Our ancestors used food to prevent and heal disease, and to maintain their natural functions. They did not have the benefits of scientific studies, but they did have the benefits of experience, knowledge that was passed down from father to son, mother to daughter, master to apprentice.
Organs As Medicine
Cultures as diverse as the ancient Chinese, ancient Greeks, many African tribes, and Native Americans connected the eating of a certain animal, and body part of a certain animal, to heal and benefit various organs and parts of the body and mind. This practice continued into the twentieth century, with some medical doctors using some of these traditions to help their patients.
There is a logic to this practice, as the nutrients the animals needed to maintain and nourish their organs were likely to be found in that particular organ. Scientific research has confirmed that organ meats are very rich in vital nutrients. I do not know of research that has supported the idea that eating the particular organ of an animal would prevent or heal disease in the same organ of the person who ate it. Of course, modern medicine does not use these methods, relying mainly on drugs, surgery, and radiation.
Some examples are as follows:
- Eating the heart of a strong, healthy animal was believed to help maintain the health and strength of the human heart. The Native Americans placed special value on the heart of a young stag, for this purpose. In the early twentieth century, some doctors in the U.S., used to advise patients with heart problems to eat beef heart as a way to strengthen their own heart.
- Many peoples believed it was beneficial to eat the brains of an animal, and that this would make them more intelligent and sharpen their minds.
- The liver was particularly prized, all over the world. Hunters would often eat the raw liver of their kill on the spot, as it was felt to be the most beneficial at that time. The hunters would divide the raw liver among themselves, so all could get the benefits. It has even been documented that the first part of the prey eaten by a predator, such as a lion, is the liver. Eating the liver was believed to make the liver of the eater stronger, and to purify and cleanse the body. Science has confirmed that cleansing and detoxifying the body is the function of the liver. In fact, the custom of eating liver regularly, at least once a week, was common in Europe and the United States up to the middle of the twentieth century.
- Many peoples believed that eating the eyes of an animal, particularly an animal known to have keen vision, would help their own eyesight.
There are many other examples, but the general idea was that eating a particular organ of a healthy animal would help the same organ in the human who ate it. Every traditional society who did this was careful to only eat healthy organs, from healthy animals. If the organ appeared diseased, or even discolored, no one would eat it.
I make it a point to regularly eat liver, kidney, and heart from grassfed cows. I should mention that all of these organs seem to be functioning perfectly, and give me no discomfort or trouble. You can do this without much work, if you get the magnificent liverwurst from US Wellness Meats, which contains high-quality liver, heart, and kidney from grassfed cattle, in the form of a sausage that is very easy to eat.
Disclaimer: Information found on the Tender Grassfed Meat site, including this article, is meant for educational and informational purposes only. Any statements or claims about the possible health benefits conferred by any foods or anything else have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. None of the content on the Tender Grassfed Meat site should be relied upon for any purpose, and nothing here is a substitute for a medical diagnosis or medical treatment.