The Link between Health, Disease and Philosophical


Ask any graduate in medicine to define health, and you will hear: “Absence of Disease”.  Then ask what disease is, and you will get an endless list of names, many of them of people, cataloged as if they were museum specimens. Ask further to see a “disease” and you will obviously see a sick person, a man or woman showing symptoms of some disorder or other.

Continue by asking any official of any Ministry of Health what their business is, and you will hear: “Running hospitals and making medicine available to the sick.” “Wouldn’t a better name be Ministry of Disease? You would get no answer. Bureaucrats are not trained to think.

Something is drastically wrong with healthcare in all its forms. The home of health has been on fire for more than a century, with flames far more burning and dangerous than the glow of cigarette ends in the mouths of diehard smokers.


The original arsonist was the scientist Herr (Baron) Justus von Liebig (1803-1873), who discovered that humus did not feed plants, as was widely believed at the time.

He made the fatal mistake of defining humus as “dead matter insoluble in water”. Had he been a biologist instead of a chemist, he would have realized that humus is a living substratum, the microflora of the soil. One hectare of land contains 100 tons of humus, with myriads micro-organisms incompletely known. These microorganisms extract minerals from the soil and convey them to the roots of plants in the time and mode dictated by nature.

The root system benefits first, becoming deep, strong and immune from attacks by most parasites. When the plant germinates and thrives, it synthesizes a whole range of nutrients perfectly adapted to sustain the health of man and beast.

Farmers therefore knew, without the “benefit” of faculties of agriculture, that the only sensible practice was to nourish that flora with manure, composting it by fermenting plant and animal residues in appropriate heaps. It was long and hard work, but what results! Every crop had its flavor; food had all it takes to sustain health, and people ate and stayed well.

Justus von Liebig acknowledged his error and rectified, but too late. Inorganic fertilizers had begun their unstoppable massacre of the microflora.

For this is the gist of this article: health is to be sought in the soil and in what one eats out of it, not in artificial foods and medicines.


Shortly after Liebig’s death the Hungarian engineer Hoffenberger poured fat on the fire by inventing and commercializing the flat-disk mill. It not only separated starch from the husk and germ of the wheat grain, but also produced huge quantities of flour, thus bankrupting the small “inefficient” millers and concentrating the industry into the hands of few “efficient” ones. By selling the three components separately, it obtained unexpected profits, but denied the former staying power of bread to those who ate it.

Bread became tasteless. Millers now had to “improve” it with ingredients wholly foreign to wheat. Hence the pap bought in supermarkets, “prepacked, pre-sliced and preternaturally awful” in the words of a British housewife to a newspaper.

The First World War saw explosives manufactured by liquefying and distilling atmospheric nitrogen. At the end of the hostilities unused explosives were sold as agricultural fertilizers. The industry was now in a position to distribute “large dividends” to its shareholders both in peace and in war time. And people’s health continued to deteriorate.

The (then small) pharmaceutical concerns noted that sales soared, as did profits and shareholder dividends. Starting in the 1950s they offered free samples to medical doctors, together with smartly printed reassuring brochures praising the products of what would become an industry worth billions. But what was in these products? Chemicals, which counterbalanced the effects of permanent malnutrition by suppressing its symptoms.

But a symptom suppressed today here reappears tomorrow elsewhere, often in disguise, so that another “product” is needed to suppress it (and to make a third one appear) etc. It doesn’t take long to see what a windfall the whole represents for Big Pharma, thus pouring even more fat on the house of health on fire.

The use of chemical fertilizers, imposed on American farmers since the 1950 by Rockefeller-controlled policies, broke the sulphur cycle, thus eliminating aminoacids essential to health.[1]

Kenya has the material, the labour and the means to reverse this noxious process at minimum cost. It only needs political will. The material is the 9 000 tons of dung daily produced by the 9 million cattle roaming the arid and semiarid areas of the North.

Dung falls to the ground where produced, but if paid by appropriate Ministry of Agriculture centres at an attractive price, pastoralists would be enticed into conveying as much of it as they were able to such centres, to be composted as a public service. Such compost could then be distributed to farmers at cost or even free, since the gain in health by Kenyans throughout the country would offset any expenditure.

Add a second windfall: By advertising itself as a chemical fertilizer (and OGM) –free country, the large sums saved by not importing foreign fertilizers would be completed by the large gains of a tourist industry based not only on seeing wild animals and scenery but also eager to gain in health by eating well.

The first blunder was made by Descartes (1594-1650), who decreed that the body of a living being is but a machine. It follows that the bodies of individual of the same species are all the same, and that a certain disorder can be corrected in the same way wherever it appears. A disease is thus promoted to the status of being. That is why faculties of medicine the world over show off chairs of “Pathology” with endless lists of “diseases” each decorated with the name of the “discoverer”, as if it was a trophy.

But nature is not mocked. She has decreed the human being to be a composite of matter and spirit, and that health is but order of the two as well as between the two. When this order for whatever reason deteriorates or is lost, one or more symptoms of health disappear.

It is time so seek remedy, failing which disease arrives, inexorable. And there is no reason why a given symptom must be that of a given disorder. The immense complexity of the human being sees to it that the same cause may have different effects in different individuals, just as different causes may show the same symptom in different individuals. That is why doctor oftentimes fail to hit the mark despite their good will.

Hippocrates of Coos (c. 460-377 BC) had indeed hit the mark. Any disease is the result of metabolism gone astray, and whose toxic byproducts are kept in the body instead of being expelled. It is enough then to stimulate the great excretory organs: intestine, kidneys, lungs and skin, for the curing strength of nature to take over and restore health.

“Modernity” abandoned Hippocrates for Paracelsus (1493-1541), the first to propose inorganic substances as “remedies”. It can be affirmed that Big Pharma is founded on the assertion of a quack killed at 49 by a foul brew concocted as “unfailing remedy”.

Before moving in any direction, though, food must be given back the nutritional principles of which it has been robbed by an agriculture impelled by usury.

A second blunder prevents modern medicine from seeing its way back to Hippocrates. Its author was none other than Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) and his “germ-theory of disease”. The micro-organisms that regularly appear together with a given disease are construed as causes. The error is philosophical. An organic being (a micro-organism), cannot possibly be the cause of a disorder, which when all is said and done is a non-being.

But aren’t “infectious” diseases cured by getting rid of “germs”? Not always. When they do, it is not that the “germs” have caused the disease, but that they are the more obvious effect of the disorder. The organism, with an enemy less, has one possibility more of recovering. But when this does not happen for one reason or another, it is the end.

A further reason to shun Hippocrates is his long sittings near the patient, following the pulse and the vital functions for days if necessary. The doctor’s emoluments are evidently small. The suppression of symptom, on the other hand, is fast, so that many more patients can be taken care of, with a corresponding higher income.

The successes of modern medicine cannot be gainsaid. People live longer. The most spectacular success though is Big Pharma. What more desirable than a captive, long-living population with almost everyone ill?

Given the natural, indissoluble link between medicine and agriculture, it would be most desirable if the same link existed at all levels, including the political one. Ideally, the two ministries should be integrated into one. Less ideally, the Permanent Secretary of Agriculture should be a medical doctor, and that of Health an agronomist. But this is only utopia. What can the man-in-the-street do?

  • Educate himself. Know how to define health and monitor its seven symptoms: appetite, sleep, urine[2], stool, resistance to infection, closing of wounds and physical fitness.
  • Seek nourishment, not just “food” Grow your own (check the Net for ideas). Buy from farmers, not supermarkets. The symptoms of a healthy farm are multiculture, rotation of crops and animals, the compost heap, the structure of the soil (the “crumbs”) and its characteristic odour even after a light shower. Needless to say, pay your farmer according to justice, not to predatory economic “laws”.

Do not be afraid. In the wise words of Dr Hedley-White[3], “We doctors don’t cure anything. We cannot. Our only task is to hang around and inspire confidence, while Nature takes care of and cures the patient.”[4]


[1] Specifically the sulphur-containing aminoacids cystine, cysteine and tryptophan

[2] A pH 8 urine spells perfect health. Balance the diet with a judicious mix of acid and alkaline foods.

[3] He had lived and worked in East Africa since the 1930s.

[4] Dr Ronald Weiss of New Jersey has decided to close down his practice and return to Hippocrates on a 348-acre farm where he uses organic produce as medicine.


AUTHOR: Den Anoisíes (Email: [email protected] ; Follow on Twitter: @Den_Anoisies)

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