by Tutti Gould, ND
As we follow Dr. Pam Taylor through her global travels, marriages, and extraordinary coincidences, we see her being led into natural medicine to save herself and those around her. Her mission: "the alleviation of pain and suffering" has brought her to the roots of humanity and early forms of Pure Nature Cure. She has compiled the wisdom accumulated from the influence of her father, a holistic dentist as well as from her own experience and that of naturopathic pioneers in her new book: "Simple Ways of Healing" (due to be published in late November). From her studies in medical anthropology, aromatherapy, and work with clay as an accomplished potter - she has developed an ability to have exquisite rapport with her patients. They feel very safe with Dr. Taylor as their advocate, protector and guide. She uses simple effective ways to bring them back home... to themselves. In Alaska and Guatemala she has had wonderful success teaching others to help their own families; this was the genesis for her book. A handbook we should all have within easy reach.
Dr. Pam Taylor is a naturopathic detective; she investigates her patients' pasts and tackles the root culprit of their illnesses, with remarkable results. "I like to dig around, and I love to tackle autoimmune diseases because their origins really fascinate me," says the young 58-year-old, who journeyed on different paths to come to where she is now.
As a teenager, Dr. Taylor had an innate interest in herbs and people, which led her into studying cultural and medical anthropology. "It's where I learned about medical and cultural practices of not only ancient peoples, but also indigenous peoples, information that came back to help me later on," says Taylor, whose heritage includes Lakota and Cherokee from her mother, and Danish and British from her father.
After graduation and studying architecture for three years, she reconnected with her long-time friend, Andrew, a British physicist, and they got married and returned to live in Britain in the early 1980's. "When I first met him he was playing rugby for the university and skiing and windsurfing. Then he came down with multiple sclerosis in Britain. By the time we got back together he had actually spent time in and out of a wheelchair." She had read in the New England Journal of Medicine that the myelin sheath of the nerves could regenerate itself, and she took action to give her husband what he needed to heal, which stopped the progression of the illness.
However, the real turning point happened when her father-in-law gave her a book on homeopathy for her birthday. "In that book there was a little section on tautopathy: using a homeopathic remedy that is made from a drug or a substance that may have caused the problem," says Taylor. During a seemingly innocuous discussion with her husband over the color of his briefcase, she wondered if he was color blind. "I looked up color blindness in Boericke's and one of the remedies was benzin [a neurotoxin but different to benzine], so I mentioned that to him and he got a funny look on his face and said that when he was in undergraduate school, he had been involved in a benzin spill in the lab. The symptoms of MS didn't come on for a couple of years after that, so no one had associated the two events."
Their homeopath ordered three doses of Benzin 30C from a local homeopathic pharmacist who succussed all his remedies by hand. "My husband had his first dose ofBenzin and had a 24-hour aggravation of his symptoms," she recalls. "From that point on he began to improve. After 18 months he was running a 6 minute mile." As it turned out, it was her color vision that was off. Her homeopath in Britain gave her one dose ofPhosphorus 30C, which resulted in a complete correction within 24 hours.
Inspired by her husband's recovery, Dr. Taylor decided to pursue medical studies at the National Centre for Naturopathic Medicine. "My first love was always homeopathy," says Taylor. "One of the reasons I went to NCNM is because, at the time, they had the better homeopathy track with teachers such as Steve Albin, Durr Elmore, Tom Kruzel, and John Collins."
After her naturopathic training, Dr. Taylor started her practice in Moline, Illinois. She sees her office as a sacred place where she tries to make the patients feel as comfortable as possible. "I want them to know that as soon as they come in the office I am on their side," she says. "I'm there to not only help them move forward in their health but also to watch their back as it were."
An accomplished potter, Dr. Taylor brings that same visceral, instinctive feeling into her practice. "When I am with a patient, I have this image of clay. When you are getting the clay ready for the wheel, you have to really prepare it and work it so that it's the right consistency to be thrown. Once on the wheel, it has to be centred, otherwise it gets pulled out of shape. So I have this image of my patients' vital force being off centre - it may have been knocked off by a traumatic event or it may have been pulled off centre by biochemistry, lifestyle, or diet - but that's the image I hold."
The origin of how her patients' vital force was un-centred is what interests her, for example Multiple sclerosis caused by years of alcohol and drug abuse, or rheumatoid arthritis with its roots in the trauma of years of incest at a young age, Dr. Taylor has found out the causes of her patients' illnesses and treated them with great success. But the successful remedy for one person cannot be repeated for another. "Everything I do in my office is very individualized," she says. "And sometimes more creative than perhaps my teachers at school would have liked to see! "
She has also found out what threw her own vital force (and color perception) out of balance. Before her naturopathic studies, Dr. Taylor suffered from severe allergies. While living in Arizona in the mid-1970's, she ended up with her left side bristling with jumping cholla spines in the process of rescuing a dog from a patch of the cactus. The consequence was a massive infection from the fungus that lives on the tip of the fish-hook spines. "I was having periodic bouts of blindness and pain, in fact the pain in my left arm was so bad I told the doctor that if he couldn't fix it to just take my arm off," she explains. "He injected me with large amounts of erythromycin, a hepatotoxic antibiotic that causes the liver cells to lyse. It wasn't long before I had a bloated abdomen, yellow skin and lost half my hair; I looked very bad. I'm not sure which was worse: the jumping cholla fungus or the effects of the erythromycin."
Dr. Taylor struggled with the after effects of this for years. The side-effects of the cholla and erythromycin were devastating, including bouts of anaphylaxis. "It wasn't until I was in NCNM that I found relief by implementing the results of the Carroll Test for food intolerances," she says. Constitutional homeopathy also played a part in resolving the problem. At the NCNM clinic she was given Sulphur 200C - her constitutional remedy. "I woke up with an oily sweat and feeling very nauseous," she says. "I took low potency Nux Vomica to relieve the side-effects of the aggravation. Within about three days I felt great - it was a new world. I now take Sulphur 10m or 50m occasionally to keep well.
Dr. Taylor has travelled to Alaska and Guatemala to give workshops on nature cure and homeopathy to the indigenous people. "In Guatemala, after the first weekend of a workshop on using indigenous botanicals, homeopathy, and cell salts, the staff of several orphanages reported that after implementing what they'd learned, they were able to reduce use of and the costs on their over-the-counter medication by 50 per cent."
Dr. Taylor's work in Guatemala and Alaska, as well as with her patients, inspired her to write a book for family health care entitled "Simple Ways of Healing," which focuses on accessible and affordable ways to be healthy. "It's based on my standard office handout with simple home remedies, simple things patients can do at home," she says.
She says that practising in an unlicensed state like Illinois has been a blessing in disguise. "I can't prescribe antibiotics, steroids, or hormones, so I have to use fundamental nature cure, which is one reason I like reading books on homeopathy and naturopathy that were written before World War 2 and the development of antibiotics. These practitioners did not have access to those tools yet - so they had to use nature cure." She says that in her 13 years of practice, she has had to refer only five or six patients to allopathic doctors.
She is hopeful for the future of naturopathy and homeopathy, but feels practitioners need to be proactive. "We need to keep our naturopathic medical schools strong," she says. "Our biggest mistake is being insular - it's important for us to get out and have a public presence. We need more naturopaths and homeopaths to write articles and speak with professional integrity." And the practitioners need to remember who they are working for. "It's always been the grassroots movement that has kept homeopathy alive, as well as the demand of people for access to homeopathy."
One of Dr. Taylor's dreams is to bring homeopathy into the ER. "Imagine how many people could be saved if they had Arnica 10M in the emergency wards and a little Phosphorus for the bleeding. If we could teach those emergency room doctors about four remedies it would make a huge difference," she says. With active practitioners like Dr. Taylor around, there is no doubt that this day will come.
With thanks to copyeditor Michelle Decary.
To order a copy of Dr. Taylor's book "Simple Ways of Healing" (due to be published in late November):
Call/ email..... www.midwestbotanicals.com, or call the office.
For an appointment with Dr. Taylor please call: 309-797-3271
Interviewer and Author of this article, Tutti Gould DC, ND, is a naturopathic physician living and practicing in Sutton, Quebec.