The Appendix – its function and necessity
Today, most people still consider the appendix to be a vestigial organ, one that is not totally necessary. In fact, most surgeons have this viewpoint and have been known to remove it during surgery as a preventive measure down the road since a chronically inflamed appendix can lead to appendicitis. If this condition is not dealt with properly, the appendix can burst and be considered a causal factor in death to the patient. This article is meant to correct the fallacy that the appendix is a non-functioning and non-essential organ.
The appendix is located to the right of the cecum just below the ileo-cecal valve which is the connecting valve between your small intestines and the five feet comprising your large intestines. It is technically referred to as the vermiform appendix and may be anywhere from one inch to six inches in length but is typically about three inches long. Through the entire center of the appendix is a channel surrounded by an infinite number of glands leading right into the cecum.
The hypothalamus in our brain is the control center of the appendix, being charged with the protection of our body. While most refer to the appendix as an organ, it is more accurately referred to as a gland. We must ask ourselves “why” our Creator put our appendix in this particular location. If you were to view a magnified cross section of the appendix, you would notice the infinite number of glands it contains. These glands in the appendix generate and secrete a powerful germicidal fluid that is automatically injected into the cecum but only when the waste matter coming from the small intestines through the ileo-cecal valve is potentially hazardous to the well-being of the individual.
Although medical textbooks minimize the importance of the appendix by referring to it as “[a]n apparently useless structure…”, it is actually the first line of defense for toxic matter leaving the small intestines and entering the large intestines. When the appendix is healthy and functioning properly, it is on alert for any toxic debris that is coming from the small intestines. By secreting a toxin-neutralizing fluid, this assists in the elimination of the waste in traveling uphill through the ascending colon, then into the transverse colon, descending colon and onto the sigmoid colon and out the rectum.
The latest medical research
Researchers at Duke University Medical Centre in North Carolina believe after an individual experiences a severe bout of cholera or dysentery, which can purge the gut of good bacteria essential for digestion, the appendix acts as a reserve for good bacteria to emerge.
Professor Bill Parker, professor of surgery at Duke, suggests that the appendix could be useful to the ‘good’ bacteria in our intestinal system by helping to ensure that it works correctly. The body contains trillions of cells and houses around 10 times that number of micro-organisms, most of which are found in the digestive tract. Our body has a symbiotic relationship with these organisms; they use our energy by digesting our food, and in return these ‘good’ bacteria help to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria — vital to the health of our digestive tract where 75-80 percent of our immune system is located. It is also important to note that the intestines have also been called the second brain of the body.
Professor Parker believes that the appendix may be vital in protecting the intestines from the ‘bad’ bacteria that can overtake the intestines. Basically, we could think of the appendix as a reserve or sanctuary for these vital microbes. This good bacteria can actually use the appendix as an area of rest from the severe and harsh environment in the gut. When stores of bacteria in the gut become depleted, good bacteria can then be released from the appendix to fill their place.
Although Parker’s theory sounds plausible, there has not been much in the way of supporting data. Until recently.
Value of Appendix in Intestinal Infections
James Grendall, chief of the division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, at Winthrop University-Hospital, led a study that seemingly backs-up Professor Parker’s theory. Grendall’s study included 254 patients each of whom had a history of intestinal infections allegedly caused by Clostridium difficile, a pathogen often encountered in hospitals, particularly when these patients were treated by prolonged courses of antibiotic therapy. C. diff., as it is commonly called, does not seem to compete well with the beneficial bacteria present in most people’s intestinal tracts; however, when the beneficial flora in one’s microbiome is depleted due to several rounds of antibiotic therapy, C. diff. will attempt to overwhelm the microbiome. Patients that remain on antibiotic therapy for long periods of time usually suffer from depletion of the good bacteria in their intestinal tract which makes it more difficult for the immune system to keep the overgrowth of C. diff. in check.
According to Dr. Parker’s theory, patients that still have their appendix should have a much better chance of fighting off C. diff by producing and sending more of the good bacteria into the intestinal tract. On the other hand, those who have had their appendix removed should be unable to release more protective bacteria stored in the appendix to replenish the gut, allowing for the proliferation of harmful microbes.
What actually happened was amazing. Out of the 254 patients in the study, those who did not have an appendix and consequently the bacteria stored there, were 2.5 times as likely to have a recurrence of the Clostridium difficile. Recurrence was likely to occur in 45% of cases when there was no appendix, compared to only 18% recurrence in individuals who did have one.
What many do not know is that the appendix produces and stores infection-fighting lymphocytes, cells that accumulate shortly after birth, then increases in our 20s and 30s and begins to decrease during the aging process. This lymphocyte tissue in our appendix encourages the growth of beneficial gut bacteria.
The appendix also has a critical function for the developing fetus – holding endocrine cells. These early hormonal bursts in a fetus help to establish homeostatic controls and metabolic processes that are necessary for normal development.
Clearly, a healthy appendix in those first few years can mean a healthier immune response throughout your entire life. Furthermore, as an adult, the appendix works as a sort of independent immune system that is able to more carefully neutralize potentially unwanted materials in the food that we eat.
However, if one eats a continual diet of pizza and hot dogs, etc., the appendix becomes over worked and toxic fermenting debris ends up sitting in the cecum. It is due to this chronic overwhelming load of toxic debris at the entrance to the large intestines that leads to a swollen, inflamed appendix. When the inflammation becomes serious enough to demand attention, it is known as appendicitis.
If this condition isn’t treated immediately with a high enema or colonic, the appendix can burst. This is why most people opt for the emergency room of their local hospital where they will likely wheel you into emergency surgery not only because the condition is painful, but also because a rupture of the appendix can release infectious materials into the body cavity and gastrointestinal system. This can lead to serious complications and infections, such as peritonitis, which can be deadly. If one takes the hospital route, you will wake up with no appendix and a continuation of the accumulation of toxic debris in the cecum leading to additional problems in the large intestines. Many naturalists have observed that once the appendix is removed, the next organ to be eliminated is the gallbladder that is located near the juncture of the ascending colon and transverse colon, known as the hepatic flexure.
Back in 2011 when I was working with Dr. Gary Tunsky as his assistant, a patient called who was recently admitted to a Florida hospital and had just been told she was suffering from appendicitis. Naturally, the doctors were anxious to schedule her for surgery. She knew enough from working with Dr. Tunsky that she wanted to keep her appendix if at all possible. I told her that there is a treatment she could do but she would need to leave the hospital immediately. She trusted me enough to leave against medical advice. I was able to send the following instructions to her email account. Outcome? She was able to save her appendix. After this experience, she went on to complete a 21-day cellular detoxification and rejuvenation program (recommended by Dr. Tunsky and similar to the one suggested below.)
What to do if you have Appendicitis
The treatment that Master Herbalist Humbart Santillo recommends verbatim in his book, Natural Healing With Herbs (p. 270):
Principal Therapy – heat dispelling, tonification
A. Internal: Undertake a water fast immediately. [no more pain pills…] Use myrrh/goldenseal capsules – two every 2 hours. Take echinacea tincture (20 – 40 drops in a cup of warm water) 4X daily. Alternate hot and cold fomentations over the appendix area. Clean the bowels with an enema made from warm water or slippery elm tea. [I would immediately get an appointment with a colon therapist for a colonic.] Drink a comfrey root decoction, two ounces every hour until the inflammation subsides.
Break the fast with two days of a fruit diet, then use the cleansing diet in this book. [Basically, a diet consisting of raw fruits and vegetable juices with 3 teaspoons of psyllium added to these fresh-pressed juices 3X a day.] Grapes, melons, apples, fresh ripe pears, and other seasonal fruits are excellent. Take one teaspoon of psyllium in juice or water three times daily for two weeks after appendicitis has ceased. [NOTE: I use a product called Perfect 7 that contains psyllium (seed and husk), 7 herbs, bentonite clay and Lactobacilius Acidolphilus.]
B. External: Castor Oil Packs
*Cold-pressed Castor oil [Home Health brand at Health Food Store.] Materials needed:
*Wool flannel cloth. Cotton flannel may be substituted, though wool is much preferred. Old wool socks, wool blankets, or woolen underwear may also be used. The size depends upon the area to be covered. When the material is folded into four thicknesses, it should be large enough to cover the area involved.
*Piece of waterproof material (wax paper, cellophane, plastic). Size should be a little larger than the area to be covered by the flannel.
*Hot water bottle.
*Bath towel. (Use an old towel, as castor oil may leak onto it).
*Sleeping bag or heavy blanket.
Procedure: Place the folded wool flannel in a pyrex glass or enamel baking pan. Pour castor oil over the cloth until it is well saturated. Heat the pan and pack in an oven at about 225 degrees Fahrenheit, being careful to get the pack no hotter than you can touch. The flannel tends to heat up quickly (5-10 min.) and you may burn it if you are not careful. You may put the pack on and apply a heating pad to avoid placing it in the oven. Lay down in a comfortable position and apply the heated pack to the area to be treated. Next, apply a waterproof covering over the pack. On top of this place a hot water bottle with a bath towel wrapped around the body to secure the water bottle and pack in place. Cover everything with a sleeping bag or heavy blanket to insulate heat.
The pack should remain in place for at least an hour, preferably from 1½ to 2 hours.
The skin should be cleansed afterwards to avoid a rash, which affects some people, and because the oil will leave your skin very greasy. To clean castor oil from your body (or any surface where it is spilled) use a solution of two teaspoons baking soda to one quart of water.
Store the pack in a baking pan or a plastic bag and reuse. A pack must never be washed! Castor oil is impossible to wash out of cloth. To reuse, just add additional castor oil as it dries out from use. A pack can last up to six weeks. Use your pack only on yourself. For general use it is desirable to use the pack three or four nights consecutively and then not use it for three nights. Then begin the cycle again.
Castor oil packs are a fairly simple procedure when done carefully and methodically. Be very careful not to spill the castor oil on sheets or rugs. If you should spill any, however, a concentrated solution of baking soda and water is the best way to clean it up.
To understand the power of cold-pressed castor oil, read Castor Oil: The Palm of Christ
- Walker, Norman W., Colon Health: The Key to Vibrant Life, O’Sullivan Woodside & Co., 1979.
“Please remember that medical doctors are programmed to believe that humans have an excess of organs and a deficiency in drugs, including vaccines.”