By: Herbert M. Shelton
The Hygienic System 1939
The Boston Medical and Surgical Journal,
March 12, 1924, in an editorial entitled "New
Conceptions of Disease and Treatment"
discusses the trend away from bacteriology
and the laboratory specialist and toward bio-
chemistry and a return to clinical methods and
"The reason, therefore, of an eclipse or partial eclipse of bacteriology may be
found in the belief that this branch of medicine, if it has not come exactly to a
blind alley, has at least come to a halt.
There are signs, more or less vague as yet, that new conceptions of disease
are arising, although such views are themselves nebulous.
It is thought by some that there is more or less fundamental unity of disease,
and that many of the nosological labels attached to them are superfluous and
If there is a "fundamental unity of disease," as we have proclaimed for over a
hundred years, there are no specific "diseases" requiring specific germs to
cause them. With the recognition of the unity of pathology all ideas of
specific causation will die a natural death.
There seems also to be a fundamental unity of bacterial life. The many forms
of bacteria known are easily transmuted back and forth into one form or
another. It has long been known that so-called "pathogenic bacteria are not
organisms with special features, but that each is a member of a group of
organisms possessing closely allied characters."
Their characters are not stable and comparatively slight changes in their
environment cause modifications in them. The cultural and microscopic
character of “pathogenic” and non-pathogenic bacteria of the same group
is so similar that differentiating them is often extremely difficult.
The "pathogenic" bacteria have "acquired" their "pathogenic" properties "in
many instances" to a very slight degree and some of these characters are not
permanent. So-called specific germs are "specific" only so long as their food
supply is specific.
Prof. J. G. Adami, perhaps the greatest pathologist of his time, issued a book
in 1918 under the title, Medical Contributions to the Study of Evolution, in
which he advanced the theory that all bacteria change with their environment
so that the "most virulent disease-creating microbe, fatal to humanity" may
develop into a harmless or perfectly innocuous one and vice-versa, by
feeding it upon different food stuffs in different surroundings.
"We can take a culture of streptococci so weak that only the most susceptible
animals are influenced by it, and so augment the virulence that eventually the
100th or 1000th of a drop of a twelve-hour culture, or even much less than this,
may cause the death of strong adults in six hours or less."
Dr. Rosenow, of the Mayo Foundation, performed some work with bacteria
that is to the point. His transmutation of the organism of the pneumococcus
group is a classic.
He succeeded over and over again in bringing about a change from a
streptococcus organism to a pneumococcus organism, and back again to a
streptococcus; or he could run these around through any one of a number of
different strains, or even types, and then bring them back to the type they were
before, by following a routine of culture and animal inoculations.
It is, therefore, possible to have a streptococcus of one type in an original
"focus" which may produce somewhere else in that same body, perhaps, a
pneumococcus or a streptococcus of a different type.
Sir Wm. Power, British Medical Officer of the Local Government Board, was
asked before the Royal Commission on Vivisection what he meant by "a
definite specific organism." He replied, "A definite organism which will react
always in a certain way to a certain series of culture tests."
When asked what "diseases" are associated with organisms for which such
a test has been established, he replied: "I cannot say that we have got to that
stage with any one of them."
Before a convention of the Association of American Physicians, Atlantic City,
May 16, 1938, Dr. Hobart A. Reinmann, professor of Medicine at Jefferson
Medical College, Philadelphia, described his observations of the activities of
an organism known as micrococcus tetragenus for a period of four years,
during which time this germ turned itself into fifteen distinct forms, when its
food supply was changed.
Allbutt and Rolleton say: "It is thus possible that the pathogenic bacteria have
all been derived from non-pathogenic forms."--System of Medicine, Vol. II.
Should not such a discovery as this shake the structure of the specificity of
the so-called "germ diseases" to its very foundation? There is nothing strange
or mysterious in the discovery of these simple truths by the learned germ
theorists, but why do they reach no simple or logical conclusion from them?
Is it because they are prepossessed with an illogical premise to begin with,
and are blinded by the glare of their own spotlight?
When the history of microbes is finally written, it will reveal that the many
varieties of bacteria now described are all derived from one or a few basic
forms which are changed by changes in their food, temperature, etc.
We believe that the countless varieties of practically all the "pathogenic
bacteria" of today will finally be traced back to two or three common
We are fully convinced that the multitude of species and types are but children
of one union, sent out into their respective fields of activity to change their
forms according to the demands of necessity and environmental dictates; that
after their peculiar mission is fulfilled, they disappear, or assume the likeness
and individuality of their pre-potent sires, by retracing their steps successively
by the same paths that were taken into their first field of operation.
We favor the view that the type of "disease" determines the morphology of the
germ present and not vice-versa. Also, it is our contention that germs take on
a form and character in keeping with the chemistry of their environment and
that their supposed "specific" character and toxicity depend on their
There is every reason to believe that non-toxic bacteria become toxic in a
septic environment. They derive their characteristics of virulence or
innocence from their environment. Non-toxic bacteria become toxic in a
septic environment and vice versa.
For instance, Sir Richard Douglas Powell, a leading English bacteriologist,
stated a few years ago, that if tetanus and gas gangrene germs are washed
clean and freed from their environment, they are quite harmless.
It has been found impossible to "infect" animals with the spirochseta pallida,
the supposed cause of "syphilis." Infection can occur only when virus from a
lesion is employed.
A germ is either toxic or it is not, and the fact that the supposed most
malignant germs are found devoid of toxicity compels the conclusion that their
toxicity is accidental and that its cause must be sought outside of themselves.
When toxic germs become non-toxic the cause must be in their environment.
When germs that are ordinarily innocuous suddenly become actively virulent,
it must be due to the fact that they have come in contact with an environment
that evolves toxicity. "The incidence of contagion or communicability can be
explained in this way."
Bacteria both lose, and at other times gain, a certain degree of virulence and
toxicity. Since this is limited by the environment in which they live, it is natural
to conclude that it is their environment that confers upon them their toxic
nature and powers.
But if germs are to be considered the cause of "disease" they cannot lose their
degree of virulence, and at the same time still maintain their power of infecting
men in the manner that they are supposed to do--even granting such a thing to
Dr. Weger says:
"Germs--bacteria of all kinds, in whatever disease they may be found--receive
their virulence from the state and condition of the tissues themselves. This
accounts for the fact that, when they are successfully grown on various culture
media of the same kind, they gradually lose their virulence, until they are
altogether inert and fail to reproduce the reactions accredited to the original
No one so far as we know, has ever been able to reproduce an infectious
disease by taking disease-producing germs from the normal air, and we defy
the bacteriologists to prove that they can obtain filth from any other source
than from filth itself. This is, indeed, a significant fact.
If the germs are endowed with an original virulence and toxicity, they cannot
produce disease unless their powers for infecting the body remain a permanent
and invariable quantity.
Everybody knows that such is not the case. For instance, people know that
there are fifty varieties of bacteria in the human mouth."
It is our advice to leave the poor bacteria alone. Settle once and for all the
question of their function and mode of action, admit them to the symbiotic
family of life, and leave them to their nefarious, or helpful work, and get after
the real causes of their activity.
Germs are saprophytes; that is, they live off dead inorganic matter. They are
omnipresent scavengers in Nature's great laboratory, working over dead
organic matter into forms appropriate to the nourishment of growing
vegetation. They are essential nitrifying agents in the soil.
Without them, neither plant nor animal could long exist and the earth would
rapidly become encumbered with dead bodies. In the septic tank, sewerage is
reduced by them until it finally passes out pure water in which fish may live.
From both the esthetic and economic viewpoints, they are benefactors. They
are friends of higher life. We live in a balanced and inter-dependent world,
which is too complex to ever fully understand, but our dependence upon the
symbiotic support of germ life is, at least partly, known.
In the body germs break up and consume dead and dying cells and
discharges from the tissues. They perform the same function in the body
that is ascribed to them everywhere else in nature.
Viewed from this angle, they are purifying and beneficial agents. "What a
wonderful vista would unfold itself before our eyes" says Dr. Weger, "were we
to base our future germ investigations on the theory that, primarily, pathogenic
organisms are our friends and not our enemies."
Germs do not, cannot, attack healthy tissue. They are saprophytes,
scavengers, and are busily engaged in reducing dead organic matter to
the dust from whence it came.
The mere fact that bacteria accompany a pathological process does not justify
us in assuming that the microorganism is the primary factor in causation.
If bacteria can attack and kill healthy tissues, organs and organisms, then it
should not be long before these bacteria shall have destroyed all the higher
forms of life and have the world to themselves.
Microbes are spread throughout nature, are ubiquitous in fact. Human groups
swarm with them. They are in the food we eat, the water we drink and the air
we breathe. We are reared in an environment laden with them. We cannot
escape them. We can destroy them only to a limited extent. We must accept
them as one of the joys of life.
The modern theory of "disease" causation shuts its eyes to the sources of
population; and overlooks the fact that natural children and pigs thrive on
swill. "Children live in an atmosphere of germs and should be sick all the time
if germs cause disease."
Germ theorists estimate that an average of 14,000 germs pass into the nose in
an hour's breathing. In the subway and in a crowded building, we probably
get this many into our noses in a few minutes. Many more are taken in food
Microbial populations abound throughout nature. Germs, in any location in
which they are able to thrive, multiply so rapidly that they would produce more
germs in a few days of their own activity than would be taken into the body in
a year in the most germ-laden environment.
From the stand-point of Natural Science, germs cannot be regarded as the
cause of "disease" for, if they are, we should all be the victims of one or more
germs at all times.
The body is built to offer effective resistance to the entrance of germs. The
unbroken skin not only prevents the microbes living on its surface from
entering the organism, but it is capable of destroying them by means of
substances secreted by its glands.
The skin joins the mucosa at the nostrils, mouth, eyes, ears, anus, vagina and
urethra. This mucous membrane, or internal skin, if unbroken, is impermeable
to microbes while its normal secretions are germicidal.
So long as the skin which covers man's body and lines his cavities remains
intact, germs have no influence on him; and when the skin is broken, the air
and sunshine keep the broken surface dehydrated, and the germs fail to cause
The microbe is washed to his destruction by a flood of serum that the powers
of life send immediately to every abrasion, tear, or cut in the flesh of the body.
If the bungling "scientific" man does not check the flow of healing serum
with astringent antiseptics and obstructive dressings, healing will be by
The respiratory membranes allow oxygen to pass into the body, but exclude
dust and microbes. The digestive membranes permit water and digested
foods to enter the body, but resist the penetration of the bacteria that swarm
in the digestive tract. Integrity of the respiratory and digestive membranes
constitutes ample protection against bacterial invasion.
When health is normal the digestive secretions are sufficient protection
against germs and parasites. Germs may cause putrefaction in a meal of
lobsters when enervation prevents digestion; but when digestion is normal,
the bacillus is utilized as food along with the lobster. All of the digestive juices
are germicidal and the normal digestion digests germs as readily as it does
apples or bread.
There is no susceptibility on the part of any healthy organ to bacterial injury.
All of the body's healthy secretions and the blood and lymph are antagonistic
to bacterial life and activity. It is obvious that, living in a world swarming with
microbes, if these cause "disease" man must possess powerful resistance to
them, else he would have perished long ago. Except for this resistance he
could not live through infancy.
If germs are powerless against a healthy body the logical preventive is the
cultivation of health. If the body manufactures its own antiseptics and
antitoxins it should be supplied with the proper elements of sun, air, water,
food, exercise, rest, etc., out of which to build these protective potencies
instead of being subjected to the present mad-house efforts to produce
A certain or specific germ is said to cause a certain or "specific disease."
That this is not true is obvious from the fact that the germ is never the cause
of "disease." It may form one of the multiple factors that collectively constitute
For, as Pasteur, himself, said: "In a state of health the body is closed against
the action of disease germs." It is a mistake to single out one of the correlated
factors that constitute cause and hold it responsible for pathology.
Germs alone can no more produce pathology than a seed alone can produce
a tree. Just as a seed must have a fertile soil, moisture, air, water, warmth and
sunshine, if it is to grow into a tree, so the germ, if it is to add its complicating
influence to an evolving pathology, must find certain essential conditions
existing in the bodies of those it enters, before it can do the slightest harm.
Normal nerve energy and pure blood--in a word, good health--are proof
against germs of all kinds.
Tilden says: "Germs, like heat, cold, clothes, food, drink, and every other object
in man's environment, may become a secondary ally of toxemia; but none of
the objects or elements in man's environment can cause disease except as
they may enervate the body, and check elimination of toxin, thereby super-
saturating the blood with dead body-cells bringing on disease--the only
disease, Toxemia."--Critique, May 1937.
Impaired health provides the suitable soil in which germs thrive and grow.
The soil is more important than the germ. Infection and degeneration can set
in only when the soil is badly fertilized by inappropriate nutrition. Germs are
immanent co-agitators--always secondary; a possible reinforcing or
contingent cause, but never an exciting or primary cause.
If germs are a cause, they do not constitute the cause of "disease." If they
require an ally, if antecedent conditions are essential to their work, they are, at
most, but part of the cause of "disease" and are never primary; probably they
are not even secondary.
Germs are assumed to be the cause, but any one element in a chain of
causation may as reasonably be singled out as the cause. "The germ is
a busy body waiting everywhere for organic matter to give him a job by
fertilizing the soil in which he likes to play and work," says Dr. Weger.
A universal cause comes first; then the ferment in the form of a germ gaining
access to the weakened tissues, takes on activity and attempts to assist in the
removal of undesirable material by liquefying it. The morbid material
generated by this activity is more a byproduct of the disintegrating tissue than
a virulent poison resulting from bacterial maliciousness. Germ activity, in this
view, is an outside accessory that facilitates the removal of autogenerated
If tissue loses its resistance, and impaired secretions are present, an otherwise
harmless germ may thrive and produce poisons. Bacterial toxins are
metabolic products of bacterial activity, their character being determined by
the feeding habits of the patient.
But the germ is never the cause, anymore than the germ associated with
diphtheria is the cause of diphtheria.
There must be a prepared soil for its propagation, and germs can only be
secondary complications of a pre-existing toxemia. At most they may become
an auxiliary cause, but not the primary cause. They may complicate when
there is a perversion of chemistry.
But the germs of the so-called specific "diseases" never take on specificity
until the vitality of the different tissues is lowered and nutrition perverted
because of dysemia--the chemistry of the blood fails to supply the essential
elements; then germs, previously innocent, take on virulency in keeping with
the general enervation and systemic toxemia of the individual.
The Medical Journal and Record, March 17, 1926, says editorially, "Many acute
and semi-acute diseases originate in the mouth, nose or throat by inhalation of
microbes or germs there present which are excited into activity by causes as
yet unknown. This seems to be the theory that is gaining in favor, that some
unknown cause activates latent germs into activity."
First it is assumed that germs cause "disease" then when it is found that the
presence of germs does not produce "disease" it is further assumed that
another and unknown cause causes the germs to cause "disease" but never
that the unknown cause is the real cause of the pathology.
The best works on bacteriology declare that all the germs of a supposedly
specific character are often found in people who do not have, have not had
and do not subsequently develop the "disease" which they-- the germs--are
supposed to produce.
Do germs cause infection part of the time and fail to do so the rest of the time?
If so, are there some individuals whom they never attack and others whom
they never immunize? If germs create "immunity" as serologists claim, why
are there "chronic infections"? "What causes the "chronic infection"?
Sir Wm. Osler says: "The presence of the Klebs-Loeffler bacillus is regarded by
bacteriologists as the sole criterion of true diphtheria and as this organism may
be associated with all grades of throat affections, from a simple catarrh to a
sloughing gangrenous process, it is evident that in many instances there will be
a striking discrepancy between the clinical and the bacteriological diagnosis."
Here we have it stated by the very highest medical authority that diphtheria
germs may be present in the throats of those who are sick (have simple
catarrh and other affections) without producing diphtheria.
The Lancet (Dec. 10, 1927) stated that of 772 cases admitted to the Birmingham
hospital in all of which the bacteriological report was positive, 391--about 50
percent--showed no clinical evidence of diphtheria.
It should be evident that something more than germs is essential to the
development of diphtheria.
Pathologists report finding diphtheria germs in from 7 to 15 percent of the
throats of healthy persons they examined, while this germ has been found in
skin "diseases" emphysematous Kings, vaccine pustules, puerperal fever,
pyorrhea, eczema, leprosy, "rabies" and other conditions remote from
Dr. Hitter demonstrated the diphtheria bacillus in the throats of 127 school
children when no diphtheria was present.
What is true of diphtheria germs is true of the germs of tuberculosis, typhoid
fever, pneumonia, or any other so-called "disease." They are found in the
mouth, throat, air passages, stomach and intestines of those who do not have,
have not had, and do not subsequently develop the "diseases" these germs
are supposed to cause.
The hemolytic streptococcus is a microorganism with the reputation of being a
dangerous invader of the human body. It is considered a real menace to
Observations have verified the fact that this germ is frequently harbored by the
well and the sick. Because it is harbored by the well, it is said: "unsuspected
dissemination becomes a serious possibility."
Fifty percent of normal throats are said to harbor these germs. Ninety percent
of normal persons harbor them in their tonsils; in eighty percent of normal
persons they are found in the depths of the tonsils; in one hundred per cent of
normal persons they are found in the crypts of the tonsils.
It is remarkable that any of us are alive. Large numbers of streptococci must
be constantly passing into the alimentary tract. Furthermore, these same and
other "dangerous types of bacteria" can reach the stomach through the
medium of food.
But hemolytic streptococci are not found in the feces. They are even absent
from the feces of scarlet fever patients, who almost always harbor large
number of these organisms in the throat.
What becomes of these hemolytic streptococci? Are they readily destroyed by
some protective mechanism in this part of the body? Gastric juice of normal
acidity kills streptococci in five minutes.
It has also been scientifically proved that hemolytic streptococci do not thrive
in a fecal mixture at body temperature. The germ is not, therefore, primarily
responsible for enteric disturbances.
"Carriers" are individuals, more or less healthy, who harbor and spread the
germs of some "disease." We are told that every epidemic develops a number
These people, while accused of harboring germs of "disease" do not
themselves have the "disease." They are declared to be immune.
Yet if it were possible to prove it, many so-called carriers die in every
epidemic. These are the subjects medical writers refer to when they tell about
how the "flu" epidemic carried off the strong and robust rather than the more
delicate and less robust.
The condition named "carrier" is gastro-intestinal decomposition. The germs
live and grow in the weakened digestive tract. Impaired secretions permit
them to thrive there.
When one is enervated, and has his powers of secretion and excretion
impaired--when the body's digestive functions have given out--the body loses
protective power and germs develop in the digestive tract and produce
The man who has built himself into a seething compost is in line for
developing any of the so-called communicable diseases. The condition can
Doctors are the worst "carriers"--mental carriers. They spread not germs, but
the fear of germs. Fear breaks down resistance and enervates. Enervation
permits germs to live and grow.
If a germ is the specific cause of "disease" it "will always cause disease"; but if
it is found in health and "disease" which proves that it needs an ally, the germ
cannot be regarded as cause.
If typhoid, diphtheria, cholera, pneumonia and other so-called "infectious
diseases" are solely the result of microbes, and microbes are everywhere, and
microbe carriers are in every community, if they are found in people who have
not had and do not subsequently develop the "infection" the microbe is
supposed to produce, how can we attribute these conditions to microbes?
Human groups swarm with tubercle bacilli. They are found in many kinds of
food. In spite of this, not every one develops tuberculosis. The robust and
vigorous laugh at these little fellows.
The supposed causative germs of so-called "disease" are not only found in
those who do not have the "disease" but they are frequently missing from
those who do have the "disease."
The presence of a cause without its "disease" and the existence of a "disease"
without its cause is the equivalent of effectless causes and causeless effects.
Nowhere outside of medical science are such things possible.
"If in diphtheria, the bacillus is not found, the illness is renamed something
else," says the Encyclopedia Britannica. Dr. Beddow Bayly says that the
diphtheria bacillus is missing in 14 percent of cases of clinical diphtheria.
(London Lancet, Sept. 1898); the Report of the Royal Commission on
Vivisection (1912) says this germ is absent in 20 percent of such cases, while
Sir Wm. Osler reports them to be absent in 28 to 40 percent of cases.
A few years ago the British Ministry of Health instructed physicians thus:
"The notification of cases of diphtheria under the Infectious Disease Acts,
should be limited to persons actually suffering from diphtheria, i.e., those
exhibiting clinical signs of the disease, with or without bacterial evidence of its
During the 1918-19 influenza epidemic the profession was forces to abandon
Pfeiffer's bacillus as the cause of influenza. It was often absent where it
should not have been, that is, it was not associated with clinically diagnosed
influenza, and it had the additional bad habit of appearing unaccountably in
the throats and secretions of healthy persons. Indeed this germ was found in
the sputum of 35 percent of 132 normally healthy men examined at Camp Pike.
Walter R. Hadwen, M.D., M.R.O.S., of England, in a lecture at a public meeting in
Los Angeles, California, June 16, 1921, quoted Dr. Muthu of the Mendip Hill
Sanatorium, who, he said is "perhaps one of the most experienced men in
tuberculosis," in England, as saying: "In fifty percent of his cases he could not
find tubercle bacilli at all."
Dr. Hadwen himself declared: "Nobody has ever found a tubercle bacillus in
the earliest stages of tuberculosis."
It is stated by good authority that the germs sometimes put in their appearance
only after the tuberculosis has existed for two years, and that in some cases
they cannot even be found after death. It must be evident that tuberculosis is
not due to germs.
Germs are rarely found in cases of the most fatal types of tuberculosis--the so-
called hasty or galloping consumption. On the other hand, those cases of
tuberculosis in which large quantities of bacilli are found are usually the
chronic types and frequently end in recovery.
Strangely enough, the very "diseases"--colds, scarlet fever, measles, chicken
pox and small pox, to mention only a few--which afford the most favorable field
for study, are just the ones in which the causal organism is unknown.
All efforts to produce so-called "specific diseases" in man by introducing
germs into the body have failed.
There was the celebrated attempt of Dr. Waite to kill Colonel Peck. Waite fed
his victim cultures of all the supposed "disease" producing germs that he
could secure, both home grown and imported. These cultures included
cultures of the germs of the most "deadly diseases" known, but Colonel Peck
seemed to thrive on them. Waite was finally forced to resort to chloroform and
a pillow to get his victim out of the way.
Dr. Pettenkofer, professor of bacteriology, at the university of Vienna, reached
the conclusion that germs do not cause "disease." One day, while instructing
his class in the bacteriological laboratory, he startled his students by picking
up a glass containing millions of living cholera bacilli and swallowed the entire
contents before the astonished students.
De Kruif says: "There were enough millions of wriggling comma germs in this
tube to infect a regiment, but Pettenkofer only growled through his beard: Now
let us see if I get cholera."
Mysteriously, nothing happened and the failure of the mad Pettenkofer to
come down with cholera remains to this day an enigma without even the
beginning of an explanation.
Dr. Thomas Powell, who died a few years ago in California in his eightieth year,
is thought to have taken more germs than any other man. Years ago he
challenged his medical colleagues to produce a single "disease" in him by
For years many of the germ theorists did their best to silence this discordant
note. Cholera germs, bubonic plague germs and germs of every description
were inoculated into his body and fed to him in every kind of food. Again and
again they scraped his throat raw and painted it with diphtheria germs. But in
all these many efforts, not once did they succeed in producing a single
"disease" in him.
In Physical Culture (May 1919) John B. Fraser, M.D., C.M., of Toronto, Canada,
describes a series of experiments performed there, from 1911 to 1918, to
determine whether or not germs cause "disease."
They spent the first three years in an effort to determine whether the germ
appears before or after the "onset" of the "disease." The verdict was "after the
In 1914 the work of incorporating fresh vigorous germs in food and drink and
then using that food in the ordinary way began.
Dr. Fraser says:
"The first experiment made was taking fifty thousand diphtheria germs in water,
and after a few days suspense and no sign of the disease it was considered
that the danger had passed.
In the second experiment one hundred and fifty thousand diphtheria germs
were used in milk, and again no signs of diphtheria appeared.
In the third experiment over one million diphtheria germs were used in food
without producing any sign of the disease.
In the fourth experiment millions of diphtheria germs were swabbed over the
tonsils and soft palate, under the tongue, and in the nostrils and still no
evidence of the disease was discernible.
As these results were very satisfactory it was decided to test out some other
kinds of germs. A series of tests were made with pneumonia germs in which
millions of germs were used in milk, water, bread, potatoes, meat, etc., and
although persistent efforts were made to coax them to develop absolutely no
sign of the disease appeared.
Another series of experiments were carried out with typhoid germs, special care
being taken to infect distilled water, natural milk (not pasteurized) ; bread, meat,
fish, potatoes, etc., etc., with millions of the most vigorous germs that could be
incubated, and but for the knowledge that they had been taken, one would have
known nothing about it.
Another series of tests were made with the dreaded meningitis germs, and as
the germs are believed to develop mainly in the mucous membranes of the
nostrils, special pains were taken to swab millions of the germs over the floor
and sides of the nostrils, into the turbinated sinuses, over the tonsils, under the
tongue, and back of the throat. In addition to these tests other tests were made
in food and drink--millions of germs in each case, and yet no trace of the
The experiments with the tuberculosis germs were carried out in a different
way--more time was given between the experiments so as to allow the germs to
develop; for clinical evidence has shown that this disease may remain latent, or
imperfectly developed for months. Consequently it meant months of watching
and waiting before one could be positive that the germs would not develop.
Here again millions of germs were used in water, milk, and food of various
kinds; every variety of food and drink was concerned; and as almost five years
have elapsed since the experiment with T.B. began and no evidence of the
disease has appeared I think we are justified in the belief that the germs are
harmless. In addition to those experiments combinations of germs were used,
such as typhoid and pneumonia, meningitis and typhoid, pneumonia and
diphtheria, etc., etc., but no evidence of disease followed.
During the years 1914-15-16-17-18 over one hundred and fifty experiments
were carried out carefully and scientifically and yet absolutely no signs of
The London Lancet Medical Journal of Canada (June, 1916) records some of
the same or similar experiments by a medical man and six others which
covered a period of two and one-half years, and, in which cultures of the
germs of various "diseases" particularly those of diphtheria, pneumonia and
typhoid were used in all kinds of foods and under the most favorable
The germs were administered in doses ranging from fifty thousand to one
million and five hundred thousand without producing a single evidence of
A number of experiments were made in the Naval Detention camps during the
influenza epidemic of 1918-19 to transmit the "disease" from the sick to the
well. Several such experiments were made on sixty-eight volunteers from the
U. S. Naval Detention Training Camp on Deer Island.
Several groups of volunteers were inoculated with pure cultures of Pfeiffer's
bacillus, with the secretions of the upper respiratory passages, and with blood
taken from "typical influenza" cases. About thirty of the men had the germs
sprayed and swabbed in the nose and throat. The Public Health Report, sums
up the results in these words: "In no instance was an attack of influenza
produced in any one of the subjects."
Ten other men were carried to the bedside of ten new cases of influenza and
spent forty-five minutes with them. Each well man had ten sick men to cough
in his face. With what results? "None of these volunteers developed any
symptoms of influenza following the experiment."
Some similar experiments conducted in San Francisco are described in
another article. Here one group of ten men were given emulsifying cultures of
Pfeiffer's bacillus with no results during seven days of observation. Other
groups of men, in all forty, were given emulsions of the secretions from the
upper respiratory passages of patients in the active stages of influenza.
These emulsions were sent into the nose by a medicine dropper and by an
atomizer. The results are described in these words: "In every case the results
were negative, so far as the reproduction of influenza is concerned. The men
were all observed for seven days after inoculation."
Similar experiments with the same negative results were carried out in
Philadelphia, at Camp Pike, and at other places. Surely such results or lack
of results do not speak well for the germ theory in general nor for the idea in
particular that the mucous membranes of lungs, intestines, etc., are
particularly susceptible to germ invasion. Rather, we would say, they
completely negate the whole theory. They show, at least, that germs alone
cannot cause the "diseases" which they are supposed to cause.
Dr. M. Beddow Bayly, M.R.U.S., L.R.C.P., writing in the London Medical World,
June 1928, says:
"I am prepared to maintain, with scientifically established facts, that in no single
instance has it been conclusively proved that any microorganism is the specific
cause of a disease."
In more than sixty years of intensive farming the germ idea, there is not one
"disease" that has been proved to be of germ origin, and not one can be cured
according to the germ theory.
Unless a germ will cause a disease every time it infects the body, it is not a
cause. A cause must be constant and specific in its influence, or it is not a
"Germs are omnipresent--this is one of the fundamental truths Pasteur or his
contemporary, Bechamp, discovered; but he and his followers appear to have
overlooked the fact that germs fail to have a specific influence all the time."
Investigations in the bacteriological laboratory throw no light on the
conditions in the body, which permit the germs to grow, or which prevent
them from growing.
They tell us of a few germs, which, it is claimed, are the active agents in
"disease" but they tell us nothing of the conditions, which permit these agents
to become active. They grow in those conditions and only in those conditions
of life which give rise to such complaints as indigestion, catarrh, etc.
The view I would put before the reader is that "disease" is caused, not by the
germ, but by the state of the body that allows the germ to flourish.
And this condition of the organism or any part of it, which renders possible the
growth of the germ therein is the much sought for "filterable virus." It is the
outgrowth of violations of the laws of life and is no chance or haphazard
Dr. Tilden says: "The state of the body immediately preceding the appearance
of germs is, therefore, the important one and determines the possibility of
infection or disease. In fact, it is the necessary factor without which disease
could never appear--germs or no germs. These latter are merely adventitious--
It is, indeed, difficult to understand why a whole profession, as in recent years,
has gone insane on the subject of bugs, to the utter neglect of those states of
metabolism and nutrition which, when vitiated, constitute the universal cause
of all disease."
Dr. Paul Carton, long the head of one of the largest sanatoria in France, for
tubercular patients, declares in his Consumption Doomed: "In tuberculosis
the soil is practically everything one becomes tubercular by enfeebling one's
organism, and the only means of getting rid of the bacillus, once it is fairly
engrafted, is the heightening of the spontaneous resisting power. In a word
Koch's bacillus is not much more than a saprophyte, a moss, a parasite which
fastens upon failing organisms and seals the fate of those already falling into
So-called tubercular germs are common enough that all of us are exposed to
them many times during our lifetime. Not the germ, but "susceptibility" to the
germ is what counts in producing tuberculosis. If one is not "susceptible" the
germs die out; otherwise they persist.
Medical men and bacteriologists are practically a unit in declaring that germs
cannot secure a foothold in a healthy body, but that a "nidus" or "suitable soil"
is essential to their genesis. They do no harm in a body that is in a normally
Unless there is a condition of the body varying from health, germs can do
nothing. If germs cause "disease" why don't they produce "disease" in a
Why must the body already be diseased and its resistance low before they can
produce "disease"? Do they cause "infection" part of the time and fail to do so
the rest of the time? The normal body is capable of destroying all germs and
parasites. The tubercle bacillus and the pneumococcus are not exceptions to
The regular profession believes that the blood can be immunized. Normal
blood does not need it, and the process lowers its resistance; and the victim
of low resistance--toxemia--is further deteriorated by such treatment.
How foolish, then, to look for the "infectious agent" and ignore the
circumstances which disarm the body against microbic invasion.
It is difficult to understand why a whole profession has gone insane on the
subject of germs, to the utter neglect of those states of metabolism and
nutrition which when vitiated, constitute the open sesame to germ invasion.
Resistance is broken down when any habit of body and mind is practiced
continually to excess, and without sufficient rest to keep the nerve energy at
the normal standard. Restore resistance by rest and a corrected mode of
living, and elimination follows, after which man is immune to the ubiquitous
The researchers have falsely and wickedly heralded the fear-engendering
story that the world is teeming with a host of vicious microscopical and ultra-
microscopical beings against which no amount of integrity is a shield and the
ravages of which we can escape only by placing ourselves in bondage--a
servitude born of fear--to the man with the squirt gun and hollow needle.
So-called research has supplied the world of men with unnecessary
occasions for fear and has done this deliberately in order to cause them to
abandon self-help and self-reliance and place their trust in a half-baked mere
hope of a science.
An unreasoning way to rid the victim of germs and parasites is to destroy
them with germicides and parasiticides. After killing them off what is to be
done about the habitat--the patient?
The belief that germs can be killed inside the body is untenable, for any
chemical that destroys microorganisms also destroys the body.
Even if medical men are still trying to kill "venereal germs" with drugs, the fact
still remains that they damage their patients more than they do the germs.
Neither the pneumococcus nor the tubercle bacillus can be killed in situ; but if
they could, what of it? To kill or remove an effect leaves the cause as active as
before. To kill the germs without removing the liability-engendering morbidity
is to leave the body open for further "invasion."
Nothing is really gained. There is much evidence to show that the use of
germicides actually lowers resistance to germs. One example will suffice.
Carbolic acid kills germs-- human blood kills germs. But if carbolic acid is
added to blood, it destroys the blood's defenses so that germs grow more
rapidly. The famous "gold cure" for tuberculosis was shown to behave in the
same manner. The sick organism is better off without these "aids."
Even if the germicides were successful they would be futile, for, mere
destruction of alleged "pathogenic organisms" is no adequate safeguard of
health and unless the intrinsic morbidity is removed by remedial measures,
other organisms and other symptoms will soon supplant those artificially
A few minutes reflection will reveal the physical impossibility of reaching all the
germs, actual and prospective, with poisons, or of "curing" and preventing
"diseases" by the injection of all manner of serums for alleged "immunization"
against the legions of "infective diseases" that our general morbidity
Sterilization, vaccines, serums and chemical preservatives have caused too
much neglect of natural preservation, which alone can insure health and
strength to the individual and to the race.
The word infection is bandied about by doctors of high and low degree and by
laymen as though it were of settled meaning. The word is an old one and is
used now with a different meaning than it had a hundred years ago.
Medical authors now define it to mean the "invasion of the body" by germs and
Historically and psychologically the words "possession" and "infection"
represent only different rationalizations for the same superstition; for identical
delusional processes, and deluding morbid etiological valuations.
The imaginative spirit invasion of the older priests and physicians has become
the hypothetical invasion of the body by germs, which now cause "disease."
The witches and wizards of old are now exorcisers of germs, bacteria.
Hygienists apply the term to the introduction of decomposing organic matter
into the organism.
Tilden puts it thus:
"All infections--all types of infectious diseases are from one source: protein
decomposition. Putrescence means decay of protein. The infective product is
the same in grease, foot-and-mouth disease, smallpox, diphtheria, scarlet fever,
typhoid fever, and syphilis. Septic infection covers the field, and means
putrescence--protein decomposition. The type depends upon the environment
and the tissue involved."
The idea of specific infection has no place in a rational philosophy of cause.
So-called specific infection is septic infection. Sepsis is the only infecting
agent in all the so-called specific diseases.
Sepsis arises from decomposition. All secretions, excretions and exudations
are non-toxic until they decompose, whereupon they become toxic.
There is no apparent difference in the effects of infection, whether that
infection comes from an infected wound, a wound of the womb in childbirth,
or abortion, ulceration, an ulcer in typhoid, etc.
The only apparent differences are those of degree, and this depends on the
condition of the patient, and the amount of septic matter absorbed. Whatever
the part that may be played by germs, the constitutional effect is always the
The supposition that there are specific diseases caused by specific infections
arises from the fact that every organ or tissue in the body lends its own
individuality to "disease" processes. We do not expect to find identical
symptoms in "disease" of two totally different parts of the organism.
"Disease" of the lungs would present symptoms, which differ from some of
the symptoms of "disease" of the liver or bowels. However, inflammation is
always the same in whatever organ or part it is located. And any inflammation
in any part of the organism will, if great enough, occasion systemic sympathy--
fever and general nutritive disturbances.
So-called specific infections are limited in their operations to particular parts
of the body, and when these parts are barred against their action, there is no
development of the supposed specific "disease."
Where the parts are susceptible to the action of the infectious matter, the
effect or injury that will be produced by a given amount of virus of a definite
virulence or toxicity, will depend on the vitality of the parts, and the
circumstances under which it acts.
Some men are naturally and habitually invulnerable to infection, while others
are proof against its action at one time and liable to be affected by it at
another. Resistance depends on an abundance of nerve force and normal
A simple infection arises from any injury or non-toxic irritation. This quickly
heals, if the cause is removed. However, such an infection can easily be
forced to take on sepsis if the cause is not removed and strict cleanliness
A thickening of the mucous membrane and ulceration will result. After this has
taken place, if the exudate cannot drain away fully and freely, it will undergo
decomposition, resulting in local septic infection. If drainage is not
established there is then a possibility of systemic septicemia.
Infection or sepsis is generated by the decomposition--fermentation and
putrefaction--of dead animal and vegetable substances and secretions.
We hold to the theory of the Unity of Infection. Infection is due to the
absorption of decaying animal or vegetable matter and is always the same
in whatever part of the body it takes place.
A specific infection is not more nor less than a septic infection. Contact with
putrescent discharge is essential. This is primarily a skin infection and does
not menace life. However, should blood infection be forced, then life is
The differences in the various septic substances, that is the differing degrees
of toxicity, are derived from the chemistry of the substances from which they
are derived and the stages of decomposition in which they are found.
As an example of the unity of infection, smallpox vaccination serves
admirably. It is sterilized pus, that is, pus which has had all germ life therein
destroyed, yet it is admitted by its advocates to be frequently responsible for
general vaccinia, cellulitis, septicemia, urticaria, erysipelas, so-called syphilis,
tuberculosis, lock-jaw, meningitis, sleeping sickness, and many other
conditions. Yet it is always septic pus from a cow.
It requires positive contact with, and absorption of septic or putrescent matter
to result in infection. Medical men define infection as the invasion of the body
by disease germs.
But, as Tilden declares:
"It should not be forgotten that unobstructed free drainage from wounds,
ulcers, canals, ducts, keeps them aseptic (non-poisonous). The deadly germ on
the hands, lips, drinking cups, hanging straps of street cars-- in fact, found
anywhere and everywhere--is not deadly until it gets mixed up with man's
deadly, dirty, filthy physical and mental habits."
Germs do not become toxic until they get into a toxic environment.
Sepsis in the intestines may give rise to cholera infantum, typhoid fever,
pneumonia, diphtheria, meningitis, inflammation of the brain, peritonitis,
appendicitis, or other infections, all depending on the virulence (chemistry)
of the toxins present and the systemic and organic resistance offered to it.
Intestinal toxemia is correctly considered as an infection. So, also is organic
toxemia and vaccine and serum poisoning. The phenomena of anaphylaxis,
which follow serum injections, may manifest in a very extensive variety of
"diseases" ranging from aching in the joints with slight fever, to tetanus,
convulsions and immediate death.
Usually several forms of "disease" are present together as a result of serum
The conservative power of the body limits all infections, as long as possible,
to the lymphatic glands. These glands possess more immunizing power than
ordinary tissue. The spread of all infections is along the lymphatic channels;
but where lymphatic restraint is broken or overwhelmed, all the fluids of the
body become infected and death may follow quickly.
The lymph nodes in the groin, for instance, arrest so-called venereal infection
and hold it up long enough to neutralize and destroy it.
If the amount of infection is great and the immunizing power of the glands is
inadequate, suppuration follows and a heavy pus discharge carries the
infection out of the body.
If toxin infection in the lungs is great enough to cause suppuration of the
lymphatic glands in these, the resulting "disease" is called tuberculosis.
Our view is that local infections--tonsillitis, rheumatism, chorea (St. Vitus
dance), and heart "diseases,"--all spring from a common root and soil; and that
root is enervation, and the soil is toxemia, to which is superadded intestinal
These "diseases" may be consecutive; one may follow the other in point of
time in any conceivable order, and so be mistaken for cause; but one is not the
cause of the other. They represent concomitant and successive
developments out of a common cause.
Before a morbid process can evolve, the power of the part or of the body as a
whole to generate its own immunizing agents must be broken down or
The reason two people similarly infected do not suffer alike, is that the one is
more enervated and toxemic than the other and hence has less resistance;
less self-immunizing power.
Immunizing power has nothing to do with muscular strength. One patient has
a mass of putrefying foodstuff in his intestine and has diarrhea. Another has a
similar mass and develops typhoid. In the first, the powers of resistance were
sufficient to resist infection, and the decaying matter was expelled. In the
second there was low resistance, which permitted infection.
Sepsis is often generated in the intestine, in the uterus, under a tight prepuce,
etc. Lack of drainage, uncleanliness, etc., account for this. The disease
resulting there from will depend upon the structures involved. Its severity will
depend on the amount of septic matter absorbed, the condition of the patient
and the aid or interference that the organism is given.
In septic infection, if proper drainage is established and the exudate washed
away--that is, if cleanliness is observed--the primary infection will end within a
few days. However, if drainage and cleanliness are neglected, re-infection will
take place. General septic infection may follow.
The healthy individual, and by this we mean one who possesses real health,
not merely one who conforms to the conventional health standard, easily
resists infection where it is not so great as to completely overpower the
organism at once.
When toxemia has brought about a chemical change in the tissues of the
body--when a favorable habitat is produced by enervation and toxemia--
germs, which are omnipresent, become an auxiliary cause, but never a primary
Add to the state of nerve depletion and toxemia an intestinal decomposition
that is in keeping, and you have a walking cesspool too vile for the ubiquitous
germ to respect. Checked secretion produces infection, just as checked
excretion produced toxemia.
A properly cared for body is fully resistant to internal and external germs; but
infection can develop in those of full health, if injuries do not drain well. When
the enervated and toxemic have the infection of intestinal putrescence added,
we have so-called germ invasion.
Children, who develop meningitis, or any of the other so-called contagious
diseases, must be auto-toxemic from improper food and improper care of the
body; and, to bring about an epidemic, there must be an atmospheric state--
domestic, civic, or general--that intensifies the already large stock of
A leading medical authority declares:
"Disease is contagious and some people will be sick in spite of their best efforts
to stay well." We answer: "Not if they have any real knowledge of how."
Many people who are apparently healthy are in reality "living sepulchers"--so
completely enervated and so thoroughly toxemic that it requires just a little
added enervating influence--cold, heat, the mental depression of bad news,
a heavy meal, the shock of a slight operation--to send them pell-mell into
Popularly and professionally, if a man appears well and feels well, this is
enough. No matter if he is on the brink of the grave, his most vital organs so
impaired and deficient in vital power that as soon as they begin to falter the
whole system is broken up and life becomes extinct.
What have germs to do under such circumstances as these? The people who
die in this manner are usually the apparently healthy--the "pictures of health"--
those big feeders with wonderful appetites, with full red faces, well-rounded
abdomens, and excessive weight and who are commonly thought to be in the
"pink" of condition.
The cause of this sudden death is not in having been attacked nor
overwhelmed by virulent germs, or by germs in large quantity, but is due to
living a life of bad habits in such a way, and by transgressing every
physiological law to such an extent, that their resistance has been reduced to
a minimum. They die because they have destroyed their power to live.
Excerpted From: The Hygienic System: Orthopathy
By: Herbert M. Shelton
Complete Book Free Online: The Hygienic System