I enjoyed reading a lot of the quotes and accounts of healing and health from the pioneer times that were captured in this book: Joseph Smith and Natural Food by John Heinerman. I didn't care for, nor read all his commentary, but the original quotes and journal entries were enlightening. Here are some of my notes and thoughts….
Brigham Young's Composition Tea (used regularly and as medicine)
Ezra Taft Benson
“To a great extent we are physically what we eat… What needs additional emphasis are the positive aspects - the need for vegetables, fruits, and grains, particularly wheat. In most cases, the closer these can be, when eaten, to their natural state - without over
refinement and processing - the healthier we will be. To a significant degree, we are an overfed and undernourished nation digging an early grave with our teeth, and lacking the energy that could be ours because we over-indulge in junk foods…we need a generation of young people who, as Daniel, eat in a more healthy manner than to fare on the ‘king’s meat’ - and whose countenances show it.”
"The saints should use wisdom, and this is wisdom--if a cup of tea will stop a chill and fever, use it, but only to drive away the seizure."
My comment: I believe this is in direct reference to green tea, since there was a bunch of confusion when the Word of Wisdom came out and people were getting all crazy throwing out teapots and such. And Joseph came out and said they didn’t need to be so letter-of-the-law and that they can still use their teapots for others things. Also, he took herbal infusions when he was in need of general medicine. And he even had to tell Sidney Rigdon to lighten up because Sidney was being way too strict that he wasn’t able to get over the same sickness Joseph Smith had, until he felt justified when Joseph used some herbs recover. So then he went out and bought some and recovered too.
It is interesting to note that when we are told "strong drinks are not for the belly" it can be taken quite literally. Tannic acid is found in green and black tea leaves (as well as in very fermented wine, oak bark, etc.) and is too strong for the stomach lining in our bellies if taken on a regular basis. Hence they are used only for a specific purpose and short duration if needed. And as a point of clarification for those not familiar with "teas"...Herbal teas don't have tannic acid.
*You can Read my post about herb tea vs. green and black tea.
“If you observe faithfully the Word of Wisdom, you will have your dollar, your five dollars, your hundreds of dollars, yea, you will have your hundreds of dollars to spend for that which will be useful and profitable to you. Why should we continue to practice in our lives those pernicious habits that have already sapped the foundation of the human constitution, and shortened the life of man to that degree that a generation passes away in the brief period of from twenty-seven to twenty-nine years?
The strength, power, beauty and glory that once adorned the form and constitution of man have vanished away before the blighting influences of inordinate appetite and love of this world. Doubtless we are about the best looking people today upon this footstool, and about the healthiest; but where is the iron constitution, the marrow in the bone, the power in the loins, and the strength in the sinew and muscle of which the ancient fathers could boast? These have, in a great measure, passed away; they have decayed from generation to generation, until constitutional weakness and effeminacy are bequeathed to us through the irregularities and sins of our fathers. The health and power and beauty that once adorned the noble form of man must again be restored to our race; and God designs that we shall engage in this great work of restoration. Then let us not trifle with our mission by indulging in the use of injurious substances. These lay the foundation of disease and death in the systems of men, and the same are committed to their children, and another generation of feeble human beings is introduced into the world. Such children have insufficient bone, sinew, muscle, and constitution, and are of little use to themselves, or to their fellow creatures; they are not prepared for life, but for the grave; not to live five, six, eight and nine hundred years, but to appear for a moment, as it were, and pass away.
Now, when a person is fifty years of age he or she is considered an old man or an old woman; they begin to feel decrepit, and think they must feel old, appear old, and begin to die. Premature death is in the marrow of their bones, the seeds of early dissolution are sown in their bodies, they feel old at fifty, sixty, and seventy years, when they should feel like boys of fifteen, sixteen, and seventeen. Instead of feeling decrepit at those years they should feel full of strength, vigor, and life, having attained to early maturity, prepared now to enter upon the duties of a long future life, and when two hundred years have been attained, they should then feel more vigorous than the healthiest of men do in this age at forty and fifty years…”
“Everything has become degenerated from what it was in its primitive state; ‘God made man pure, but he has found out many inventions.’ His vices have become innumerable, and his diseases multiplied; his taste has become vitiated, and his judgment impaired; he has fallen - fallen - fallen, from that dignified state that he once occupied on the earth; … he knows where disease is seated, and what is the cause of it; - he is also acquainted with the spring of health; the balm of Gilead - of life; he knows what course to pursue to restore mankind to their pristine excellency and primitive vigour, and health; and he has appointed the Word of Wisdom as one of the engines to bring about this thing, to remove the beastly appetites, the murderous disposition and the vitiated taste of man; to restore his body to health, and vigour, promote peace between him and the brute creation, and as one of the little wheels in God’s designs, to help to regulate the great machinery, which shall eventually revolutionalize the earth, and bring about the restoration of all things, and when they are restored he will plant ‘the tree of life, whose leaves shall be for the healing of the nations.”