Why Suffer. How I Overcame Illness & Pain Naturally
a book by Anne Wigmore
Foreward by Robert Mendelsohn MD
Why Suffer. How I Overcame Illness & Pain Naturally by Anne Wigmore [whale copy]
The change was remarkable. I came to have more energy than I ever remembered having. My weight returned to what it was in my early twenties, and my hair, which had begun to grey, returned to its normal brown color.
She looked upon all abnormalities as the peculiar characteristics of the particular body involved. So on numerous occasions there would be smallpox, diphtheria, and typhoid sufferers in adjoining bunks of the great room and although my body was not yet strong, my grandmother would keep me in my bunk during the day, convinced that there was no danger. Her belief proved correct, for though the smallpox, diphtheria, and typhoid victims were all housed in bunks adjoining those unfortunates who were incapacitated by wounds, neither I nor any of the latter contracted these diseases.
Even the soft food I was eating burned my gums and brought blood to the surfaces around my teeth. In the end, disheartened and racked by toothaches, I sought a local dentist without consulting my father. The dentist removed four of my back teeth as having rotted too much to save. Yet when I had arrived in America, there was not a cavity in my mouth, and my teeth were perfectly aligned, thanks to the care of my grandmother. Perhaps that disaster of losing my four back teeth (my grandmother had a perfect set despite her age) made me realize that the wonderful-tasting food of America was not healthful. For the first time I began to understand what the old men, friends of mine along the route to the hogpens, meant when they said I would soon wish the coarse dark bread of Europe was the staple article of food in Middleboro. The freshly threshed and ground whole grain, made into sunbaked, chewy, flavorful loaves; and the freshly made butter from raw goat's milk, had contained something vital to health that was missing from the soft, sweet, white breads and pastries of America.
Actually, almost fifty percent of the elderly women and men I would meet on the streets plodded along unsteadily on their feet or leaned on heavy canes. Everyone would have a story of personal ill health or some harrowing tale of relatives or friends battling against sickness at home or in hospitals. What was even more distressing was that nobody seemed inclined to look ahead for contentment and a serene and happy old age. Apparently, almost everyone was resigned to facing almost innumerable sieges of illness as the years progressed. Ostensibly, all were comforted by the fact that through the high-priced insurance they were buying, ample provisions would be made for their future hospitalization, doctor's fees, and nursing care. The lack of hope for the continuance of even reasonably good health in the days to come astonished me. They seemed to have no idea that the care of their body was an individual responsibility.
I decided to concentrate my efforts upon a few, easy-to-recognize weeds that grew in abundance everywhere. Luckily, my supply of weeds was practically unlimited. In vacant lots, close to my apartment-house home, where outcropping of rocks or piles of rubbish prevented anyone from having even a make-shift garden, I found a large variety of vegetation. These hardy growths were fighting for life against huge odds and the books told me they were loaded with nutrients. In due time, after days of trial and error, I brought together a drink that brought vigor to my muscles, weight to my body, and alertness to my mind. I began to realize that slavery to the kitchen stove and the sink of dirty dishes and greasy pans could be cast aside forever
Finally, an incident arose which brought all my doubts concerning the immediate use of this almost inexhaustible weed food supply to a head. Seated in my bedroom the following evening I opened my Bible to the Book of Daniel in the Old Testament, at the Fourth Chapter, Verses 31 and 32. Here I read that the dissolute King, Nebuchadnezzar, losing his mentality and his physical well-being, was instructed by a voice from Heaven to go into the fields and "eat grass as did the oxen.'' The monarch followed this advice and in time regained his throne, his spirituality, and his physical health.
"Well, Ann, during my fifty-odd years as a soil analyst in New Zealand, Canada, and the United States, my first test of a grass is to put some in my mouth and chew it to taste the flavor. Remember, grass is the only vegetation on the face of the earth that will healthfully support an animal from birth to a prime old age. I am surprised that more attention has not been given to this kind of vegetation as a food for human beings. There is an attorney in Kansas who, with his wife and three small children, lived for over three years exclusively on grass. I do not know what kind he used, but I will dig his name out of my files and you may write direct. Then that woman walker from England, who plans to walk from Los Angeles to New York, advertised to the world that her primary sustenance would be ordinary grass. The newspapers looked upon the story as sensational publicity-seeking and then forgot all about it.
"Wheat!" he said. "I should have guessed it. That grain fills the store-houses of the civilized world. It is the sole agricultural product that has come down to us from the tombs of the Early Egyptians." After finding this quick-growing, vital grass to be one of the richest in vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, I chose to work with it alone. And so wheatgrass, the green sprouts of ordinary wheat, in which Nature collects the life-giving rays of the sun, the nourishment of the air and the minerals from the water and the soil, at that time became a part of the plan. It brought into my hands a simple, home-made food beverage which subsequent events suggested was capable of helping Mother Nature to mend shattered health and to extend the span of life.
After several trials, I found to my surprise that the wheat grown in the shade outdoors under reflected, rather than direct, sunshine brought forth the sturdiest stalks, with better color and rootlets more matted and wide-reaching. The superiority of shadegrown wheatgrass to that where the direct sunlight beat upon it seemed evident. I also found that the juice extracted from sturdy, round-stemmed, shade-grown wheatgrass was sweeter and had a more pleasant aroma.
Through the assistance of a dedicated woman, Mrs. Evelyn Hoppe, I gave a
little talk at a South Boston men's club where my informant assured me there were "loads of incurables
just sitting around waiting to die." Much to my surprise, finding those individuals was easy. A
brief announcement during my talk brought a small crowd around me a few minutes later, each one describing
the reasons for his chronic ill health. Some seemed proud of their designation of being beyond help,
and all were anxious to become part of the plan for their own sake and for other sufferers throughout
the world. But then I described in detail the nature of the program I had worked out, using the green
chlorophyll juice of the wheatgrass.
With that aim in view, I laid out what my friends later humorously called, "Ann's Wheatgrass Route." I found I could handle at least a half score of these so-called incurables each day, taking the freshly-made wheatgrass juice to their homes. Many of these unfortunate men and women were actually bedridden, weak, emaciated, and unable even to make the journey down the often rickety stairs. But I took each one in turn, talking with him, listening carefully as each recited his story, and emphasized that as long as the spark of life was still within the body, there was not only hope for improvement, but possibly permanent relief from pain. Of course, in the beginning my words were met with skepticism, but as the weeks passed these individuals began to feel the effects of the wheatgrass. They found that their aches and discomforts were lessening, and their cynicism changed to anticipation. Instead of being something that must be endured, my daily visits became joyful occasions
With very few exceptions, I saw them every day, giving each one a drink of freshly-made wheatgrass juice and watching the amazing results. I use the term amazing because what was accomplished was not merely the bettering of the nourishment of these individuals—it was far more than that. There was the bringing of hope and a new interest in life to each one of these human beings, who for the most part lived on meager pensions and were putting up fights not to be thrown into some old age home to await death. My visits, showing an interest in the welfare of each, bringing a smile, a cheerful greeting, and assurance of my belief that God was also there to help, seemed to instill new courage. I was made aware of a deep awakening inside those frail bodies by the gleam which came into their eyes. It was the combination of my encouragement plus the minerals, vitamins, and trace elements in the wheatgrass juice that enabled each of them, at this late stage in their existence, to increase the strength and stamina which they had thought were gone forever. During the year I personally ministered to dozens of these helpless, despondent human beings. As I look back upon the experience I can truthfully state that in not a single instance did this combination of physical and spiritual help fail to bring improved health.
At this time the wheatgrass route included a multiple sclerosis victim. This
little woman had existed miserably in bed for months. She viewed each passing day as a mere step closer
to the inevitable, when I began furnishing her regularly with the wheatgrass juice. Within a month this
sufferer, was out of bed, taking short walks, and, for the first time in years, visited a beauty parlor.
"My prayers have been answered," was her choking comment, as new hope rose within her.
At the time of this wonderful improvement, there was in another part of Boston a stooped, elderly man in the throes of what is medically known as emphysema. Often gasping for breath, writhing miserably under tons of weight which seemed heaped upon his chest, he felt the dismal climax to be a mere matter of months. Here again, the wondrous combination of the nutrients of the wheatgrass juice and a new outlook seemed to work a miracle. The unfortunate man straightened his body for the first time in many years and began to walk unassisted. As he glowingly expressed it, "A new force seems to be welling up inside of me. It is wonderful." Soon, he was beginning to figure out how he could once more become productive, a condition which a few months earlier seemed to have vanished forever.
And just a few blocks away in a dismal room, the wheatgrass juice drink was being taken regularly by an arthritis sufferer, a middle-aged man with badly swollen ankles, knees, and elbows. He was unable to leave his quarters. Without friends, undernourished, his body afflicted with almost unendurable spasms of pain, the only relief seemed the inescapable doom ahead. Yet the regular drinks of wheatgrass juice, coupled with a fresh vegetable meal each evening, brought startling results in a few weeks. The man hobbled from his room, began to bask in the sunshine, and greeted his astonished acquaintances.
In his enthusiasm, he ferreted out the living quarters of the man with emphysema, whom I had mentioned. Here, to his great delight, was a friend of other days. Their reunion was a wonderful inspiration for each. In ecstasy, the arthritic pleaded with me for an opportunity to tell others of his recovery. Thus, one morning, he joined me on the daily wheatgrass route. When he met the multiple sclerosis victim he clasped her hand with a shout of delight; she was another old friend of the musical days, long gone. After seven years of individual wanderings and privations, the trio was back together again. In time, the concert pianist afflicted with emphysema, the multiple sclerotic soprano, and the arthritic basso pledged the remainder of their lives to the aid of others.
It might also be well to relate another miracle—this time, the story of a woman in her seventies, who had been a registered nurse, and who had fallen victim to ulcers that would not heal. She was a resident of a public nursing home in Boston. She had been an invalid for a long time and was so badly off her doctor and public officials were already making plans for her burial. She was suffering with ulcers in several parts of her digestive system and with running surface eruptions as follows: one an inch deep and inches across on the back of her neck and two additional oozing sores on her forehead and right arm.
These had not healed in years. Convinced that what she had prayed for was near, she asked a friend to bring her a minister. In that capacity I was called. While I had been told of her serious condition, I was actually unprepared for the hopeless, helpless, disheveled sufferer I found. For weeks the poor creature had literally lived in a straitjacket, seated in a chair, her arms tied to its arms so she could not scratch her terribly itchy sores. Immovable, her life had been truly a living death.
I acted quickly. That afternoon I visited the city welfare officials and received their consent to move her to a place where I could visit her regularly and see to her comfort. An ambulance made the change the following morning. Through her adoption of the simple diet and taking the wheatgrass juice regularly, the itching was alleviated. This made possible the freeing of her arms. Her improvement, which soon became more evident, was both physical and mental. During the first week on the wheatgrass regimen she was able to sit upright and smile, the first smile in many months, according to an astonished and delighted friend. Her mental discouragement vanished. She looked ahead hopefully. Within a month the running sores on her forehead and arm healed. The angry one, an inch deep on her neck, was slowly scabbing over.
It was in August, 1961, shortly after I had taken possession of The
Homestead, that a dispirited looking man, with drawn features and the typical chalk-like cancer skin, was
brought to me by his wife. Head drooping, he sat in an easy chair, while she explained the situation.
She said that back in 1957 doctors in the Beth Israel Hospital in Boston had
told them that he had leukemia. They explained he might live for a year or so through rest and very
careful medical treatment. He quit work as advised, but despite that and the use of medication he had
gradually failed. She went on to say that while her husband received medication during the past
few years she took him to the hospital periodically for check-ups. Yesterday she had had a terrible
shock. Observing her husband's weakness, the doctors had told her privately that she must prepare for
the inevitable. And in some manner, her husband had caught the import and collapsed in the car on the
That night, a neighbor had given her a leaflet describing the successful use of wheatgrass and they had come to try this method. I explained that wheatgrass juice was mere nourishment, not a medicine, and could cure nothing. But it apparently helped Nature rebuild the body. I showed the woman how to grow wheatgrass, and thanking me for my gift of seed, the couple left.
About six months later, on Tuesday, February 19th, the same car stopped in my driveway and an elderly man sprang out, ran up our front steps, and burst into the house. "You don't know me," he exclaimed with a laugh, holding out his hand. "I'm the human wreck who slumped into that chair there when my wife brought me here last fall."
I could hardly believe it. The chalk-like skin was gone, he was pink-cheeked, spoke with vigor, and his eyes were shining. His wife had suggested he come to tell us that he had gone back to work the previous day, the first time in seven years. He told how his wife had planted the wheat seed the very afternoon they arrived home, and within a week was giving him four drinks of wheatgrass juice a day in addition to the other necessary dietary changes. On January 20th he had felt so good that they had gone down to the Beth Israel Hospital for a re-check. The doctors appeared puzzled by their findings. They conceded he looked healthy, carefully studied his old charts, and examined him with interest, but made no comment. He thanked me again and left, and on his next visit, four months later, showed continued
improvement. There seemed to be no sign of leukemia.
He became interested in natural methods for achieving health. About April of that year a sheet showing what the simple diet and the wheatgrass juice was doing for others, came into his hands. The regimen seemed logical to him as his own physical condition had become noticeably better when he had increased his use of organically grown vegetables and fruits. He decided to try wheatgrass and planted a large area of wheat seed. Within seven days he had ample wheatgrass for his purpose. Then came the test. He stopped his insulin and drank two large tumblers of wheatgrass juice with water, and he did this each day for six weeks. His new vigor and increasing optimism sent him hurrying to his regular physician at the end of twenty-one days. His doctor could find no trace of diabetes. But of course, John and the physician could not be sure. So for the next month and a half weekly tests were made which disclosed the sugar content of his blood to be normal, indicating that he was receiving all the insulin from his pancreas that his body required. In the several months John stayed at The Homestead, his tests for diabetes were negative. And following his departure, the same condition held true.
Sufferers with kidney troubles who have tried the diet and the wheatgrass juice also find it beneficial. Malfunctioning kidneys are an extremely serious problem. It may be that something has clogged the tiny fiber-like tubes of the sensitive organs and only Nature, supplied with the nutrients she requires to "swab out" the thousands of minute passages, can once again free the intricate mechanism so it may run properly. The diet and the wheatgrass juice have proved to be successful cleansers of the kidneys.
Then one morning I had a great awakening, when I suddenly realized that I was using my own conviction as to how this problem should be met, instead of asking God what I should do. It came as a sort of inspiration, a brilliant flash that suddenly lighted up my entire being. I returned to my room, closed the door and prayed, not for healing, not for anything but wisdom, to be shown what I should do.
But the experience was valuable to me. It demonstrated that while faith healing might be a most essential part of one's religious belief, there were instances where medical help must be sought. When there are broken bones, it is far better to allow an expert to re-set them than for the sufferer to try to accomplish this purpose through prayer. Where there is a cut artery or a severed vein, skilled assistance is required. I could enumerate scores of instances where a common-sense procedure should take precedence over religious means. The skill of a well-trained doctor can often make the difference between life and death, between a sound body and a crippled one, between comfort and discomfort.
Simple, uncooked foods such as fresh vegetables, greens, fruits, sprouted
seeds, grains, beans, and nuts, along with pure liquids such as fresh vegetable juices, fruit juices, and
"green drinks" made from a variety of sprouts, greens, and vegetables, are nutritious yet light on
In my years of working with this simple diet, I have observed that after following such a diet for a number of weeks, many people notice the disappearance of nagging problems they had lived with for months or years. Blocked sinuses open up, sleep is deeper and more restful, aches and pains are relieved, excess weight is quickly shed, the eyes become brighter, and facial stress disappears.
After a few months on the diet, the development of an entirely new attitude is not uncommon—one that reflects self-confidence in matters of health, rather than submission and dependence on others. In fact, if my years of training and experience in working with thousands of people have proven one thing, it is that we can learn to control our level of health and the course of our lives if we choose. The building up of this degree of self-reliance may take some time, but it is well worth the effort and the wait.
In this fast-paced world it is too frequently the case that people accept what society, family members, and the authorities whom nobody ever seems to question, believe regarding how to live their lives. And yet, the happiest people I know have been those who have accepted the primary responsibility for their own spiritual and physical well-being— those who have inner strength, courage, determination, common sense, and faith in the process of creating more balanced and satisfying lives for themselves.