The following are extracts of letters which were published in the "Herb Doctor" during the five years Mr. Hool was its Editor. The replies and comments thereon are therefore his. They are included in this book because of the valuable and interesting information they contain:—

(June, 1915.)

Sore Eyes.

. . . . I shall be glad if you can give me a little advice regarding a matter that is troubling me.

About five weeks ago I was in a home where all the youngsters had sore eyes, evidently of some infectious character. A few days after my own eyes got (especially at nights) unbearably itchy in at the "quicks" and round the inside of the lids. Then the eyes felt as if they were filled with sand, and got so heavy that it was nearly impossible to keep them open. I tried various remedies to help them, bathing the eyes in clean cold water, also in cold tea, poulticing with tea, bathing with boracic acid, and anointing with boracic ointment at night but all has been of no avail. In the morning the eyes are usually very inflamed and weak-looking, but this wears off more or less during the day until evening comes. In the morning also the eyes are filled with a mattery fluid. . . .

—Yours, &c., W. C.

Reply.—Boil 1 oz. Purple Loosestrife in 3 gills of water to a pint, strain, and when cold use as a wash or lotion night and morning. Wear a shade over the eyes when riding the bicycle.

Swollen feet, &c.

Will anyone kindly give me a recipe in the "Herb Doctor" for the following: Swelling of feet, ankles, and legs; if feet are not cold, they and legs burn very much; cannot rest from same and great pain, especially right leg; they pit when pressed. Sometimes swelling is gone away in a morning, but not always, and right calf is always painful; when swelling has remained for a few days legs and feet feel very heavy.

—Yours, &c., Suffer.

Reply.—Your case is a serious one, and we recommend the treatment for Constipation given in the December and January "Herb Doctor," but without the molasses. Also take the Slippery Elm and Lentil Food twice daily, and a Compound Lobelia Pill three times a day.

Thin Hair.

. . . I am wondering: what is the best to do in my case. I am just turned 22 years, and my head is rather scurvy and my hair comes out very freely when I comb it; and, of course, my hair on the crown of my head is very thin indeed. I cannot really understand it, having had no illness, such as fever, to cause it.

I used to wash my head every two or three weeks to keep it clean, but I am told I wash it too often, so I do not know exactly what to do, so I came to the conclusion to ask you to favour me with your kind advice on the same.

I shall be very grateful if you will kindly tell me how often I should wash my hair, and whether to use soap, shampoo, or any other specific substance.

—Yours, &c., G. H.

Reply.—Get a good handful of common garden Marigolds, boil well in about 2 quarts of water, strain, and when just warm wash all the head with the liquor every night. Dry well, and then rub No. 6 Tincture well into the scalp.

Scarlet Fever.

. . . You say scarlet fever is "extremely infectious." But you, with presumably a large experience, have never seen a case of infection caught by attendant or by fellow-inmate of house. You say infection is at its worst during desquamation, "undoubtedly." But "very probably" it also occurs during sore throat. These two infections would obviously be of a very different character.

I wonder if you will be kind enough to explain the matter to me?

—Yours, &c., E. A.

P.S.—May I ask, is Slippery Elm Powder suitable as food, uncooked? Where can it be got unadulterated?

Reply.—During desquamation under old school treatment scarlet fever is extremely infectious, and also whilst the throat is sore, but under the Herbal treatment as laid down (see article on "Scarlet Fever") I have never known infection to take place, either by those in attendance or by people living in the same house. Slippery Elm Powder is used as a food by being simmered to the condition of a gruel. Any reliable Herbalist ought to supply it unadulterated. It is to be got in three forms:—Bark for infusion, crushed for poultice, and fine powder for food. For infusion:—Cut up the bark into square strips—like matches—not with the grain, or directly across the grain, but on an angle. After pouring on the boiling water, let it stand and infuse all night.

(October, 1916.)

No. 6 Powder.

. . . . I notice in your Answers to Correspondents you advise No. 6 Powder to be used. Will you be good enough to fell me what these numbers mean?

I only iecently became acquainted with your valuable journal. I understand the use of drugs and chemicals, but I seek for more knowledge of herbs, roots, and barks so as to use them more freely.

With best wishes for the journal's success.

—Yours, &c., N. L. P.

Reply.—We recommend the tincture made from No. 6 Powder, and not the powder itself. Thomson's No. 6 is made by macerating the powder in Spirits of Wine, thus: To 1 pint of S. V. R., 60 o,p., add 1 ½ oz. Best Turkey Gum Myrrh, and ¾ oz. Best Natal Cayenne Pepper. Cork the bottle and shake up several times every day for 14 days. Filter through blotting or filter paper placed in funnel.


.- . . My wife, who has survived the change of life, has suffered from this complaint for three years, her hands and feet getting red, painful; fingers getting somewhat stiff and knotted. She has found a little benefit from Box's Golden Fire, which she uses every morning after washing in hot water; also his pills. She has tried these for 12 months, and now I think a change is desirable. Her complaint was contracted through living in a damp house and a damp climate in the North of Ireland. We are retired Salvation Army officers, and many of our people suffer from it, so that a remedy would be much valued. I enclose stamp. Will you kindly advise? We send thanks in advance.

—Yours, &c., G. P. E.

Reply.—Take (1) Blood-purifying Herbs several times a day before meals; (2) Capsicum Pills, two after each meal. If the bowels are constipated take Constipation Herbs night and morning.

(December, 1916.)


I suffer very much from headache, which the doctor tells me is caused by blood-poisoning from the bowels. I am, and have been for the last eight years, very constipated. I had an operation for failing of the womb last December and thought I should be better of the constipation, but I am sorry to say I am not.

In the "Herb Doctor" I see Echinacea Angustifolia recommended for blood-poisoning, also the Thomsonian Course. What is it, and where could I get the requisite things? If you would kindly let me know, or supply me, I would send money in advance; also be glad of your advice. I am 48 years old and have four children; eldest 24, youngest 14. Sometimes I think it is my liver, as I look rather sallow, but I do not suffer from pain in the shoulders or side. Trusting you can advise me.

—Yours, &c., M. P.

Reply.—Use Blood Purifying Herbs before each meal and take one Capsicum Pill after each meal; also Constipation Herbs night and morning. Never mind Echinacea Angustifolia—it is no good for the purpose here mentioned.


I thank you for books received. I am now writing to ask you if you have in any number of the "Herb Doctor" a treatment for fistula.

A lady had an operation for same about ten weeks ago. The place was lanced, and the skin opened lower down by small instrument to drain off discharge. The instrument was applied daily for some time. Some days after nurse and doctor had left they were required again, and now again this week the doctor had to open the same fistula. He says it is right for, may be, six weeks, and if not well then a more serious operation will be required, under chloroform—a large piece of flesh cut out. She feels discomfort in the lower part of the abdomen, also a stiffness of limb when walking. A specialist and hospital treatment is beyond her means.

—Yours, &c., J. S.

Reply.—The treatment for fistula is to give Blood-purifying Herbs (see article on "Venereal Diseases"). As an outward application bathe the parts three times a day with hot water or hot Comfrey decoction, and afterwards apply simple Tincture of Myrrh, freely followed by Chickweed Ointment. The treatment for fistula must be persevered with, as the system requires renovating and building up.

(February, 1917.)


A friend of mine is suffering from dysentery. He has had several attacks before. Can some of your readers give a remedy for the complaint in the "Herb Doctor"? It is very troublesome for him to be laid up if he can get a remedy for it. Trusting that he may be able to find the right thing.

—Yours, &c., W. G.

Reply.—Boil 1 oz. of oak bark in two pints of water to one pint. Take one tablespoonful just warm every two hours.

(April, 1917.)

Cancer Causation and Cure.

Your correspondent, "Quack," makes two rather bold assertions, namely, that a blow or pressure is the cause of cancer and that human magnetism is the only cure.

"Quack" credits himself with many years of study, but surely no sincere student would dare be so dogmatic. Statements so confidently put forth disclose a lack of knowledge and experience.

If a blow or pressure is the cause of cancer, how does your correspondent account for cancer of the stomach, liver, uterus, brain, throat, tongue and lips? Blows and injuries are causative factors—nobody disputes that—but the part they play is only that of providing a location for the disease, and they are powerless to do this unless the predisposing conditions are present.

So many factors enter into cancer causation that nobody really acquainted with the disease would try to name the cause. Smoking is only one contributing factor—and not by any means an essential one. The habitual use of tea, coffee, alcohol, or drugs, over-eating, unsuitable foods, osteopathic lesions, vaccination, inherited blood taints, sexual excesses, anger, hatred, malice, worry, fear, grief, and anything which saps vitality, lowers resistance, and vitiates the blood will day by day and year by year "do its bit" to produce the enervation and auto-toxemia, which are the underlying causes of cancer.

If the system is not "ripe" for cancer, blows, pressure, bruises, and injuries are of no account. Who get more knocks, falls, blows, and bruises than children? On the other hand, if vital resistance has broken down and the blood is foul, the least significant knock or injury may provide the field for cancer development.

Were I asked to state in as few words as possible the essential factors in cancer causation, I would say: Long-standing-enervation and auto-toxemia, plus an injured or devitalised area. The former conditions are the more important, for no degree of traumatism can produce cancer in a body which is sound, sweet and wholesome.

The conditions which combine to cause cancer may be produced in a thousand ways. No single agent is responsible for the disease and as there is no one and only cause, there is no one and only cure. Causes, both general and local, are varied and it follows that treatment must be varied to meet the conditions present in each case.

Generally speaking, curative foods, suitable herbs, osteopathy, hydropathy, human magnetism, bright and cheerful surroundings, correct mental attitude, and any other hygienic measure which offers help should be resorted to in the treatment of cancer. Doctors of all schools need to be broad-minded and tolerant, as the patient requires all the help he or she can get from any worthy source.

I may invite some criticism when I say that surgery is a useful ally but I speak from experience when I say it is. Six years ago I treated a lady for cancer of the breast on the general lines above laid down. The patient grew stronger and better, but—although the pain diminished almost to vanishing point—the breast remained big and pendulous. A sling from the shoulder had to support it. When the lady first came to me no surgeon would operate, but after three months' treatment little difficulty was experienced in securing the services of a good man. The breast was removed, and the patient was up and around in three weeks. She has continued to treat herself with curative foods and herbs, and is now—six years later—poultry-keeping and gardening in Cheshire. There has not been the slightest recurrence anywhere, and the patient knows better health now than she has known during adult life.

The above case is mentioned to point a moral to both regular and irregular practitioners. Shortly after discharging the patient, two eminent medical men were at daggers drawn as to whether surgery or diet was the correct treatment in cancer. The surgeon called the dietist a quack, and the latter sued for libel, recovering £2000 damages. Neither looked for nor saw good in the other man's method. "Disputes over truth arise because men only see one side of her shield." A happy blending of diet with surgery and other indicated measures saved my patient's life, and she has never ceased to be thankful for it.

Human knowledge is limited. We shall never exhaust the well of truth, and it becomes none of us to dogmatise. Let us preserve open minds, exercise tolerance, and try to recognise the good in everyone and everything.—Yours faithfully,

Arthur D. Eteson, D.O., N.A.M.H.

Reply.—Whilst we agree with Dr. Eteson as to his main contention that the waste material in the blood is the foundation of cancer when the circulation is obstructed, we assert that these obstructions are often caused by blows or wrenches, and may also result from these deposits in overworked parts of the organism which have lost their tonicity, such as the breasts and uterine organs. We think, however, that had the doctor persevered with herbs and diet, with simple outward applications such as fomentations and stimulating poultices of Slippery Elm, cayenne and ginger and oatmeal, with applications of No. 6 and home-made Marshmallow or Chickweed-Ointment, there would have been no need for the knife.

A Good Stimulating Poultice.

Take-Best Cayenne Pepper . . . 1 oz.
Best Ground Ginger . . . 1 oz.
Slippery Elm, in very fine powder . . . 2 ozs.
Fine Oatmeal . . . 4 ozs.

Mix these together in a dry state, and take sufficient out to cover the part affected, and mix with good malt vinegar brought to a boil. If applied to a part affected that is not broken or discharging matters the poultice can be taken off and another applied in its place, and the one taken off need not be thrown away, but may be made hot and applied three or four times. In this way two poultices can be heated up and used alternately.


If at any time you write on the subject of Camomile, I would be glad to read what you have to say on the subject, and you could let me have a copy of the "Herb Doctor" in which it appears. What I want to arrive at is why double-flowered Camomile will only be accepted, when it's so difficult to keep true doubles. I hear from chemists that the old single has the best essential oil and in greatest quantity; also that it is largely used for fomentations.

—Yours, &c., M. G.

Reply.—The single-flowered Camomile is always best for medicinal purposes, but possesses a powerful alkali, which, if much used, is liable to destroy the coatings of the stomach and bowels.

Acid Tincture of Lobelia.

Could you tell me why acid tincture of Lobelia is recommended so much in most complaints, when vinegar is so bad for the blood and causes kidney troubles? Lungers invariably suffer with acid stomachs, which is really at the root of their indigestion, and to add more fuel to the fire by giving one-half to one teaspoonful of acid three or four times a day seems to me to be the height of folly. Would an infusion of Lobelia herb do instead of the tincture?

I was recommended to take this tincture myself, some while back, being phthisical, and it relieved my breathing (by throwing off sputum) in a remarkable manner. But in a few days my right kidney became choked with crystals, I presume, which caused burning pain and prevented the passage of water. This I could relieve only with soda bicarb.

I should be greatly interested to have your opinions on this.

—Yours, &c., O. D. S.

Reply.—The man's kidney was affected before he commenced to take the acid tincture of Lobelia, and therefore when he began to take it, being a relaxant as well as an astringent, it would first relax the parts affected; and also being a solvent, it would break up the stone in the kidneys and force the particles through through the relaxed parts and so out of the body. The acid being an astringent, would heal up the abrasions of the kidneys from which the stones had been forced. The patient was suffering from Bright's Disease at the time he was taking it. Acid is a sweetener of the blood, and also corrects acidity in the stomach, thereby staying bilious attacks. If it stopped him from making water he should have persevered with the treatment in order to force the stones through the ureters into the bladder and away from the body. Where acid tincture is used there is no need to use infusion and no need for soda of any kind. Acid tincture or acid tincture syrup is always good for the lungs when prescribed in correct doses.

Gathered Finger.

I shall be glad if any reader of the above paper will kindly give the method of treating a gathered finger caused by the nail, which will have to come off before the finger gets better; also a recipe for expelling wind from the stomach and bowels.

—Yours, &c., R. T.

Reply.—Poultice the finger with Slippery Elm, and for expelling wind take one cayenne pill before and after each meal.

(June, 1917.)

Hernia or Rupture Treatment.

I have ruptured my bowel, and the doctor advises me to wear a truss for a few weeks and if not cured then to undergo an operation. . . . As a believer in herbal treatment, I beg to solicit your opinion on the matter before I proceed to do anything. If you have any treatment different from that advised above and I believe you have please send it as soon as possible, and kindly let me know the price, so that I may forward the money by return of post.

—Yours, &c., J. W.

Reply.—Where hernia has become strangulated, use the treatment as laid down in the "Standard Guide to Non-poisonous Herbal Medicine," page 150; but where hernia is not strangulated use the same treatment as above recommended occasionally, with the exception of the 3rd Preparation of Lobelia (Anti-spasmodic Tincture), which may be taken every morning instead of every twenty minutes. If the bowels are constipated give the preparation of Constipation Herbs night and morning until they are nicely relieved. The treatment here laid down will not cure hernia or rupture, or prevent it from coming down, but it will stop all soreness and inflammation from setting in. The person who uses the above treatment may follow his employment, no matter how hard or heavy it may be, and that without wearing a belt or truss for in all cases of hernia, if the person troubled with it wears a belt or truss it is liable to slip from under it, and will cause a great deal of pain and inflammation. So that it will be evident that with the above treatment one is better without a belt or truss than with it. It may also slip down from under the truss and become strangulated, and in such a case, unless the above treatment be at hand or obtainable, will produce serious results, and sometimes even death. Neither where the above treatment is used is there any occasion to undergo any operation for it, for even if the person suffering with hernia undergoes an operation he does not get cured. There is no cure for rupture, either by truss, operations, or anything else, except in young children. In such cases the above treatment should be used with a soft woollen binder as a support. By so doing young children can be cured. But adults who depend on labour for their living can never be cured. Although hernia in such cases can never be cured, by the use of the above treatment a person may be made to feel ten years younger in health than previously, and to feel also as if he or she could run a ten-mile race. The writer of this article has been told this scores of times by people whom he has treated as explained above, not only young, but of all ages up to 75 and 80 years of age.

(August, 1917.)

Remedy for Goitre.

Do you know of any remedy for Goitre, as my daughter has one coming, which appears to be growing? Her age is 36. If you will please answer, in your next number, will feel much obliged.

—Yours, &c., A. P.

Reply.—Take half a teaspoonful of No. 3, or Third Preparation, as it is sometimes called, in half a teacupful of hot water every three hours; and rub the part with No. 6. Liniment twice a day.

Enlarged Prostate.

Reply.—In this case apply simple Tincture of Myrrh, with Chickweed Ointment.

Common Plants and their Uses in Medicine was written by Richard Lawrence Hool, F.N.A.M.H., in 1922.