugs. Drugs place them either in a condition of excitement, followed by exhaustion, or in a condition of depression, also followed by exhaustion. The excited action of the bowels (diarrhea) that follows a dose of salts, leaves them exhausted. The depression of these same bowels that follows a dose of morphine exhausts them nonetheless.
Cutter uses the term “medicine” and net drug. Medicine is derived from a Greek word meaning heal or healing. There are no medicines. “It should be clear that nature is ‘ the great healer.” What is nature? In this instance, nature is the ensemble of the forces and processes of life. It is nutrition, detoxication, drainage, elimination, repair, recuperation—function. Nature is not only the great healer—she is the only healer.
Continuing, Cutter says: “In this connection (that of putting the tissues and organs in the best condition to repel the mysterious attacking force), nursing often is more powerful than all the elixirs in the pharmacopeia.” This must depend on the kind of nursing employed. For, nursing may be “medical” nursing, or it may be Hygienic nursing.
“A few years ago Dr. Shattuck of Boston prepared two lists of drugs. The first enumerated 11 items and was entitled “Very Valuable,” the second tabulated 15 under the caption, “Useful.” Of the first 11, diphtheria antitoxin is the only serum noted. Nowadays we could scarcely do justice to our patients without antitoxins against lockjaw, gas bacillus, meningitis and pneumonia.
“Since Shattuck’s pronouncement the sulfonamide derivatives have come into the picture. They are lifesaving in the treatment of meningitis, urinary infections, mastoid, middle-ear disease and pneumonia.
“Anesthetics are not even mentioned. I would incorporate also oxygen—so helpful in certain respiratory and heart conditions. When combined with carbon dioxide, this element is of great service in the management of gas poisoning.
“The only hormone recorded is insulin. Most experts, I am sure, would demand pituitrin, adrenalin and the sex hormones. There is no reference to glucose or normal salt solution. Certainly human blood and plasma occupy positions of first importance.
“Thoughtful physicians are not generous drug-prescribers, but they must be familiar with the possibilities of their ammunition. To answer the question categorically, I think I would accept most of Professor Shattuck’s 26 entries. To these I would add at least a dozen more, with the reservation that no one preparation should be employed unless the doctor who prescribes it knows just what it will do and that his patient needs it.”
He includes oxygen and human blood among the “valuable drugs.” How did he overlook food and the human brain? Aren’t they “valuable drugs,” also?
All leading physicians are agreed that there are not many “valuable drugs,” but they are not all agreed as to which are the valuable drugs. I have not seen Shattuck’s list, but it is safe to say it contained the now discarded specific for “syphilis”—mercury. Most lists of this kind also contain the vaunted specific for malaria—quinine.
A few years ago a prominent New York City physician stated that he could practice medicine successfully with three drugs—mercury, opium, and quinine. I saw a list of “really valuable drugs,” prepared by a famous medical authority that contained only twelve drugs. At the present time the Army recognizes epsom salts, C.C. pills, arsphenamine, and sulfanilamide. The U.S. Pharmocopea and the Handbook of New and Nonofficial Remedies each contain a large list—over 45,000 in all—of “curative” drugs.
The simple truth is that there are no valuable drugs. They cure nothing, but kill many. They can cause disease; they cannot restore health. Drugging the sick is a survival of savagery. Increase or decrease the number of drugs in use as they will; it still remains a relic of the voodooism of the medicineman of savage tribes.
- 1. Introduction
- 2. Choosing A Hospital
- 3. Dangers Of Hospitalization
- 4. Let The People Beware
- 5. Health Advocate
- 6. Your Rights
- 7. Abbreviations
- 8. Nursing Care
- 9. Food
- 10. Drugs
- 11. Tests To Accept Or Reject
- 12. Chemical Feedings
- 13. Surgery
- 14. Intensive Care Unit
- 15. The Emergency Room
- 16. Questions & Answers
- Article #1: Is Medicine a Fraud? By Dr. Herbert M. Shelton
- Article #2: Physician Heal Thyself – Part 1
- Article #2: Physician Heal Thyself – Part 2
- Article #3: Good Drugs
- Article #4: Good Medical Attention by Dr. George E. Crandall
- Article #5: Blood Transfusions by Dr. Herbert M. Shelton