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From the Townsend Letter
December 2006


Three Years of HCl Therapy
as recorded in The Medical World
with introduction by Henry Pleasants, Jr., AB, MD, FaCP (Associate Editor)
Originally published by W. Roy Huntsman, Philadelphia, PA

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"Favorite Medicine"
Evidently Dr. W.D. Anderson has found that the drugs and procedures taught during his college life are not altogether satisfactory. Like many of us, he is being forced to rely more and more on observation, hygienic directions, hope, and nature for the relief of many of his patients suffering from the consequences of the presence of various infecting organisms. His earnest request for information of "favorite medicine" is the reason for this paper, in which a plan will be laid before him that may be helpful.

Nature has earned the reputation of being the best of doctors, and since, by far, the greater number of our maladies are the direct result of the presence of germs or their sequelae, nature must have some simple and easily understood method for their elimination; otherwise, the well-earned reputation as leading in therapeutics could not have been maintained over so long a time.

With the recent collapse of the side-chain theory of Ehrlich, the very last word in humoral immunity, the last vestige of faith in the "humors" as protective of curative factors was removed. Without the Ehrlich theory, it will be granted that we have no principle before us for the elimination of germs, the repair of wounds, the demolition of pathological tissue. In view of this dearth of therapeutic knowledge, I wish to discuss "the one constant factor in resistance, whether innate or acquired – phagocytosis" [Metchnikoff].

Since the white blood cells have been used for a generation as indicators of infection or the virulence of the organisms involved, it must be granted that this mobile cellular system plays an important role in all infections. When it is known that countless determinations during the past ten years have shown that all the best used drugs and procedures in time past and time present have a more or less potent influence in artificially stimulating this cellular force, their consideration might be worthwhile.

Among the stimulants for the white cells, a beginning might be made with one of the oldest, recorded remedial measures: cantharides ointment vigorously applied in arthritis, as used in Greece early in the Christian era. With the following erythema, the early classical observers might have seen marked changes in the cellular picture had Van Leeuwenhock, the janitor in Delft, made his discovery of the microscope a bit earlier – so with mustard plasters, counter-irritants of all kinds, cupping, leeches, or bleeding of our medical forbears, or queerly enough in the transfusions of blood of our time.

So, too, with drugs, mercury, whether by inunctions, the copious doses of calomel of the past or the intramuscular or intravenous injections of the present, counts before and after will show an immediate effect on the cellular system; and with arsenic, bismuth, or serum injections; and also with the short wave and the following induced fever or the therapeutic application of the X-ray or the well-used diathermy of many of our colleagues. Counts before and at hourly intervals after the use of any one of the foregoing drugs procedures will demonstrate the effect of the procedure on the white cells.

Through this cellular system and its artificial stimulation by medical observers, we have a straight line of therapeutic endeavor to connect us up with our Greek colleagues before we became Christians.

Dr. John Edmonson, a local colleague, has suggested that this cellular army of defense may be definitely likened to the defensive force of the nation. In this national force, we have one army and one navy trained and equipped to the resist inroads or enemies of whatever kind. We do not have a specific army for each and every potential foe, but one centrally directed fighting force as a nucleus to which we add millions of recruits by the draft when the country is in danger. So in the ceaseless war with the enemies of mankind, Dr. Edmonson thinks nature uses one defensive force, and only one.

Since the final proof of the truth of any theory of resistance and its control is the effects to be observed on a sick man, means for the mobilization of the cellular forces must at once be considered. Pretty well all drugs and combinations of drugs have been tried and found wanting for one or many causes. In the consideration of this plan for setting up more active resistance to the inroads of germs, therefore, it might prove worthwhile to use a drug hitherto unused in the treatment of infective diseases if we can be assured that no possible harm will result and if there is any promise of the elimination of harmful micro-organisms.

The essential character of the white blood cells in resistance cannot be denied, but these cells must have a proper field so that the best phagocytic work may be done. Unfortunately, however, in cancer, diabetes, and many infections, it has been recently shown by various laboratory observers that there is an accompanying super-alkalinity of the blood. Now, this alkalinity must be the direct result of the presence of germs to inhibit the aggressive activity of the cellular, compared to the use of chlorine gas in the late disagreement in France.

The white blood cells are acid in reaction, circulating in an alkaline medium. Since hydrochloric acid is the only inorganic acid made by the body, it must be the basic acid of the most delicate chemical balance of the blood. So if there is a pathological variance of the normal balance of the blood, a logical procedure would seem to indicate the injection of this essential acid. Now, such an injection of this hydrochloric acid solution not only seems to have a most beneficial effect on the blood reaction, but is also followed by an increase in the numbers and activity of the white blood cells. The following leukocytosis usually reaches its maximum four or five hours after the injection, but there is left a well-induced phagocytic activity that is maintained 24 hours or longer.

Verification of the truth of this conclusion is furnished by the following observations of good friends, who as yet are unable to draw conclusions from these determinations. Three billion of the staphylococcus albus were injected into a guinea pig. Examination of the cells after the injection of the organisms showed that 23% of white cells had engulfed the cocci. We may conclude, therefore, that this figure represents the natural phagocytic reaction to the injection of the infecting organisms. Thereupon, the hydrochloric acid solution was injected. Within two hours, 32% of the white cells were showing pronounced phagocytic activity in engulfing the micro-organisms. The next determination, done 24 hours after the injection of the acid, showed phagocytic activity in 69% of the white cells, an apparent improvement of over 200% on nature. Details of these determinations follow (See Table 2, 73 KB .pdf).

The foregoing determinations give the writer a logical reason for the clinical observations in the elimination of all germ varieties from infected individuals and demonstrate beyond the value of the acid injections in augmenting the purely natural phagocytic activity.

Besides the removal of germs, another daily problem of the surgeon and those in general practice is the healing of wounds. Here, too, nature makes constant use of the ubiquitous activities of the white blood cells as shown by Dr. Carrel in 1922: "The existence of mechanisms causing leucocytes to invade tissue in need of repair is certain. The initiation of healing seems to depend on the coming of the leucocytes to the wounded tissue. The leukocytes have the important function of promoting cell multiplication in the parts of the organisms where they accumulate."

The truth of the observation of Dr. Carrel may be quickly demonstrated by an artificial stimulation of the white cells by giving a few daily intravenous injections of hydrochloric acid in preparation of patients for elective operations or in the treatment of ulcers or infected or clean wounds. Surgeons will see an astonishingly small number of infected sutures and a marked hastening of the repair of the surgical wounds and shortening of the convalescence, particularly if the injections of the acid be given every day or every other day after the operation.

In recommending the hydrochloric acid injections for the stimulation of all known and unknown forces of resistance in the treatment of infective diseases, the writer does so with full confidence in the safety of the procedure and the delightful freedom from the annoyances of the inflammatory reaction so often seen after intravenous injections.

Readers of The Medical World have only to recall the astonishing results in the treatment of cancer and many infections reported by Dr. Walter B. Guy, of St. Augustine, Florida, following the acid injections with his own addition of various chlorides and potassium salts to know that some powerful force is added to resistance. My good friend Dr. Guy and I are not agreed as to the reasons for the results. He attributes the undoubted clinical phenomena to the addition of the chlorides and other chemical elements, while I persist in my conclusion that the effects are due to the induced phagocytic activity and the modification of the pathological alkalinity of the blood. However, we are in hearty agreement on the good clinical effects of the acid injections.

Observations just published by Dr. Glover from the Public Health Service Institute of Health, in which definite proof has been furnished of the infective origin of malignant diseases, give a cogent reason for the good results reported by Dr. Guy in the treatment of these hitherto hopeless maladies.

Our young colleague in Oklahoma may be disappointed in hearing of a "cure-all" in answer to his request for papers on "favorite medicine." If this impression is made, the writer can only reply that hydrochloric acid, in his opinion, cures no ailment of any kind, but that its injection is followed by a most marked stimulation of cellular and glandular activity not seen clinically following any of the many other agents used for the stimulation of the white cells. I contend that nature has a "cure-all" defensive system and that it is to this force that we must attribute the unquestioned clinical results. Such results only confirm the adage of the ages that nature is the best doctor.

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