Medicine Orthodox vs Alternative: Are We What We Eat?

“As he thinketh in his heart, so is he” Proverbs 23:7 KJV

Throughout the years man has said that life, health and age were all simply states of mind. I have personally witnessed this statement to be true. I have watched as people who were fine decide they were ill unto death and die. I have also watched people who were ill unto death decide they were fine, get up and lead long healthy lives.The power of the mind plays a dramatic part in the healing process.


In nature mankind can find many natural cures, but it was not until the 1950’s that natural drug free remedies began to gain media coverage. By the 1990’s acupuncture, acupressure, aromatherapy, autogenic training, biofeedback, breathing exercises, chiropractic treatment, decoctions, exercise, fasting, herbal baths, herbal medicine, homeopathy, hydrotherapy, hypnosis, imagery, infusions, therapeutic massage, meditation, mind control exercises, naturopathy, nutrition, Oriental medicine, orthomolecular medicine, psychotherapy, reflexology, relaxation techniques, self help groups, steam breathing, spa therapy, yoga and other alternative procedures had all became socially accepted methods of medical treatment.


The root philosophy of natural medicine is, “the body was created to heal itself.” In the mid 1990’s consumers began spending in excess of $10 billion yearly on natural and alternative medicine and treatment. Today the numbers are off the chart. It is estimated that 90% of those seeking alternative medical treatment do so on their own and without consulting  their orthodox physician. In the early 1990’s Congress, recognizing the change in America’s attitude strongly advised that the National Institute of Health create new departments and organizations to research and promote this trending movement. The Office for the Study of Unconventional Medicine and the Office of Alternative Medicine were both developed. During this same time period insurance companies began adapting their policies to accept specific alternative medical treatments.


The main difference between orthodox medicine and natural medicine is in the health concept itself. Orthodox medicine practitioners established the American Medical Association (AMA) on May 7, 1847 following the belief that health is the absence of disease and illness is treated with drugs and medicine at the actual time illness presents itself. Natural medicine practitioners follow the belief that health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well being. Their goal is maintenance and prevention. It has been said the orthodox medicine practitioners collect payment for correcting illness while natural medicine practitioners charge for preventing illness from occurring.

The naturalist will explain that allergies, bacteria, carcinogens, germs, viruses and other toxins exist, yet individuals equally exposed react differently. Some becoming ill to the point of death while others exhibit little if any symptoms. The naturalist believes the outcome is in the  individual’s mind and body that allows or defies the growth and spread of the attacking force. A naturalist believes that a person can use the energy produced by the mind to defend themselves against the attacker.


Orthodox medicine advocates that symptoms are caused by disease and should be alleviated.  Natural medicine advocates that symptoms are the result of the body trying to heal itself and should be allowed to proceed as alleviation could cause greater problems. They believe the underlying problem must be identified and corrected, while realizing that some symptoms must be treated.  Extremely high fevers, inability to intake oxygen properly, immense pain, heart complications and more distressing symptoms must be alleviated. Common sense must always be exercised,


Naturopathy originated with Hippocrates who believed that disease came from nature’s imbalances concerning water, food and air. He further believed and taught that the body was created with the internal ability to heal itself. There was the practice of bleeding by lancings or leeches, intestinal purgings and blisterings. These techniques were the practice of those called “heroic” and never the practice of Naturalists or Orthodox physicians.


Two time Nobel Prize winner, Linus Pauling coined the term “orthomolecular”  medicine (a natural approach) in 1968. Ortho is Greek meaning “to Correct.” His object was to provide balance to the human metabolism with proper nutrition, consisting of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and enzymes. He recognized that although these nutrients were produced by the human body that improper diet and illness knocked them off balance. His ultimate goal was not to set levels of orthomolecular medicine which would retard illness and disease, but to set intake levels that nurtured optimal health. He found that many complaints and complications from individuals could be corrected by testing the blood for orthomolecular content and adding  nutrient contents that were lacking or missing.

Homeopathy was instituted in 1810 by Samuel Huhnemann a German Doctor. The word homeopathy is of Greek origin and translates to mean “like cures like.” Huhnemann was the first immigrant homeopathic  doctor to start a practice is America,  He opened his practice in 1828. In 1830 the Huhnemann Medical College was opened in Philadelphia. In 1844 the American Institute of homeopathy was established.


In the 200 plus years that homeopathy has been recognized  not 1 case of harm from homeopathic or herbal procedures has been established. Homeopathy works on the “law of  similars” and the “law of infinitesimals.” The law of similars states that if a substance causes certain symptoms in a healthy person that substance can be used to cure a patient portraying identically or extremely similar symptoms. This law has proved to be true in repeated research projects. The law of infinitesimals states that overmedicating floods the body, masking the symptoms and causing the body to attempt to eliminate the medication from its system. Said simply “less is more.”  Smaller dosage stimulates the body to produce healing qualities,


Constantine Hering was a German homeopath who immigrated to America in the 1830’s. “Hering’s law” is based on his life’s work. It states that all cures come from within, working outward. Hering said the body attacked the worst issue first working down in order to the least harmful.


The term naturopathy was coined in 1845 by a New York doctor John Scheel. His intent was to create a term used nationally to refer to a medical philosophy representing “nature’s cures.”  His first priorities were good hygiene and proper hydration. When Benedict Lust immigrated to America in 1902 he furthered Dr. Scheel’s naturopathy work teaching the consumption of caffeine, alcohol and drugs were harmful causing imbalances.

Alternative medical procedures have always received opposition from the chemical and drug industries. Together these industries combined forces with the orthodox medical community to impose laws prohibiting and limiting the practice of alternative medicine. In the 1990’s alternative medicine began to emerge out from under these restrictions with the backing and assistance of the American consumer.


Oriental medicine advocates that illness results from going against the “natural laws of Heaven and Earth,” teaching health is a state of mind. The term Chi is used frequently. Chi is an Oriental term loosely translating to “life force.” Chi is believed to nourish both mind and body and signifies an individual’s spheres of function.


The Taoist belief system of health represents a harmony in Heaven. Yin and Yang are part of the Taoist faith. Yin represents the negative dark interior right side of the earth.  Yang being the positive light left side of the surface of Heaven. Followers of the Taoism faith believe that at birth Yin and Yang are in perfect balance and life throws them off. They believe that all things belong to one of five elements: earth, fire, metal, water and wood. The bodies organs are described as belonging to these five elements. The spleen and stomach being of the earth. The heart and small intestine represent fire, the lungs and large intestines metal, the kidney and bladder the water and  the liver and gallbladder the wood.


Oriental medicine includes: acupuncture an art form and science that has been practiced in the Orient for thousands of years, acupressure developed in the Orient pre-dating acupuncture and used to provide relief from and not a cure of illness such as migraines. also chiropractic manipulation, herbal treatments, massage, nutrition, Tai Chi  Chuan a gentle martial art and other martial arts which take great inner strength, control and health promotion.


Hydrology consists of drinking water, soaking in water and both ice and steam therapy. The human body is composed of 2/3 water. The surface of the earth is 4/5 water. Water regulates the body’s temperature.  Hippocrates was the first to administer drinking water to reduce fevers. Although the consumption of water is a serious method of hydrotherapy, the basic theory of hydrology is the overall exposure of the body to water both internally and externally and the body’s reaction to this exposure. Exposure to hot water draws blood immediately to the site and cold water exposure sends it to deeper sites. Knowing how to apply hot and cold water therapy is vital. An injury should be treated with cold water or compress driving the blood away and reducing inflammation and pain.


Baths are a major part of hydration and specific bath additives can prove helpful in alleviating certain conditions. Borax powder (not Boraxo Soap), corn starch, mustard, epsom salts and baking soda, added to the bath add good antiseptic values. Rosemary ood circulation elements. Apple cider vinegar or oatmeal calms itchy skin and hives plus relieves sun burns. Chamomile and lavender added to a warm bath increase relaxation, stress relief and sleep. Sulfur helps rid the skin of parasites. Pine shavings relieves rashes.Allergies to additives by certain individuals may produce issues. Hot and cold vaporizers also play an important part in hydrotherapy. Humidifiers are helpful in the treatment of sinusitis and certain specific allergy treatments.


Herbal medications are derived from whole plants or parts there of like tree bark, roots,  rhizomes, stems, leaves, flowers, seeds, berries, fruit and plant roots, ferns, seaweed, lichens which contain proteins, enzymes, vitamins, minerals and other trace elements. All of these even those containing toxins are easily assimilated by the human body. Plants also contain the three fatty acids necessary to promote life: linoleic acid, linolenic acid and arachidonic acid. Plants further contain oils, alkaloids (nitrogen compounds), resins and carbohydrates. Herbal medicines are produced in many forms: tablets, capsules, caplets, lotions, ointments, suppositories, inhalants, teas, juices, gums, poultices, tinctures and more.


The history of chiropractic began in America in 1895 when Daniel David Palmer of Iowa performed the first chiropractic adjustment on a partially deaf janitor, Harvey Lillard.  This experience led Palmer to open a school of chiropractic two years later. Rev. Samel Weed coined the word “chiropractic” from Greek roots.

The term chiropractic translates from its Greek origins as treatment by the hands. It refers to manipulation  and adjustment usually but not only limited to the spine.


Starting with early Egypt and Greece  foods were used medicinally. Garlic was taken for intestinal and respiratory disorders. Cabbage was administered to treat headaches and ulcers, In the 1700’s lemons and limes were used to treat scurvy.  It was in the early 1900’s when vitamins C and A were isolated and made capable of consumption as individual doses. Thirteen vitamins and 30 minerals had been isolated by 1940.  Nutrients necessary for the growth and maintenance of the human body are carbohydrates, fats, minerals, proteins, trace elements and vitamins.


Proteins make up 15-20% of the human body and include bone, hair, muscle, nails and skin. Hormone and enzyme production rely on proteins which cannot be stored as access for future usage. Proteins require constant replenishing. A balanced intake of proteins is necessary. Too much protein is very harmful attacking both liver and kidneys. The best sources of proteins are cheese, eggs, fish, legumes, lean meat, milk, nuts, seeds, sprouts and yogurt. Protein should represent 5% of the daily food intake.


Fat is an energy food  It maintains the body’s temperature, cell structure, organ health and nerves. Vitamins A, D, E and K are transported throughout the body by fat. There are three types of fats or fatty acids. Animal fats from butter, cheese, cream, eggs, fish and meat compromise saturated fats which are the least desirable fats and usually increase cholesterol. Plant fats like:  corn oil, safflower oil, soy oil, sunflower seed oil and wheat germ are polyunsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fats are derived from foods such as avocados, peanuts, and olives. Fat should be limited to 30% of the daily food intake. Saturated fat should comprise no more than 10% of the total 30%.


Carbohydrates are an energy source. The breakdown of carbohydrates creates glycogen and glucose which provide nutrients for the brain, the muscles and the nervous system. Starches and sugars provide carbohydrates. Good nutritious carbohydrates come from fruit, grains, legumes, pastas and vegetables. Refined food products such as flour and sugar are high in carbohydrates and calories but provide poor nutrients. The daily intake of carbohydrates should make up the remaining 65% of daily food intake.


Dietary fiber known as roughage is a natural necessity to aid the passage of waste. The best sources of fiber are found in barley, brown rice, whole grains, beans, cereals, dried fruits, apples. nuts, oats, rye and raw vegetables such as carrots and celery and cooked vegetables like corn, Brussels sprouts, egg plant, potatoes and peas. Roughage does not provide nutrients and is indigestible. This is not to say that the item itself contains no nutrients, just that the roughage produced by it does not. Roughage moves through the intestines absorbing water and providing a cleansing effect. Roughage aids with toxin removal. A balanced fiber intake wards off disease such as colon cancer, diverticulitis and gallstones.  Roughage also minimizes the amount of fats and sugar  absorbed. Fiber further lowers blood cholesterol and blood pressure. Proper fiber consumption  consists of 1 to 2 ounces daily which is equal to 50 or so grams daily.


Vitamin and mineral consumption is essential for proper health balance. B complex and C vitamins are water soluble for the most part and must be consumed daily as the  body does not store them.The exception is vitamin B12 which the liver stores.  The soluble vitamins A, D, E and K are stored in the fatty tissues of the body. The ultimate introduction method for vitamins and minerals is through food consumption, however adding a good multivitamin and mineral supplement may often prove necessary.


Raw fruits and vegetables provide the best choice of nutrients as cooking deletes their value. Steaming is the least harmful means of cooking for keeping nutrient content intact, but there is still substantial loss. When boiling is necessary use as little water as possible and use the leftover liquid for soup, broth or stock. Much of the lost nutrients are contained in this water. Many sauces used to enhance the fruits or vegetables can be immediately made using this cooking water. Always wash fruits and vegetables with a soft brush under running water. or with cider vinegar rinsing before preparing to eliminate pesticides and bacteria. Peelings when edible should be left in tack for ultimate nutrient value.


When in the 1990’s people begin to truly  recognize that the food and beverages they were consuming played a major part in their attitudes, emotions and physical health old habits were broken on a regular basis. The labels on edible products became a genuine concern. Salt intake was watched as it was proven that high salt levels raised blood pressure leading to heart complications and strokes, Sugar and other carbohydrates although sweet became suspect as the culprits behind emotional rushes and physical damage as severe as limb and digit loss. Excessive fat intake became suspicious as a clogger of veins and main arteries. And this was just the tip of the importance on the nutrition hit list. Food and beverage manufacturers found themselves being interrogated as to their accountability and honesty in labeling concerning the additions of antioxidants, dyes, emulsifiers, MSG(fermenting soy products), preservatives, stabilizers, calories, factual vitamin and mineral content and more.  Finally the health conscious American public decided that  low fat & sodium, high fiber, naturally sweetened choices were best.


Calorie counters found that relating calorie content to food intake was an essential part of maintaining a normal body weight. An inactive mature male usually burns 2500 calories daily.  A highly active mature male burns 3500 calories per day or more. a mature inactive woman burns 1700-1900 calories where a really active mature woman burns 2000-25000 plus.Every individual has their own personal intake level. With a little experimentation we can each find our own.


My day of reckoning came when one of my preteen grandchildren asked me if their brain was filled with salt, sugar and pasty goo because of what they ate.. As I found myself explaining that certain conditions like fatigue, weakness, drowsiness, high blood pressure and blood sugar and more did produce themselves based on the content of our forks and spoons.


Works Cited:

Bradstreet, Karen; Natural Medicine vs. Orthodox Medicine/ Edition 1 bl