Late spring and early summer seem to be the seasons when many young children have their tonsils and adenoids cut out.
Medicine and surgery, as modern sciences, are great in their achievements; yet their possibilities for serving mankind could be even greater.
When such diseases as inflamed and enlarged tonsils are prevented, medicine will have rendered a great service to mankind. Inflamed tonsils can be prevented by better food.
The branch of medicine known as pediatrics is devoted to a very large extent to the prevention of disease in children. Mothers take their infants and children to the pediatrician or to the child clinic for dietary formulae, for weight control, for immunization, etc. Modern parents are very conscious of the fact that it is important to keep the healthy child under regular medical supervision in order to prevent diseases peculiar to childhood.
Much service has been rendered child health by the improvement of sanitation and hygiene in the environment and feeding of children. Bottle-fed infants are today safer on their formulae than in the past because the milk and other ingredients of the bottle formulae are produced tinder more sanitary conditions. Diseases of the stomach and intestines in infants are today comparatively rare, because infective agents are kept out of infant and child foods.
However, a number of childhood diseases are still prevalent, diseases that seem difficult to prevent or cure. These diseases fall into the class of the acute and chronic inflammations and infections of the nose, throat and middle ear-mastoids, tonsils and adenoids. My aim is to discuss the problem of tonsils and adenoids especially.
Acute and chronic tonsillitis is “a mystery in medicine” as far as its cause and prevention are concerned. The common cold is like wise a frequent and mysterious ailment in childhood, as it is in adulthood- While tonsillitis, as a rule, does not come under emergency surgery, nevertheless in most cases it terminates in removal of the tonsils.
The tonsils are lymphoid glands. The body has many similar lymphatic glands distributed through the system. The lymphatic glands are important little chemical stations or laboratories whose processes aid in sewage or waste disposal from the blood and tissues of the body.
When a child has enlarged tonsils or a bad cold, you may, by a gentle touch under the skin in back of the ears, under the chin and lower jaw, often feel swollen oval or roundish little masses. These are engorged lymphatic glands, congested with wastes. These wastes are pent up in the glands, because the system is unable to cope with them when a cold or other physiological debility is present.
The tonsils and adenoids are similarly affected. These lymphatic glands are visible to the examining eyes. Both the internal or hidden lymph glands and the tonsils and adenoids have the same functions: that of waste neutralization. While the hidden lymph glands are seldom cut out, the tonsils and adenoids are all too frequently cut into or cut out. This is not only my opinion; it is the opinion of many leading medical authorities who strongly criticize the indiscriminate removal of tonsils and adenoids. Surgery, however, does not prevent or cure the ailments which are favored by disease of those organs, namely, susceptibility to colds, rheumatic fever, ear trouble and hay fever.
The tonsils are known more specifically as the lingual and palatine tonsils, because of their location in relation to the tongue and palate. The so-called adenoids are more correctly known as the pharyngal tonsile. The pharynx is the back wall of the nose and mouth. The middle ears each have an opening into the back end of the nasal pharynx. This fact is pointed out to show how the middle ears may become inflamed and infected by continuity of structure with the mucous membrane lining the upper breathing passages.
Both tonsils and adenoids usually become congested and inflamed when the mucous membranes of nose and throat become inflamed. The ears, or more specifically the middle-ear tubes, when inflamed are often secondarily attacked by inflammation and infection of the nose or throat, or both. In other words, if your child gets an “earache” it has had a badly treated or neglected nasal and throat inflammation.
How do inflammation and infection attack the tonsils? The science of pathology teaches that the cause of inflammation or infection, or both, is a certain form of irritant. The irritating agent may be chemical, like a drug poison; mechanical, like pressure or injury; thermal, like a burn; and bacterial, like germs and their poisons. Bacteria as a cause of disease are known to attack only those who are very weak, very low in energy and natural vitality. Such individuals cannot resist the invading germs.
To make this clearer: a person who is strong and healthy has a natural or acquired immunity to infection by germs. The various known disease-producing bacteria live on healthy mucous membranes of the nose, throat and mouth and elsewhere in the body, without doing any apparent damage. When the body has lost its natural resistance against these dangerous, infinitesimal parasites, the latter can do characteristic damage by causing specific diseases in the systempneumonia, infantile paralysis, tonsillitis, rheumatic fever, etc. These facts we learn from the sciences of bacteriology and pathology.
One important cause of tonsil and adenoid disease that the medical doctor often fails to see is a faulty blood supply to those structures. Faulty or impaired blood circulation is caused, for one thing, by inflammation. In inflammation there is swelling. Swelling means that tiny blood vessels are pressed upon by the cells of inflamed tissues. This causes retention of impurities in cells and in their little blood vessels and in lymphatic channels and glands.
The arteries, whose function it is to bring oxygenated blood and other nutritive substances to the cells, meet with tissue resistance because of inflammation and swelling. Pressure on related nerves gives the symptoms of pain. The muscles of the neck and other structures become tense or stiff. The entire head seems to sufferfrom a simple cold. That is why an inflammatory process in the upper breathing passages is often called a “head cold.”
At this point the osteopathic physician is able to do really effective curative or relief work for the sufferer with an inflammatory process in the organs of breathing, including tonsils and adenoids. The osteopathic physician employs his specialized technique in examining and treating the anatomical structures affected by congestion of the diseased tissues or organs involved. He relaxes tense muscles and ligaments, so that large and small arteries and veins may have the least possible pressure upon them.
This method of treatment or therapy brings about more favor-able drainage from the inflamed mucous membranes and their tiny blood vessels or capillaries. The nerves involved are also relieved of pressure and tension, and this makes the sufferer stronger; the entire body’s defensive forces have a better chance to fight off invading bacteria or to neutralize their poisons. An osteopathic treatment, if given in time, soon after an attack of tonsillitis, is very effective in helping nature relieve or cure those disease processes.
There is another effective cause of inflammatory disease of tonsils and adenoids which so far has received very little attention from either osteopathic or allopathic medical thinkers. That effective cause is faulty diet and nutrition.
Faulty diet supplies deficient nutrient materials for the body tissues. Since the tonsils and their neighboring mucous membranes must be nourished from materials that find their way from the digestive system to the blood, their quality is accordingly affected by the blood supply to the tissues and organs of the body.
The common, ordinary kinds of food that infants and children are fed are not conducive to the best of general health. Neither are they conducive to the good health of the tonsils and adenoids, nor to good healthy mucous membranes in the nose, throat, ears, sinuses, etc. The ordinary infant and child dietaries are vitamin- and mineral-poor- They also deposit into the blood excessive acid by-products of the absorbed food materials.
Infants and children must be fed more fresh, raw foods: raw fruit juices and raw vegetable juices. These supplementing their milk would do far more good for their blood chemistry and tissue health than the canned foods-overprocessed vegetables, fruits and sugar mixtures, cocoa, cereals and meats.
Clean food is all right, but the quality of the food affects the quality of the tissues and of the blood and the quality of the general health of the body. It is difficult for me to separate tonsillar disease from nose and throat disease, or for that matter from general physiological debility. There is a vital relationship between tonsils and adenoids and the general health condition of the body, including the upper breathing passages. Ear disease, likewise, is usually a complication resulting from inflammation of the nose or throat, or both. (Fifteen per cent or more of the nation’s children are hard of hearing, because of inflammatory disease that was badly treated or neglected.)
If congestion, inflammation, and bacterial infection are the causes of enlarged tonsils and adenoids, the removal of those structures by the surgeon simply removes the effect- The causes may continue to undermine the normality of other structures not so easy to cut. It is true that the surgeon is often called upon to perform life-saving operations-on mastoids, for example, when they become diseased and filled with pus. Cutting into the mastoid bone processes, for the drain-age of pent-up pus, may be life-saving indeed.
Of course, middle-ear inflammation and infection usually precede mastoiditis. Middle-ear disease, please remember, is caused by continuity of structure to nasal and throat inflammation and infection. The reader may ask, “Where does the process usually start first?” A neglected nasal cold is usually the predecessor of all the sad consequences that the diseases of the breathing passages bring.
“Tonsillar disease is a disease of childhood rather than of adults, because very few adults, especially in countries equipped with fine hospitals and great and skilled surgeons, reach maturity with their tonsils intact. If a survey were made, it would be disclosed that at least 90 per cent of all children have their tonsils and adenoids cut out before the age of 121 An interesting true anecdote on this question comes to mind.
The mother of four growing youngsters, well-known to the writer, related the following pathetic story. Her oldest boy, age 12, came from school one day with the “sad” story that he had been “terribly embarrassed” when the teacher asked all children to rise who had had their tonsils removed. He was the only one that remained seated! And that poor boy was embarrassed!
The family in question are vegetarian and health-minded. Consequently, they have had the good fortune of having very little sickness peculiar to childhood, and no tonsil and adenoid trouble at all. There are four boys in that family. Is good health an accident? Is disease an accident? Everything in life is a matter of cause and effect. I am often amazed that leading physicians and health authorities fail to see that common mistakes in daily eating debilitate and devitalize many bodily structures, the tonsils among them.
In the fall or winter of 1939 when all five of the Dionne quintuplets had their tonsils and adenoids cut out, the whole world may have wondered-… These children, who had the best of services from physicians and nurses, should have been fit and well.
Many anxious mothers and fathers might have thought, then as now, that it “had to be expected.” The children had “enlarged tonsils” and their surgical removal was a necessity. Parents undoubtedly fortify themselves with great courage to submit their young ones to the surgeon’s knife. Yet these same parents are often lacking in courage to try a bloodless way of removing disease from the tonsils and adenoids. The bloodless way is by way of frequent osteopathic treatment and correct daily food intake.
There is similarity of anatomical structure in the breathing pas-sages between animals and men as there is in general anatomy. Yet animals do not often get sore throat, coughs and sneezes, or diseased tonsils. Animals do not get other common ailments characterized by inflammation to the extent that humans do.
The nutriitonal approach to the prevention and cure of tonsillar disease is an interesting and gratifying one. Parents whose minds are open to better ideas on eating have healthier children. If the environment, the mental hygiene, and all the daily habits of living are well-ordered, children will thrive without going through the trying and critical afflictions peculiar to childhood, among them diseases of the tonsils and adenoids.
For normal growth, infants and children need milk as a basic food. Meat-eating by young children, as well as the eating of desserts made with sugar; too many food mixtures; excessive cereal and other starch eating-these are the fundamental causes of disease.
Milk is a composite food. It contains protein, fat, milk sugar, and important minerals and vitamins essential to body growth and health. Milk, because it is a rich food, should be recognized as a main course, not as a supplement to the hodge-podge diet that the typical American child is encouraged to eat.
Milk is not a beverage in the same sense as water or fruit juice. Milk, because it is a complex as well as a composite food, should be given in simple combinations with other compatible foods. Milk combines well with raw or stewed fruit as a meal. Milk does not combine well with cereal, bread or zwiebach, or with cake; nor is it good as an additional “drink” on top of a heavy and badly mixed meal.
Conventional food mixtures are wrong, only too often disastrous, in the lives of children. Ordinary daily fare overcrowds the digestive organs and gives to the blood an acid ash or chemically poor nutritive constituents.
A balanced diet, a diet composed in the main of protective foods according to E. V. McCollum, cereals, milk, fruits and vegetables, taken mostly in the raw state-gives to the system an acid-neutralizing ash, and a rich supply of vitamins and minerals. Today we know that acid-forming foods and acid-neutralizing foods play important roles in the qualities of the blood, tissues and organs of the body. We should plan and eat meals that are conducive to good health, not to disease.
Healthy tonsils are a natural sequence of healthy mucous membranes of the nose and throat. These structures are healthy when the blood supply is normal in chemistry, and also when the blood supply is uninterfered with by pressure or by congestion. Diseased tonsils can be cured by removing the causes of inflammation of the mucous membranes adjacent to the tonsils.
This cannot be done with medicated swabs or gargles. Inflammation of the tonsils and adenoids can be cured best by fasting and a fresh raw fruit juice diet, thus cleansing and purifying the blood and tissues, followed by reconstructive or regenerative feeding.
The summer season can be used to best advantage for the purpose of purifying the blood and tissues by light eating and by systematically planned fasting and raw fruit-juice drinking. It is more effective than surgery as a first step. When the system is crowded with excessive acid-ash chemicals or wastes, these must be eliminated or thrown off before healing of impaired organs and tissues can take place. A fast of 24 hours, followed by two or three days of raw juices for a child of two or three years, having diseased tonsils and adenoids, often per-forms a miraculous bloodless operation.
In the older person the fast must commonly be carried on for a longer period. Usually a ten-day fast by an adult will do wonders in clearing up chronic nasal inflammation, sinusitis, mucopurulent discharge and hay fever. I have had the privilege of treating cases of children and adults suffering from the inflammatory diseases of the breathing tract, for which the fast has been usedalways with the most gratifying results.
In conclusion, there is a great deal to be gained by using fasting and a vitamin, mineral and alkaline-ash diet. Osteopathic treatment, as a conservative method in the correction of diseased tonsils and adenoids and other inflammatory processes of the breathing passages, is most beneficial. The new “wonder” drugs are as useless as the older drugs in neutralizing disease poisons in the body.
Fasting compels nature to use up tissue constituents, plus their retained wastes, for the living needs of the body. The weight that is lost during fasting is waste. The attemptany attemptto cure disease must include the rational procedure of fasting-because the blood and tissues get rid of their devitalizing retained wastes most effectively by this procedure.
The food intake, following a fast, if it is mainly fresh raw fruits and taw vegetables, builds up and regenerates the whole body structure. The subjective sense of strength and vitality thus acquired makes living a happy experience.