Without Honor in His Own Country:
The Return to Salt Lake City
For all practical purposes, John Raymond Christopher should have been welcomed back to Salt Lake City with open arms.
Settled by Mormon pioneers in the mid 1800's, the parched desert valley was the cradle of herbology in the western United States. The Mormon Church itself had strong ties to the practice of herbal medicine. Church founder Joseph Smith recalled gathering golden seal and other healing herbs on the family farm in upstate New York. And Brigham Young, the evangelist and statesman who led bands of weary pioneers across this nation's prairies, planted medicinal herbs in fragrant patches behind his pale adobe house on South Temple Street.
A hundred years later as John Raymond Christopher and his young family set down roots in the peaceful valley sheltered by towering peaks, however. Salt Lake City was no longer the cradle of herbal medicine. With several major teaching and research hospitals scattered over its avenues, it had become instead a respected center of medical science. Townspeople weren't ready to accept the notion of natural healing.
Ray and Delia were surrounded by the family that loved them. They basked in the brightness of Utah's sunlight. They had a comfortable home, and two sweet children to share their lives. But Ray was unable to support his growing family with his herbal practice. In order to make ends meet, he started selling, often traveling out of state.
As he traveled, he seemed drawn to people who needed his help, and he always offered it freely. While he did not find a ready clientele in Salt Lake City, the time he spent in the loving embrace of family members was nevertheless a time of growth in many ways. (It was only after he moved to Wyoming and then again returned to Utah that he was able to establish his first multidisciplinary clinic, staffed by fourteen professionals, the clinic offered masseurs, zonal therapists, and a chiropractor. At its peak, the clinic staff treated between thirty and forty patients a day.)
During the time he was in Salt Lake City he also found the precious time needed to advance his education. Over the years he was able to juggle clinic and family commitments with the completion of a naturopathy degree from Iowa's Institute of Drugless Therapy and an herbal pharmacist degree from the Los Angeles Herbal Institute.
And it was in Salt Lake that he began laying the groundwork for his School of Natural Healing. Established in 1953 as a way of sharing his knowledge with students interested in practicing natural healing, it was eventually also established in England.
But the greatest highlights of his time in Salt Lake City, as with his time anywhere he established a practice, were his patients and the impact he had on their lives. He loved to remember one family he met in Great Falls, Montana, while selling encyclopedias. Blessed with eight children, the family was crowded into a small frame house, and what they lacked in space, however, they seemed to more than make up for in love. Her frantic telephone call one afternoon was fraught with despair.
"Oh, Dr. Christopher, please help me!" she cried. 'There's a terrible intestinal flu running rampant through our area. Whole families are coming down with it. In some cases it's lasting five or six weeks! Two of our children have come home with it, and I know we'll all be infected before it's over. Oh, please, tell me what to do!"
As he considered an answer, a smile crept slowly over Ray's lips. Was she more concerned with how to take care of all those sick people, or with the fact that the family shared a single bathroom?
Remembering a thick patch of red raspberries along the family's back fence, Ray instructed the worried mother to gather as many raspberry leaves as she could, bushels if possible, taking care not to strip more than a third of the leaves from any one bush. He then told her how to brew a tea from the harvested leaves.
"Give your two sick children nothing but raspberry tea," he instructed. "Give them all they can drink, and nothing else. When the other members of the family get home, give them tea, too. That's all they should eat or drink until the flu has cleared up" And, with a reassuring promise, Ray told her the family should be fine by morning if they followed his instructions carefully.
A few days later he received the happy report: the two sick children were fine by morning (instead of suffering for several weeks, as had their classmates). No one else in the family got ill.
Ray followed the family with interest over the years. After bearing sixteen children, the mother graduated from Brigham Young University as a registered nurse. At her graduation ceremony, she was honored by University President Ernest L. Wilkinson and recognized with a standing ovation from her classmates. Over the years as she practiced nursing she quietly helped patients by recommending herbal remedies.
While medical science stubbornly insisted that there was no cure for the flu or the common cold. Dr. Christopher heartily disagreed. He knew the family in Great Falls had cured a viral flu with the savory tea of red raspberry leaves, and he knew that other herbal remedies worked just as well.
He combined some of those remedies in Garlic, Rosehips, & Parsley, his formula for colds and flu. He started with a base of garlic, known throughout the ages for its ability to kill infection. He added rose hips, parsley, watercress, and rosemary leaves. He formulated the combination in both tablets and capsules and advised patients to take each with a cup of steam-distilled water. Garlic, Rosehips. & Parsley capsules could also be opened and brewed into a soothing tea for even faster relief.
Another malady physicians shrugged their shoulders over was the seasonal affliction of hay fever. While most who attempted to treat it relied on chemical remedies. Dr. Christopher formulated SHA, a combination based on a natural plant extract of pseudoephedrine. The product was manufactured in an herbal base of Brigham tea, marsh-mallow root, burdock root, parsley, cayenne, chaparral, golden seal root, and lobelia.
Used in conjunction with a mucusless diet of fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, and seeds, SHA feeds and strengthens the pulmonary organs. Dr. Christopher chose each herb in the formula with care. Together, they ease nasal and respiratory congestion, working as a natural decongestant and antihistamine.
For people with an especially stubborn case of hay fever. Dr. Christopher advised another natural remedy to be used with SHA; he advised patients to thoroughly chew and swallow a thick pulp of chopped horseradish root and apple cider vinegar three times a day.
One of Dr. Christopher's trademarks was his deep sensitivity for his patients, and many of his formulas were developed in direct response to their requests for help. During his practice in Salt Lake, he was called on to treat many whose bodies had been battered by the physical effects of stress. Searching for a way to heal and rebuild the adrenal glands-the front-line soldiers in the body's stress response- he developed Adrenal Formula.
He began with a base of mullein leaves, long considered the perfect "gland food." To that he added licorice root, which directly supplies the adrenal glands with the nutrients they need for healthy function. The next ingredients in Adrenal Formula were gotu kola, which relieves fatigue and stimulates function of the adrenals; cayenne, which brings oxygen and other nutrients to the glands; and ginger root, which helps flush out congested capillaries. He rounded out the formula with Siberian ginseng, successfully used to ease stress and boost endurance among USSR athletes, and hawthorn berries, which tone the heart and reduce its load during periods of stress.
Another formula developed in response to patient request was Male Urinary Tract, a combination of herbs that dissolves kidney stones, kills infection, and clears sedimentation in the prostate gland. Through extensive patient use. Dr. Christopher discovered that the formula consisting of cayenne, uva ursi leaves, parsley, golden seal root, gravel root, juniper berries, marshrnallow root, ginger root, and Siberian ginseng, was an effective remedy for gonorrhea. Prospallate works even better when taken with parsley tea.
With Fen LB to tone and rebuild the bowel. Dr. Christopher next turned his attention to a system equal in importance to the intestinal tract-the urinary tract-which pumps, filters, and eliminates the more than 60 quarts of fluid that pass through normal kidneys in a single day. Of the 60 quarts of fluid that are extracted by the kidneys each twenty-four hours, approximately two quarts are eliminated as urine; the rest is filtered and returned to the bloodstream for circulation throughout the body.
The kidneys-each containing two to four million filter mechanisms-filter approximately a quart of blood every minute. That means all the blood in the body passes through the kidneys once every seven minutes. To accomplish this task, the kidneys need to be in premium health.
To help patients troubled by incontinence, bedwetting, kidney stones, or bladder/urinary infection. Dr. Christopher developed Juni-Pars, an herbal combination specifically designed for the kidneys and bladder. As a base he used two of the most effective and fastest-acting natural diuretics-juniper berries and parsley. Juniper berries also correct problems in voiding urine, and parsley is one of the best-known herbs for rebuilding urinary tissues. Dr. Christopher liked to remember one woman in Chicago who lay dying from severe edema. After only four days of parsley tea and parsley fomentations, she was healed.
To the juniper berries and parsley. Dr. Christopher added ginger root, which stimulates all the herbs to work together; uva ursi leaves, which dissolve kidney stones and other inorganic calcifications; marsh-mallow root, which acts as a soothing and healing emollient to ease the flow of urine; cramp bark, which relieves spasms; and golden seal root, which kills infection and heals tissues.
Numerous patients who were given Juni-Pars were able to overcome incontinence and chronic urinary tract conditions.
Despite the love of family members and the comfort of being "home" again, Ray was frustrated and discouraged in the Salt Lake Valley. He could not become licensed in the state of Utah; one of the city's naturopaths suggested that he move to Evanston, Wyoming, to become licensed. Once he was licensed in Evanston, the naturopath assured him, he could return to Utah and set up practice there.
So Ray approached Delia with the idea, and the Christophers again tucked their belongings into boxes tied with string.
It was then that they fully realized the financial hardship they had endured for so long in Salt Lake, for twenty miles from their destination in Evanston, they ran out of gas. With no money to buy more, Ray trudged along the roadside until he spotted a rustic farmhouse surrounded by fields of winter wheat. Told of the family's plight, the farmer gave Ray gasoline from the tank of a rusted green tractor. On borrowed fuel, but plenty of hopes and dreams, the Christophers arrived in Evanston.
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"Natural Healing with Herbs for a Healthier You"