All the world is a laboratory to the inquiring mind – Martin H. Fischer. Martin Henry Fischer (1879-1962) a German-born American physician and author, is most famous for his teachings on the art and practice of medicine. He once said, “Here’s good advice for practice; go into partnership with nature; she does more than half the work and asks none of the fee.”

IN 1920 Percy George Weston, academically inclined son of a pioneering farming family, had no intention of partnering with nature by staying on the land. He was all set to enter medical school in Melbourne.

That year cattle duffers put an end to the young man’s dreams by snatching 300 of the family’s steers from Buffalo River and spiriting them across the mountains to be sold on the quiet in Gippsland.

His father’s financial reversal meant Percy was needed back home. And so he remained on the land for the next 80 years, growing tobacco and vegetables, propagating groves of walnut and chestnut trees, tending his orchard garden and attending to the needs of his flocks.

Problem solving

However, being passionately curious, he adopted an experimental approach to problem solving – observing and recording in diary form all the changes he saw in agriculture throughout the century.

Most notable of these were the agricultural practices introduced in the latter half of the 20th century and their impacts – the introduction of chemical pesticides and herbicides and widespread use of PKN fertilisers, including the increasing use of super-soluble superphosphate – that he concluded were contributing to diseases that had been rare in his boyhood.

Mineral balance

All this would be interesting, but it is his solutions which grab one’s attention, including the realisation that mineral balance is the key to harmony and health in the soil and in the body, and working out over the decades what his balance should be.

At the age of 97 Percy Weston published the first edition of his best-selling book, Cancer: Cause & Cure: Nature’s Secrets Exposed in which he documented how he turned his farm into his “living natural laboratory” in a way that Dr Fischer doubtless never imagined.

And in implementing his experimental approach and observing cause and effect relationships, Weston describes how he was able to bring about a remarkable turnaround in the health of his crops, his sheep and in the health of neighbors and immediate family.

Blessing in disguise

Considering the magnitude of the problems which he was forced to confront, “it now seems a blessing in disguise that I escaped the pipeline of a medical career,” he was to write.

“I mean that constricted system of clinical observations and double-blind trials, of testing and analysis far removed from the daily challenges of growing plants and nurturing farm animals.

“Had I continued unschooled in the ways of nature, there is no doubt I would have died many years ago from so-called natural causes.

“And in those shortened years as a doctor I would have dithered about trying to find cures for diseases that still baffle the medical world. I would have missed seeing the big picture.

“With my indispensable grounding in the sciences, I was providentially delivered into the complex, vibrant realm of nature. It was a realm in which important discoveries came about almost casually, so that the reader will be amazed how simple nature’s remedies turn out to be.”

Or, to quote another Fischerism, “Knowledge is a process of piling up facts; wisdom lies in their simplification.” Weston has the happy knack of vivid story telling and succinctness as he takes the reader on his journeys of discovery.

‘Curiosity has its own reason for existing’

Parts of the narrative are dramatic, such as his defiance of the doctors when, soon after his marriage, they demanded that his wife have a hysterectomy; and in relating how he cured himself of crippling arthritis.

He keenly felt the personal criticism and ridicule that came with disagreeing with the experts, but had the experience of hindsight in working with his father in organic agriculture to fall back on when he followed the experts’ advice and everything went wrong.

“The important thing,” as the great physicist Albert Einstein once remarked, “is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”

‘It is harder to crack a prejudice than an atom’

Percy Weston had theories about most things that he tested whenever he could.

Before his book came out he was especially frustrated that the authorities he contacted did not want to hear about the remarkable cures reported by some of the hundreds of people who visited his farm for advice.

This is perhaps best summed up by the memorable Einstein quote that “It is harder to crack a prejudice than an atom.”

Percy Weston was an identity in North East Victoria: leading horticulturalist, local historian, humanitarian. Einstein once said, “Few are those who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts.” I’m certain our author was one of these.

– ANDREW CARROLL

Andrew Carroll is managing editor of Bookbin Publishing Pty Ltd, publishers of  Cancer Cause & Cure by Percy Weston, now in its fourth imprint.

  • Cancer Cause & Cure is available from Acres Australia. RRP $24.95 + post. Phone 07 5449 9922 or buy online  Cancer Cause & Cure