Want to Avoid Side Effects?
Charcoal, Herbs, and Other Simple Remedies
by Ellen G. White
[These are experiences of a health reformer from last century using
charcoal, herbs, and simple remedies in the treatment of disease. At the
time, medical doctors were prescribing such drugs as arsenic, strychnine,
calomel, and mercury. In an effort to avoid the serious side effects of
such preparations, simple remedies were resorted to. In as much as drugs
today still have side effects, it would be worthwhile to become familiar
with an intelligent use of these remedies.
For more info, buy from this web site Prescription: Charcoal by
the Doctors Thrash, available in the Natural
After seeing so much harm done by the administering of drugs, I cannot
use them, and cannot testify in their favor. I must be true to the light
given me by the Lord.
The treatment we gave when the sanitarium was first established
required earnest labor to combat disease. We did not use drug concoctions;
we followed hygienic methods. This work was blessed by God. It was a work
in which the human instrumentality could cooperate with God in saving
life. There should be nothing put into the human system that would leave
its baleful influence behind. And to carry out the light on this subject,
to practice hygienic treatment, and to educate on altogether different
lines of treating the sick, was the reason given me why we should have
sanitariums established in various localities.
I have been pained when many students have been encouraged to go
to _____ to receive an education in the use of drugs. The light which I
have received has placed an altogether different complexion on the use
made of drugs than is given at _____ or at the sanitarium. We must become
enlightened on these subjects. The intricate names given the medicines are
used to cover up the matter, so that none will know what is given them as
remedies unless they obtain a dictionary to find out the meaning of these
The Lord has given some simple herbs of the field that at
times are beneficial; and if every family were educated in how to use these
herbs in case of sickness, much suffering might be prevented, and
no doctor need be called. These old-fashioned, simple herbs,
used intelligently, would have recovered many sick who have died under
One of the most beneficial remedies is pulverized charcoal,
placed in a bag and used in fomentations. This is a most successful
remedy. If wet in smartweed boiled, it is still better. I have ordered
this in cases where the sick were suffering great pain, and when it has
been confided to me by the physician that he thought it was the last
before the close of life. Then I suggested the charcoal, and
the patient slept, the turning point came, and recovery was the result. To
students when injured with bruised hands and suffering with inflammation,
I have prescribed this simple remedy, with perfect success. The poison of
inflammation was overcome, the pain removed, and healing went on rapidly.
The most severe inflammation of the eyes will be relieved by a poultice
of charcoal, put in a bag, and dipped in hot or cold water, as
will best suit the case. This works like a charm.
I expect you will laugh at this; but if I could give this remedy some
outlandish name that no one knew but myself, it would have greater
influence. . . . But the simplest remedies may assist nature, and leave no
baleful effects after their use.—Letter 82, 1897
There are many simple herbs which, if our nurses would
learn the value of, they could use in the place of drugs, and find very
effective. Many times I have been applied to for advice as to what should
be done in cases of sickness or accident, and I have mentioned some of
these simple remedies, and they have proved helpful.
On one occasion a physician came to me in great distress. He had been
called to attend a young woman who was dangerously ill. She had contracted
fever while on the campground, and was taken to our school building near
Melbourne, Australia. But she became so much worse that it was feared she
could not live. The physician, Dr. Merritt Kellogg, came to me and said,
"Sister White, have you any light for me on this case? If relief
cannot be given our sister, she can live but a few hours." I replied,
"Send to a blacksmith's shop, and get some pulverized charcoal;
make a poultice of it, and lay it over her stomach and sides." The
doctor hastened away to follow out my instructions. Soon he returned,
saying, "Relief came in less than half an hour after the application
of the poultices. She is now having the first natural sleep she has had
I have ordered the same treatment for others who were suffering great
pain, and it has brought relief and been the means of saving life. My
mother had told me that snake bites and the sting of reptiles and
poisonous insects could often be rendered harmless by the use of charcoal
poultices. When working on the land at Avondale, Australia, the
workmen would often bruise their hands and limbs, and this in many cases
resulted in such severe inflammation that the worker would have to leave
his work for some time. One came to me one day in this condition, with his
hand tied in a sling. He was much troubled over the circumstance; for his
help was needed in clearing the land I said to him, "Go to the place
where you have been burning the timber, and get me some charcoal
from the eucalyptus tree, pulverize it, and I will dress your hand."
This was done, and the next morning he reported that the pain was gone.
Soon he was ready to return to his work.
I write these things that you may know that the Lord has not left us
without the use of simple remedies which, when used, will not leave the
system in the weakened condition in which the use of drugs so often leaves
it. We need well-trained nurses who can understand how to use the simple
remedies that nature provides for restoration to health, and who can teach
those who are ignorant of the laws of health how to use these simple but
He who created men and women has an interest in those who suffer. He
has directed in the establishment of our sanitariums and in the building
up of schools close to our sanitariums, that they may become efficient
mediums in training men and women for the work of ministering to suffering
humanity. In the treatment of the sick, poisonous drugs need not be used.
Alcohol or tobacco in any form must not be recommended, lest some soul be
led to imbibe a taste for these evil things.—Letter 90, 1908
In regard to that which we can do for ourselves, there is a point that
requires careful, thoughtful consideration. I must become acquainted with
myself, I must be a learner always as to how to take care of this
building, the body God has given me, that I may preserve it in the very
best condition of health. I must eat those things which will be for my
very best good physically, and I must take special care to have my
clothing such as will conduce to a healthful circulation of the blood. I
must not deprive myself of exercise and air. I must get all the sunlight
that it is possible for me to obtain.
I must have wisdom to be a faithful guardian of my body. I should do a
very unwise thing to enter a cool room when in a perspiration; I should
show myself an unwise steward to allow myself to sit in a draft, and thus
expose myself so as to take cold. I should be unwise to sit with cold feet
and limbs, and thus drive back the blood from the extremities to the brain
or internal organs. I should always protect my feet in damp weather.
I should eat regularly of the most healthful food which will make the
best quality of blood, and I should not work intemperately if it is in my
power to avoid doing so.
And when I violate the laws God has established in my being, I am to
repent and reform, and place myself in the most favorable condition under
the doctors God has provided—pure air, pure water, and the healing,
Water can be used in many ways to relieve suffering. Drafts of clear,
hot water taken before eating (half a quart, more or less), will never do
any harm, but will rather be productive of good.
A cup of tea made from catnip herb will quiet the nerves.
Hop tea will induce sleep. Hop poultices
over the stomach will relieve pain.
If the eyes are weak, if there is pain in the eyes, or inflammation, soft
flannel cloths wet in hot water and salt, will bring relief
When the head is congested, if the feet and limbs are put in a
bath with a little mustard, relief will be obtained.
There are many more simple remedies which will do much to restore
healthful action to the body. All these simple preparations the Lord
expects us to use for ourselves, but man's extremities are God's
opportunities. If we neglect to do that which is within the reach of
nearly every family, and ask the Lord to relieve pain when we are too
indolent to make use of these remedies within our power, it is simply
presumption. The Lord expects us to work in order that we may obtain food.
He does not propose that we shall gather the harvest unless we break the
sod, till the soil, and cultivate the produce. Then God sends the rain and
the sunshine and the clouds to cause vegetation to flourish. God works and
man cooperates with God. Then there is seedtime and harvest.
God has caused to grow out of the ground, herbs for the use of
man, and if we understand the nature of those roots and
herbs, and make a right use of them, there would not be a
necessity of running for the doctor so frequently, and people would be in
much better health than they are today. I believe in calling upon the
Great Physician when we have used the remedies I have mentioned.—Letter
Do all that you possibly can to perfect the institution inside and out.
Be sure that your premises are in the best of order. Let there be nothing
about them that will make a disagreeable impression of the minds of the
Encourage the patients to live healthfully and to take an abundance of
exercise. This will do much to restore them to health. Let seats be placed
under the shade of the trees, that the patients may be encouraged to spend
much time out-of-doors. And a place should be provided, enclosed either
with canvas or with glass, where, in cooler weather, the patients can sit
in the sun without feeling the wind. . . .
Fresh air and sunshine, cheerfulness within and without the
institution, pleasant words and kindly acts—these are the remedies that
the sick need, and God will crown with success your efforts to provide
these remedies for the sick ones who come to the sanitarium. By happiness
and cheerfulness and expressions of sympathy and hopefulness for others,
your own soul will be filled with light and peace. And never forget that
the sunshine of God's blessing is worth everything to us.
Teach nurses and patients the value of those health-restoring agencies
that are freely provided by God, and the usefulness of simple things that
are easily obtained.
I will tell you a little about my experience with charcoal as a
remedy. For some forms of indigestion, it is more efficacious than
drugs. A little olive oil into which some of this powder has been stirred
tends to cleanse and heal. I find it is excellent. Pulverized
charcoal from eucalyptus wood we have used freely in cases of
inflammation. . . .
Always study and teach the use of the simplest remedies, and the
special blessing of the Lord may be expected to follow the use of these
means which are within the reach of the common people.—Letter 100, 1903.
A brother was taken sick with inflammation of the bowels and bloody
dysentery. The man was not a careful health reformer, but indulged his
appetite. We were just preparing to leave Texas, where we had been
laboring for several months, and we had carriages prepared to take away
this brother and his family, and several others who were suffering from
malarial fever. My husband and I thought we would stand this expense
rather than have the heads of several families die and leave their wives
and children unprovided for.
Two or three were taken in a large spring wagon on spring mattresses.
But this man who was suffering from inflammation of the bowels, sent for
me to come to him. My husband and I decided that it would not do to move
him. Fears were entertained that mortification had set in. Then the
thought came to me like a communication from the Lord to take pulverized
charcoal, put water upon it, and give this water to the sick man
to drink, putting bandages of the charcoal over the bowels
and stomach. We were about one mile from the city of Denison, but the sick
man's son went to a blacksmith's shop, secured the charcoal,
and pulverized it, and then used it according to the directions given. The
result was that in half an hour there was a change for the better. We had
to go on our journey and leave the family behind, but what was our
surprise the following day to see their wagon overtake us. The sick man
was lying in a bed in the wagon. The blessing of God had worked with the
simple means used.—Letter 182, 1899
We need a hospital so much. On Thursday Sister Sara McEnterfer was
called to see if she could do anything for Brother B's little son, who is
eighteen months old. For several days he has had a painful swelling on the
knee, supposed to be from the bite of some poisonous insect. Pulverized
charcoal, mixed with flaxseed, was placed upon the swelling, and
this poultice gave relief at once. The child had screamed with pain all
night, but when this was applied, he slept. Today she has been to see the
little one twice. She opened the swelling in two places, and a large
amount of yellow matter and blood was discharged freely. The child was
relieved of its great suffering. We thank the Lord that we may become
intelligent in using the simple things within our reach to alleviate pain,
and successfully remove its cause.—Manuscript 68, 1899.
(Selected Messages, volume 2, pages 293-301)