School of Natural Healing by Dr Christopher Review

19th Century Illustration of Poison Hemlock, the final drink of Socrates.  The author of the book being reviewed and the author of the article do not recommend using, or even touching this plant.
19th Century Illustration of Poison Hemlock, the final drink of Socrates. The author of the book being reviewed and the author of the article do not recommend using, or even touching this plant.

Herbal Manual Review

This herbal manual is quite well known to almost everyone seriously interested in herbalism itself. While it's lauded for its extensive knowledge base and comprehensive coverage of the herbs listed within, the flaws inherent in this famous herbal manual are frequently overlooked.

To begin with, this large manual is difficult to get relevant information from. The internal structure does not lend itself to easy reading. In fact, the herbs themselves are categorized by overall function. If you don't know what a diaphoretic is, you're kind of up a creek. The herbs aren't categorized either alphabetically or by common health problem. The index isn't a lot of help either as it's quite difficult to scan easily. It's written as what it is, a textbook, not a quick look-up manual, and so proves quite discouraging for the novice reader. Browsing or a serious system of ongoing study are the best ways to get information out of it. While it does provide a fairly broad base to the novice herbalist, I'd only suggest it for those who intend to really be herbalists, not a newbie who wants help for a current problem, and certainly not as the only book in one's herbal library.

In addition to the difficult, overly academic classification system, the book suffers from a distinct lack of scientific evidence and an over-reliance on anecdotal experience. You'll only find the stories related to the author's purported experience, much of which is unbelievable to say the least. The book doesn't even provide the grace of historically validated empirical evidence, which most herbals emphatically rely on. Rather, the introduction only provides some "miraculous" herbal stories that are impossible to verify. Either the original author was delusional or there were factors at play within these stories we are not aware of. The examples given were of cancer cured, whole fingers grown back from amputation, and third degree burns healing without scars. These are not standard responses to herbal therapy by any stretch of the imagination. I am an herbalist, and I do believe that herbs offer healing properties unavailable in allopathic (traditional prescription) medication, but the outrageous testimonials presented in the introduction of the book don't do anything but hurt herbalism's reputation.

I would hope that the herbal's real value in classification and preparation instruction would not be discounted due to the stories of near-divine powers ascribed to herbs in the introduction. Make no mistake, the herbal provides a good overall introduction. However, it also desperately needs to be updated with the last fifteen years worth of clinical herb trial information, as the original author learned his trade in the middle of the last century.

Last, the dietary recommendations given as "the most healthful for humanity" are absolutely out-of-bounds. While this diet may appeal to people seeking a "purer" lifestyle, it does not resemble a safe, balanced diet in any particular. While I understand that some choose to be vegans for personal, health or philosophical reasons, humanity as a whole evolved to be omnivorous. Animal protein itself is perfectly healthy, it's the additives you have to watch out for. Dr. Christopher advocates a "mucusless" diet that most people today could not afford and cannot profitably live on. Eating breakfast is a good idea. Eating protein at breakfast staves off an energy slump at around 10 am. Eating a mono-diet isn't healthy for anyone. Please, consult with a doctor before adopting all of these dietary suggestions that are based on the writings of the Mormon church instead of anything resembling scientific research. Can we get more whole grains in our diets? Yes, and we should. Can we get more fruits and vegetables in our diets? Yes, and most of us emphatically should. Should we attempt to eat only fruits, vegetables and whole grains? Oh, heck no. If it worked for Dr. Christopher on his self-admitted health problems, wonderful. However, you don't give a healthy human antibiotics as a preventative measure, and you don't eat this extreme a diet without a good reason.

Overall, I found the concrete herbal information itself to be quite complete and comprehensive. The instructions on how to make preparations such as infusions and decoctions are pleasantly detailed. The glossary of terminology is reasonably complete, at least enough for anyone beginning the wide study of herbalism. All in all, it's a good foundation piece for a novice's library. Just ignore all the religiously motivated stuff.

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Comments 8 comments

mpc123 7 years ago

i am a Mormon and the teachings do no eliminate meat etc. as mentioned above. If you have not read sec 89 of the Doctring and Covenants, please do so. It advocates certain things "sparingling". Which even modern day medicine is now advocating. When Dr. Christopher chose to take this further, it was not based on the teachings of the LDS doctring. Just FYI. Thx.


Loni L Ice profile image

Loni L Ice 7 years ago from Lawrence, KS Author

Ah. Thank you for clearing that up. In the text, Dr. Christopher states that his ideas come from his religion and cites sections of the Mormon writings to support his case on some of his dietary restrictions, though in all cases this citation is vague and spotty.

In addition, I tend to be derisive of ANY system of medicine NOT based on scientific research. I'm seriously prejudiced against anyone who substitutes dogma of any kind for thought and inquiry, and that includes pseudo-scientific "dogma" heard from a third party and believed in with religious fervor.

Thank you for your comment and correction.


Carol 7 years ago

Very informative review, especially when someone is considering spending up to $60 for a guide. Can you recommend any herbal reference guides that are good for those just getting into this field?


javed ahmed 6 years ago

Very informative and knowledgeable blog. I read it and enjoy.


Brent DuBois 6 years ago

You are obviously an armchair herbalist who has zero experience with real patients or any real personal healing. Who are you to say that some of the miracle healings that Dr. Christopher and his patients achieved are not possible, just because you have never experienced it? Because you don't find it to be "scientific"? You need to get back to your flower essences and melatonin and leave natural healing to the people who have actually experienced it.


luke 5 years ago

i agree with brent. science doesn't dare advocate a vegan diet because it does not want to offend. but the truth is the less animal foods in the diet the better. that means zero animal food is best.

also many healing stories are based on herbal experiences using herbs that most herbalists are to afraid to use. if you haven't seen such healing its because you don't use the right herbs.

sure additional science is good, but do you want science for the sake of science? or do you want scientific eveidence that confirms how herbs work and why? science shouldn't be our God. let science prove what we already see evidence of. the worst aplication of science is to "prove" herbs don't work. that's just pharmaceutical agenda.

it may be hard to read, you might have to actually study it. but the book is not a novel, its a useful tool in healing. but there are few books out there that can compare with the healing advice in this book.


delquattro 18 months ago

The video, "Forks Over Knives" features MDs explaining why the body isn't meant to eat meat, and none claim to be a Mormon. A very good video for those who still worship doctors.

Btw, what does "scientific evidence" mean when the corporations who pay the scientists scuttle, and/or fraudulently alter the unpleasant results? (East Anglia University, Penn State, and the CDC scandals) "Science" has been bought and paid for by corporations for decades. So, you can rely on "peer reviewed" censorship of politically unprofitable science, where whistleblowers are destroyed, but I'll consider anecdotal evidence anyday.


Loni L Ice profile image

Loni L Ice 18 months ago from Lawrence, KS Author

Either you believe in science, or you don't. If you don't think the peer review system works, then have fun with that. The whole point of the system is to be as unbiased as possible.

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