Natural Remedies

by Ellen White

I do hope that you will heed the words I have spoken to you. It has been presented to me that you will not be able to exert the most successful influence in health reform unless in some things you become more liberal to yourself and to others. The time will come when milk cannot be used as freely as it is now used; but the present is not the time to discard it. And eggs contain properties which are remedial agencies in counteracting poisons. And while warnings have been given against the use of these articles of diet in families where the children were addicted to, yes, steeped in, habits of self abuse, yet we should not consider it a denial of principle to use eggs of hens which are well cared for and suitably fed. 12MR 169



Your questions, I will say, are answered largely, if not definitely, in . Drug poisons mean the articles which you have mentioned. The simpler remedies are less harmful in proportion to their simplicity; but in very many cases these are used when not at all necessary. There are simple herbs and roots that every family may use for themselves and need not call a physician any sooner than they would call a lawyer. I do not think that I can give you any definite line of medicines compounded and dealt out by doctors, that are perfectly harmless. And yet it would not be wisdom to engage in controversy over this subject.

The practitioners are very much in earnest in using their dangerous concoctions, and I am decidedly opposed to resorting to such things. They never cure; they may change the difficulty to create a worse one. Many of those who practice the prescribing of drugs, would not take the same or give them to their children. If they have an intelligent knowledge of the human body, if they understand the delicate, wonderful human machinery, they must know that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, and that not a particle of these strong drugs should be introduced into this human living organism.

As the matter was laid open before me, and the sad burden of the result of drug medication, the light was given me that Seventh-day Adventists should establish health institutions discarding all these health-destroying inventions, and physicians should treat the sick upon hygienic principles. The great burden should be to have well-trained nurses, and well-trained medical practitioners to educate "precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little and there a little" (Isa. 28:10)

. Train the people to correct habits and healthful practices, remembering that an ounce of preventive is of more value than a pound of cure. Lectures and studies in this line will prove of the highest value.--Letter 17a, 1893. 2SM 278,279

[ Remedies in the Natural World ] [ Water Treatments and Simple Herbs. ] --The Lord has taught us that great efficacy for healing lies in a proper use of water. These treatments should be given skilfully. We have been instructed that in our treatment of the sick we should discard the use of drugs. There are simple herbs that can be used for the recovery of the sick, whose effect upon the system is very different from that of those drugs that poison the blood and endanger life.--Manuscript 73, 1908 (Manuscript entitled "Counsels Repeated"). 2SM 288 (PH144 15)

[ All to Understand What to Do for Themselves ] Your question is, . . . "In urgent cases, should we call in a worldly physician, because the sanitarium doctors are all so busy that they have no time to devote to outside practice?"...If the physicians are so busy that they cannot treat the sick outside of the institution, would it not be wiser for all to educate themselves in the use of simple remedies, than to venture to use drugs that are given a long name to hide their real qualities. Why need anyone be ignorant of God's remedies--hot-water fomentations and cold and hot compresses. It is important to become familiar with the benefit of dieting in case of sickness. All should understand what to do [for] themselves. They may call upon someone who understands nursing, but everyone should have an intelligent knowledge of the house he lives in. All should understand what to do in case of sickness. 2SM 289

[ Simple Remedies in the Sanitarium Program ] I have received much instruction regarding the location of sanitariums. They should be a few miles distant from the large cities, and land should be secured in connection with them. Fruit and vegetables should be cultivated, and the patients should be encouraged to take up outdoor work. Many who are suffering from pulmonary disease might be cured if they would live in a climate where they could be out-of-doors most of the year. Many who have died of consumption might have lived if they had breathed more pure air. Fresh outdoor air is as healing as medicine, and leaves no injurious after-effects.... 2SM 291

The treatment we gave when the sanitarium was first established required earnest labour to combat disease. We did not use drug concoctions; we followed hygienic methods. This work was blessed by God. It was a work in which the human instrumentality could co-operate with God in saving life. There should be nothing put into the human system that would leave its baleful influence behind. And to carry out the light on this subject, to practice hygienic treatment, and to educate on altogether different lines of treating the sick, was the reason given me why we should have sanitariums established in various localities. 2SM 293

Water can be used in many ways to relieve suffering. Drafts of clear, hot water taken before eating (half a quart, more or less), will never do any harm, but will rather be productive of good. 2SM 297

Encourage the patients to live healthfully and to take an abundance of exercise. This will do much to restore them to health. Let seats be placed under the shade of the trees, that the patients may be encouraged to spend much time out-of-doors. And a place should be provided, enclosed either with canvas or with glass, where, in cooler weather, the patients can sit in the sun without feeling the wind.... 2SM 298

Fresh air and sunshine, cheerfulness within and without the institution, pleasant words and kindly acts--these are the remedies that the sick need, and God will crown with success your efforts to provide these remedies for the sick ones who come to the sanitarium. By happiness and cheerfulness and expressions of sympathy and hopefulness for others, your own soul will be filled with light and peace. And never forget that the sunshine of God's blessing is worth everything to us. 2SM 298

Teach nurses and patients the value of those health-restoring agencies that are freely provided by God, and the usefulness of simple things that are easily obtained. 2SM 298

I will tell you a little about my experience with charcoal as a remedy. For some forms of indigestion, it is more efficacious than drugs. A little olive oil into which some of this powder has been stirred tends to cleanse and heal. I find it is excellent. Pulverised charcoal from eucalyptus wood we have used freely in cases of inflammation.... 2SM 298 (PH144 24)

[ Charcoal and Flaxseed. ] --We need a hospital so much. On Thursday Sister Sara McEnterfer was called to see if she could do anything for Brother B's little son, who is eighteen months old. For several days he has had a painful swelling on the knee, supposed to be from the bite of some poisonous insect. Pulverised charcoal, mixed with flaxseed, was placed upon the swelling, and this poultice gave relief at once. The child had screamed with pain all night, but when this was applied, he slept. Today she has been to see the little one twice. She opened the swelling in two places, and a large amount of yellow matter and blood was discharged freely. The child was relieved of its great suffering. We thank the Lord that we may become intelligent in using the simple things within our reach to alleviate pain, and successfully remove its cause.--Manuscript 68, 1899 (General Manuscript). 2SM 299

Again, take warm footbaths into which have been put the leaves from the eucalyptus tree. There is great virtue in these leaves, and if you will try this, you will prove my words to be true. The oil of the eucalyptus is especially beneficial in cases of cough and pains in the chest and lungs. I want you to make a trial of this remedy which is so simple, and which costs you nothing.--Letter 20, 1909 (To the worker addressed in the preceding item). 2SM 301

[ Grape Juice and Eggs. ] --I have received light that you are injuring your body by a poverty-stricken diet. . . . It is the lack of suitable food that has caused you to suffer so keenly. You have not taken the food essential to nourish your frail physical strength. You must not deny yourself of good, wholesome food.... Get eggs of healthy fowls. Use these eggs cooked or raw. Drop them uncooked into the best unfermented wine you can find. This will supply that which is necessary to your system. . . . Eggs contain properties which are remedial agencies in counteracting poisons.-- pp. 203, 204 (To Dr. D. H. Kress, 1901). 2SM 303

[ Approval of Progressive Medical Procedures ] [ Blood Transfusions. ] --There is one thing that has saved life--an infusion of blood from one person to another; but this would be difficult and perhaps impossible for you to do. I merely suggest it.-- pp. 286, 287 (To Dr. D. H. Kress). 2SM 303

[ X-ray Treatment at Loma Linda. ] --For several weeks I took treatment with the X-ray for the black spot that was on my forehead. In all I took twenty-three treatments, and these succeeded in entirely removing the mark. For this I am very grateful.--Letter 30, 1911 (To her son J. E. White). 2SM 303

There are many ways of practising the healing art, but there is only one way that Heaven approves. God's remedies are the simple agencies of nature that will not tax or debilitate the system through their powerful properties. Pure air and water, cleanliness, a proper diet, purity of life, and a firm trust in God are remedies for the want of which thousands are dying; yet these remedies are going out of date because their skilful use requires work that the people do not appreciate. Fresh air, exercise, pure water, and clean, sweet premises are within the reach of all with but little expense; but drugs are expensive, both in the outlay of means and in the effect produced upon the system. 5T 443

The physician needs more than human wisdom and power that he may know how to minister to the many perplexing cases of disease of the mind and heart with which he is called to deal. If he is ignorant of the power of divine grace, he cannot help the afflicted one, but will aggravate the difficulty; but if he has a firm hold upon God, he will be able to help the diseased, distracted mind. 5T 444

We wish to build a sanitarium where maladies may be cured by nature's own provisions, and where the people may be taught how to treat themselves when sick; where they will learn to eat temperately of wholesome food, and be educated to refuse all narcotics,--tea, coffee, fermented wines, and stimulants of all kinds,--and to discard the flesh of dead animals. CD 281

When a letter came to me from Cooranbong, saying that Doctor ----- was dying, I was that night instructed that he must have a change of diet. A raw egg, taken two or three times a day, would give the nourishment that he greatly needed. [ Letter 127, 1904 ] CD 367

1055. To use drugs while continuing evil habits is certainly inconsistent, and greatly dishonours God by dishonouring the body which he has made. Yet for all this, stimulants and drugs continue to be prescribed and freely used; while the hurtful indulgences that produce the disease are not discarded. The use of tea, coffee, tobacco, opium, wine, beer, and other stimulants gives nature a false support. Physicians should understand how to treat the sick through the use of nature's remedies. Pure air, pure water, and healthful exercise should be employed in the treatment of the sick.-- . HL 247

While the physician uses nature's remedies for physical disease, he should point his patients to Him who can relieve the maladies of both the soul and the body. MH 111

In case of sickness, the cause should be ascertained, unhealthful conditions should be changed, wrong habits corrected. Then nature is to be assisted in her effort to expel impurities and to re-establish right conditions in the system. MH 127

Nature will want some assistance to bring things to their proper condition, which may be found in the simplest remedies, especially in the use of nature's own furnished remedies--pure air, and with a precious knowledge of how to breathe; pure water, with a knowledge of how to apply it; plenty of sunlight in every room in the house if possible, and with an intelligent knowledge of what advantages are to be gained by its use. All these are powerful in their efficiency, and the patient who has obtained a knowledge of how to eat and dress healthfully, may live for comfort, for peace, for health; and will not be prevailed upon to put to his lips drugs, which, in the place of helping nature, paralyses her powers. If the sick and suffering will do only as well as they know in regard to living out the principles of health reform perseveringly, then they will in nine cases out of ten recover from their ailments.(Manuscript 22, 1887). MM 223

The use of certain herbs that the Lord has made to grow for the good of man, is in harmony with the exercise of faith, --MS 31, 1911 (written June 3, 1888) PH144 04

And when I violate the laws God has established in my being, I am to repent and reform, and place myself in the most favourable condition under the doctors God has provided--pure air, pure water, and the healing, precious sunlight. PH144 06 (2SM 297)

If the eyes are weak, if there is pain in the eyes, or inflammation, soft flannel cloths wet in hot water and salt, will bring relief quickly. PH144 06 (2SM 297)

There are many more simple remedies which will do much to restore healthful action to the body. All these simple preparations the Lord expects us to use for ourselves, but man's extremities are God's opportunities. If we neglect to do that which is within the reach of nearly every family, and ask the Lord to relieve pain when we are too indolent to make use of these remedies within our power, it is simply presumption. The Lord expects us to work in order that we may obtain food. He does not propose that we shall gather the harvest unless we break the sod, till the soil, and cultivate the produce. Then God sends the rain and the sunshine and the clouds to cause vegetation to flourish. God works and man co-operates with God. Then there is seedtime and harvest. PH144 06 (2SM 297)

There are simple herbs and roots that every family may use for themselves, and need not call in a physician any sooner than they would call a lawyer. PH144 08

Were I sick, I would just as soon call in a lawyer as a physician from among general practitioners. I would not touch their nostrums to which they give Latin names. I am determined to know, in straight English, the name of everything that I introduce into my system. PH144 09

Drug medication is to be discarded. On this point the conscience of the physician must ever be kept tender, and true, and clean. The inclination to use poisonous drugs, which kill, if they do not cure, needs to be guarded against. Matters have been laid open before me in reference to the use of drugs. Many have been treated with drugs, and the result has been death. Our physicians, by practising drug medication, have lost many cases that need not have died if they had left their drugs out of the sick-room. PH144 10

Experimenting in drugs is a very expensive business. Paralysis of the brain and tongue is often the result, and the victims die an unnatural death, when, if they had been treated perseveringly with unwearied, unrelaxed diligence, with hot and cold water, hot compresses, packs and dripping sheets, they would be alive today. PH144 11

As to drugs being used in our institutions, it is contrary to the light which the Lord has been pleased to give. The drugging business has done more harm to our world and killed more than it has helped or cured. The light was first given to me why institutions should be established, that is sanitariums were to reform the medical practices of physicians. PH144 12

This is God's method. The herbs that grow for the benefit of man, and the little handful of herbs kept and steeped and used for sudden ailments, have served tenfold, yes, one hundred fold better purposes, than all the drugs hidden under mysterious names and dealt out to the sick. PH144 12

The drug science has been exalted, but if every bottle that comes from every such institution were done away with, there would be fewer invalids in the world today. Drug medication should never have been introduced into our institutions. There was no need of this being so, and for this very reason the Lord would have us establish an institution where He can come in and where His grace and power can be revealed. 'I am the Resurrection and the Life,' He declares. PH144 12

The true method for healing the sick is to tell them of the herbs that grow for the benefit of man. Scientists have attached large names to these simplest preparations, but true education will lead us to teach the sick that they need not call in a doctor any more than they would call in a lawyer. They can themselves administer the simple herbs if necessary. PH144 13

To educate the human family that the doctor alone knows all the ills of infants and persons of every age is false teaching, and the sooner we as a people stand on the principles of health reform, the greater will be the blessing that will come to those who would do true medical work. There is a work to be done in treating the sick with water and teaching them to make the most of the sunshine and physical exercise. Thus in simple language, we may teach the people how to preserve health, how to avoid sickness. This is the work of our sanitariums are called upon to do. This is true science.--MS 105, (written Aug. 26, 1898) PH144 13

Shall physicians continue to resort to drugs, which leave a deadly evil in the system, destroying that life which Christ came to restore? Christ's remedies cleanse the system. But Satan has tempted man to introduce into the system that which weakens the human machinery, clogging and destroying the fine, beautiful arrangements of God. The drugs administered to the sick do not restore, but destroy. Drugs never cure. Instead, they place in the system seeds which bear a very bitter harvest. PH144 14

Our Saviour is the restorer of the moral image of God in man. He has supplied in the natural world remedies for the ills of man, that His followers may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. We can with safety discard the concoctions which man has used in the past. The Lord has provided antidotes for disease in simple plants, and these can be used by faith, with no denial of faith; for by using the blessings provided by God for our benefit we are co-operating with Him. We can use water and sunshine and the herbs which He has caused to grow for healing maladies brought on by indiscretion or accident. --MS 65, 1899 (written April 25, 1899) PH144 14

It would have been better if, from the first, all drugs had been kept out of our sanitariums, and use had been made of such simple remedies as are found in pure water, pure air, sunlight, and some of the simple herbs growing in the field. These would be just as efficacious as the drugs used under mysterious names, and concocted by human science. And they would leave no injurious effects in the system. PH144 15 (2SM 291)

I have been shown that we should have many more women who can deal especially with the diseases of women, many more lady nurses who will treat the sick in a simple way and without the use of drugs. PH144 16

By His own working agencies He has created material which will restore the sick to health. If men would use aright the wisdom God has given them, this world would be a place resembling heaven.--MS 63, 1899. PH144 16

We should make decided efforts to heed the directions the Lord has given in regard to the care of the sick. They should be given every advantage possible. All the restorative agencies that the Lord has provided should be made use of in our sanitarium work.--MS 19, 1911. PH144 16

When the Lord told Hezekiah that He would spare his life for fifteen years, and as a sign that He would fulfil His promise, caused the sun to go back ten degrees, why did He not put His direct, restoring power upon the King? He told him to apply a bunch of figs to his sore, and that natural remedy, blessed by God, healed him. The God of nature directs the human agent to use natural remedies now. --Letter 182, 1899. PH144 16

Special instruction should be given in the art of treating the sick, without the use of poisonous drugs, and in harmony with the light that God has given. Students should come forth from the school without having sacrificed the principles of health reform.-- Letter 90, 1908. PH144 17

The Lord will be the Helper of every physician who will work together with Him in the effort to restore suffering humanity to health, not with drugs, but with nature's remedies. Christ is the great physician, the wonderful Healer. He gives success to those who work in partnership with Him.--Letter 142, 1902. PH144 17

In the winter of 1864, my Willie was suddenly and violently brought down with lung fever. We had just buried our oldest son with this disease, and were very anxious in regard to Willie, fearing that he, too, might die. We decided that we would not send for a physician, but do the best we could with him ourselves by the use of water, and entreat the Lord in behalf of the child. We called in a few, who had faith to unite their prayers with ours. We had a sweet assurance of God's presence and blessing.

The next day Willie was very sick. He was wandering. He did not seem to see or hear me when I spoke to him. His heart had no regular beat, but was in a constant agitated flutter. We continued to look to God in his behalf, and to use water freely upon his head, and a compress constantly upon his lungs, and soon he seemed as rational as ever. He suffered severe pain in his right side, and could not lie upon it for a moment. This pain we subdued with cold water compresses, varying the temperature of the water according to the degree of the fever. We were very careful to keep his hands and feet warm.

We expected the crisis would come the seventh day. We had but little rest during his sickness, and were obliged to give him up into other's care the fourth and fifth nights. My husband and myself the fifth day felt very anxious. The child raised fresh blood and coughed considerably. My husband spent much time in prayer. We left our child in careful hands that night. Before retiring my husband prayed long and earnestly. Suddenly his burden of prayer left him, and it seemed as though a voice spoke to him, and said, Go lie down, I will take care of the child.

I had retired sick, and could not sleep for anxiety for several hours. I felt pressed for breath, Although sleeping in a large chamber, I arose and opened the door into a large hall, and was at once relieved, and soon slept. I dreamed that an experienced physician was standing by my child, watching every breath, with one hand over his heart, and with the other feeling his pulse. He turned to us and said, 'The crisis has passed. He has seen his worst night. He will now come up speedily, for he has not the injurious influence of drugs to recover from. Nature has nobly done her work to rid the system of impurities.' I related to him my worn-out condition, my pressure for breath, and the relief obtained by opening the door.

Said he, 'That which gave you relief will also receive your child. He needs air. You have kept him too warm. The heated air coming from a stove is injurious, and were it not for the air coming in at the crevices of the windows, would be poisonous and destroy life. Stove heat destroys the vitality of the air, and weakens the lungs. The child's lungs have been weakened by the room being kept too warm. Sick persons are debilitated by disease, and need all the invigorating air that they can bear to strengthen the vital organs to resist disease. And yet in most cases, air and light are excluded from the sick room at the very time when most needed, as though dangerous enemies.'

This dream and my husband's experience were a consolation to us both. We found in the morning that our boy had passed a restless night. He seemed to be in a high fever until noon. Then the fever left him, and he appeared quite well, except weak. He had eaten but one small cracker through his five days sickness. He came up rapidly, and has had better health than he has had for several days before. This experience is valuable to us. PH144 19

[ Other Experiences With Charcoal ] [ A Rapid Recovery. ] --A brother was taken sick with inflammation of the bowels and bloody dysentery. The man was not a careful health reformer, but indulged his appetite. We were just preparing to leave Texas, where we had been labouring for several months, and we had carriages prepared to take away this brother and his family, and several others who were suffering from malarial fever. My husband and I thought we would stand this expense rather than have the heads of several families die and leave their wives and children unprovided for.

Two or three were taken in a large spring wagon on spring mattresses. But this man who was suffering from inflammation of the bowels, sent for me to come to him. My husband and I decided that it would not do to move him. Fears were entertained that mortification had set in. Then the thought came to me like a communication from the Lord to take pulverised charcoal, put water upon it, and give this water to the sick man to drink, putting bandages of the charcoal over the bowels and stomach. We were about one mile from the city of Denison, but the sick man's son went to a blacksmith's shop, secured the charcoal, and pulverised it, and then used it according to the directions given. The result was that in half an hour there was a change for the better. We had to go on our journey and leave the family behind, but what was our surprise the following day to see their wagon overtake us. The sick man was lying in a bed in the wagon. The blessing of God had worked with the simple means used.--Letter 182, 1899 (To a worker in an overseas field. See p. 287). PH144 22 (2SM 299)

One of the most beneficial remedies is pulverised charcoal, placed in a bag and used in fomentations. This is a most successful remedy. If wet in smartweed boiled, it is still better. I have ordered this in cases where the sick were suffering great pain, and when it has been confided to me by the physician that he thought it was the last before the close of life. Then I suggested the charcoal, and the patient slept, the turning point came, and recovery was the result. To students when injured with bruised hands and suffering with inflammation, I have prescribed this simple remedy, with perfect success. The poison of inflammation was overcome, the pain removed, and healing went on rapidly. The most severe inflammation of the eyes will be relieved by a poultice of charcoal, put in a bag, and dipped in hot or cold water, as will best suit the case. This works like a charm. PH144 24 (2SM 294)

On one occasion a physician came to me in great distress. He had been called to attend a young woman who was dangerously ill. She had contracted fever while on the campground, and was taken to our school building near Melbourne, Australia. But she became so much worse that it was feared she could not live. The physician, Dr. Merritt Kellogg, came to me and said, "Sister White, have you any light for me on this case? If relief cannot be given our sister, she can live but a few hours." I replied, "Send to a blacksmith's shop, and get some pulverised charcoal; make a poultice of it, and lay it over her stomach and sides." The doctor hastened away to follow out my instructions. Soon he returned, saying, "Relief came in less than half an hour after the application of the poultices. She is now having the first natural sleep she has had for days." PH144 25 (2SM 295)

Always study and teach the use of the simplest remedies, and the special blessing of the Lord may be expected to follow the use of these means which are within the reach of the common people.--Letter 100, 1903. PH144 25 (2SM 298)

I have ordered the same treatment for others who were suffering great pain, and it has brought relief and been the means of saving life. My mother had told me that snake bites and the sting of reptiles and poisonous insects could often be rendered harmless by the use of charcoal poultices. When working on the land at Avondale, Australia, the workmen would often bruise their hands and limbs, and this in many cases resulted in such severe inflammation that the worker would have to leave his work for some time. One came to me one day in this condition, with his hand tied in a sling. He was much troubled over the circumstance; for his help was needed in clearing the land I said to him, "Go to the place where you have been burning the timber, and get me some charcoal from the eucalyptus tree, pulverise it, and I will dress your hand." This was done, and the next morning he reported that the pain was gone. Soon he was ready to return to his work. PH144 26 (2SM 295)

I write these things that you may know that the Lord has not left us without the use of simple remedies which, when used, will not leave the system in the weakened condition in which the use of drugs so often leaves it. We need well-trained nurses who can understand how to use the simple remedies that nature provides for restoration to health, and who can teach those who are ignorant of the laws of health how to use these simple but effective cures. PH144 27 (2SM 296)

You are not justified in advocating one school above the others as if it were the only one worthy of respect. Those who vindicate one school of medicine and bitterly condemn another, are actuated by a zeal that is not according to knowledge. With Pharisaic pride some men look down upon others who have received a diploma from the so-called standard school. ... The use of drugs has resulted in far more harm than good, and should our physicians who claim to believe the truth, almost entirely dispense with medicine, and faithfully practice along the line of , using , far greater success would attend their efforts. There is no need whatever to exalt the method whereby drugs are administered. I know whereof I speak. Brethren of the medical profession, I entreat you to think candidly and put away childish things. . . . They resort to drugs when greater skill and knowledge would teach them the . Extracts on Medical Work, pages 19-23. PH144 29