Milk as Medicine

Since ancient times, physicians like Hippocrates, Galen, Pliny and Varro have used raw milk to cure a wide range of diseases. Hippocrates advised tuberculosis sufferers to drink raw milk in quantity. In the Ayurvedic medicine of India, milk is used in the practice of brimhana meaning to “buck up” or nourish the body.  It’s also used in rasayana to rejuvenate the body and in vajikarana, to promote sexual function and fertility. Physicians prescribed raw milk as a gentle laxative, to cool inflammation of ulcerated tissues, and as a galactagogue to increase milk production for the nursing mother. In the U.S., raw milk was used for one hundred fifty years to treat a wide range of conditions and is still used today in some hospitals in European and other countries.

In an 1884 paper read before a meeting of the American Medical Association, Dr. James Tyson provided a short history of the milk cure in Europe.  Dr. Inozemtseff of Moscow wrote a book called Milk Cure in 1857, in which he describes the treatment of a thousand cases.  In 1864, Dr. Philip Karell read a paper on the milk cure before the medical society of St. Petersburgh.  Said Karell: “With regard to my own practice I have, after fruitlessly trying all sorts of remedies in many chronic and obstinate diseases, at last succeeded in bringing the elementary [alimentary] canal, that seat of so many diseases, under my control. I did this by administering milk according to a new method.” In treating digestive disease, liver problems, asthma and other lung disorders, nervous diseases he concluded,"... in all these cases I consider milk as the best and surest of remedies.” Physicians had similar success in Germany and France.

Silas Weir Mitchell, MD, specialist in treating nervous disorders during and after the Civil War, advocated a treatment that consisted primarily in isolation, confinement to bed, dieting, electrotherapy and massage--popularly known as “Dr Diet and Dr Quiet.” Mitchell advocated a high-fat diet to his patients, mostly women, and large quantities of milk. He suggested that his patients consume two quarts or more of milk a day.

The Milk Cure at the Mayo Clinic

Dr. J.R. Crewe, founder of the Mayo Foundation, treated disease for eighteen years with an exclusive raw milk diet and found it to be the single most important factor in his treatments. The Milk Cure, also known as “immune milk therapy,” consists of sipping four to five quarts of raw milk throughout day for a period of two to four weeks, along with daily enemas and very hot baths to facilitate detoxification. Dr. Crewe reported favorable results for a wide range of illnesses including cancer, infection, nerve and brain disorders, weight loss, metabolic disorders, heart and blood diseases, kidney disease, digestive disease, allergies, skin problems, urinary tract problems, reproductive issues, cavities, periodontal disease and musculoskeletal conditions. In his 1923 book, Dr. Charles Sanford Porter MD confirmed the effectiveness of the raw milk diet with thousands of patients. He believed that raw milk’s curative powers lay in strengthening the quality of the blood.

Treatment for digestive diseases

Milk has helped cure gastric disorders, especially ulcers, for centuries. In June 1884, Professor James Tyson, reported in the Journal of American Medical Association on the effectiveness of his raw milk in the treatment of GI diseases, including colitis, IBS, ulcers, gastritis; constipation, hemorrhoids, dysentery, diarrhea, liver disorders and gallstones. Regarding ulcers, Dr. Crewe proclaimed: “No other food than milk cures it! In the 19th century, the French anatomist Jean Cruveilheir believed that raw milk was the most important part of the treatment for gastric ulcer. He also used raw milk for treatment of many gastric disorders, noting that raw milk was better digested than boiled milk.

Charles Sanford Porter, MD, who treated more than eighteen thousand patients for over thirty-seven years had good results with colitis, IBS, ulcerative colitis, and ulcers of the digestive tract. Benjamin M. Bernstein, MD., a gastroenterologist, had great success with a variety of gastrointestinal disorders, even cases considered terminal.

Treatment for malnutrition

Raw milk treats malnutrition in four ways: it spares digestion so that the body can devote energy to healing; it provides every nutrient that we need in easily assimilable form; it contains compounds that heal the digestive tract so that nutrients may be better absorbed;  it contains several factors that support a balanced microbiome, including the bifidus factor and special sugars called oligosaccharides that serve as food for beneficial bacteria.

Healing the liver

In the late 1800s, the French used raw milk along with potassium iodide to treat alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver.

Raw milk makes for beautiful skin

Research has shown that raw milk can be useful for allergic skin conditions and other autoimmune skin conditions such as atopy (dermatitis). The raw milk cure was reported to clear up rashes, skin ulceration and hives.  For millennia raw milk applied during bathing has served as a treatment to ensure smooth, emollient skin. Milk maids, who had access to raw milk daily, were celebrated historically for their smooth, beautiful skin.

Raw milk and weight loss

In his 1884 paper, Professor James Tyson reported good results for weight loss using the milk cure. Dr. J.E. Crewe, founder of the Mayo Foundation, found raw milk to be the single most important factor in his treatments for obesity.

Raw milk and diabetes

Dr. James Tyson found that raw milk treatment of diabetes caused most patients to become sugar-free in four to ten weeks.

Dr. J.E. Crewe, founder of the Mayo Foundation also found raw milk to be an important factor in his treatments for diabetes.

Raw milk for healthy blood

Milk is sometimes called “white blood” because it contains all the components of blood except for red blood cells, including white blood cells, lymphocytes, immunoglobulins, antibodies, hormones and growth factors. These compounds are all destroyed by pasteurization. Dr. J.E. Crewe of the Mayo Foundation reported “uniformly excellent” success using raw milk in treatment programs for clotting issues and edema. Dr. James Porter believed that the milk cure worked because it built healthy, richer blood.

Treatment for high blood pressure

Raw milk contains heat-sensitive nucleosides and nucleotides, polyamines, oligosaccharides, transfer proteins and peptides, which affect coagulation and help normalize blood pressure.

Lowered risk of heart attacks

Dr. J.E. Crewe of the Mayo Foundation reported “uniformly excellent” success using raw milk in treatment programs for heart failure and heart attacks. A study in the U.K. found that rates of heart attack increased in regions where health authorities had instituted mandatory pasteurization.

Raw milk and the urinary system

Dr. J. E. Crewe of the Mayo Foundation used an exclusive raw milk diet to cure adrenal edema, urinary tract infections, and kidney issues. Raw milk was also found to be helpful in the treatment of Bright’s disease, a condition of the kidney that includes bladder inflammation and a host of other urinary system conditions.

Raw milk builds a body good

Raw milk provides the raw components to build the cells and tissues of the body including a ready supply of amino acids for building muscle and bone. The minerals needed to support the building and maintenance of bone and muscle tissue are in good supply in raw milk. The balance of calcium, magnesium, and potassium is particularly important for muscle and nerve contraction, muscle function and to avoid cramps. These minerals along with Vitamins A, D and K are critical for bone health and are associated with increasing bone density.  CLA, a substance found in real milk, is known to enhance muscle strength and growth. Personal reports indicate that raw milk prevents and reverses osteoporosis.

Studies on growth, show much better bone and tissue development in animals fed raw milk.

Good news for Rheumatoid arthritis and sciatica

The Milk Cure proved effective in treating rheumatoid arthritis and sciatica. A substance found in raw milk known as the “Wulzen factor” helps prevent joint stiffness and the pain of arthritis. The Wulzen factor is destroyed by pasteurization. Feeding raw cream was found to reverse wrist stiffness.

Raw milk and the Immune system

Raw milk offers a readily available source of immune-building nutrients such as Vitamins A, D, and C, as well as glutathione. Components in raw milk not only build the immune system but also inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria such as staph aureus and strep.  Raw milk contains enzymes such as lg6 that inhibit Rotavirus infections associated with diarrhea in infants. Immune factors in milk such as lactoferrin, fatty acids, T-lymphocytes, antioxidants, and immune-modulatory peptides work to strengthen the immune system, increase cell mediated immune mechanisms, mobilize white blood cells, and stimulate specific antibodies. These factors are all destroyed by pasteurization.

Raw milk and the nervous system

In ayurvedic medicine, milk is considered a grounding substance and used for calming the nervous system--a sacred or “satvic” food that bestows peace and awareness while increasing consciousness. Raw whole milk, and especially raw cream, calms the nervous system by supporting the insulation and protection of the nerves. After the Civil War, Dr. Silas Weir Mitchell treated many patients for nervous disorders with raw milk. The high mineral availability of calcium, magnesium and potassium in raw milk are helpful for nerve connectivity.

Raw milk and the reproductive system

For millennia, traditional people been used raw milk to increase fertility, including the Maasai in Africa and the Vedics of India. Milk is a well-known galactagogue, increasing the milk supply in the mother.  One study showed lower reproductive capacity in animals given pasteurized milk compared to raw. [Mattick EC and Golding J. The Lancet. Sep 19, 1936, 703-704] Dr. J. E. Crewe of the Mayo Foundation used an exclusive raw milk diet to cure prostate disease.

Raw milk and cancer

Components of raw milk can help with a wide variety of cancers. As calcium deficiency has been associated with colon and prostate cancers in men, highly absorbable calcium from raw milk may be why raw milk has had success in some cancer treatments. Raw milk from pastured cows contains CLA, a fatty acid and antioxidant believed to protect against cancer especially breast and prostate cancer. Bacteria in raw milk promote production of a healthy flora in the gut. A healthy flora, in turn, detoxifies accumulated toxins and eliminates abnormal cells associated with cancer.

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