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The evidence provided by witnesses in a Court of Law is not always reliable because most people are unobservant, frequently report wrongly what they have seen or heard and at times, add their own interpretations to explain. Therefore, it becomes imperative to sift the evidence of witnesses with utmost care. Likewise, the words of a patient are more unreliable than that of a witness.  Most women, who accompany their husbands to doctors’ chambers, shield unsavoury facets of lives. In order to know the real character of an illness, it is imperative to know the patient&’s relation with his/her spouse or children.

Diagnosing an illness is not possible without ascertaining the mental aspects of a patient. In allopathy, a disease is seldom fully cured because a practitioner simply relies only on the findings of laboratory tests but in most cases, the cause of many, seemingly incurable diseases, is mental. High blood pressure and blood sugar are mostly due to mental reasons as are heart-related ailments.

A woman from the USA recently contacted me to seek advice on her multiple health related complaints starting from insomnia, high blood pressure, constipation, anorexia, obesity, lethargy, weakness and anaemia among others. Under treatment of doctors there for the last several years, she was not getting any relief, rather, her health was fast deteriorating, which made her feel more depressed every day. I found serious fault in their prescriptions because they had simply administered symptomatic treatment without delving into the real cause of her illnesses. Then I asked her if anything was missing in her statement. She confessed that after suffering from depression for many years, she had got into the habit of taking sleeping pills but even they failed to induce sleep. 

Then, I could pinpoint the real cause of her multiple complaints – a dependence on drugs and sleeping pills. I simply suggested to change her life style including doing things like going to bed early, regularly taking a morning/evening stroll for at least four to five kilometres, altering dietary habits and engaging in social activities. In fact, no medicine was prescribed and I asked her to stop taking any allopathic remedies. Within a week she wrote back saying that felt she was feeling much improved. The case speaks volumes about our diseases as most occur because of lifestyle choices.

I have marked in plenty of cases that patients even try to hide their identity and I do not usually respond to their requests, because such patients, I apprehend, will never fully reveal their problems. Later, they will blame doctors after not recovering fully. In fact, patients do not wish to be told the truth by doctors about their diseases, they normally withhold the facts about their discomforts and do not reveal their family history related to illnesses like cancer, paralysis or mental health issues. When asked, they say that they belonged to the healthy stock and their parents died simply of old age related. But only after further probing, one discovers a father who had died at 55 years because dementia and a mother, who succumbed to breast cancer at 50.

People go to doctors with trivial matters related to their appearance and comfort. A lady will complain about pimples or dark circles under the eyes without admitting that they suffer from violent indigestion, anaemia, severe pain at the time of periods or extreme weakness. Foul-smelling foot sweat is a common complaint with many people but they try to suppress the malodour with powders. A foul-smelling foot is also a sign of future arthritis. In homeopathy, silica is an excellent remedy to treat such cases of malodorous foot sweat and it can even treat fibroid tumours in the womb and fistula-in-ano. Similarly, pulsatilla is an excellent remedy for treating extreme pain during periods provided the patient changes her diet schedule as well as increases her daily intake of water. It can also be administered in many cases of pimples.

Many years ago, a lady came to me with intermittent back pain and for almost a year, she was on pain killers prescribed by a local doctor. Her face was pale and bloodless, she had mild temperature and at night she perspired profusely. Her food intake was minimal because she suffered from anorexia, which I thought was obviously due to constant low grade fever. Based on those findings, I suspected it to be a case of bony tuberculosis and prescribed bacillinum and other remedies. Within a fortnight, she reported feeling much better as her fever and back pain had considerably subsided. She was under my care for almost a year and I left her only when I was sanguine that she had been fully cured.

Tuberculosis is frequently triggered or aggravated by under-nutrition such as in case of women in Indian villages, tribal populations, heavy bleeding or loss of vital body fluids. Such cases can easily respond to medicines like phosphorus, china, alfalfa etc. Phosphorus quickly arrests tubercular tendency and medicines like china or alfalfa restores the lost vitality of the body. If simultaneously Hydrastis Q is given, then the appetite is also promptly stimulated.

On the other hand, it is a terrible mistake to ignore the statements of patients. Modern practitioners hardly have the time to listen to a patient&’s complaints; therefore, there are so many uncured diseases. On the contrary, personal interrogation of a patient is infinitely more valuable than the tests conducted by gadgets.  Even x-ray photographs are often of very little relevance. I have seen patients dying of uraemia although pathological tests did not reveal anything. The patient in question was in the pink of health when I saw him except the bags under the eyes. In uraemia, instead of being discharged through the kidneys, the poison is discharged into the blood. The patient develops a severe vomiting tendency, anorexia and gradually lapses into coma. In fast-deteriorating cases, dialysis is of little help. Renal or kidney transplant does not provide much relief because to retard kidney rejection, the patient has to be administered immune-suppressant medicines throughout his life, which may again seriously endanger their health in the long run.

People who suffer from high blood pressure and gradually drift towards an apoplectic stroke do not display any serious symptoms. Their complexion is normally marvellous and since they are frequently strong, they will obviously disregard all warnings, though occasionally, they may feel giddy while getting out of bed or a pain in the back of the neck.

They may even experience fading memory but such patients refuse to admit they are ill or ailing. I have seen one of my senior colleagues dying of apoplectic stroke and brain hemorrhage just in front of me within a couple of seconds though except an occasional dull pain at the back of his head and slight infrequent giddiness at morning, he did not have any other symptoms. I admit, I had warned him to go to a doctor, but he had always ignored my advice.

Unfortunately such patients go to a doctor for a slight rash or slightly enlarged prostate or some other unimportant physical complaints but he not confess before the doctor that he has tell-tale symptoms of impending disaster.

It is as good as deceiving oneself as well as the doctor. But in my case, whenever I detected such symptoms, I advised immediate restriction on daily diet and starting Arjuna Q among relevant medicines.

Years ago, there was a 30-year-old engineer who lived on an oil-heavy diet, smoked liberally and drank the best wines. He told me, “I am shortly going to marry.” But I replied, though he looked healthy, I would not suggest to hurriedly tie the knot.

At first, he should get his blood pressure down. He simply ignored my advice and unfortunately, exactly a day before his marriage, he was found dead. The doctor declared that he had died of stroke. There are scores of people who are always in danger of getting a stroke including heavy drinkers and smokers. Those who are pale or jaundiced are also prone to hardened arteries, which are liable to burst, producing a clot in the brain a long walk everyday is imperative.

(The writer is a Former Joint Secretary, Government of West Bengal)