What causes infections? Is it the germ? Do germs cause infections? Well, certainly I was always trained that germs cause infections; that’s the way I learned. It wasn’t until maybe the late 70’s that I began to learn that there actually are two schools of thought about this.
This controversy began in the late 1800’s. What causes infections? There were two schools of thinking. There was Louie Pasteur, who everybody knows, and there was Claude Beauchamp. These guys were contemporaries in the late 1800’s, and they fought about the cause of infectious disease.
If you recall, in the early 1800’s, they didn’t believe in infectious disease. They would go deliver a baby after having done an autopsy without washing their hands. Disgusting! Then Lister came along and said, “Oh, you guys should wash your hands.” What happened to Lister? He was drummed right out of the medical profession for saying ‘you should wash your hands’. That was back when bloodletting was big. So, you see things can change. What was considered good at one point in medicine may no longer be used in “business medicine” today. For example, Cortisone was commonly used in the 50’s; not so much anymore.
Pasteur said that germs cause disease. He said it was the microbe that is the problem. Beauchamp said, “No, it’s not the microbe; it’s the host, it’s the condition of the host. It’s not the microbe. Beauchamp said, “If you have a healthy host, you can give an individual all the bacteria you want, and that person won’t get sick.” Beauchamp said that when there’s an epidemic, there are people who don’t get sick. He was interested in them. Why didn’t they get sick? If the cause was the microbe, shouldn’t 100% of the people get sick?
So, Beauchamp said it was the host that causes the disease, and Pasteur said it was the microbe that causes the disease. When Pasteur died, on his death bed he announced that Beauchamp was right – it is the host. He knew all along, he just didn’t want to deal with it because he was so popular.
It’s clear that probably both of these guys are right. What we are going to talk about here is Beauchamp’s concept. We are going to talk about the host. If somebody is sick, I say their host is out of balance, and we need to change that and fix that. That’s how homeopathic physicians work.
As I got more and more into alternative medicine, I began to trust less and less of what I heard. I decided to look into this myself, instead of just receiving the message from on high and trusting that it was a perfectly legitimate message. I started questioning things, and I am still questioning things. It’s through that questioning that I’ve learned an awful lot of the things that I know today that, ordinarily, most physicians do not know because they haven’t asked the right questions. You don’t get the right answers if you don’t ask the right questions.
Here we are years later, after 112 years of killing germs, how well are we doing with infectious diseases? Not very well. It’s not controversial. Just read any timely magazine that talks about the fact that we’re losing the war against infectious diseases. We’re losing the war against germs. We have more infectious diseases today than we ever had before. We’ve got infectious diseases that we never have even had before, new ones.
People are starting to reevaluate this whole concept, and say, “Well, maybe Beauchamp had something there.” When you stop and think about it, there are examples that really illustrate this. For example, I’ll have a mother bring her child into my office and say, “Little Frankie gets strep throats all the time…5, 6, 7 times a year, he gets a strep throat.” As soon as he gets in school, he needs a prescription for penicillin. The question is, ‘Does every other kid in that classroom have strep throat?’ The answer is inevitably no, not really. Frankie gets them all the time, but most of the kids don’t get it.
So, you’ve got to stop and think: if there are strep throat germs running all around that classroom, and the germ causes the infection, how come everybody doesn’t have a strep throat? Conversely, how come little Frankie gets them all the time and other people maybe get them every now and then? What’s the deal here? What’s this all about? Do these strep germs just really like this child? The answer is, yes. The strep germs really like that child, because his host is conducive to them growing.
In microbiology, if you want to culture something out on a culture plate, you have to be careful as to what culture plate you pick. You can’t just pick any old culture plate. You’ve got to pick one that’s friendly to that germ. If you pick the wrong culture plate, the germ won’t grow. Germs are picky. They only like certain kinds of environments. Then you have to incubate the germ at the right temperature, and the humidity has got to be right.
All these things have to be just right and then that germ will grow really nicely.
That’s what Beauchamp said: “If you have a germ growing, you have a nice culture plate for that germ. The conditions in your body – the conditions of the host – are conducive to that germ growing. So, little Frankie’s problem using the Beauchamp model (not the Pasteur model), is that there is something in him, something about him, that really is conducive to strep growing in his body.
If you want to cure little Frankie, you don’t give him penicillin, because that won’t work. To cure him, you need to change the conditions of the host. You change the environment that the germ is going to find itself in. You want to find out what it is about that host that makes it so conducive to these germs, then change and correct those conditions. This would be my biological approach to this disease.