In Chapter 32 – The Immune System of the second edition of The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy, I introduced the role of microbes by quoting Simon Mills, internationally acclaimed herbal medicine practitioner and educator:
There is an ecological view of bacteria, viruses and other disease-causing organisms that is rarely explored. In any balanced ecosystem all living things have to find a niche that fits with the whole.
…Every creature is part of a food cycle; every excretion, every demise, creates a source of nutrients for some other organism; every act of predation creates an opportunity for more prey to fill the gap. Thus all bacteria, fungi, viruses, every form of mosquito, fly and other pest, must have their positive roles in the balance of life. An attitude that says that any of these life forms is always evil, always to be attacked, is unimaginative and counter-productive as any jingoistic nationalism.
In this statement, Mills suggests microbes, like all living things, play an important role in the ecology of our planet.
Mills is describing the terrain theory and is critical of the germ theory.
The germ theory is the very foundation of modern Western medicine and suggests that infecting microbes and other pathogens are the cause of disease, and by killing the microbe, you can avoid or cure the disease.
This germ theory states that microbes are bad as they are the cause of disease.
Louis Pasteur is often referred to as the father of the germ theory.
However, the terrain theory originally promoted by Antoine Bechamp suggests that microbes cannot cause infection unless the conditions within the body encourage their growth.
Bechamp’s terrain theory was that germs are always present in our environment and do not cause disease. Disease is associated with the physiology of the host, and not the germs per se, which is in stark contrast to the modern Western medical approach that implies by killing the germ we can cure the disease.
I am frustrated that many people consider the germ theory and terrain theory as mutually exclusive.
There is no doubt that thanks to the germ theory, millions of lives have been saved through the development of vaccines.
However, we also know that healthy lifestyle practices support immunity and helps prevent diseases.
The recent pandemic has fuelled so much debate and division between those who support the germ theory and those who support the terrain theory; however, very few health professionals have considered the merit and wisdom in both.
It has been considered by some to be sacrosanct for an individual practicing holistic therapies - such as aromatherapy, naturopathy, and herbal medicine - to support the ‘germ theory,’ and on the other hand, those who support the germ theory have referred to those who support the 'terrain theory' as stupid, narrow-minded and science-deniers.
Benjamin, author of Germ Theory denial, Anti-vaccination and Covid-19 and others have suggested that those who have denied the germ theory have been responsible for the anti-vaccination movement and are critical of all forms of natural therapies.
Here in Australia, as we approach winter, we are experiencing higher levels of influenza than ever before.
State governments in Australia are now encouraging everyone to be vaccinated for influenza.
In order to make well informed decisions about our health, it is imperative to understand how our immune system works, and how herbs, nutrition and aromatherapy can be used to boost the immune system.
It is also important to understand how vaccinations work and when they can be useful.
I will cover all these topics and more in two upcoming free webinars:
The Germ theory and the Terrain theory - Who is right?
Wednesday 22 June 2022 at 6pm AEST.
• We investigate the origins of the germ theory and the terrain theory.
• We explore holistic and naturopathic approaches to promote wellbeing and support the immune system.
• We examine if the germ and terrain theory need to be mutually exclusive.
• We discuss how we can be better prepared for future pandemics and influenza outbreaks.
How to boost the immune system
Wednesday 20 July 2022 at 6pm AEST
• We consider what it means to boost the immune system.
• We examine the most common ways to boost the immune system.
• We investigate how essential oils boost the immune system.
I hope you can join me for these webinars.