The following is an edited version of an article by Dr. J. R. Crewe, of the Mayo Foundation, forerunner of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, published in Certified Milk Magazine, January 1929. We are grateful to Dr. Ron Schmid, ND of Middlebury, CT for unearthing this fascinating piece. The “Milk Cure” was the subject of at least two books by other authors, written subsequently to Dr. Crewe’s work. The milk used was, in all cases, the only kind of milk available in those days—raw milk from pasture-fed cows, rich in butterfat. The treatment is a combination of detoxifying fast and nutrient-dense feeding. Note that Crewe quotes William Osler, author of a standard medical textbook of the day. Thus, this protocol was an orthodox, accepted therapy in the early 1900s. Today the Mayo Clinic provides surgery and drug treatments, but nothing as efficacious and elegant as the Milk Cure.
For fifteen years the writer has employed the certified milk treatment in various diseases and during the past ten he had a small sanitarium devoted principally to this treatment. The results obtained in various types of disease have been so uniformly excellent that one’s conception of disease and its alleviation is necessarily changed. The method itself is so simple that it does not greatly interest most doctors and the main stimulus for its use is from the patients themselves.
To cure disease we should seek to improve elimination, to make better blood and more blood, to build up the body resistance. The method used tends to accomplish these things. Blood conditions rapidly improve and the general condition and resistance is built up and recovery follows.
In several instances, Osler (Principles and Practices of Medicine, by William Osler, MD eighth edition) speaks of milk as being nothing more than white blood. Milk resembles blood closely and is a useful agent for improving and making new and better blood. Blood is the chief agent of metabolism. Milk is recognized in medical literature almost exclusively as a useful food and is admitted to be a complete food.
The therapy is simple. The patients are put at rest in bed and are given at half hour intervals small quantities of milk, totalling from five to ten quarts of milk a day. Most patients are started on three or four quarts of milk a day and this is usually increased by a pint a day. Diaphoresis [copious perspiration] is stimulated by hot baths and hot packs and heat in other forms. A daily enema is given.
The treatment is used in many chronic conditions but chiefly in tuberculosis, diseases of the nervous system, cardiovascular and renal conditions, hypertension, and in patients who are underweight, run-down, etc. Striking results are seen in diseases of the heart and kidneys and high blood pressure. In cases in which there is marked edema, the results obtained are surprisingly marked. This is especially striking because so-called dropsy has never been treated with large quantities of fluid. With all medication withdrawn, one case lost twenty-six pounds in six days, huge edema disappearing from the abdomen and legs, with great relief to the patient. No cathartics or diuretics were given. This property of milk in edema has been noted in both cardiac and renal cases.
Patients with cardiac disease respond splendidly without medication. In patients who have been taking digitalis and other stimulants, the drugs are withdrawn. High blood pressure patients respond splendidly and the results in most instances are quite lasting. The treatment has been used successfully in obesity without other alimentation. One patient reduced from 325 pounds to 284 in two weeks, on four quarts of milk a day, while her blood pressure was reduced from 220 to 170. Some extremely satisfying results have been obtained in a few cases of diabetics.
When sick people are limited to a diet containing an excess of vitamins and all the elements necessary to growth and maintenance, which are available in milk, they recover rapidly without the use of drugs and without bringing to bear all the complicated weapons of modern medicine.
Under the head of Treatment in Chronic Gastritis, Osler has said, “A rigid milk diet should be tried” (Principles and Practices of Medicine, by William Osler, M.D., eighth edition). And quoting from George Cheyne, he wrote, “Milk and sweet sound blood differ in nothing but color: milk is blood.” Under the heading of treatment in many diseases, it was true that he had little to say about drugs but did say a good deal about diet and particularly as in most every instance he recommended large quantities of milk.
Under chronic Bright’s disease (p 704) he says, “Milk or buttermilk should constitute for a time, the chief article of food.” Under treatment of cancer of stomach (p 505), he says many patients do best on milk alone. Under treatment of rheumatic fever (p 378), he says, “Milk is the most suitable diet.” With Olser as a background, one need not hesitate to go a bit farther. In fact, practically all medical men are agreed as to the value of milk as a food, and as an important part of the diet in the treatment of many diseases. But as the chief remedy in the treatment of disease, it is seldom used.
For more than 16 years I have conducted a small sanitarium where milk is used almost exclusively in the treatment of various diseases. The results have been so regularly satisfactory that I have naturally become enthusiastic and interested in this method of treating disease. We used good Guernsey milk, equal to 700 calories to the quart.
Interestingly, diseases that have no similarity respond equally to this treatment. For instance, psoriasis clears up beautifully. The improvement in tuberculosis or nephritis is equally interesting but there is no similarity in these diseases. I once heard a very distinguished medical man discussing a case of psoriasis. He said, “This was the worst case of psoriasis I have ever seen. This boy was literally covered from head to foot with scales. We put this boy on a milk diet and in less than a month he had a skin like a baby’s.” To me, this means that there was evidently some nutritive substance or vitamin or glandular secretion lacking, that was furnished by the milk.
It is well known that there is no time in the life of practically any mammal, but especially of the human, when the body is so beautiful and perfect as during the period when milk is the only food. It will be admitted that there is no period in life when the body is so perfect as in infancy, the infant being fed on milk from a healthy mother.
The Arabs are said (Encyclopedia Brittanica) to be the finest race, physically, in the world. Their diet consists mostly of milk and milk products with fruits and vegetables, and some meat.
You are all familiar with the writings of Colonel McCarrison, a medical officer in the British Army. He tells us that for nine years he was stationed in India in a district in the Himalayan Mountains. He said that the natives were very fine physically, that they retained a youthful appearance to advanced age and lived long and that they were very fertile. During the nine years of his residence there he saw practically no disease, no cases of malignancy or of abdominal disease. The diet of these people was simple and consisted principally of vegetables and fruits and milk and milk products.
Steffanson wrote most interestingly of the Eskimo, who, when uncontaminated by civilized conditions were hardy and robust. Their diet of course was almost entirely of meat and fish. He tells us, however, that the habits of meat-eating people are similar to those of carnivorous animals. The wolf first attacks the heart and gets the blood and later eats the glandular organs and viscera, leaving the muscle meats till the last. The Eskimo does the same thing.
During one expedition Mr. Steffanson and party started on a nine months’ trip over the Arctic ice with only one day’s provisions. All previous Arctic explorers had said that civilized men could not live in the Arctic regions without bringing in their supplies. Mr. Steffanson and his party, during the nine months, were almost never without an abundance of food, and much of it was eaten frozen and raw. I wish to show from Steffanson’s experience, first, that it is possible for people to be robust and maintain good health on various types of food of limited variety. That the condition common to all types of diet is, that much of the food is eaten raw. I wish to say here that our very excellent results obtained in the treatment of disease were had with uncooked food and raw milk.
The experience of seeing many cases of illness improve rapidly on a diet of raw milk has suggested more and more the feeling that much of modern disease is due to an increasing departure from simple methods of preparing plain foods. The treatment of various diseases over a period of 18 years with a practically exclusive milk diet has convinced me personally that the most important single factor in the cause of disease and in the resistance to disease is food. I have seen so many instances of the rapid and marked response to this form of treatment that nothing could make me believe this is not so.
We have often seen most satisfactory results in the treatment of anemia, including pernicious anemia, on a milk diet. I have repeatedly seen a marked reduction in the size of simple and toxic thyroid, with improvement in the symptoms of the toxic one. In prostatic diseases and associated conditions, this treatment will achieve rapid and marked improvement in the infection and in the reduction of the gland and lessening of obstruction. A professor of surgery in one of our state universities once said to me, “Since I have used your method in preparing prostate cases, I have had most excellent results and no mortality.” I replied that if he had continued the treatment a little longer, he would not need to operate. All infections of the urinary tract are greatly improved by this treatment.
An old friend of mine, a woodworker, aged 74, had a marked heart lesion and complete prostatic obstruction, so that it was necessary to use a permanent catheter. He had been taking digitalis but this was discontinued, and he received no medication of any kind. The prostate was very large and the residual urine very foul. His recovery has been rapid, and he has been able to work since that time and is now in very good health at 77 years of age. Another local man was treated six years ago for a severe chronic winter cough and prostatic disease, which necessitated his getting up many times at night. He volunteered the information a few days ago that he had no more trouble with any illness since that time.
Indeed we had a number of patients who took the treatment for “beauty treatment.” The tissues become firmer and the general appearance is markedly improved.
One patient with very advanced cardiac and nephritic disease lost over thirty pounds of edema in six weeks. One would expect the large quantities of fluid would increase the edema but the above experience has been repeated many times in lesser degrees.
Hypertension responds with equal gratification. The blood pressure improves rapidly. I have never seen such rapid and lasting results by any other method. One of the patients lived almost exclusively on milk for more than three years.
About ten years ago a very sick man came to the Sanitarium suffering from a severe cystitis and nephritis. He was a diabetic. As milk contains about five percent milk sugar, it was feared that he could not manage this amount of sugar. But he did manage it, and improved in every way and in eight weeks was sugar free. My experience with milk diet in diabetes has been limited, but very interesting. These few patients, only seven or eight, have been much pleased with the results. Insulin was used for a time in some of the cases. They all became sugar free, or nearly so, after from four to ten weeks. From the fact that these patients were able to use a much more liberal diet than diabetics usually can take [after the treatment], it would seem to indicate that at least a partial regeneration of the pancreas is not impossible.
Recently I received a letter from a soldier who was confined in a government hospital in Arizona [for tuberculosis]. He said a former patient of mine had induced him to try this method. He said that he had done so well that a number of the men were also attempting it and he had written for more definite instructions. He also said that the patients had to buy their own milk and received no encouragement from the hospital authorities.
There is a large class of patients who are ill but in whom no definite organic lesion can be found. These patients are often underweight. They may consume a fairly large amount of food but they do not gain in weight or strength. These patients do respond admirably to our system of large quantities of milk.
The chief fault of the treatment is that it is too simple. Patients attempt to do it at home, but there are many pitfalls, and it does not appeal to the modern medical man.
This article was reprinted in the Summer 2002 edition of Wise Traditions, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation.