What and Why?
Your intestine forms part of your outside skin, folded through you, like the hole in a cotton reel. That protects it sufficiently that it can afford to specialize in digestion and absorption. Large parts of its length become elaborately corrugated and pitted with crypts, all lined with fine fronds of delicate tissue — excellent for its purpose, but very vulnerable.
Any foods synthesized artificially from refined ingredients, or contaminated with residues of agricultural, processing or preservative chemicals or washing-up detergent residues from crockery, prepared with fluoridated water or in aluminium utensils, unsettle this delicate situation. Damage is not gross or severe at first, and is easily overlooked in the kind of laboratory safety tests applied to foods. But it nags away at you, spoiling the efficiency your digestion is capable of. If you eat these foods regularly their deleterious effects spread through your system seriously eroding your overall health, which will eventually let you down badly. Quite a few people suffer irritable symptoms for years without realizing that their food is the cause.
Your gut obviously cannot tolerate anything grossly corrosive, irritant or inflammatory and takes uncompromising steps to get rid of it. Vomiting forcibly expels it by the way it came in, and rapid violent contractions hurry it along in the normal direction to be excreted as soon as possible; diarrhoea is watery because you have no time to reabsorb digestive juices from your bowel contents. This calls for exceptional activity in the wandering nerve that controls your intestine; its energy reverberates in the base of your brain, making you feel faint and shocked as well as nauseated.
This wretched condition occurs most suddenly and violently in chemical poisoning, and is then over fairly soon unless serious structural damage has been done, when continued pain and vomiting are less useful and may extend the damage. The diarrhoea may then be bloody, and a constant ache may underlie the rests between spasms of colic.
Microbes, on the other hand, may need time to multiply into a colony large enough to cause symptoms, which are therefore delayed and more gradual. They are usually prolonged as well since the microbes continue to multiply, undermining your efforts to expel them. That gives pus time to form as slime in the diarrhoea. Structural damage is less likely but significant losses of fluid, protein and minerals often occur. So long as these are replaced, recovery coincides with the formation of specific antibody defences which may take up to ten days in the more exotic infections. These are still contracted sometimes, not only on holiday. At least two dysentery-type illnesses occur regularly in Britain and resistance to antibiotics is making their treatment increasingly unreliable.
Chemical contamination of your intestine affects your susceptibility to gastro-enteritis of this kind. By killing some of the bacteria that normally inhabit your intestine and play a part in digestion, chemicals can radically change the normal balance of microbial life in there. This means you have less to fight back with if more hostile microbes threaten to colonize you, so they have a better chance to get established and are harder to throw off.
What can I do?
Advice to maintain and maximise your health
1. Grow, buy and eat ’organic’ and ’biodynamic’ food in preference to anything else, because they are declared to be chemical-free. Be wary of processed and convenience foods, most of which list at least some of the chemical additives they contain; consult Food For Health for details.
2. Wash fresh vegetables and fruit as thoroughly as you can, scrubbing skins that will be cooked or eaten. Soak leafy vegetables whole for some time, agitating them occasionally. A handful of salt in a basin of washing water helps to detach insects and slugs, but must be rinsed off well afterwards.
3. Keep utensils free of non-nutrient chemical residues and bacterially contaminated food. Do not tolerate chipped, grubby or smeared cutlery and crockery, on which microbes can easily persist. Even dampness gives them hope. Avoid aluminium cooking foil and pans, both in direct contact with food and when heated near to it: aluminium can generate an important miasm in this way, as well as contaminating food chemically.
4. Rinse washing-up liquid off dishes very thoroughly, as residues get into your next meal and may erode your intestine.
5. Carefully scrub your finger-nails first thing every morning and after dirty work of any kind, and wash your hands fairly thoroughly with soap and water before handling or eating food. That keeps accidental doses of germs, threadworms and chemicals small enough to cope with.
6. Avoid heavy consumption of anything rich or highly manufactured; spend the same on less of the good quality authentic food.
7. Control sudden violent vomiting by keeping warm and still between bouts. Try holding drops or a tablet of homoeopathic Ipecacuana 6 or 30 in your mouth whenever you can. A few drops of undiluted Bach Rescue Remedy can be used in the same way. If not relieved within half an hour sip a wet slurry of arrow-root, or three teaspoons of Kaolin Mixture in a little hot water.
8. Intractable vomiting cannot be allowed to continue for longer than four to six hours: it then deserves your doctor’s attention.
9. Be slower to control diarrhoea in an adult. Use a long soak in a hot bath, followed by a tight wrap of cold damp cotton around your belly, to reduce the pain and violence. Homoeopathic Arsenicum album 6 often moderates it. Gentle slow clockwise massage of the stomach is comforting. After 6 hours take three teaspoons of Kaolin and Morphine Mixture in a little water, and repeat after four hours if the symptoms persist or return. Consult the doctor after three doses, or in any case if blood or pus appears.