Hippocrates, The Father of Western Medicine and the Real Cause and Cure of Disease

The Father of Medicine Hippocrates, the father of western medicine, understood the principle of the Tao, and could thus heal people with it. He called it vis medicatrix naturae—the healing power of nature which cures us from within. Hippocrates defined disease as a combination of Pathos, suffering, and Ponos, toil. Suffering represents the state of disharmony within the ailing person, and toil is the body’s response to this suffering as it tries to find stasis and harmony again. In other words, our bodies want health and balance. The Tao or Being—simply existing—is our natural state. Suffering comes from not being rooted in Being, the timeless eternal reality. Nature can heal and cure us from within if we can understand and harmonize with her. Surgery, and medicines, too, can aid nature in a cure, but only if they are used wisely for the purpose of aiding nature, which today they rarely are.

I Resolve To Find the Real Cause of Disease

Thomas Sydenham, considered the English Hippocrates of the seventeenth century, declared that, “Disease is nothing else but an attempt on the part of the body to rid itself of morbific (diseased, toxic) matter.”

After years of wandering in the jungles of medical diagnosis, twentieth century American physician, J.H. Tilden, MD, finally became frustrated and declared, “I resolved either to quit the profession or to find the cause of disease.” Dr. Tilden observed that in any normal life cycle there is cellular metabolism, and thus waste. Much like cars that produce exhaust, the cells of our body produce minute amounts of waste. When the body cannot eliminate its own waste (or the waste added through contact with toxins in the external environmental), it slowly becomes diseased. Dr. Tilden identified the cause of what prohibits the body from eliminating waste, which he called habits of enervation. And it isn’t surprising that, likely without ever having seen or known of the Yellow Emperor’s Classic on Internal Medicine, he came to the same conclusion found in those pages. The conclusion is that disease is caused by habits which excessively stimulate the body. Examples Dr. Tilden gives of these habits are excessive smoking and drinking, eating too much sugar, staying up too late, and over-working. Toxic emotions such as fear or greed also contribute to this overstimulation.

In this new paradigm for disease there is a common thread. Our behaviors are the cause of disease. If our behaviors can cause or significantly contribute to the disease, then how can one separate the diseased state from the patient who suffers from the disease, as if the patient has nothing at all to do with its creation? Dr. Tilden considers this apparent conundrum and then boldly states:

There is no hope that medical science will ever be a science; for the whole structure is built around the idea that there is an object disease—that can be cured when the right drug—remedy, cure—is found.

Usually, a cure for a disease lies in seeing the oneness and symbiotic relationship between the individual, the disease, and the environment in which the sick person lives, which includes the earth under his feet, his food, his home, his family, and his society.

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