Drugs vs. Charcoal during Pregnancy
Strychnine, Diclegis, Zofran or Charcoal for Pregnant Mothers and their Developing Babies
In the last part of the 1880’s medical science prescribed Strychnine for nausea and vomiting associated with “morning sickness” among pregnant mothers. Strychnine is a highly toxic poison. In most severe cases of strychnine poisoning, the patient dies before reaching the hospital. Symptoms include: severe vomiting; convulsions of all muscle groups; spasms; frothing at the mouth; loss of consciousness; death due to asphyxiation. A mere 15 grams (1 teaspoon) is enough to kill 10 adult men in 15 minutes in a ghastly exhibit. One can only wonder at the cavalier attitude of so-called doctors of medicine as to prescribe this deadly poison to anyone, especially pregnant women. And yet it is still used today as a stimulant, performance enhancer, and can be found in some Ayurvedic concoctions. WebMD.com lists these uses for strychnine: · Erectile dysfunction (ED, impotence) · Diseases of the stomach and intestines · Heart and blood system disorders · “Tired blood” (anemia) · Diseases of the eye · Nerve disorders · Depression · Migraine · Lung disease · Stimulating the appetite.
This sounds a lot like the supersitious vodoo the witchdoctors used when we were in Africa. Surely medical science has improved?
In the last half of the 1900s medical science openly criticized the practitioners of a century earlier for their indiscriminant use of deadly drugs and championed their much more benign medicines. In 1957 medical doctors began to prescribe the drug Thalidomide for the same symptoms of Morning Sickness that doctors prescribed strychnine a hundred years past. The consequences were frightening.
Those little ones subjected to thalidomide while in the womb experienced limb deficiencies in a way that the long limbs either were not developed or presented themselves as stumps. Other gross effects included deformed eyes and hearts, deformed alimentary and urinary tracts, blindness and deafness. Throughout the world, about 10,000 cases were reported of infants with phocomelia (malformation of the limbs) due to thalidomide; only 50% of the 10,000 survived.* The drug was subsequently banned worldwide. In 1998, the FDA approved the use of thalidomide for the treatment of lesions associated with Erythema Nodosum Leprosum (ENL), as well as multiple myeloma (MM) patients. In 2003 the FDA licensed Thalidomide for the treatment of leprosy. Surely modern science has found something better for morning sickness. Today in the 21st century women with Morning Sickness are prescribed Diclegis.
In April 2013, a morning-sickness medication that was withdrawn from the market 30 years ago was re-approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Diclegis, formerly called Bendectin*, is the only medication specifically approved to treat the stomach upset many women suffer from during pregnancy, whether you are a princess or a pauper. Diclegis combines vitamin B6 and the antihistamine doxylamine in a delayed-release pill that’s meant to be taken daily before symptoms set in. While the FDA and other drug champions declare it to be safe, is it really?
Adverse side effects of Diclegis include most commonly, severe drowsiness or sleepiness. If this drug induces severe drowsiness in an adult, what is it doing to the brain function of that tiny developing child? How is this in any sense, safe for the child? However that is not all. Other adverse drug reactions associated with Diclegis in women may include: vertigo, nervousness, epigastric pain, headache, palpitation, diarrhea, disorientation, irritability, convulsions, urinary retention or insomnia. What, this is considered acceptable? And the little one in its mother’s womb is just OK with all these “potential” adverse side effects? Wake up mothers. The drug companies are slick advertising for-profit businesses.
*Bendectin was widely prescribed after its introduction in 1956, but costly lawsuits claiming safety issues caused the drug’s maker, Merrell Dow, to pull it from the market in 1983. In 1999, the FDA published a statement stating, “The FDA has determined that the drug product Bendectin, a tablet composed of pyridoxine hydrochloride 10 mg, and doxylamine succinate 10 mg, for the prevention of nausea during pregnancy was not withdrawn from sale for reasons of safety or effectiveness”. Judging from the list of potential adverse side effects, pregnant mothers will still want to be well informed before choosing this drug.
Another drug, Zofran, which is approved for nausea in cancer patients, is widely prescribed during pregnancy. Zofran (ondansetron) blocks the actions of chemicals in the body that can trigger nausea and vomiting.
Why Morning Sickness?
A woman experiencing morning sickness may want to ask herself “Why do I have morning sickness? What is my body trying to tell me? Should I be doing anything different? Should I be treating my body differently? Should I be more careful in my choice of foods? Should I ….?”
Considering the health and development of their little one, responsible women will see Morning Sickness as nature’s way of alerting them to the new life awakening within their wombs. While unpleasant, it is the earliest signal that their bodies are undergoing enormous changes and they need to pay close attention to all of the recommendations of My Eight Doctors. In the meantime, what natural remedies can pregnant mothers use to minimize the severity of morning sickness or even eliminate it?
Back in 1898, while some medical quacks were prescribing strychnine, some progressive-minded doctors were recommending simple charcoal.
“It is also useful in acidity of the stomach, flatulency [gas], and in the nausea and constipation attending pregnancy.” King’s American Dispensatory (1898)
Again in 1922 we see the book The Eclectic Materia Medica, Pharmacology & Therapeutics making the same recommendation:
“Its absorbent and deodorant properties make charcoal a splendid agent to absorb putrid gases from the stomach and bowels. It is indicated by offensive breath and disagreeable belching. In acidity of the stomach, gastric distention, nausea and vomiting, sick headache with gaseous belching, fetid diarrhea, and sometimes in the acid vomiting of pregnancy, charcoal is a most effective agent. It may be combined, plain or aromatized with oil of peppermint…”
Now retired but an active public health speaker, Doctor Calvin, NMD, for many years directed a 22-bed hospital in Montemorelos, Mexico. While he regularly used and recommended charcoal, he explained that his favorite formula was to mix it with an equal amount of clay in poultices. But one experience of using just plain old charcoal still causes him to chuckle.
“I was coming back through Guatemala on my way to Texas, and who do I see but Linda [the daughter-in-law of another doctor friend] hitch-hiking along the Pan American highway. Of course I stopped, and picked her up. She was very pregnant! She was expecting their second child and, while her husband stayed with their first child, she was headed back to see her family in California.
She was experiencing severe diarrhea – perhaps a complication of the pregnancy or from dysentery or both. I was having to stop every five minutes to let her have another ‘emergency’. Finally I told her, “We are never going to make it to Texas at this rate.” So I stopped in at some drugstores looking to buy some charcoal, but no one had any. As we were driving on, I noticed a thatched house about two hundred feet back from the road with smoke curling up through the roof. I knew they must have been cooking. So, I stopped and ran down to the house and asked the woman if I could look through her firebox for some coals. She said that it was okay [Well, what would you have said?]. I was able to find a few large pieces. As I blew of the ashes, I asked her what kind of wood she was burning. It turned out to be cedar. I thanked her and took it back up to the truck. I told Linda, “Here chew on this”. For the next ten miles she did just that, and the diarrhea cleared up. She had no more ‘emergencies’ all the way back to Texas, where I put her on a bus to California.” CharcoalRemedies.com page 130
2012 – Charcoal Babies
I was conducting a series of health programs in the village of Kalagala in conjunction with the University of Bugema in Uganda. One of the programs was on the subject of medicinal charcoal. The previous year I was introduced to Willy who was the director for an HIV/AIDS orphanage who had experimented with charcoal as a medicine with very positive results. I invited Willy to come from Kampala to share some of his experiences with the village folk. Gladys and her cousin also came. The last time we met Gladys, Willy’s wife, she had not been able to carry her baby to term. What should they do? Willy writes:
“Greetings from RHCF Uganda. Before we started using charcoal, Gladys conceived and after five month we got a miscarriage. We didn’t know what was the problem and after a serious test in her womb doctors found that she had fibroids, and we were told that the only way of treating it is through going under surgical operation. We decided to use herbs, and we chose charcoal as a remedy for our problem.
After the Doctor told us that Gladys has fibroids, and getting Miscarriage Gladys started using two table spoons of charcoal in a cup of warm water per day for three to four times a week and after having pregnant she continued for a cup a week for nine month. For the second baby the doctor told us that she doesn’t have any fibroids. On addition to charcoal she added aloe vera, and Turmeric blended in a blender mixed with warm Milk, and also eating fruits and vegetables mostly raw diet.
After a few months, again she was pregnant, and each week she was drinking a glass of charcoal [water] and she was felt good – no fever. She had enough energy she didn’t take any prescribed drug from [the] clinics for a period of nine months. Then she gave birth to a baby boy and now the boy looks good and is strong. Charcoal is a remedy to many human difficulties.”
As you can see from the picture, Ryan is definitely a healthy looking baby and he is the right color for a “charcoal baby”!
Standing next to Gladys is her cousin, who was not even able to get pregnant (apparently a increasing problem among young women – what could the cause be?**). After their success, Gladys suggested charcoal for her cousin. It is not so obvious, but in the picture she is three months pregnant.
Now when Gladys gave her testimony there was an eruption of clapping, and a chorus of “Aminas” (Amens), especially among the women. Considering the high mortality during birth and infancy, and the huge emphasis on having children, it is not difficult to appreciate the corporate joy for this young woman. When Gladys’ cousin gave her short testimony the tent broke out in hooting, Aminas, clapping, and shouting, there was so much joy for this young woman who was a complete stranger to the village.
For the record, I did not suggest charcoal for their problem. It was something they decided to try after their own experimenting with charcoal for other issues.
For the record, charcoal will not work for everyone the same, and if charcoal does not work for you, then you need to look for some other of God’s simple, natural, benign, non-addicting remedies.
A couple other suggestions to help prevent the bloating associated with pregnancy. Chew food very well and slowly. Have only a few varieties of food at each meal. No snacking. Drink only water or herb teas between meals. Avoid combining fruits and vegetables at the same meals. Do not sit or lie down after meal times. Do some light exercise/walking after you eat. These suggestions have helped many mothers control the symptoms of morning sickness.
* We met a Thalidomide survivor at a speaking event in Australia. She had been confined to a wheelchair her whole life. What she was excited to share was that she had discovered activated charcoal, as part of a daily regime, had greatly relieved some of her gastrointestinal complaints.
** There is clear evidence that some vaccines are causing sterility in some women. While we were in Africa, we were told it was commonly believed that vaccines were causing sterility. The warning to the young women was to go and hide in the jungle when the free vaccination camps rolled into the village.