"I Don't Care If He Puts Horse Manure
on My Head"
A Prescription For the Mess Sergeant
It was the middle of a tumultuous decade, and the world was at war. In the most far-flung regions of the globe American soldiers waged a defense of democracy on the land, in the air, and on the seas. And at home in Salt Lake City, Ray settled into the happy routine of getting acquainted with his bride.
One afternoon a few months after he was married, the war invaded Salt Lake City. It came in the form of a draft notice on the Christophers' doorstep, and it reflected wartime's dire circumstances- they had drafted a nearly thirty-five-year-old man who had divorced and remarried, and who had two families to support.
When he reported for service, Ray requested the status of conscientious objector. With a life's ambition of preserving life instead of taking it, he had included a section about the taking of life in his Word of Wisdom booklet. He carried it with him to the examiners, presenting it as evidence of his unwavering beliefs.
"I'll serve my country with pride on the front lines," Ray told the examining officer. "I'll carry stretchers that can save people, but I will not carry a gun. I cannot kill another human being." Reluctantly, the examining officer assigned him the status of conscientious objector, along with a permanent rank. As long as he served in the army as an objector, he could never achieve a rank higher than that of private. Ray's commitment to principles proved to be one of the trademarks of his military service. Once during his brief stint in basic training an officer ordered that he carry a gun on night watch. "I do not carry guns," Ray replied, "As you can see from my papers. I'm a conscientious objector. I will not handle guns that kill." The commanding officer shrugged his shoulders and thrust a nightstick at the young private.
Ray slowly shook his head, "I refuse to carry a night stick, too, because you could kill a man with a night stick"
The commanding officer reacted with anger and ridicule, confining Ray in quarters under guard until the next morning, when he was tried for his stubborn rebellion. The officer hearing the case slapped his palm sharply on the table and shouted, 'This is one of the most ridiculous things I've ever heard! A conscientious objector who won't carry a night stick? What if everybody in the world felt as you do?"
"Then," replied Ray, with words that flooded suddenly into his mind, "there would be no war"
The examiner quietly sized up the young father and husband who sat before him. "That's the answer I needed," he said, scratching his signature across a small card. "You are a conscientious objector, and this card shows that you have my approval. Carry it with you always, and no one will challenge you again"
From Fort Douglas, Utah, Ray traveled to North Fort at Washington's Fort Lewis, where he was assigned to supervise a medical dispensary. It seemed to be a comedy of errors. John Raymond Christopher, a lowly buck private, issued orders to master sergeants who were pharmacists and staff sergeants who were therapists. Even the cleaning boy outranked him-he was a corporal! Under Major Shumate's direction, they all took commands from the private at the dispensary.
At first, Ray felt frustrated and angry. He had been plucked from a situation in which he taught hundreds of people the benefits of a wholesome diet and natural healing methods, yet here he was allowed to use only orthodox medicines for people he knew he could help much better in other ways. His knowledge of holistic healing had become extensive by the time he was drafted, and he desperately wanted to use that knowledge to help the soldiers he served with. Each time he tried to approach Major Shumate about herbal healing, however, he was firmly denied.
As frustrated as Ray was, he began to see some purpose behind his time at the dispensary.
First, he was able to see first-hand the effects of orthodox medications, and the futility of treating symptoms instead of causes. But most important, he had the chance to treat a soldier for a supposedly incurable condition, and it was a treatment that literally changed the course of Ray's life.
It happened one Monday morning, when the supervisors of the eight dispensaries were holding their regular meeting. They gathered that morning at Ray's dispensary, and settled down with note pads to discuss the various cases they were faced with.
"I want all of you to see one man before we release him from the army," Major Shumate told the dispensary heads. "I worked as a private dermatologist in New York for years, and I've never seen a case of impetigo contagiosa as severe as this one." Shumate explained the man's history. He had been hospitalized nine times with the condition. Each time it ran its course of thirty to thirty-six days, gradually clearing up, only to flare up again within days. Specialists from the eastern United State's most prestigious hospitals had treated the man with every known remedy, but nothing had worked.
With that, Shumate opened the door and gestured for the soldier, who was ushered in under guard. The other dispensary heads gasped with horror when they saw the soldier, whose head had been shaved as much as possible. Wherever the stubble of hair grew, the man's scalp was covered with a crusty scab nearly an inch thick.
Ray had treated quite a few cases of impetigo, but never one this bad. As he visually examined the man, he muttered, quietly, "What a beautiful case of impetigo!"
Shumate, who overheard his remark, slapped him on the shoulder good-naturedly. "You must be a natural doctor," he told Ray. "That's just how I see it, as one of the most amazing things I've ever seen. But, unfortunately, we have to release this man from the army ."
At that the soldier, who had maintained a demeanor of embarrassed silence, spoke up with passion. "I object to that!" he cried. "I came into this army a clean man. I caught this thing while I was here," he said, pointing at his blackened, crusty scalp. "Now you're asking me to take this filth home to my wife and children. I won't do it!"
"I'm sorry, but there's nothing more we can do," Shumate responded, quietly.
"We've done everything possible. We've used every cure medical science has to offer, and nothing has worked. We have to give you a release, but we'll make it an honorable discharge." "Wait," Ray interjected. "That man can be healed." Shumate whirled to face Ray. "Not some of your blasted herbs!" he spewed, and the other dispensary heads rolled their eyes and started to laugh.
"I should have something to say about this," the soldier cried. "I don't care if he puts horse manure on my head, as long as he heals me!"
Shumate paused, studied the man's scalp again, and agreed that Ray could try his treatment if the soldier agreed to sign legal papers releasing the government and the army from any liability. With papers signed, the soldier was checked into Ray's dispensary and placed under twenty-four-hour military police surveillance to guard against escape. As the meeting broke up, the other dispensary heads were curious.
"When will the big unveiling be?" one of them jeered. "Monday morning!" Ray snapped back, without even thinking. Then reality settled in-he had a week. Just one week. He was far from home, impossibly removed from the herbs he usually used. And in that week far from home, he had to heal the worst case of impetigo he'd ever seen.
Immediately he called a friend in Salt Lake City, a professor at the University of Utah whose backyard was sheltered by the spreading branches of a majestic black walnut tree. Ray explained his dilemma, and, even though the ground was covered with a blanket of snow, the professor agreed to gather the husks, take them to the army air depot, and have them transported overnight to Fort Lewis.
The next morning Ray cradled the walnut husks as if they were pure gold. They were sopping wet when they arrived-not the best situation. That wasn't the only handicap Ray faced. He had to put them in a base of 70 percent rubbing alcohol, because grain alcohol was not available through the army medical system. And that's not all. Instead of allowing the tincture to age for fourteen days, as he had been taught, he figured he only had about forty-eight hours.
He made the best of it, shaking the tincture vigorously every time he walked past it during those two days.
At last, he strained the tincture and made a compress that fit over the soldier's head like a football helmet. He secured the compress with adhesive tape. Then he instructed his aides that the compress had to be kept wet with the black walnut tincture twenty-four hours a day for the rest of the week. He wrote out a prescription, this time to the mess sergeant, that prescribed wholesome foods for the soldier to eat.
Monday morning arrived all too quickly, and with it one of the most harrowing times of Ray's life. The commanding officers and the dispensary heads met, and they sat on the edges of their seats, ready to ridicule the failure they knew would meet their eyes.
"Everybody ready?" Shumate asked in a mocking tone. He turned to Ray and asked, "Are you ready to show us your miracle?"
"I'm ready," Ray responded with quiet determination. "I haven't seen him yet, but we'll take a look."
The soldier was ushered in again by the guards, and Ray worked quickly but carefully to cut away the adhesive tape. As he lifted the compress off, the scab came off with it, and the soldier's scalp was as clean and pure as a baby's. The impetigo was gone, and had left no scarring.
The men gasped loudly. Major Shumate struggled to catch his breath. "I've never seen anything like this in all my days of practicing medicine," he cried. As the soldiers crowded around to get a better look, he took Ray aside.
"I've misjudged you. Private Christopher," he admitted. "From this day on, you have my permission to use herbs. In fact, you can set up a laboratory here. You're free to do anything you want with herbs as long as you are under my jurisdiction at Fort Lewis." With that proclamation, Ray became the only practicing herbalist in the United States Army during World War II.
Ray's black walnut tincture gained a widespread reputation, and he continued to use it to treat impetigo. He also used it in the treatment of two other stubborn conditions-fungus infection and jungle rot.
When word spread that Private Christopher knew how to cure jungle rot, his patient load multiplied tenfold. Ray eventually found that the black walnut hulls exacted an almost miraculous cure against a variety of other stubborn conditions, including scrofula, eczema, ringworm, shingles, and chronic boils.
From those experiences he created one of the most miraculous of his formulas, Complete Tissue & Bone. In it, he combined comfrey leaves with white oak bark, black walnut hulls, gravel root, marshmallow root, mullein leaves, wormwood, lobelia, and skullcap. He formulated it in both capsule and ointment form so that healing could take place both internally and externally.
And the healing did occur. Besides the black walnut hulls, which he had already proven, Dr. Christopher used herbs in the formula that dissolve calcium buildup, reverse the process of gangrene, and promote healing. Other herbs in the formula provide an excellent source of protein for tissue repair and other herbal "foods" for the entire system. Still others relieve pain and prevent infection, and skullcap helps tone and rebuild the nerves and spinal cord. The comfrey Dr. Christopher used in the formula causes rapid cell growth and repair of injured tissues.
Enthusiasts who began using the formula found that it was excellent for a variety of minor problems. It relieves and heals minor burns, prevents infection and heals cuts and abrasions, heals bruises and rebuilds hemorrhaging areas, relieves sore gums, and takes the pain out of bunions and corns.
A number of people, including Dr. Christopher himself, who have tried the formula on more serious conditions have found it remarkably effective against problems that traditionally resist treatment. It removes calcium deposits from around joints, relieving arthritis. A nurse in California used it to dissolve a bone spur on her heel, avoiding surgery. It heals skin cancers. It heals eczema, psoriasis, and other chronic skin conditions. It was such a case that led Dr. Christopher to initially create the formula.
Ray spoke of it often: a woman seized with panic came to his office early one morning. Hours earlier, she had thwarted her fourteen-year-old daughter's suicide attempt. In desperation, she had left the girl at home under the supervision of several neighbors while she came to Dr. Christopher for help.
The case she described was baffling. Almost three years earlier, the girl had developed a severe dermatitis characterized by thick, heavy scales that covered her face and neck, her arms and hands, and her legs and feet. The battalion of physicians, dermatologists, and allergy specialists who had reviewed her case were stumped-none had been able to even find a name for the condition, let alone a treatment. In her despair, the young girl began gorging herself with food. Her weight skyrocketed, and she believed that her only option was to end her own life.
Ray listened intently to the mother's story. As happened so often in his service to others, he found himself faced with an emergency. This mother, and her distraught child, did not have weeks to spare while he experimented on herbal combinations in a laboratory. He offered a quick, silent prayer for help, and, as he related it, "a formula came immediately to my mind." He hastily penned out the ingredients and sent the mother to an herb shop with instructions to combine them into both fomentations and a tea. As she left, clutching the written formula in her hand, he felt confident enough to promise good results.
Those results came. Four days after the frantic mother first came to his office, Ray received the first report- the scabs and scales were gone, and the girl's skin had what the mother described as a "healing glow." Six months later, she was a cheerleader at school and was enjoying all the social activities typical of girls her age.
Perhaps the most valuable aspect of Complete Tissue & Bone is its ability to heal wounds, even surgical incisions that have failed to heal. One middle-aged California woman took the capsules and applied the ointment to an abdominal surgical wound that had been draining for more than three years, and within seven days, it healed.
Not only does it heal, but Complete Tissue & Bone has been shown to actually rebuild and regenerate tissue. One of the first demonstrations Ray witnessed involved his own nephew. The five-year-old boy was a passenger in a car accident, and diligent relatives were able to hold onto him and keep him from falling completely out of the car. As the car skidded to a halt, however, he was dragged along the hot asphalt, and his small fingers were scraped to stubs as far as his first knuckles.
Ray gave the child capsules of Complete Tissue & Bone, and instructed his parents to make the herbals prepared with honey and wheat germ oil and apply generously to the fingers. Within two months, the fingers had healed; perfectly formed fingernails graced the tips of each one. When Ray next saw the little boy, he ran toward him and threw his arms around Ray's legs in a tight hug. "Look, Uncle Ray!" he shouted, spreading his hands out in front of him. "My fingers grew back!"
His was not an isolated incident. As Ray manned a booth at a convention in the northwest, a beautiful young woman approached him and said, "How do you like my fingers?" Ray admired her soft hands with their well-manicured nails. "Can you tell which finger was cut off?" she asked him.
Even with close scrutiny, he could see no difference, nothing that made one finger stand out over the rest. As she pointed it out, she told her story. Her finger had been amputated below the knuckle. She had used Complete Tissue & Bone, and the knuckle had regenerated. Gradually, all the bone and flesh filled in, and even the fingernail grew back, perfectly formed.
One of the most dramatic cases in Ray's career involved the main herbs in Complete Tissue & Bone and their unparalleled healing power. Two ten-year-old boys were playing with matches and gasoline when the innocent-looking puddle at their feet ignited and roared into flame. Both boys were severely burned. The surgeon who examined the boys at the hospital gave each set of parents the identical prognosis: the hands would either have to be amputated at the wrist and iron claws attached to both arms, or the boys could endure several years of painful skin graft surgeries. The surgeon was not encouraging, and even with years of skin graft surgery, he pronounced, they boys would have nothing better than mummified claws. While the iron claws could simulate finger movement, the mummified skin claws could never move like fingers.
One set of parents told the surgeon to keep the boy and begin operating; they wanted him to have at least a chance at "normal" hands, even if it took years.
The other set of parents shook their heads, told the surgeon they wanted to seek a second opinion, and left the hospital with their son.
They sought out Dr. Christopher. As he removed the gauze bandages that swathed the bums, he cringed at the sight of the badly charred skin, tendons, muscles, and nerves. Instead of concurring with the surgeon's opinion, however, he gave the anxious parents a thick herbal salve based on one of the primary herbs found in Complete Tissue & Bone- comfrey. He instructed the parents to keep a thick layer of salve, which also contained wheat germ oil and honey, spread over the burned area.
Within a week, the parents took their son to see the surgeon. He was dumbfounded as he examined the boy's hands. Less than a week earlier, they had been virtually destroyed by third-degree burns; now the surgeon classified the bums as first degree.
"What on earth have you been using on this boy's burns?" the surgeon queried. When the parents quietly told him that they had used an "old-fashioned remedy," he was emphatic. "I don't care what you've been using," he told them, "keep on using it. I don't think there's any need for surgery or skin grafting. I can't believe it, but I'm pretty certain that the hands will heal very well without any residual scar tissue."
The eventual outcome of the two cases confirmed Ray's belief in the power of herbal treatment. A year after the fiery flames of gasoline had licked at his hands, the first boy remained in the hospital. His parents had invested hundreds of thousands of dollars on extensive surgeries and skin graftings, and as the surgeon had predicted, he bore two mummified, unbending claws that were so unsightly he wore gloves to hide them.
The boy whose parents patiently spread the herbal salve over his burned hands had healed completely. The tendons, nerves, muscles, and flesh had been renewed, without any scar tissue. Even the fingernails had been restored. And their total investment was less than twenty dollars for the herbal salve that had promoted the healing.
There were other lessons that Ray learned as he served his country in the crowded dispensary at Fort Lewis. One was the love of his fellow man and the deep compassion that became an earmark of his later practice.
In particular, he felt tremendous sorrow at the way black soldiers were treated at the dispensaries. Hatred ran so rampant that these men often suffered physical agony in silence rather than endure the emotional pain of visiting the dispensary. Ray hadn't been at Fort Lewis long before word started to spread-he loved all people, and he treated blacks with the same tender compassion he showed to every soldier who passed through the dispensary. Within months he was seeing dozens of black soldiers every day, men who were blessed with relief for conditions that had plagued them for months.
Still other lessons were learned in the laboratory. With an endless supply of patients and the blessings of Major Shumate, Ray was able to discover first-hand the healing properties of many of the herbs he had until then only read about. It was at Fort Lewis, too, where he began combining various herbs into "formulas"-powerful mixtures that could be used to heal specific conditions. His formulas eventually became part of the singular legacy that he left mankind.
It was at the dispensary that he was able to spend quiet hours in the laboratory experimenting, and it was there where he began to discover the herbal combinations that could relieve his own serious health problems. One of the most dire was his high blood pressure and hardening of the arteries, conditions he had developed during adolescence that would normally have shaved years from his life.
From Ray's intent studies at the dispensary, he knew that his body was laced with thousands of miles of capillaries that branched from just more than a thousand miles of arteries and veins. With that knowledge, he started his search for an herbal food that could best nourish and rebuild his circulatory system.
That herb was cayenne. High in calcium and vitamin C, cayenne is one of the best foods for the heart. It helps restore and retain the elasticity of blood vessels, correcting or preventing hardening of the arteries and preserving the health of the circulatory system. Cayenne also works to equalize blood circulation and adjust blood pressure to normal.
Ray found that cayenne was even powerful enough to stop a heart attack in progress. In the more than thirty-five years that he toted his herb-filled black bag on house calls, he never lost a patient to a heart attack.
He remembered one woman who had suffered from an eighteen-year heart problem that had required powerful heart medication for more than seven years. She agreed to take the pungent cayenne that Ray offered her, and within months she was able to stop all medications. Even her stubborn varicose veins completely cleared.
Cayenne became the base for Blood Circulation, a formula that equalizes blood pressure and builds the health of the circulatory system. To cayenne, Ray added ginger, a second powerful stimulant. To these, he brought a combination of herbs that normalize blood pressure-parsley, golden seal, garlic, and Siberian ginseng root.
Ray himself provided one of the most dramatic examples of the effectiveness of Blood Circulation.
As mentioned, he was diagnosed early in life with hardening of the arteries and dangerously high blood pressure. Several doctors who examined him rendered the bleak prognosis that he would not survive beyond his early thirties. But he used Blood Circulation faithfully, as he did many of his formulas, and continued to eat the healthy diet he had prescribed for himself.
At the age of forty-five, a full decade beyond his predicted life expectancy, he was required to undergo a physical examination in order to enhance his life insurance coverage. The doctors who conducted the physical were astounded. Despite his early history, he had the blood pressure of a healthy teenager. Almost three decades later, just a few years before his death, a physician who examined him proclaimed that at seventy years of age he had the blood pressure and circulatory system of a vibrant young man in his twenties.
At last Ray's military obligation was over and, despite an invitation from Major Shumate to spend another tour of duty in the dispensary and to let the Army pay for his medical education, he declined and eagerly headed home to Olympia, Washington, to join his wife. John Raymond Christopher took with him a distinguished service record and the proud knowledge that he had helped countless soldiers who had been failed by the orthodox medical community. He also brought home with him the determination to learn all he could about herbs, and to make the practice of herbology his life's profession.
Published and distributed by:
Christopher Publications, Inc.
P.O. Box 412 Springville, Utah 84663
(801) 489-4254 (800) 372-8255
Copyrightę 1993 Christopher Publications
All Rights Reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without the permission of the publisher.
Printed in the United States of America
"Natural Healing with Herbs for a Healthier You"