A serious contagious disease that produces a poison throughout the body and a false membrane lining of the throat.


An acute febrile and contagious affliction common with children, characterized by the formation of a fibrous, inflammatory membrane (yellowish or greenish) on the mucous membrane of the air passages, usually the pharynx, larynx, and trachea. The tonsils become inflamed and are dark red, but the uneven swelling gives the appearance of white patches. This is further characterized by pain, swelling and obstruction, fever, prostration, and often cardiac damage, which sometimes results in paralysis and death. [SNH p.18]


Diphtheria is caused by impure blood, improper diet or contaminated foods, and unsanitary conditions. A deficiency of organic calcium and vitamin C is the basis for diseases of this type. [SNH p.18]

Herbal Aids:

General Instructions: With diphtheria the throat area should be cleared of the false mucous membrane. Historically speaking, many herbalists have used the following: bayberry and raspberry combination, garlic, or a purified type of turpentine as a fomentation. Take a few drops in a tea. Quick relief is given through antispasmodic and cayenne fomentation on the chest and the lung area. Antispasmodic tincture and cayenne can be taken internally (this will also ward off the danger of paralysis). One should always give an emetic before allowing the patient to go to sleep, and the bowels should be cleaned of the poisons with high enemas accompanied with stimulant herbs. Any of the following may be used as enemas: bayberry bark, raspberry leaves, catnip, chickweed, white oak bark, shepherd's purse, wild alum root, echinacea, strawberry leaves, raspberry leaves. A hot vapor bath is beneficial as is a hot foot bath of mustard and water. Also apply fomentation of mullein and ragwort to the throat. Decoctions of raspberry leaves, mullein, agrimony, bayberry bark or lemon juice will relieve the soreness in the throat. Ample fresh pineapple juice is also very good. [SNH p.18]

Oak Bark: Where one suspects a light attack, a gargle with oak bark, with a little cayenne or composition powder added may arrest further development. [SNH p.139]

See formula using white oak bark, persimmon bark and mullein leaves. [SNH p.140]

Sumac Berries: Infuse the berries for 1/2 hour in a quantity of water, strain and sweeten to taste with honey; mix with fresh pineapple juice; use as a gargle. [SNH p.155]

See formula for fomentation using mullein, cudweed and ragwort. [SNH p.319]

See decoction using mullein, raspberry leaves, agrimony, bayberry, cayenne and myrrh. [SNH p.320]

Cayenne: Apply tincture of cayenne around the neck, then cover with a flannel fomentation of cayenne infusion, and drink cayenne internally. [SNH p.409]

See Also:

Anti-Spasmodic Formula: Dr. Christopher's Anti-Spasmodic Tincture
Cayenne: Dr. Christopher's many Cayenne Combinations

"Natural Healing with Herbs for a Healthier You"