There is a school of thought about germs that differs radically from the germ theory of disease based on the work of Louis Pasteur (1822-1895). And Pasteur’s germ theory is what most of our medical care today is based on.
Pasteur believed that germs were the cause of disease and, therefore, the primary goal of treatment should be their elimination. But at about the same time that Pasteur was propagating his theory, a highly respected chemist-physician-biologist, Dr. Antoine Bechamp (1816-1908), along with others, strongly disagreed. Their views, though logical, were obscured by the more exciting presentation by Pasteur, whose talent for self-promotion, some have posited, far exceeded his scientific investigatory skills.
Bechamp observed in his studies that germs were part of nature’s design for health and not for causing disease. Germs, he said, were nature’s scavengers and appeared only when the soil (meaning the body’s internal polluted condition) was conducive to their existence. He asserted that the emphasis should be placed on cleaning the soil instead of attacking the germs. In other words, germs cannot flourish when the state of the whole body is strong and balanced.
Many competent scientists have expressed their views on this question of germs as cause vs. symptom. Here are a few:
- In his book, The Stress of Life (1956), Dr. Hans Selye, the foremost authority on stress and its effect on the human system, writes: “Let me point out here parenthetically that Pasteur was sharply criticized by many of his enemies for failing to recognize the importance of the terrain (the soil in which disease develops). They said he was too one-sidedly preoccupied with the apparent cause of disease: the microbe itself. There were, in fact, many debates about this between Pasteur and his great contemporary, physiologist Claude Bernard: the former insisted on the importance of the disease-producer, the latter on that of the body’s own equilibrium…. In any event, it is significant that Pasteur attached so much importance to this point that on his deathbed he said to Professor A. Renon who looked after him: “Bernard avait raison. Le germe n’est rien, c’est le terrain qui est tout.” (“Bernard was right. The microbe is nothing, the soil is everything.”)
- More recently, Rasmus Alsaker, M.D., wrote an article titled, “The Master Key to Health” in which he states: “The objection may be made that much illness is caused by bacteria, and that we cannot prevent the inhalation, the imbibing and the eating of these microorganisms – tiny vegetable substances that multiply within the body and cause havoc known as disease. But this objection is not valid for the reason that bacteria has to have a fertile soil in order to grow and multiply to an extent that will cause disease. So long as the body is maintained in excellent condition, the blood being pure and balanced, these harmful bacteria cannot flourish within the body. We know how to prevent bacterial diseases. It is done by making the body so healthy that no little germ or aggregation of germs can upset its equilibrium.
“This may be somewhat contrary to general belief, but it is a fact. It is quite within our ability to remain well.”
- Dr. Julian Baldor, a surgeon, in a speech before the Florida League of Humane Progress, talked about Dr. Bechamp as one of the greatest scientists of all time. He said, “Dr. Bechamp proved that our bodies become host to a germ only after chemical and mechanical changes have damaged our system and that as long as our bodies and tissues retain a high vitality and resistance, a germ, infection or disease will not make progress; and furthermore, the disease organism will not survive after its entrance in a healthy organism. For an example, we see flies on a manure pile, and other parasites also. Some of these parasites may be dangerous and capable of producing disease under favorable circumstances. If, however, we remove the pile of manure, the parasites disappear at the same time. Which do you think is the more intelligent response: To fight disease by swatting flies or to remove the pile of manure?”
For anyone interested in learning more about this controversy, there is a fascinating book about it: Bechamp or Pasteur? A Lost Chapter in the History of Biology by E. Douglas Hume. Originally published in 1923, the book is as relevant today as ever, given our germophobic, symptom/drug-based medical culture
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