BY DR. ALFRED TIENES.
(From Der Wendepunkt, January, 1934).
IN scientific circles the view that tonsils are by no mean superfluous is becoming more and more widely recognized and doctors are beginning to realize that they are organs which are of importance in the creation of the blood and that they are organs which fulfil important tasks in protecting and detoxicating the body and in eliminating matter which requires elimination.
The excision of the tonsils prevents this elimination, it interferes with tissue change, and with the expulsion of metabolic poisons. It therefore hampers the process of poison elimination, which is natural to the body and which we notice in numerous forms, such as critical and helpful diarrhoeas, curative sweats and eruptions, helpful vomiting, etc. Very likely the tonsils act also as organs for the regulation of the activity of the entire mucous membrane. Therefore we find that inflammation of the tonsils are always accompanied by stagnation of the lymph circulation. It is significant that diseased tonsils recover through the activation of the flow of the lymph.
The lymph circulation is of great importance to the health of the body, and the flow of lymph through the tonsils is one of the most important defensive mechanisms of the human body. Good health requires that the tonsils should function properly.
Numerous experiments have demonstrated clearly that the tonsils are important organs of elimination. If Indian ink is rubbed into the gums, it promptly is absorbed and it reappears in the tonsils which eliminates it. If the bacilli of tuberculosis are inserted into the tonsils of healthy calves, they are not infected because the tonsils destroy the bacilli. It therefore follows that the tonsils are not portals of entry for tubercular infection, as had previously been assumed.
On the other hand, it the bacilli are allowed to enter the lungs of calves, the calves become tuberculous and the bacilli are found in the previously healthy tonsils. This indicates that the tonsils take part in eliminating and destroying the germs of disease. At the Meeting of Specialists of Childrens Diseases at Innsbruck it was reported that an experiment had been made on a large number of healthy children in order to find out what would happen if active diphtheria bacilli were inserted into their tonsils.
It was found that all children thus treated remained healthy. This experiment deserves censure, but it proves that, as regards diphtheria, the tonsils do not act as portals of entry as has previously been believed but as organs of defence and of elimination against infection.
The work done by the tonsils is similar to that done by the lymph glands. By the formation of new white blood corpuscles and by filtering the stream of the lymph, the germs of disease, metabolic poisons, and the foreign bodies are arrested and are made innocuous in these structures. Tonsils and glands fulfil the same function, but there is this difference, that the tonsils are not encapsulated in connective tissue.
The tonsils can expand towards throat and mouth and their special formation with deep indentures and clefts, which number from ten to eighteen in each tonsil, makes it possible for the tonsil to get greatly enlarged if necessary. Foreign bodies, body toxins, germs, etc., which have been carried into the tonsils by the lymph stream can therefore be eliminated by way of the mouth, and thus the body is ridded of noxious materials. The celebrated Pastor Kneipp used to say “An able inn keeper throws out of the house who makes themselves obnoxious.”
The healthy body which is sensibly treated and which has healthy tonsils in possession of their natural equipment for protecting and detoxicating the body does not need surgical treatment if the tonsils on occasion should become enlarged. The tonsils should be cut out only in desperate cases when operation is absolutely necessary, as in cases of threatened asphyxiation.
Professor Kuttner wrote in the Medizinische Klinik, 1930, in an article on the treatment of inflammation of the throat: “Operations on the tonsils are indicated only in really dangerous cases when immediate surgical intervention is indispensable, when other methods have failed to relieve. In the first place the attempt should be made to cure the diseased tonsils.” He recommends cleaning septic tonsils by suction which has permanently cured them in many cases. The biological conception compares the tonsils with filters which have become foul through accumulation of residue upon them and it is clear that they should be cleansed if at all possible, but not destroyed.
That principle of treatment has become recognized as sound by all advanced doctors and by many specialists for childrens diseases, by specialists for diseases of the throat and by many surgeons. By careful examination and occasional cleansing of the tonsils by doctors, many disorders and diseases may be prevented both in children and in grown up persons, among them diseases of the heart, kidneys, joints, appendix, glands, blood, skin, measles, scarlatina, whooping cough, scrofulosis, which is apt to lead to tuberculosis, etc.
Besides, many disorders following upon the destruction of the tonsils might be avoided, among them diseases of the lungs, general sepsis, general swelling of glands, and other harmful sequels which are apt to follow excision of the tonsils, often only many years after the event.
As destruction of the tonsils is apt to have serious consequences earlier or later, operation should not be performed rashly. In each case it should be seriously considered whether a total or only partial operation should be done, and if part of the tonsils should be healthy, then the healthy portions should be left in the body. Of course in the case of tonsil trouble the body as a whole should be treated biologically by a vegetarian diet, air and water baths, and if necessary by a fast, with a view to cleansing the diseased organs, the blood stream and the body as a whole.