Disease definitions, symptoms, causes, care of patients, prognosis

"An alternative, drugless, self-help method of understanding and treatment of most illnesses"
"175 years of experience of some of the most brilliant medical doctors and teachers"

    Herbert M.Shelton

Introduction & disease index

INHS website

Chapter VII - Acute "Infections"

Chapter VIII - Constitutional Affections

Chapter IX - Affections of the Digestive Organs

Chapter X - Affections of the Respiratory System

Chapter XI- Affections of the Heart and Circulatory System

Chapter XII- Affections of the Blood

Chapter XIII- Affections of the Ductless Glands
Excerpts from
ORTHOPATHY by Herbert M. Shelton
Chapter XXII


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Note that disease terminology may have changed since 1941. Also note that, as Dr. Bass writes in "How important is diagnosis?" - drug-free healing/detox can reverse all of a person's diseases, known or unknown, also without correct name or diagnosis (unless too far gone).

1. Read article by Dr. Shelton: HOW DISEASES ARE CURED
2. Learn about dietary methods - download pdf-file: REMARKABLE RECOVERIES FROM SEVERE HEALTH PROBLEMS
3. Learn about rest, sleep & fasting methods - read MY FIRST WATER FAST

"Orthopathy" by Dr. Herbert M. Shelton contains a comprehensive analysis of most known diseases, and a general classification and guide to their treatment, based upon a natural wholistic interpretation and approach.
Dr. Shelton represents one of the world's greatest authorities in "Natural Hygiene", a philosophy and method of living according to the laws of life and Nature's plan for men's highest health and happiness, compiled from 175 years of experience of some of the most brilliant medical doctors and teachers. He was also the foremost authority on the use of fasting in the treatment of diseases, in which he supervised approximately 50,000 cases.
This natural approach, interpretation and nutritional treatment of disease, is for those who are interested in an alternative, drugless, self-help method of understanding and treatment of most of men's illnesses.

Natural Hygiene Network 2006

"Instead of resorting to surgery the young lady resorted to fasting and in exactly three days without food, the "cancer" and all its attendant pain were gone. -- Hundreds of such occurrences under fasting have convinced us that many "tumors" and "cancers" are removed by surgeons that are not tumors or cancers."

Chapter XIV- Affections of the Urinary System

Chapter XV- Affections of the Male Reproductorium

Chapter XV- Affections of the Female Reproductorium

Chapter XVII- Affections of the Muscles

Chapter XVIII- Affections of the Bones and Joints

Chapter XIX- Affections of the Eyes

Chapter XX- Affections of the Ears

Chapter XXI- Affections of the Skin

Chapter XXIb- Affections of the Hair, Nails, Skin

Chapter XXII- Tumors

Chapter XXIII- Cancers

Chapter XXIV- Affections due to Parasites

Chapter XXV- Physical Agents and Intoxications

Chapter XXVI- Care of Wounds

Chapter XXVII- Poisonous Bites and Stings

Chapter XXVIII- Accidents and Emergencies

Chapter XVI - Brain & Nervous System


by Herbert M. Shelton
Chapter 22

Definition: A tumor is a morbid growth of tissue not normal to the part. Tumors are divided into benign (innocent) and malignant (cancer). Cancer will be discussed in the succeeding chapter. Hence we shall here confine ourselves to the so-called benign tumors.

Tumors are made up of flesh and blood and bone; are composed of tissues, the same kind of tissues, in fact, as the other tissues of the body. There are many names for the different kinds of tumors, but the names all indicate the kind of tissue of which the tumor is composed. The many kinds of tumors are broadly grouped as (1) connective tissue tumors; (2) epithelial tissue tumors; and (3) mixed tissue tumors, composed of mixtures of various tissues.
In his Notes on Tumors, a work for students of pathology, Francis Carter Wood defines a tumor as "a more or less circumscribed collection of cells arising wholly independently of the rest of the body, in general growing progressively, and serving no useful purpose in the organism." He admits that this definition is entirely descriptive and adds "as we do not know the cause or causes of tumors, it is impossible to define these structures more accurately." In dealing with their classification he makes a similar statement, saying: "inasmuch as we do not know the cause of tumors, it is impossible to make a strictly scientific classification of them. It is, therefore, most convenient to use a purely morphological basis for classification, drawn from the microscopic appearance of the tumors and the tissues from which they originate. Cysts are included with tumors because of their genetic relationship to new growths rather than to any other pathological condition."
We do not see how it can be maintained that tumors grow independently of the body and we do not believe that it can be shown that they serve no useful purpose. It will not be denied that those portions of a cyst, or at least some cysts, which are genetically related to neoplasms, serve a very definite and imminently useful purpose. A cyst which forms around a foreign body, a parasite for example, is definitely useful and protective.
A process similar to this is seen in plants that have been invaded by parasites. The large, rough excresences seen on oak trees form about the larvae of a certain fly. This fly lays its eggs beneath the bark of the tree. The larvae which develop from the eggs secrete a substance that results in the formation of the huge tumorous mass. Large tumor-like masses form on the roots and stalks of cabbages as a result of parasitic invasion. The olive tree also develops tumors from a similar cause, while cedar trees present peculiar growths called "witches brooms," as a result of a fungus growing on them. There are many other examples, and they are all quite obviously protective measures. Tumor formation is, undoubtedly due to a variation in the complex relations determining normal growth, and is of a distinctly protective nature. A tumor is not a source of danger until it begins to break down.

It is our opinion that tumor-formation is always and ever orthopathic, and that it prolongs life in the face of causes, which, except for the tumor-formation, would produce death much earlier.

From our standpoint a "strictly scientific classification" of tumors is not necessary; for they represent the same condition or the same process in different tissues. Tumors may develop in any organ or in any tissue of any organ in the body and they derive their names from these organs and tissues. Thus, Myoma is the name given to a tumor of muscle tissue; Endothelioma is the name applied to a tumor of the endothelium of some of the body's cavities; Osteoma is a bone tumor; Lipoma is a fatty tumor; Adenoma is a tumor of a lymph gland; Fibroma is a tumor of fibrous tissue (a fibroid tumor) ; Fibro-adenoma is a fibrous tumor of a lymph gland; Sarcoma is a connective tissue tumor; Neuroma is a nerve tissue tumor; etc., etc. A malignant tumor is called Carcinoma. These names relate to tissues, organs and locations — the differences in these tumors are those derived from the differences that exist in the tissues in which they originate. From these considerations it is evident that tumors are a unit just as inflammation is a unit. Furthermore, they do not represent distinct and specific "diseases," but are merely links in a long chain of causes and effects which extend backward in the life of the individual to infancy, and often, perhaps, beyond.
A tumor is not only composed of cells of the same kind as those composing the tissue from which it is derived, but these cells are frequently functioning tissue. Carcinoma of the thyroid often secretes the specific thyroid material; a tumor of the breast is likely to contain structures which remind us of the secreting gland of the mammae; a uterine tumor is likely to contain involuntary muscle fibre; carcinoma of the bowel often contains glandular structures which resemble the normal structures of the intestine, and which secrete mucus.
The tumor, as a whole, does not resemble perfectly normal tissue. In a fibroma, for instance, its connective tissue cells are absolutely identical with those of the tissue in which the tumor is situated, but the general structure is usually more or less cellular than the normal connective tissue. Blood vessels have thin walls, or in dense tumors are almost entirely absent over considerable areas. The lymph channels are defective, while the nervous structures present have no relationship with the tumor. These latter merely pass through the tumor to the normal structures which they innervate. In tumors in cartilaginous structures (chondromas), the cartilage is not so regular in structure as in normal cartilage. In tumor of the bone the bone cells and lamellae are not so systematically arranged as in normal bone. It seems self-evident to the writer that this proliferation of cells is the same in all tissues and from the same common causes and that it represents an effort of defense or adaptation — a means of prolonging life instead of an effort to commit suicide.

Symptoms: Tumors, per se, produce no symptoms. They often are so located and grow to such sizes that they produce pressure, occlusion or obstruction, or, by pressure upon a nerve, produce neuritis, and nerve degeneration. Pressure on the optic nerve may produce blindness. A tumor in the intestine may produce obstruction. Many examples of this have been given in preceding pages. Fibroid tumors are credited with, or are said to be the cause of thousands of symptoms, but this is refuted by the fact that as soon as toxemia is eliminated and improper eating is discontinued the patient is relieved of her symptoms which never return, in spite of the tumor, unless she resumes her wrong living habits. Discomfort caused by intestinal indigestion is often diagnosed fibroid tumor of the uterus.

Etiology: Tumors arise out of the innate power of asexual reproduction present in all tissues; except, perhaps, in the most specialized, and this power is fanned into activity by nutritional excesses and perversions. So called "benign" tumors are abnormal (pathological) and are evidences of constitutional pathology.
Tumors begin as hardening and thickening of the tissues at a point of irritation as a means of defense. Hardening and thickening of the tissue may occur in any and all parts of the body to resist constant irritation. This can be seen in the mouth, and stomach and intestines of those who employ salt and condiments. It is seen in the constant use of drugs. Silver nitrate, for instance, if repeatedly employed, converts the mucous surface upon which it is used into a kind of half-living leather. The arteries of the body, the liver, eyes, ears, and other organs harden and thicken as a result of toxic irritation. Tumors that follow so often the chronic application of tar, paraffin, soot, etc., come as a result of disturbed nutrition and functional activity of the skin; the skin first becoming harsh and dry to the touch. Toxemia with or without the aid of external irritation often necessitates, at certain points of the body, the erection of greater than ordinary barriers against it. When the normal cells of a local spot become so impaired that they no longer successfully resist the encroachment of toxins, not only are the usual defense processes brought into activity, but also, since a more than usual condition is to be met, nature calls into play her heavier battalions. She begins by erecting a barrier of connective tissue cells. Then, with a slowly yielding fight against the toxins, she continues to erect her barrier. This may continue until the tumor becomes so large as to constitute a source of danger itself. Were it not for the erection of the barrier, the causes against which it is erected would destroy life long before they ultimately do. The tumor actually prolongs life.

Tilden traces the development of a uterine fibroid thus: "A young woman develops intestinal indigestion from imprudent eating. The catching-cold habit, with catarrh of the mucous membranes, follows. Soon there is developed intestinal putrefaction, which being absorbed, causes infection. The pelvic lymphatics become involved. As there is more or less congestion of the mucous membrane lining the uterus and its neck, the condition is made more pronounced each month because of menstruation and the toxins being absorbed in the bowels. The uterine engorgement causes longer and more profuse menstruation; painful menstruation begins, growing more pronounced month by month. Pain forces the calling of a physician, who on examination finds a flexed womb. The flexion is caused by a thickening of one side of the womb, which forces a flexion to the opposite side. The more thickening the more obstruction to the circulation and the more bent is the neck of the womb.; and the more bent is the neck, the more the canal is obstructed to the menstrual flow.
"As the womb is flexed more and more, the circulation is more and more interfered with. The flexed side fails to receive the proper amount of nourishment, and the thickened side receives all that the uterine and other vessels can bring; but the return vessels fall to carry back the full amount, and, as a, result, hypertrophy takes place — the parts are overstimulated. Nature undertakes to organize the surplus; and she does — and we call it a fibroid tumor. These growths grow rapidly or slowly according to the amount of obstruction.
"A growth may fill the pelvis and abdomen in five years; and again in some other women it may require twenty years to develop a tumor the size of an orange.
"Injuries at childbirth often become the first cause of tumor, next to putrefactive infection from intestinal indigestion.
"Another cause: A catarrhal inflammation locates at an old placental site, as a result of toxemia. Thickening and induration follow, impeding the efferent circulation. The more growth, the more pressure and obstruction, until the new growth — fibroid tumor — is large enough to become a cause of its own growth, by impeding the circulation through its weight and pressure.
"This work of overgrowth is pushed along rapidly by overeating, which means over-nourishing; the surplus being organized into tumor.
"Overeating and improper eating often cause gas distention of the bowels. The pressure from gas crowds and misplaces the womb. From such misplacements enough obstruction to uterine circulation may take place to cause hypertrophic enlargement, which is fibroid enlargement.
"Constipation may cause enough pressure on the womb to start imperfect circulation, and later fibroid growth.
"Wherever there is impeded circulation, new growth must take place; and that means tumor. The kind of tumor will depend on the character of the tissues involved.
"Add to these causes sclerosis, and malignant diseases may follow. That is, the benign tumors may become malignant." — Impaired Health, Vol. I, pp. 255-6-7.
Women can be taught how to prevent building tumors, cancers, and other diseases, and those women who have fibroid tumors can be taught how to get rid of them without operations; and those who have them not, how to avoid building them.

Care of the Patient: Doctors and surgeons commonly believe that there is no "cure" for fibroid tumor except its surgical removal. While surgery is still preferred for other types of tumors, X-ray and radium are frequently used in treating them. Neither removal of tumors by the knife nor their destruction by X-ray or radium removes their cause and they usually recur, often in malignant form.
Radical cure of tumors requires a removal of all causes of metabolic perversion and a restoration of normal nutrition. When this is done, tumors tend to disappear.
Tumors being composed of tissues, the same kinds of tissues as the other structures of the body, are susceptible of autolytic disintegration, the same as normal tissue, and do, as a matter of experience, undergo dissolution and absorption under a variety of circumstances, but especially during a fast. The reader who can understand how fasting reduces the amount of fat on the body and how it reduces the size of the muscles, can also understand how it will reduce the size of a tumor, or cause it to disappear altogether. He needs, then, only to realize that the process of disintegrating (autolyzing) the tumor takes place much more rapidly than it does in the normal tissue.
Over a hundred years ago Graham noted that when more food is used by the body than is daily supplied "it is a general law of the vital economy" that "the decomposing absorbents always first lay hold of and remove those substances which are of least use to the economy; and hence, all morbid accumulations, such as wens, tumors, abscesses, etc., are rapidly diminished and often wholly removed under severe and protracted abstinence and fasting."
I could quote numerous men of wide experience with fasting to corroborate what I am going to say about autolyzing tumors, but I do not desire to weary my reader with quotations. I will content myself with one quotation. Mr. Macfadden says: "My experience of fasting has shown me beyond all possible doubt that a foreign growth of any kind can be absorbed into the circulation by simply compelling the body to use every unnecessary element contained within it for food. When a foreign growth has become hardened sometimes one long fast will not accomplish the result, but where they are soft, the fast will usually cause them to be absorbed."
Due to a variety of circumstances, some known, others unknown — the type of tumor, its location, the amount of weight carried by the patient, the general state of the body, local conditions, etc. —the rate of absorption of tumors in fasting individuals varies. Let me cite two extreme cases to show the wide range of variation in this process.
A woman, under forty, had a uterine fibroid about the size of an average grapefruit. It was completely absorbed in twenty-eight days of total abstinence from all food but water. This was an unusually rapid rate of absorption.
Another case is that of a similar tumor in a woman of about the same age. In this case the growth was about the size of a goose egg. One fast of twenty-one days reduced the tumor to the size of an English walnut. The fast was broken due to the return of hunger. Another fast a few weeks subsequent, of seventeen days, was required to complete the absorption of the tumor. This was an unusually slow rate of tumor-absorption.

Tumor-like lumps in female breasts ranging from the size of a pea to that of a goose egg will disappear in from three days to as many weeks. Here is a remarkable case of this kind that will prove both interesting and instructive to the reader.
A young lady, age 21, had a large, hard lump — a little smaller than a billiard ball — in her right breast. For four months it had caused her considerable pain. Finally she consulted a physician who diagnosed the condition, cancer, and urged immediate removal. She went to another, and another and still another physician, and each made the same diagnosis (an unusual thing) and each urged immediate removal.
Instead of resorting to surgery the young lady resorted to fasting and in exactly three days without food, the "cancer" and all its attendant pain were gone.
There has been no recurrence in thirteen years and I feel that we are justified in considering the condition cured.
Hundreds of such occurrences under fasting have convinced us that many "tumors" and "cancers" are removed by surgeons that are not tumors or cancers. They cause us to be very skeptical of the statistics issued to show that early operation prevents or cures cancer.
The removal of tumors by autolysis has several advantages over their surgical removal. Surgery is always dangerous; autolysis is a physiological process and carries no danger. Surgery always lowers vitality and thus adds to the metabolic perversion that is back of the tumor. Fasting, by which autolysis of tumors is accelerated, normalizes nutrition and permits the elimination of accumulated toxins, thus helping to remove the cause of the tumor. After surgical removal, tumors tend to recur. After their autolytic removal, there is little tendency to recurrence. Tumors often recur in malignant form after their operative removal. The tendency to malignancy is removed by fasting.

In Europe and America literally thousands of tumors have been autolyzed during the past fifty years, and the effectiveness of the method is beyond doubt. The present writer can give no definite information about bone tumors and nerve tumors; but, since these are subject to the same laws of nutrition as all other tumors, he is disposed to think they may be autolyzed as effectively as other tumors. These things are certain — the process has its limitations and tumors that have been allowed to grow to enormous sizes will only be reduced in size; while, not all cysts will be thus absorbed. It is advisable, therefore, to undergo the needed fast or fasts while the tumor or cyst is comparatively small.
One other limitation must be noted; namely, tumors that are so situated that they dam-up the lymph stream will continue to grow (feeding upon the excess of lymph behind them) despite fasting.
In cases where complete absorption is not obtained, the tumor is sufficiently reduced in size not to constitute a menace. Thereafter proper living will prevent added growth. Indeed, we have seen a number of cases where a further decrease in size followed right living subsequent to fasting.
It is necessary to add that all causes of toxemia and enervation must be corrected and good health built by proper use of every hygienic factor. In uterine fibroid the uterus must be resorted to normal position and pelvic hyperemia overcome.


 Success of DETOXIFICATION = failure of drugs and other toxins  
To learn more about drug-free healing, and the failure of drugs - read this article by Dr. Shelton: HOW DISEASES ARE CURED
"What does the average individual know about keeping well? Almost nothing."

 Examples of Remarkable Recoveries  
Free download:- Dr. S Bass: REMARKABLE RECOVERIES FROM SEVERE HEALTH PROBLEMS - booklet presenting how raw foods and juices have been used clinically in medical institutions for over 150 years to help patients detoxify, and recover from cancer and other diseases.   (Note: this detox method is excellent for self-help. While fasting requires professional help for optimal results.)

  • This summary of diseases by Dr. Shelton is somewhat technical, and mainly compiled for doctors.
  • For the basics of self-healing click here, or read the articles on this website.
  • For self-help, read what doctors of Natural Hygiene & Orthopathy have written for 175 years, much of it is online. E.g. at soilandhealth.org (the Health Library) and non-profit INHS..

  • 2005 update:
    About the newest developments in drug-free healing & Natural Hygiene - e.g. primitive diets and the insulin mechanism - click here.

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