By Harry Benjamin N.D.
Compiled and edited by Ivor Hughes

Part 1 of 3.

Angina pectoris � Asthma � Bronchial catarrh � Bronchitis (acute) � Bronchitis (chronic) � Cough �Dilatation of the heart � Endocarditis � Enlargement of the heart � Emphysema � Empyema � False angina pectoris � Fatty heart � Heart disease � Hypertrophy of the heart � Laryngitis � Myocarditis � Pericarditis Pleurisy � Pneumonia � Pulmonary tuberculosis (consumption) � Tachycardia � Valvular disease of the heart.

DISEASES of the heart
� the most important and hardest-working organ in the body � are exceedingly common these days, and instead of showing signs of decreasing under medical methods of treatment, as one might expect or hope, these conditions show a steady tendency to become more and more prevalent as the years advance. There is, however, not such a great deal of cause for wonder in all this, when once the true facts of the matter are understood ; for it is to medical treatment itself that by far the largest percentage of cases of heart trouble of all kinds is due.

Let me make this point quite clear. As has already been pointed out in various places in the present book, when acute diseases such as fevers are treated along orthodox medical lines, the disease is not cured by such treatment, but is suppressed. This means that the toxins Nature is endeavouring to throw off through the medium of the disease are forced back again into the tissues to form the basis for future disorders of the chronic type. Now, in all such treatment of acute disease the heart is likely to be affected by the suppressive measures employed, not only through the actual forcing back of toxic matter into the system, but through the medium of the drugs employed to " cure " the fever. For the drugs used by the medical profession for reducing fevers (called antipyretics) reduce temperature at a cost �the cost of affecting heart action and often permanently damaging the heart structures. Especially is this fact noticeable in the treatment of scarlet and rheumatic fever ; but the damage caused to the heart is never ascribed to the drugs used, always to the fever. In the case of rheumatic fever the trouble is still more complicated by virtue of the drugs used for neutralising the acid effusions into the joints which are a characteristic feature of this disease. Such drugs (called salicylates) seriously affect the heart lining and pave the way for the permanent and often serious heart trouble which usually follows in the wake of the orthodox medical treatment of rheumatic fever. The heart affection is not due to the action of the fever as such, but to the drugs employed in the treatment of the fever. (Rheumatic fever treated along natural lines leaves no harmful after-affects whatsoever.)

The taking of aspirin and other drugs for deadening nerve pain, the taking of drugs of many other kinds for the medical treatment of diseases of one kind or another, all have a definitely harmful effect upon the heart; so, all in all, who can wonder that heart troubles are such a common feature of present-day life, in this drug-soaked world of ours, and that the medical profession seems powerless to do anything really effective in the matter ? The habitual taking of drugs of all kinds, and especially the drug treatment of acute diseases such as fevers, are here cited as the main causative factors in the setting up of diseases of the heart as met with in the civilised world to-day; but there are other factors which can and do play their part in originating heart troubles. Among these other factors none is so important as wrong feeding.

When we realise that the blood is always passing to and from the heart (ceaselessly, night and day), we can see at once that if the blood-stream is continually being clogged with waste matter in its passage round the body, then a certain amount of this same waste matter will tend to accumulate in and around the heart structures; that is why the excessive and high-protein and starch diet of to-day predisposes inevitably towards defective condition and action of the heart. The more meat, white bread, white sugar, etc., that is eaten habitually, the more will the blood-stream be clogged with waste matter, and the more will heart action suffer, especially as middle-life approaches. The habitual drinking of strong tea, coffee, and alcoholic liquors also affects heart action adversely, because of the alkaloids and other harmful elements contained in these beverages and which get into the blood; and excessive smoking also affects heart action for the same reason. Then there is severe strain, overwork, nerve exhaustion, excesses of all kinds, etc., etc., to be considered too in the setting up of heart troubles, such factors inevitably tending to accentuate the deleterious effects of the other factors already referred to in the foregoing paragraphs.

Having considered the main factors concerned in the inception of heart diseases, as enumerated above, let us now turn to the medical treatment for such diseases. We have already mentioned the part played by drug treatment in the commencement of heart troubles, yet it is by the use of still more drugs that the medical profession tries to treat these diseases. Is it any wonder, then, that such treatment is ineffectual in curing heart troubles, and that cases of chronic heart disease are becoming more and more numerous in our midst every year ?

There are certain drugs known to Medical Science which have a definite effect upon heart action : for instance, digitalis retards heart action, strychnine increases heart action ; and it is by means of drugs of this nature (all of them highly dangerous !) that the medical profession tries to effect the " cure " of heart diseases. On the face of it such treatment is not curative ; at best it can only temporarily reduce or remove symptoms ; it cannot affect causes at all. Indeed, the taking of drugs of this nature over a period of time inevitably tends to make any heart condition worse. No wonder, then, that heart troubles are regarded in medical circles as the most incurable of all disease conditions ! Anyone whose heart does get better under drug treatment does so in spite of, not because of, the treatment !

So much, then, for the medical treatment of heart troubles ! What is needed is a regimen which will tend to remove causes, so far as this is possible in any given case � not to tamper with symptoms. And that is just what natural healing sets out to do. Some cases of heart disease will have had the heart structure so damaged that a cure will be impossible in any circumstances ; others, again, will have sustained only slight damage to the heart structures, or the trouble will be functional rather than organic (cases will necessarily differ from person to person in severity, effect, etc.) ; but no matter what the cause of the trouble or the extent of the damage done to the heart, every sufferer from heart disease can be helped on the-road to recovery, in greater or lesser degree, by natural treatment.

It is not our wish to hold out too high a hope for the sufferer from serious heart trouble, for we have already said that where the heart structures are seriously damaged, a cure is impossible in any circumstances ; but where the damage to the heart structures is comparatively slight, or where the trouble is functional or due to constitutional factors, a complete cure by means of natural methods of treatment is quite within the bounds of possibility, as records of cases treated along Natural-Cure lines amply testify. But even where the valves are seriously damaged, and a real cure is impossible, quite a lot can be done to alleviate the condition of the sufferer by natural methods of treatment.

It has already been pointed out that every particle of blood circulating through the body has to pass through the heart countless times during the day and night, so it must be obvious that a scheme of treatment which aims at purifying and cleansing the blood and tissues of toxic matter MUST definitely affect heart action and the health of the heart in no uncertain way. That is why natural treatment with its diminutive dieting can do so much for the sufferer from heart troubles. By regulating the amount and kind of food eaten, more can be done to relieve and improve the condition of a badly working or defective heart than by any other method.

Putting a stop to the drug habit, and the avoidance of all habits and practices tending adversely to affect heart action, such as drinking, smoking, the too free use of strong tea, coffee, etc., will all help on the cleansing work being performed by the dietetic part of the treatment ; and carefully graduated exercise, sun and air baths, and other natural curative measures can all play their part in the building up of the heart and system generally in those affected by heart troubles. Manipulative treatment is especially beneficial in all forms of heart disease, when performed in conjunction with a full scheme of natural treatment, by a skilled Osteopath or Naturopath.

Owing to the fact that fasting and strict dieting may tend to have a temporarily adverse effect upon the heart in certain cases, the treatment for heart troubles should always be in the hands of a skilled Naturopath or should be undertaken in a Natural-Cure home where at all possible. But if such personal treatment is not procurable, then the sufferer can take his case into his own hands with the most beneficial results by following the advice for the treatment of his own particular complaint to be found in the present section. (Of course, one cannot expect too much in the way of progress to begin with in long-standing cases, but patience and perseverance with the treatment will bring their due reward.)

To understand something of the origin of diseases of the lungs and bronchial tubes we must always bear in mind the following physiological facts : the oxygen needed by the body for the work of metabolism is drawn into the system through the bronchial tubes and lungs; it is carried by the blood-stream to every part of the body ; and the carbon dioxide formed in the tissues as a result of the oxidising process is then brought back to the lungs by the bloodstream and ejected from the system.

Now, it is because the blood-stream is continually bringing other impurities (as well as carbon dioxide) with it from the tissues to the lungs that we find the lungs and bronchial tubes so often the seat of disease. For if the tissues of the body are continually being clogged with an excess of waste material due to habitual wrong feeding habits, then more and more of this waste matter will tend to find its way to, and collect in, the lungs and bronchial tubes as the years advance ; and this is the main reason for the prevalence of diseases of the chest amongst the persistently wrongly-fed and overfed populations of the present-day world.

It would seem that the waste residues from starchy and sugary foods in particular are attracted to the lungs and bronchial tubes ; so that the more these foods are indulged in, the more likely is the individual concerned to be afflicted with chest complaints. Then, again, the large bronchi and smaller bronchial tubes are lined with mucous membrane, so that these structures often become the seat of catarrh, either directly or else through contiguity with the mucous membrane of the mouth, nose, and throat. (See Section 8, page 228, for an understanding of what catarrh really is and how it arises in the system.) Thus habitual wrong feeding is the main causative factor responsible for the setting up of diseases of the lungs and bronchial tubes, and this even holds good where tuberculosis is concerned, as we shall see when turning to the treatment for that condition farther on in the present section. The medical profession attributes diseases of the chest to " the weather," to " germs," or other extraneous factors, and leaves it at that; although it speaks of lack of fresh air, improper breathing, and other environmental factors as playing a part in the setting up of these diseases in certain cases. There is no doubt that living and working in an habitually stuffy atmosphere predisposes to the commencement of chest complaints ; but without the presence of toxic matter accumulated in the lungs and bronchial tubes through wrong feeding habits, such diseases could never develop.

Lack of exercise, the wearing of too much clothing, especially underclothing (leading to the impeding of skin action), and the inability to use the lungs to their full capacity in breathing, are all cogent factors to be considered when dealing with diseases of the lungs or bronchial tubes ; but all in all, the main emphasis MUST be laid on the food factor all the time. The part played by the suppressive medical treatment of former disease � especially colds, fever, and childhood complaints such as whooping-cough, etc.� must also not be lost sight of in seeking for the cause of chronic chest diseases.

Medical treatment for diseases of the sort we are here discussing is lamentably ineffectual. Asthma and chronic bronchitis, for instance, are two chest complaints which defy medical methods altogether where a permanent cure is concerned. Even with regard to tuberculosis, it is only the fresh air and outdoor living which have helped to keep down that dread disease to a certain extent under medical treatment, not drug treatment. But under natural methods of treatment the cure of the first two disease-conditions here referred to is by no means an uncommon thing. No case of asthma or chronic bronchitis (no matter of how long standing) need be considered entirely hopeless where there is a possibility of securing adequately prescribed natural treatment. Of course, with regard to tuberculosis the chance of permanent cure will differ from case to case (according to age, duration of the disease, extent of the damage done to the lung tissue, etc.) ; but all in all, the sufferer from this dread disease can look to Natural Cure with greater hope of final recovery from his affliction than to any other system of treatment. Many cases have been completely cured by Natural-Cure methods. To begin, then, with the treatment for diseases of the heart, lungs, etc.

Angina Pectoris. � Angina pectoris really means sharp pain in the chest; " breast-pang," it is sometimes called. The term is applied to a group of symptoms rather than to a well-marked disorder, though the condition is usually associated with disease of the heart, especially of certain of the arteries by which the heart itself is nourished, or with disease of the aorta, the great blood-vessel which leads directly out of the heart.

When an attack comes on, the symptoms are most alarming. There is agonising pain in the region of the breast-bone, with a sense of constriction in the chest, as if one were being screwed in a vice. The pain radiates into the back, shoulders, and arms, particularly the left arm. The attacks are brought on by various causes, such as the hasty eating of a meal, the eating of too much food at a meal, sudden over-exertion, intense excitement or emotion of any kind, etc. After an attack there is usually the belching of gas from the stomach, or vomiting, or the bowels move, and then the patient gets relief, Constriction of the arteries around the heart is the physiological cause of the attack.

Treatment. � True angina pectoris can only arise in those who are definitely suffering from heart disease. There is a false angina, in which the symptoms are very similar to the true, but the cause in this case is nervous, and people whose hearts are in quite good condition can be affected by it. (See False Angina farther on in the present section, page 318.) In cases of true angina pectoris, the taking of drugs only causes the condition to become more and more chronic. What is needed is constitutional treatment�treatment, that is, which will serve to build up the general health-level of the patient, and at the same time cleanse the heart and its surrounding tissues of toxic matter, and so pave the way for more healthy heart action. By following out the treatment for Valvular Disease of the Heart, given farther on in the present section (page 331), the sufferer from angina pectoris can do more for himself in every way as regards lessening the number and severity of future attacks, building up of general health and heart action, etc., than by any other means.

On no account should drugs be taken in future, and great care should be used to see that there is no overeating or hasty eating at meals, as digestive disturbances are a most potent factor in the setting up of attacks. It is best to eat very lightly and sparingly in all cases of true angina. Then again, all habits and practices tending to over-excite or over-stimulate the system should be carefully avoided, and the patient should live as quiet and simple a life as possible. Smoking and drinking are two habits which should be absolutely taboo in all cases of angina pectoris. When an attack is on, the only thing that can be done to give relief is to apply hot towels over the heart region. This will tend to relieve the constriction of the arteries around the heart, which is the real cause of the setting up of an attack.

Asthma. � An attack of asthma is an agonising experience, and none there are who would willingly go through a further attack if they knew of any means whereby such attacks could be averted. Unfortunately for the asthma sufferer, Medical Science offers no means of treatment whereby the condition can be really cleared up and the possibility of future dread attacks banished once and for all. Medical methods of dealing with the disease centre solely around the employment of certain drugs to bring relief to the sufferer during an attack, and no more. But such drugs are highly dangerous in the extreme, and the relief they bring is purchased at the cost of the further deterioration of the health of the sufferer. So that asthma treated along orthodox medical lines invariably tends to become worse and worse under treatment.

Happy, however, is the asthma sufferer who comes into touch with natural methods of treatment, for by such treatment his condition � unless very severe and of long standing � can be very much improved, if not definitely cured, in a large number of cases. Natural treatment does not aim at just trying to palliate the effects of an asthmatical attack ; it aims at purifying the system of the toxic matter which is at the root of the trouble, and so effectually preventing the occurrence of further attacks. At the same time the whole general health-level of the sufferer is built up by the treatment, and many an erstwhile sufferer from asthma has been heard to declare that Natural Cure has made a completely new man of him, as well as ridding him of the nightmare of ever-recurring asthma attacks.

Asthma may be connected with other respiratory diseases in the same person, such as bronchitis, tuberculosis, etc., but many people suffer from asthma who have no other sign of serious chest complaint of any kind. Thus it can be seen that it is not chest trouble as such which is needed to set up an asthmatic condition in any given individual. The whole point about asthma is that it is a nervous condition affecting the breathing of the sufferer, and can be brought on from a variety of constitutional causes, the chief of which is disturbance of function of the digestive organs. The stomach and bronchi and bronchial tubes are connected by the vagus nerve, and by reflex action digestive disturbance can so affect the bronchi and bronchial tubes that the passage of air through them is restricted, and an asthmatical attack precipitated. Obviously, a catarrhal condition of the bronchial tubes will tend to make the appearance of asthma more likely than otherwise, and a highly nervous and run-down condition of the system will also conduce to its development.

Still, no matter what combination of causes there may be acting together to set up asthma in any given individual, the method by which the trouble should be tackled is quite simple and obvious really. What is needed is a thorough internal cleansing of the system (especially of the digestive organs and air apparatus), and the building up of the tone of the whole organism. In this way the asthma bogy can be laid completely in many cases, providing other serious complications do not happen to be present.

Treatment. � As has just been pointed out, treatment for asthma must be constitutional to be effective at all. And if the asthma sufferer cannot undertake treatment at the hands of a duly qualified Naturopath, he should carry on at home for himself along the following lines. Good results are assured if he continues with patience and perseverance. To begin with, a short fast for from three to five days should be undertaken as directed in the Appendix at the end of the book. This should be followed by from ten to fourteen days on the restricted diet also outlined therein. Then the full weekly diet given in the Appendix can be adopted, and should be adhered to as strictly as possible thereafter. Further short fasts and periods on the restricted diet may be required in certain cases at intervals of, say, two or three months or so. This will, of course, depend upon the progress being made.

From the time the treatment is begun the bowels should be cleansed nightly with a warm-water enema or gravity douche; and where constipation is habitual, the rules for its eradication should be put into operation forthwith. A daily dry friction and sponge should form a regular feature of the treatment, together with the consistent daily performance of the breathing and other exercises given in the Appendix. A hot Epsom-salts bath should also be taken twice weekly, where at all possible.

Fresh air and gentle outdoor exercise are essentials to the success of the treatment, and the sufferer should spend as much of his time as possible out of doors. The diet factor is extremely important, and great care should be taken to see that there is no danger of digestive disturbance occurring through overeating, the eating of badly combined foods, etc. White bread, sugar, jams, confectionery, rich cakes, pastry, puddings and pies, boiled or mashed potatoes, refined cereals, and milk puddings should all be strictly avoided in future, and very little meat or other flesh food should be eaten. The diet should consist mainly of the natural cleansing foods, i.e. fruits and vegetables. No strong tea or coffee should be taken, also no alcoholic beverages ; and all condiments, pickles, sauces, etc., should be strictly avoided. Smoking is taboo.

As regards local measures, when an attack is coming on the sufferer should sip some hot water slowly, sitting at the same time, if possible, with his feet in a bowl of hot water. Hot cloths, wrung out and applied to the chest, are also beneficial; or alternate hot and cold cloths. No drugs of any kind should be taken, unless absolutely essential for the relief of an attack. Spinal manipulation, at the hands of a competent Osteopath or Naturopath, will be immensely valuable in all cases of asthma, if carried out in conjunction with the scheme of home treatment outlined above.

Bronchial Catarrh. � The bronchi and bronchial tubes are lined with mucous membrane and so are liable to the setting up of catarrh, as catarrh only shows itself where there is mucous membrane. For an understanding of what catarrh is and how it may develop in the system, the sufferer from bronchial catarrh and as regards treatment for his case, he should follow out that given in the section in question for Catarrh (Editors note this section is still to be added to the site)

Bronchial catarrh may arise either directly or through the spread of catarrh from the mouth and throat; but in either case the root causes of its development are the same, and the treatment identical. (For the loosening up of catarrh in the bronchi and bronchial tubes, the cold pack is very beneficial. It should be applied nightly to the chest.

Bronchitis (Acute). Bronchitis means inflammation of the mucous membrane lining the bronchi and bronchial tubes. It is the outcome of a catarrhal condition of the bronchial tubes and system generally, and is nothing more than a " chest cold." If the sufferer from acute bronchitis will and see his bronchitis is directly the result of wrong feeding habits, which have loaded the system with toxic matter and led to the collection of such waste toxic matter in the bronchial tubes, the trouble being brought to a sudden head by a lowering of the vitality through a chill, exposure, overwork, a run-down condition of the system, etc., etc.

When we realise what bronchitis is due to, the treatment is obvious. We have to allow the toxic matter responsible for the setting up of the trouble an opportunity to eliminate itself from the system, and so help Nature in the body-cleansing work she has in hand. For, strange as it may seem to many people, all acute diseases are attempts on the part of Nature to rid an over-clogged system of toxic matter. And acute bronchitis is no exception to the rule.

Treatment. � To treat an attack of acute bronchitis by means of drugs will only mean that the cleansing scheme Nature had in hand will be thwarted and the toxic matter in question thrust back into the tissues again, to sow the seed for the development of chronic bronchitis or even more serious chest disease later on, especially if former attacks have been treated in the same way. The only sane and logical treatment for acute bronchitis is as follows :

The sufferer should fast on orange juice and water for as many days as the acute symptoms last, using the warm-water enema nightly to cleanse the bowels. When the fever and other acute symptoms have subsided, the all-fruit diet given in the Appendix can be adopted for a further two or three days, and then, if convalescence is definitely established, the full weekly dietary also given in the Appendix can be gradually embarked upon.

A hot Epsom-salts bath every night or every other night will be most beneficial during the acute stages of the attack, and a cold pack can be applied to the upper chest several times daily, and one at night too. (See the Appendix for details as to how the packs are applied.) Hot towels, wrung out and applied over the upper chest, are also most helpful. After applying, say, three hot towels in turn for two or three minutes each, one should always finish off with a cold towel. These applications can be made several times daily in preference to the packs if desired. Both are efficacious in giving relief.

When the erstwhile sufferer from acute bronchitis is fully recovered, he should then take up a regular system of health-building, such as that given in the treatment for Chronic Bronchitis to follow. In this way not only will he effectually prevent further attacks of the same kind, but he will give his whole system a much-needed toning-up and rejuvenation. ON NO ACCOUNT SHOULD DRUGS OF ANY KIND BE TAKEN OR USED. As wrong feeding is directly responsible for the setting up of the trouble in the first place, the more the dietetic advice given in the treatment for Chronic Bronchitis is carried out, the better will the results in future general health be in every way.

Part 2      Part 3 

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