[back] John Christopher

Dr John R Christopher

Dr John Christopher A teacher and inspiration to hundreds of herbal practitioners and members of the public. The founding figurehead to the Association of Master Herbalists in the U.K.

'A Pioneer in the Art of Natural Healing'

Dr John Christopher was born in Salt Lake City on 25th November 1909. As a young child he wanted to become a doctor and told his mother

'I will be able to heal people without cutting them up, there will be natural ways of doing it.' A prophetic statement that would describe his life's passion.

When he was sixteen years old a 'different' type of doctor visited his sick mother. He was an iridologist and herbalist and John was fascinated, as the man prescribed wholesome changes in diet and gave his mother some herbal remedies. John told his mother "that's the kind of doctor I'm going to be when I grow up". He then worked to finish his high school studies.

Herbs and good food gave his mother a new lease of life but now chronically sick these came too late and John watched his mother die from complications of diabetes and Brights disease. He prayed for help that one day he would be able to save someone else from the agony his mother had endured, the mother who had lovingly adopted him and his siblings from a young age. John began to read many good books. One of them, 'The Doctrine and Covenants', spelt out the churches health code in a few brief paragraphs. He then vowed to follow the health code strictly, and developed for himself a diet of fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds.

As a young man with poor health the improvement in his health was staggering. In 1943 he began giving lectures to small groups of people interested in making dietary changes to improve their health. He married on 19th August 1944 to Wendella Walker who was an avid supporter of his ideas about health and a loyal companion throughout their marriage.

John became the only practicing herbalist in the US Army during World War II. After treating a soldier with 'untreatable' impetigo. From his experiences as an Army herbalist (as a conscientious objector he could not fight but was allowed very unusually to practice herbal medicine after 'proving himself' he created one of the most miraculous of his formulas, Bone, Flesh and Cartilage. He formulated it in capsule and ointment form so that healing could take place both internally and externally.

At last his military obligation was over and he left the army with the determination to learn all he could about herbs and to make the practice of herbology his life's profession. With the full support of his young wife, he traveled to Canada where he studied under the renowned herbalist Dr. H Nowell at Dominion College, and earned his Master Herbalist Degree. He returned to his wife in Olympia and set up his practice.

They later returned to Utah, where 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 this phase of his life he also found the time to complete a naturopathy degree from Iowa's Institute of Drugless Therapy, and a Herbal Pharmacists degree from the Los Angeles Herbal Institute. Because of legislation at this time he was forbidden to practice his healing art; and was time and again thrown in prison, fined and has to restart his clinics. So he had to give up for fear of not being able to take care of his family and therefore he had to abandon his patients that he loved. He did the only other thing he knew in order to carry on his work through legal channels; he began teaching.

It was in Salt Lake City that his School of Natural Healing was established, in 1953. It was eventually also established in England. At his peak, he lectured in more than one hundred and twenty cities in a year. His lecture halls were filled to capacity hundreds of people would squeeze in and outside the venues. In 1979 he began the publication of a newsletter, which went out to an international audience, spelling out the art of using herbs for healing.

Sadly as a man no longer very young, John Christopher tripped over a boulder covered by snow and stayed in a coma for 6 months before dying in 1983, this legacy is literally that he reached tens of thousands more people than he ever could in his humble practice.

He never took credit for a miracle. There were plenty of healings and some of them defied science. There were many that were indeed miracles, but John never took the credit for them. He told any who would listen that he never cured anyone. He gave the credit to the efforts of his patients, to the herbs and to the Lord.
Scores of his patients became herbalists. Many of his students practice today.

Though he is gone, his words live on. He was prolific in his final years, adding eight works to his original booklet on the words of wisdom.

Those interested in the art he practiced can read his words in these texts still in print:

  • Dr Christopher's Three Day Cleansing Program and Mucusless Diet
  • Rejuvenation through Elimination
  • The Cold Sheet Treatment and aids for the common cold
  • The Incurables
  • The School of Natural Healing
  • Herbal Home Health Care
  • Capsicum Regenerative Diet

At the time of his death, he had begun work on several other volumes, which his family faithfully finished in his memory.

Ref: 'An Herbal Legacy of Courage' by David Christopher M.H.