My copy of Back to Eden is the Kloss Family Heirloom Edition, so it has a section of family photos and some history or background on Jethro Kloss and his life's work.
I first came to hear about Back to Eden through a woman and the nursing home where my Grosz'mama Kroeker was staying in the mid 1980s. We were talking about alternative health remedies and this woman, Mrs. Rempel, told me about plaintain which grew wild beside the sidewalks in Hague, my hometown. Since I lived there again, as my parents' live-in caregiver, I went out to look for this wonder plant. Sure enough! I could pick a shopping bag full in just a few paces along the sidewalks.
The next time I was at the nursing home I asked Mrs. Rempel where I could find out more about such herbs. She recommended I get a book called Back To Eden
My next trip to the city, I tried to find it in the usual bookstores, and second hand shops. No such thing. When I met that lady again, I reported this to her. She said to try the health food stores. I didn't normally think of them as selling books, but that's where I found it.
I have worn my paperback copy of Back to Eden ragged and need to go find a hardcover copy somewhere. However, then I'll lose a lot of my markings and margin notes. So I'm sort of ignoring the need.
From the forwards by his daughter, Promise, and Jethro himself, I realize that he wrote Back to Eden after he had already done most of his experiments and had tried out his remedies on many patients. He could say with confidence that what he suggested really works. The range of his topics are probably broader because of that.
After an introduction about his personal experiences, Kloss has chapters on soil, the history of medicine, fresh air and exercise, fasting, devitaminized, adulterated foods, fruit diets, meat eating, and foods and diets of course. But there's more; he writes about aluminum utinsils, cooking under steam pressure, the history of the water cure, and more about water effects and treatments, and its effects in sickness and baths.
You would think that's enough to fill a book already, right? Kloss goes further to cover compresses and fomentations, massage,
high enemas, nursing techniques, the eliminating diet, minerals found in the body, a large section on herbs and medicinal trees,
tonics, the treatment of diseases, and various food preparations. He was partial to oranges and potatoes, but had many recipes he
had especially devised to help sick people get well with healthy foods.
There is a another of his books published, called The Back to Eden Cookbook. I don't possess that one at this point, but I understand it tied together the recipes found in the original Back To Eden which I have.
His daughter Promise writes that her father was already working on Back to Eden in the early 1930s. She says,
"Requests poured in for his services as a lecturer and he traveled widely throughout the country, all the while refining and perfecting the manuscript for BACK TO EDEN - and all the while continuing personally to treat the sick, often taking them into his own home where they could have a proper diet and the necessary herbs and treatments.
"BACK TO EDEN was at last published in 1939, the fruition of much toil and sacrifice for many years by the entire Kloss family."
It is hard to say better what Jethro Kloss wrote about the general principles behind this book, so I will take liberty to quote some short passages.
About the need to dig for knowledge, and how to stay healthy:
"I wish to bring to the notice of the general public the untold blessings which our Heavenly Father has provided for all the world. It can truly be said, 'My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge." Hosea 4:6. A lack of knowledge based on truth is accountable for much of the untold sufferings and miseries of humanity. The advice contained in this book, if heeded, will save money, suffering, and often premature death.
"From practical experience, I explain how to be in health, mentally and physically. No matter how many germs get into the body, if the blood stream is clean and the blood corpuscles are in a healthy condition, you will be safe. Everyone comes in contact with many kinds of germs, but these organisms will not harm you or cause sickness and death, unless they have a place in which to propagate themselves."
Here's another quote from Back to Eden that rings very true with me;
"There is a wonderful science in nature, in trees, herbs, roots, and flowers, which man has never yet fathomed.
"All the science of ancient Egypt when it was in its glory, and the science of ancient Babylon when it was at its height, the wisdom of Solomon when he lived in obedience to God, and the science and knowledge of this enlightened age as taught in the colleges and universities, does not equal the science in nature, and yet it is little understood by the most intelligent people.
"God has provided a remedy for every disease that might afflict us. Satan cannot afflict anyone with any disease for which God has not provided a remedy. Our Creator foresaw the wretched condition of mankind in these days, and made provision in Nature for all the ills of man."
This is the kind of God I know and worship. He has provided for us, but all the new so-called medicinal research seems to ignore this vast area of knowledge. Fortunately, we can search it out for ourselves, thanks to the helpful books by men like Jethro Kloss.
At the beginning I read through the whole book, Back to Eden from front to back, but it didn't take long to
realize that I would never remember all it contains, so it has become a reference book for me. Most of the time I have owned it,
I start in the index at the back, and go back and forth to read all the pages that mention the herb or food I'm looking up. This way,
by learning about one herb quite thoroughly, drying and using it and confirming in my own mind that it has the properties and effects
Kloss describes, I am developing my herbal education.
Kloss seems to have had readers like me in mind when setting up Back To Eden.
There is a section of over 200 pages on herbs and their uses. In alphabetical order, they are described with their formal and informal names, and he describes what each condition each is good for as a remedy. Then there is another section of about 40 pages which lists specific diseases and problems, and which herbs to look for to help heal that condition. There is yet another longer section, almost 200 pages, on the Treatment of Diseases, where Kloss describes the causes of each problem, the symptoms, and how to correct it. I find this exceptionally helpful! I learned so much from the notes under Acidosis, Catarrh, Constipation, Colitis, and the diagrams and descriptions in the cancer section beat all I've seen anywhere else.
After all this comes nearly 100 pages of amazing recipes. Now, Kloss was more partial to soybeans than I am, so he has a number of recipes that use soybeans - for things like cream cheese and nut butters or cheeses. There are several recipes for vegetable roasts to create meat substitutes. Oatmeal and bran are key to some ways to make broths and water for the sick or just to give the body an easier time to rebuild itself. I like the section on vegetable soups too, and have learned to adapt and make my own, depending on what I have at hand.
I confess I don't always stick strictly to his rules about not eating fruits and vegetables at the same meal, nor do I follow his recipes perfectly (some ingredients are harder to find now), but there are useful ideas in the salads, puddings, wholesome desserts, and the breads.
Did you know that oranges are one of nature's finest gifts? A single large orange has the equivalent of a slice of bread or a glass of milk in food value for us, and because the nutrients are predigested they are ideal for invalids and the sickly. The juice of an orange has alkaline salts, which counteract a tendency to acidosis. This is a great benefit to those who have scurvy, beri-beri, neuritis, anemia or any other condition where the body tissues are bathed in acid secretions. If orange juice is drunk half an hour before breakfast it will stimulate the colon so that our digestive system is primed and ready to work. Orange juice is also perfect to quench a fever, or to rinse poisons more quickly through the kidneys.
All that and more besides the simple fact that it tastes delicious and quenches our thirst! Back To Eden is chock full of information like that. You ought to get your own copy and study it.