INHS International Natural Hygiene Society

back next page

Natural Hygiene history is part of the history of healing and medicine - so here is first an overview.


This has been the common way to look at disease for millennia, and is still very popular:
Disease is the problem - and the way to get rid of the disease is to stop the disease symptoms. The cause is mysterious. Fear of inexplicably being struck by disease is typical.
Example: a cold is "cured" when the cold-symptoms, sneezing and fever, have been stopped by some concoct. Mysterious cause - perhaps a cold originates from getting too cold, perhaps from bacteria, or what?
Example 2: cancer is "cured" by attacking the growths with chemo & radiation & operations. The cause is mysterious. A billion dollar industry is built around "cancer research".

= the appearance of "Hygiene" and "Nature Cure" in the early 1800's.

Here is a look at the historical development of "cures":

Magic & spirituality
The primitive mind's belief in spirits, which interfere in man's life for good or evil and are able to cause disease, was probably universal, and still is widespread. Evil spirits could enter the body. The solution - rituals, magic rites, offerings and other efforts to appease the invisible higher beings that rule over health and disease
Iroquois mask "Western medicine really began in ancient Greece. The earliest mythical doctor was the god Asclepios (Lat. Aesculapius), father of the goddess Hygieia. Various diseases were treated by 'incubation" or temple sleeping. The patient made a request of the god, usually for cure, and; while the patient slept within the confines of the temple, probably aided by an opiate, the god visited in a dream. The snakes would crawl over the patient during the night and the patient would wake in the morning cured."

"The Iroquois of New York and Ontario gathered in a longhouse for ceremonial and religious purposes. Wooden masks, skilfully but grotesquely carved played an important part in their ritual, and were alleged to be portraits of the strange quasi human beings whom the forest hunters met at nightfall, darting from tree to tree, and resembling disembodied heads with long snapping hair. These beings were held to be involved in the cause and cure of disease, and were invoked and worshipped in complex dance rituals, sometimes under the influence of tobacco and or other drugs." (

Cutting and manipulating
Surgical methods as a cure were obviously also developed very early - in the beginning probably by cutting out and removing problematic body parts.
Acupuncture was used in China before 2500 BC using sharp stones, which were replaced by metal needles around 400 BC. Acupressure, reflexology and some energy methods are probably even older.
"Evidence that surgery was occasionally practiced in the 4th century BC Asclepian temples in Greece is shown in the following: 'A man with an ulcer in his stomach. He incubated, and saw a vision: the god seemed to order his followers to seize and hold him that he might incise his stomach. So he fled, but they caught and tied him to the door-knocker. The Asclepian opened his stomach, cut out the ulcer, sewed him up again and loosed his bonds. He went away whole, but the floor of his chamber was covered with his blood.'"(

"If a physician performed a major operation on a seignior with a bronze lancet and has caused the seignior's death, or he opened the eye-socket of a seignior and has destroyed the seignior's eye, they shall cut off his hand. If a physician performed a major operation on a commoner's slave with a bronze lancet and caused (his) death, he shall make good slave for slave." Hamurabai's Code, Mesopotamia 3000 BC (

"It seems in most ancient cultures there is a tradition of working on the feet to help the body balance itself. .... For instance, in Egypt, in the physician's tomb (2300 B.C.) there can be found a pictograph which may be evidence of reflexology being applied."(

"CHUN DO SUN BUP is a 6000 year old ancient healing method that uses the power of the original ki energy and is deeply rooted on the Taoist principles of creation of life.... The Master transmits vital energy by using a particular sound vibration which clears the blockages and stimulates the circulation of energy."(

Folk-medicine, traditional medicine
Medicinal plants, animal parts and minerals, like mica and gypsum, have been used for a long time to get rid of disease symptoms. Knowledge was often collected and handed-down by women.
"The use of plants as medicine is older than recorded history. As mute witness to this fact, marshmallow root, hyacinth, and yarrow have been found carefully tucked around the bones of a Stone Age man in Iraq. These three medicinal herbs continue to be used today. Marshmallow root is a demulcent herb, soothing to inflamed or irritated mucous membranes, such as a sore throat or irritated digestive tract. Hyacinth is a diuretic that encourages tissues to give up excess water. Yarrow is a time-honored cold and fever remedy that may once have been used much as aspirin is today." (

"Treatment involved plant remedies, of varying pharmacologic effectiveness; the Chippewa around 1925 used around 200 plants in different ways, for the treatment of a wide variety of common ailments, in a manner similar to European herbal folk medicines two centuries before. Medicines were given orally, by inhalation or by enema. Often the healer would induce altered consciousness, perhaps in a sweat lodge, would let blood, and use supernatural or magic remedies." (

"Animal ingredients have long been part and parcel of the Chinese pharmacopoeia. Records from 2000 years ago tell of some 20 animals including snakes and rhinos being used in medicines. ---- Lately, however, TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) has come under fire for its use of animals, especially of endangered species. Heading the list are poaching of rhinos in Africa, and tigers in India and Siberia. ... A team from China's endangered species commission obtained data from 13 TCM manufacturers, which annually consumed 506 kilos of scorpions, 2796 kilos of freshwater turtle shells, 797 kilos of saiga horn, 29 kilos of bear gall powder, 25 kilos of leopard bone, 3039 pairs of geckos, and 9650 centipedes. As there may be as many as a thousand TCM manufacturers in China, the quantities used nationwide must be mind-boggling." (

Folk-medicine - major systems
With time simple folk remedies often became big extensive systems, that had to rely on highly educated specialists - e.g. Traditional Chinese Medicine, Indian Ayurvedic Medicine, Greek- Arabic Medicine.
"The Greek system, started by Hippocrates - you were governed by a balance of these body types: 1. Sanguine (air) hot/moist 2. Melancholic (earth) cold, dry 3. Phlegmatic (water) cold/moist 4. Choleric (fire) hot/dry - that decided what disease you were prone to get - and the cure.
Galen (130 A.D.) assigned foods and herbs to each of the four humours that form the basis of "galenical" dietetics and medicine that was accepted throughout Europe and the Middle East for 1500 years." (

"Arabic medicine derived from Constantinople and followed the armies of Mohammed. The medicine of the Arabic world transmitted classical Roman and Greek traditions to early modern times. They developed new medicines camphor, saffron, myrrh, musk, iodine, naphtha and senna. They developed chemical methods in preparing the active principle of these drugs, distillation, sedimentation and crystallization. Large medical schools developed in Damascus, Bagdad, Cordoba and Cairo." (

"Ayurveda was based on balance and harmony with nature and the utilization of therapeutic diet, herbs, rituals, various physio-therapies. These principles were accordingly modified as they were assimilated by different cultures, customs and geographical conditions. In Tibetan medicine, for instance, we see an obvious blend of Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine, with the Chinese principles of Five Elements, the Three Humours, acupuncture and moxibustion." (

Poison, bleeding, blistering
In the 1800's the excesses of doctors and the cottage industry drugs led to general loathing and ridicule of the medical profession by the public in USA and Europe. This is the time when a revolt, "Hygiene", emerged.
"In Canada in 1829, treatments in vogue included horseback riding for pulmonary tuberculosis, scotch snuff plaster for croup, leek poultices for gout and a decoction of carrots for jaundice. Dropsy was treated by bleeding, tapping, and plantain and liverwort." (

"For at least a century strychnine was the best remedy the profession had for palsy and paralysis. It was used to kill cats and dogs; it was deadly to hogs and cattle and, when given as a poison, slaughtered human beings. But when given as a medicine, it was a tonic, a nervine, a remedy for our palsied fellow men. --- During most of the last century, it was standard medical practice to withhold water from the acutely ill and thousands of patients literally died of dehydration. --- Many of the patent medicines amounted to little more than cheap whiskey. Alcohol was a foundation of the many bitters that were sold to the people as tonics, as it was the chief ingredient in many of the patent nostrums sold to women for female diseases. They even sold remedies for alcoholism that were chiefly alcohol."

"In addition to drugging their patients to death, physicians have frequently bled them to death. ... Bleeding was resorted to in cases of apparent death from a fall and in other injuries. Bleeding was employed in wounds and head injuries that resulted in unconsciousness. Not only were pregnant mothers bled, but physicians also drew blood from blue babies. ... According to the legend, Robin Hood was bled to death by a man to whom he had resorted for relief from an inflammatory disease. ... Indeed, the blood-loving and bloodspilling allopaths shed the vital current of their patients for over 2,000 years before they were compelled, by the opposition of other schools and rising public protest, to discontinue the bleeding of the sick. ... It is probable that physicians spilled more blood than all the wars during the same period."

"In the days of which we write, patients were bled, blistered, purged, puked, narcotized, mercurialized and alcoholized into chronic invalidism or into the grave. The death rate was high and the sick man who recovered without sequelae was so rare as to be negligible. It is certain that if well persons had been put to bed and subjected to the same treatment to which the sick were subjected, they would have inevitably been made very sick and some of them would have been killed.---- By 1850 it was easy for a man of no particular training to attend lectures for one winter and emerge a full-fledged doctor." (

Revolt & reform - "Hygiene" & "Nature Cure" emerges
In the early 1800's some medical doctors discovered that discontinuing drugs & surgery gave better results with their patients. New methods like fasting and raw diets were developed, exercise & sunshine & fresh air were recommended, and a comprehensive "medical" theory about natural healing and health was created. In Europe this new science was called "Nature Cure", in USA "Hygiene" or "Orthopathy". This soon became a large (anti-drug & cleanliness & exercise etc.) movement, one of the great reform-movements (like anti-slavery, women's rights, etc.) being formed around 1820-1850. More on the next pages.

Petroleum-based industrial drugs
In the 1900's medical doctors regained respect from the public by weeding out most of the worst excesses. This was done partly through adopting hygienic measures (like washing hands before surgery) - partly through cooperation with big money to create socalled "scientific medicine" based on new mass-produced chemical drugs.
"Not only has the Rockefeller-I.G.Farben combine been instrumental in fostering chemical-based drug treatment as the basis for health care, they have been the dominant adversary against safer non-drug treatments."

"In the years prior to World War I, there came into existence an international cartel, centered in Germany, that dominated the entire world's chemical and drug industries and was a powerful economic and political force in all countries. It was known as I.G. Farben. When John D. Rockefeller interlocked his American-based, international empire with that of I.G. Farben in 1928 there was created the largest and most powerful cartel the world has ever known. Not only has that cartel survived through the years, it has grown and prospered. ...
In order to expand their drug operations the Rockefellers set about "educating" the medical profession. Abraham Flexner, author of the famous Flexner Report of 1910, led the crusade for upgrading the medical schools of America. A.Carnegie and J.D.Rockefeller had set up gigantic tax-exempt foundations for that purpose. The end result was that all medical schools became heavily oriented toward drugs and drug research, for it was through the increased sale of drugs that the donors realized a profit on their donations." (

Late 1900's revolution
Similarly to what happened in early 1800's there is now an emerging group of doctors in revolt (more or less) - using nutrition rather than drugs. They base their ideas on anthropological findings about early man, as well as new science about the insulin mechanism. But they are still far from formulating a system of general laws for health, as was done by hygienic doctors in the 1800's.
There is also a new phenomenon - all-raw meat eating: "the primal diet".
"An anthropologist examining skeletal remains of early man can tell immediately whether the bones and teeth belonged to a hunter-gatherer (mainly protein eater) or a farmer (mainly carbohydrate eater) simply by their condition. The hunters grew tall, with strong, well-formed bones and sound teeth, and the remains of the farmers usually show skeletal signs of malnutrition, stunted growth, and tooth decay.
For 700,000 years humans ate a diet of mainly meat, fat, nuts, and berries. Eight thousand years ago we learned to farm, and as our consumption of grains increased, our health declined. Genetic evolutionary changes take a minimum of 1,000 generations - or another 8,000 to 10 000 years to adapt.
Translations of the ancient Egyptian papyrus writings and modern examination of their mummified remains by pathologists tell us .... of a people afflicted with rotten teeth and severe atheriosclerosis, suffering from elevated blood pressure and dying in their thirties with heart attacks." Drs. Eades: "Protein Power"

"I have seen that eating 1-3 pounds of raw meat daily helps regenerate, heal the body, and reverse the common toxic deterioration associated with aging and disease. ... I recommend only ocean wild-caught raw fish, ... including swordfish, which has the highest mercury content. When digested and made bioactive by plankton and eaten by fish, traces of mercury are great detoxifiers of toxic mercury in the body. ... When fish are cooked, mercury and other metallic minerals become free-radicals and toxic." A. Vonderplanitz: "The recipe for living without disease"


back next page

Copyright 2003 INHS         Warning & Legal Disclaimer
Thanks & for the photos     Thanks CGISpy and hostedscripts for the spam-protect     Email: click here