Food Remedies - Facts About Foods And Their Medicinal Uses


While there is life—and fruit—there is hope. When this truth is realised by the laity nine hundred and ninety-nine out of every thousand professors of the healing art will be obliged to abandon their profession and take to fruit-growing for a living.

Many people have heard vaguely of the "grape cure" for diseases arising from over-feeding, and the lemon cure for rheumatism, but for the most part these "cures" remain mere names. Nevertheless it is almost incredible to the uninitiated what may be accomplished by the abandonment for a time of every kind of food in favour of fruit. Of course, such a proceeding should not be entered upon in a careless or random fashion. Too sudden changes of habit are apt to be attended with disturbances that discourage the patient, and cause him to lose patience and abandon the treatment without giving it a fair trial. In countries where the "grape cure" is practised the patient starts by taking one pound of grapes each day, which quantity is gradually increased until he can consume six pounds. As the quantity of grapes is increased that of the ordinary food is decreased, until at last the patient lives on nothing but grapes. I have not visited a "grape cure" centre in person, but I have read that it is not only persons suffering from the effects of over-feeding who find salvation in the "grape cure," but that consumptive patients thrive and even put on weight under it.

The Herald of Health stated, some few years back, that in the South of France where the "grape cure" is practised consumptive patients are fed on grapes alone, and become quite strong and well in a year or two. And I have myself known wonderful cures to follow on the adoption of a fruitarian dietary in cases of cancer, tumour, gout, eczema, all kinds of inflammatory complaints, and wounds that refused to heal.

H. Benjafield, M.B., writing in the Herald of Health, says: "Garrod, the great London authority on gout, advises his patients to take oranges, lemons, strawberries, grapes, apples, pears, etc. Tardieu, the great French authority, maintains that the salts of potash found so plentifully in fruits are the chief agents in purifying the blood from these rheumatic and gouty poisons.... Dr. Buzzard advises the scorbutic to take fruit morning, noon, and night. Fresh lemon juice in the form of lemonade is to be his ordinary drink; the existence of diarrhœa should be no reason for withholding it." The writer goes on to show that headache, indigestion, constipation, and all other complaints that result from the sluggish action of bowels and liver can never be cured by the use of artificial fruit salts and drugs.

Salts and acids as found in organised forms are quite different in their effects to the products of the laboratory, notwithstanding that the chemical composition may be shown to be the same. The chemist may be able to manufacture a "fruit juice," but he cannot, as yet, manufacture the actual fruit. The mysterious life force always evades him. Fruit is a vital food, it supplies the body with something over and above the mere elements that the chemist succeeds in isolating by analysis. The vegetable kingdom possesses the power of directly utilising minerals, and it is only in this "live" form that they are fit for the consumption of man. In the consumption of sodium chloride (common table salt), baking powders, and the whole army of mineral drugs and essences, we violate that decree of Nature which ordains that the animal kingdom shall feed upon the vegetable and the vegetable upon the mineral.

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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Barley Water.

When using pearl barley for making barley water it must be well washed. The fine white dust that adheres to it is most unwholesome. For this reason the cook is generally directed to first boil the barley for five minutes, and throw this water away. But in this way some of the valuable properties are thrown away with the dirt. The best results are obtained by well washing it in cold water, but this must be done over and over again. Half-a-dozen waters will not be too many. After the last washing the water should be perfectly clear.

When barley water is being used for curative purposes it should be strong. The following recipe is an excellent one. A ½ pint of barley to 2½ pints water (distilled if possible). Boil for three hours, or until reduced to 2 pints. Strain and add 4 teaspoonfuls fresh lemon juice. Sweeten to taste with pure cane sugar.

Fine Scotch barley is to be preferred to the pearl barley if it can be obtained.


Barley is excellent food for the anæmic and nervous on account of its richness in iron and phosphoric acid. It is also useful in fevers and all inflammatory diseases, on account of its soothing properties. From the earliest times barley water has been the recognised drink of the sick.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


The banana is invaluable in inflammation of all kinds. For this reason it is very useful in cases of typhoid fever, gastritis, peritonitis, etc., and may constitute the only food allowed for a time.

Not only does it actually subdue the inflammation of the intestines, but, in the opinion of at least one authority, as it consists of 95 per cent. nutriment, it does not possess sufficient waste matter to irritate the inflamed spots.

But great care should be taken in its administration. The banana should be thoroughly sound and ripe, and all the stringy portion carefully removed. It should then be mashed and beaten to a cream. In severe cases I think it is better to give this neat, but if not liked by the patient a little lemon juice, well mixed in, may render it more acceptable. It may also be taken with fresh cream.

A friend who has had a very wide experience in illness told me that she was once hurriedly sent for at night to a girl suffering from peritonitis. Not knowing what she might, or might not, find in the way of remedies when she arrived at her destination, my friend took with her some strong barley water, bananas, and an enema syringe. She found the girl lying across the bed screaming, obviously in agony. First of all my friend administered a warm water enema. A pint of plain warm water was injected first, and after this had come away as much warm water as could be got in was injected and then allowed to come away. The object of this was to thoroughly wash out the bowels. Then the barley water was warmed, the bananas mashed, beaten to cream, and mixed in with the barley water. A soothing nutrient lotion was thus prepared, and as much as the patient could bear comfortably was injected in the bowel and retained as long as possible. The effect was magical. The pain subsided, and the patient ultimately recovered.

In the absence of perfectly ripe bananas, baked bananas may be used. But, although better than no fruit at all, cooked fruit is never so valuable as the fresh fruit, if only the latter be perfectly ripe. Bananas should be baked in their skins, and the stringy pieces carefully removed before eating. From twenty minutes to half an hour's slow cooking is required.

Bananas are excellent food for anæmic persons on account of the iron they contain. A very palatable way of taking them is with fresh orange juice.

A comparatively old-fashioned remedy, for sprained or bruised places that show a tendency to become inflamed is to apply a plaster of banana skin.


Asparagus is said to strengthen and develop the artistic faculties. It also calms palpitation of the heart. It is very helpful to rheumatic patients on account of its salts of potash. It should be steamed, not boiled, otherwise part of the valuable salts are lost.

Apple Tea.

The following are two good recipes for apple tea:—(1) Take 2 sound apples, wash, but do not peel, and cut into thin slices. Add some strips of lemon rind. Pour on 1 pint of boiling water (distilled). Strain when cold. (2) Bake 2 apples. Pour over them 1 pint boiling water. Strain when cold.

Monday, June 28, 2010


It is hardly possible to take up any newspaper or magazine now a days without happening on advertisements of patent medicines whose chief recommendation is that they "contain phosphorus." They are generally very expensive, but the reader is assured that they are worth ten times the price asked on account of their wonderful properties as nerve and brain foods. The proprietors of these concoctions seemingly flourish like green bay trees and spend many thousands of pounds per annum in advertising. From which it may be deduced that sufferers from nervous exhaustion and brain fag number millions. And surely only a sufferer from brain fag would suffer himself to be led blindly into wasting his money, and still further injuring his health, by buying and swallowing drugs about whose properties and effects he knows absolutely nothing. How much simpler, cheaper, and more enjoyable to eat apples!

The apple contains a larger percentage of phosphorus than any other fruit or vegetable. For this reason it is an invaluable nerve and brain food. Sufferers from nerve and brain exhaustion should eat at least two apples at the beginning of each meal. At the same time they should avoid tea and coffee, and supply their place with barley water or bran tea flavoured with lemon juice, or even apple tea.

Apples are also invaluable to sufferers from the stone or calculus. It has been observed that in cider countries where the natural unsweetened cider is the common beverage, cases of stone are practically unknown. Food-reformers do not deduce from this that the drinking of cider is to be recommended, but that even better results may be obtained from eating the fresh, ripe fruit.

Apples periodically appear upon the tables of carnivorous feeders in the form of apple sauce. This accompanies bilious dishes like roast pork and roast goose. The cook who set this fashion was evidently acquainted with the action of the fruit upon the liver. All sufferers from sluggish livers should eat apples.

Apples will afford much relief to sufferers from gout. The malic acid contained in them neutralises the chalky matter which causes the gouty patient's sufferings.

Apples, when eaten ripe and without the addition of sugar, diminish acidity in the stomach. Certain vegetable salts are converted into alkaline carbonates, and thus correct the acidity.

An old remedy for weak or inflamed eyes is an apple poultice. I am told that in Lancashire they use rotten apples for this purpose, but personally I should prefer them sound.

A good remedy for a sore or relaxed throat is to take a raw ripe apple and scrape it to a fine pulp with a silver teaspoon. Eat this pulp by the spoonful, very slowly, holding it against the back of the throat as long as possible before swallowing.

A diet consisting chiefly of apples has been found an excellent cure for inebriety. Health and strength may be fully maintained upon fine wholemeal unleavened bread, pure dairy or nut butter, and apples.

Apple water or apple tea is an excellent drink for fever patients.

Apples possess tonic properties and provoke appetite for food. Hence the old-fashioned custom of eating an apple before dinner.


Almond soup is an excellent substitute for beef-tea for convalescents. It is made by simply blanching and pounding a quarter of a pound of sweet almonds with half a pint of milk, or vegetable stock. Another pint of milk or stock is then to be added and the whole warmed. After this add another pint and a half of stock if the soup is to be a vegetable one, or rice water if milk has been used.

An emulsion of almonds is useful in chest affections. It is made by well macerating the nuts in a nut butter machine, and mixing with orange or lemon juice.

Almonds should always be blanched, that is, skinned by pouring boiling water on the nuts and allowing them to soak for one minute, after which the skins are easily removed. The latter possess irritating properties.

Bitter almonds should not be used as a food. They contain a poison identical with prussic acid.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Acute Illness.

The simplest and quickest method of recovering from attacks of acute illness, fevers, inflammatory diseases, etc., is to rest quietly in bed in a warm but well-ventilated room, and to take three meals a day of fresh ripe fruit, grapes by preference. If the grapes are grown out of doors and ripened in the sun so much the better. I have found from two to three pounds of grapes per day sufficient. If there is thirst, barley water flavoured with lemon juice should be taken between the meals.

Fruit for Fasting.

Treatment of disease by fasting has come into fashion of late, and there is really no lack of proof as to the benefits to be obtained from abstaining entirely from food for a short period. I know of an elderly man who fasts for a fortnight every spring, and gains, not loses, weight during the process! He accounts for this by explaining that certain stored up, undigested food particles come out and are digested while he fasts. Whether this is the correct explanation I do not know, but the fact remains, and it is not by any means a solitary case. Of course, the majority of people lose weight when fasting, but this is very quickly recovered. Now I do not think fasting should be undertaken recklessly, but only under competent direction. But an excellent and safe substitute for a fast is an exclusive fruit diet.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Simple Life.

We hear a great deal about the "Simple Life" and "Returning to Nature" nowadays, but most of us are so situated that the proposed simplicity simply spells increased complexity. The "vegetarian chop" costs the housewife more than double the time and labour involved in preparing its fleshly namesake. And when it comes to illness some of the systems of bathing and exercising prescribed by the "naturopath" are infinitely more troublesome to the patient and his friends than the simple expedient of sending for the doctor and taking the prescribed doses. I do not want to be misunderstood here. I am not condemning treatment with water and exercises. On the contrary, I hope to pass on what I have learnt about these methods of treatment. But so many people lack the time, help, and conveniences necessary to carry them out successfully. It is to these that I would say that the patient's cure may be effected just as surely, if more slowly, by means of fruit alone

A Pioneer of Food Remedies.

The pioneer, in England, of the treatment of all sorts and conditions of disease by means of a vegetable (chiefly fruit) dietary was Dr. Lambe, a contemporary of the poet Shelley. His last book appeared in 1815, and in it and the one preceding are recorded some wonderful cures, especially in cases of cancer. It is only fair to add here that in Dr. Lambe's opinion no system of cure is completely efficacious so long as the patient is allowed to drink the ordinary tap or well water. Distilled water was the only drink he advised. But he held it better still not to drink at all if the necessary liquid could be supplied to the body by means of fresh, juicy fruits. He contended that man is not naturally a drinking animal; that his thirst is a morbid symptom, the outcome of a carnivorous diet and other unwholesome habits. And I think that anyone may prove the truth of this for him or herself if he or she will adopt a fruitarian dietary and abstain from the use of salt and other condiments.

I have cited so out-of-date a personage as Dr. Lambe for two reasons. The first is that I know many of the so-called new and unorthodox ideas are more likely to appeal to some readers, if it can be shown that they originated with a duly qualified medical practitioner who recorded the results of his observations and experiments in black and white. The second is that the principles and practices of Dr. Lambe are incorporated with those of the Physical Regeneration Society, a large and ever-increasing body of enthusiasts having its head-quarters in London, to whose annals I must refer those readers who desire up-to-date instances of the efficacy of the use of fruit in disease. Lack of space will not allow me to quote them here.

Objections to Fruit.

Some vegetarians object that it is possible to eat too much fruit, and recommend caution in the use of it to people of nervous temperament, or those who seem predisposed to skin ailments. It is true that the consumption of large quantities of fruit may appear to render the nervous person more irritable, and to increase the external manifestations of a skin disease. But in the latter event the fruit is merely assisting Nature to throw the disease out and off more quickly, while in the former case the real cause lies not in the fruit but in some nerve irritant, tea, for example, the effects of which are more acutely felt under the new régime. The nervous system tends to become much more sensitive upon a vegetarian, especially fruitarian, diet, and people often attribute their increased nervousness and irritability to the diet when it is simply that they now react more quickly to poisons. This is not a bad thing, on the contrary, it shows that the system has become more alert. Under the old régime we tend to store up poisons and impurities in the body, but the effect of a vegetable diet, especially when united with the use of distilled water, is to cause all our diseases and impurities to be expelled outwards and downwards. Tea is a slow poison, and so is coffee except under exceptional conditions when it is used as a medicine, and then it should always be pale-roasted.

Fruit should always be eaten at the beginning of a meal. Again, when the diet consists of a mixture of cooked and uncooked foods, the uncooked should always be eaten first. Also when the meal consists of two courses, a sweet and a savoury dish, sufferers from indigestion should try taking the sweet course first. I have known several cases where this simple expedient has resulted in a complete cessation of the discomfort of which the patient complained.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Fruit is a Food

Until quite recently the majority of English-speaking people have been accustomed to look upon fruit not as a food, but rather as a sweetmeat, to be eaten merely for pleasure, and therefore very sparingly. It has consequently been banished from its rightful place at the beginning of meals. But fruit is not a "goody," it is a food, and, moreover, a complete food. All vegetable foods (in their natural state) contain all the elements necessary to form a complete food. At a pinch human life might be supported on any one of them. I say "at a pinch" because if the nuts cereals and pulses were ruled out of the dietary it would, for most people, be deficient in fat and proteid (the flesh and muscle-forming element). Nevertheless, fruit alone will sustain life if taken in large quantities with small output of energy on the part of the person living upon it, as witness the "grape cure." The percentage of proteid in grapes is particularly high for fruit.

Those people who desire to make a fruitarian dietary their daily régime cannot do better than take the advice of O. Hashnu Hara, an American writer. He says: "Every adult requires from twelve to sixteen ounces of dry food, free from water, daily. To supply this a quarter of a pound of shelled nuts and three-quarters of a pound of any dried fruit must be used. In addition to this, from two to three pounds of any fresh fruit in season goes to complete the day's allowance. These quantities should be weighed out ... and will sustain a full-grown man in perfect health and vitality. The quantity of ripe fresh fruit may be slightly increased in summer, with a corresponding decrease in the dried fruit."

Fruit and the Teeth

I mention the above because one of the objections that I have heard cited against the free use of fruit is that "the acids act injuriously upon the teeth." Until I became a vegetarian I used to visit a dentist regularly every six months. I had done this for ten years, and nearly every tooth in my gums had its gold filling. The last time I visited the dentist I told him that I had become a vegetarian, and he replied that he rather thought my teeth would decay quicker in future on account of an increased consumption of vegetable acids. But from that day, now nearly six years ago, to the present time, I have never been near a dentist. My teeth seem to have taken a new lease of life. It is a fact that the acids in fruit and vegetables so far from injuring the teeth benefit them. Many of these acids are strongly antiseptic and actually destroy the germs that cause the teeth to decay. On the other hand, they do not attack the enamel of the teeth, while inorganic acids do. Nothing cleanses the teeth so effectually as to thoroughly chew a large and juicy apple.