I. Physiological Considerations
Some clarification in terminology is necessary to avoid confusion in discussing this topic. The medical texts tell us that the influenza virus is not one of the viruses that causes gastroenteritis, although gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, anorexia, constipation sometimes do occur with this infection. The main features that are lacking for the diagnosis of gastroenteritis are abdominal cramps, vomiting, and especially diarrhea. The enteroviruses (Coxsackie, Echo, rheovirus) are the agents usually responsible, but unfortunately the term "intestinal flu" has been in common use for all viral gastroenteritis.
Whether this common usage was adopted in the Cayce readings is a moot point, but the following observations would lead me to believe otherwise. In one reading (654-3) Cayce made a distinction between the flu and cold germ; and in another reading (341-46) he indicated that the infection was caused by a variant of the flu germ.
The mechanism involved in the production of the symptoms and signs due to intestinal flu are as follows: Infection results in inflammation and congestion in the intestinal tract, which leads to improper assimilation/ elimination. (Involvement of the lacteals leads to impaired production of the digestive juices.) Toxic accumulations occur. This together with the congestion results in pressure on the ganglia, leading to abnormal sympathetic (autonomic) discharge. A vicious cycle sets in, producing more inflammation, congestion, poor elimination, etc., which ultimately might lead to multiple organ system dysfunction, which could in time become an organic condition. The mechanism and the complexity of the interactions can be better appreciated by the diagram pictured below:
Overt Symptoms and Signs Manifest themselves Sometimes years after the initial attack.
The effect on the gastrointestinal tract is as depicted in the diagram. In addition, involvement of Peyer's patches leads to diminished resistance and impaired ability to rebuild. Other effects that were described included collapse of the stomach with near autodigestion; and collapse, prolapse, and impaction in the colon,
The liver and kidneys become involved through abnormal sympathetic (autonomic) discharge and irritation from accumulated toxins. This leads to impaired circulation in these organs with attendant metabolic changes . This further enhances toxic accumulations. Similar changes may extend to the spleen, pancreas, heart, lungs, pelvic organs (which in the female may lead to menstrual problems and infertility), etc. The glandular system, not infrequently, is thrown out of balance as a result of this.
The effect on the nervous system is mediated through abnormal sympathetic (autonomic) discharge, this producing muscular tension and pressure on the cerebrospinal system. This is how lesions are produced in the spine. Less frequently the infection may produce inflammatory reaction directly around the nerves. Central nervous system signs and symptoms may occur, including impaired mental functioning and a variety of abnormal sensations (incoordination).
In the cardiovascular system, circulatory changes may lead to high blood pressure; irregular heart action may result from increased pressure and irritation (from congestion) on the cardiac plexus. With persistence of these stimuli, organic heart disease may be the outcome. The inflammatory process is usually reflected by an elevation in the white blood cells when an adequate defense response occurs, and sometimes in anemia with the result that there is diminished vitality, resistance, and ability to rebuild damaged tissues.
The emotional response to the illness may be an additional stress to the system, the magnitude of which is dependent on the state of consciousness (spiritual maturity) of the individual. In other words, the way one reacts to an illness is very important regarding its outcome. If proper use is made of such experiences, just as in all other experiences in our daily lives, this brings us closer to the real purpose of our existence, i.e., spiritual alignment with divine will. The following passage illustrates this:
These are then conditions to be met and to be overcome; not only effects but the basic causes of same. As we find, this will require then some patience, some persistence, some periods of the body taking not only precautions but being very persistent, very consistent with itself and with its activities. But if these are done, consistently, persistently, we may bring back to the body quite a different outlook upon life. And we will arouse those emotions not only to be good but to be good for something; and this the body has almost lost sight of.
Being merely good for self's own satisfaction doesn't satisfy a very great deal in the last analysis of the purposes of an individual experience in associations with others. But to become a channel through which hopefulness, helpfulness, patience, long-suffering, endurance, loveliness in its expressions to others, makes for life and its experience and its expressions and its outlook upon life more and more worthwhile. Something to hope for! It's not all just to live nor yet all just to die. For as the tree grows (and when it passeth or falleth), so it lies, and it has not changed that it has lived or experienced. For only that an individual soul is able to give out does the individual have. And ye cannot create a surrounding or an environment for self or others of that ye do not express or experience within, not only the own mind but the own body itself.
These hindrances have come, then, for a purposefulness - if they are to be used as stepping-stones to understand self and self s relation within a creative world - yea, a really beautiful world, if the beauties will be sought and not the sordid darkness of disappointments or failures or ill health. For if you continue to look for ill health or sordidness or disappointments or darkness, how has the law been given? "As ye seek, so ye find- as ye sow, so ye reap." If you are looking for these, ye cannot find happiness or contentment or harmony or peace, either in body or mind; neither can ye give out other than discontent to others in thine own self of self-expression.
First then begin with this ideal and this idea; that the corrections can be made, will be made, "If I will only choose to have same that the usefulness of this experience may be worthwhile, not so much for self but spent for others; that I may indeed have love and hope and faith in my own experience." (1303-1)
II. Rationale of Therapy
This may be subdivided into the following categories:
- Specific measures directed against the infective organism,
- Alleviation of distressing symptoms,
- Treatments directed at the underlying problem(s) and/or associated conditions, such as overacidity from dietary indiscretion, poor eliminations, circulatory disturbances, mental/emotional attitudes, etc.
Usually, each of the therapeutic modalities encompasses more than one or all of these categories.
III. Suggested Therapeutic Regimen
All cases of intestinal flu do not progress to involvement of multiple organ systems, but sometimes such extensive complications do occur. With this in mind, one can tailor the therapy to suit the patient. The following may be considered a reasonable approach to the average patient.
1. Enhancement of bowel elimination and destruction of the infecting organism.
- Bicarbonate of soda (rectified bicarbonate, not baking soda) one-third teaspoon and fine cracker crumbs one tablespoon; this to be eaten. Wait at least 20 minutes, then take drinks of water with a pinch of elm. (This produces an alkaline reaction and is lethal to the flu germ.) If the temperature is elevated, yellow saffron tea should be taken instead of the elm which otherwise would be belched out or become rancid. This should be continued every three to four hours until good bowel movements ensue. For more difficult cases, other laxatives may be used, for example Fletcher's Castoria, Fleet's Phospho Soda, etc. Only non-irritating laxatives should be used.
- Colonics or enemas were recommended in practically all the readings. One every week to 10 days for two to three treatments seems a reasonable number. Sometimes it was recommended as often as twice a week in more severe and complicated cases.
- The combination of elixir of lactated pepsin, 12 drops, plus milk of bismuth, one teaspoon, added to a half glass of water and taken daily for three weeks is helpful in clearing intestinal scales. (3455-1)
2. Alleviation of symptoms.
- When digestive disturbances are present, dietary aids were prescribed, e.g., Alcaroid tablets with meals, one or two tablets, or Glyco-Thymoline taken internally, a few drops once a week (both are alkalinizing agents).
- Grape poultice over the stomach area for excessive gas. (See 2320-2.)
- Castor oil packs for three days followed by two tablespoons of olive oil. This done for a three- to five-week period was prescribed in one instance.
3. Treatment directed at underlying causes and/or associated condition(s).
- A prescription to improve the circulation and lymph flow:
- To two ounces of strained honey add two ounces of distilled water, letting it come almost to a boil. Then to this solution add:
- Fluid extract or essence of wild ginseng (not tame but wild ginseng), 1/2 ounce
- Tincture or essence of Indian turnip, 20 minims
- Tincture of stillingia, 1/4 ounce
- Lactated pepsin, essence of, 1/2 ounce
- Essence of wild ginger, 1/4 ounce
- Shake well before use; one-half teaspoon before each meal three times daily. (913-1)
- Dietary: An alkaline-reacting diet was recommended, elimination of heavy starches such as potatoes, rice, white bread, etc., and red meat was advised. Blood-building diet is also beneficial, especially if anemia was present. Pure beef juice is good for this. Red wine with black or pumpernickel bread taken some afternoons helps to absorb poison from the system. (1044-1)
- Atomidine was recommended for glandular imbalance.
4. Other measures.
- Spinal massages, osteopathic manipulations were recommended frequently. The frequency of treatments varied greatly. A reasonable approach might be one treatment each at weekly intervals for four to five treatments.
- Cabinet sweats followed by rubdown and massages were recommended less frequently, again the frequency of treatments varied greatly (ranging from three treatments 12 days apart to three a week for a two-week period). This cleanses the circulation.
- Zilatone stimulates liver activity. Dosage: Two tablets one-and-a-half hours after dinner for three days. This may be followed by Fleet's Phospho Soda the morning after the third dose.
- Violet ray applied front and back with the bulb applicator for eight to ten minutes in the evening before retiring-this usually when the condition has started to improve.
- The wet cell and/or diathermy may also be used for coordination of nerve activity.
- The radio-active appliance is also beneficial for balancing the superficial and deep circulations. Sometimes Atomidine was recommended in its use. (See 4175-1.) The therapy outline has been arranged in such a way that one might start off using one or two of the treatments under each category simultaneously. For more difficult or complicated cases, one might then proceed down the line under each category, adding on in a stepwise fashion. Other measures may be reserved for last.
[Note: The preceding overview was written by Hezekiah Chinwah, M.D. and is excerpted from the Physician's Reference Notebook, Copyright © 1968 by the Edgar Cayce Foundation, Virginia Beach, VA.]