John Henry Tilden

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John Henry Tilden
Born (1851-01-21)21 January 1851
Van Burensburg Illinois
Died 1 September 1940(1940-09-01)
Denver, Colorado
Nationality American
Fields Medicine

John Henry Tilden (1851 – 1940) was a United States physician, son of Dr. Joseph G. Tilden. He was born in Van Burensburg, Illinois, on January 21, 1851. He first studied medicine under the supervision of his father, and by the age of seventeen, in September, 1868, he entered the office of Dr. J. Fellows, of Nokomis, Ill., and continued his studies for another two years. He graduated from the Eclectic Medical Institute of Cincinnati on May 21, 1872 and began his own practice at Nokomis, for eight years. While there, in the spring of 1877, he took a post-graduate course at the American Medical College at St. Louis, Mo.

In 1879, Dr. Tilden moved to St. Louis and was engaged for two years as lecturer in anatomy and physiology at a medical college there. In 1881 he moved to Litchfield, Ill. and Dr. Tilden continued practicing there for four years, "and established a fine reputation."[1] In June, 1882, he was elected Adjunct Professor of Anatomy in the college in St. Louis. Dr. Tilden moved again in 1886 to Wichita, Kansas until 1890, when he moved to Denver, Colorado. While in Kansas, a local paper had this to say:

His thorough knowledge of medicine, and skill in surgery, have won for him the confidence of the people to such an extent that, although comparatively a new-comer of this city, his success is already an assured fact.[1]

Dr. Tilden married in 1873, to Miss Rebecca Maddux, a native of Hillsboro, Ill., and daughter of Nathaniel Maddux. They had two children, a daughter, Edna, born in 1876; and Elsie, who was born in 1878 and died in 1884. Dr. Tilden was "a prominent member of the National Eclectic Medical Society, and also of the State Medical Society, of Illinois."[1]

He died in Denver, Colorado on September 1, 1940.[2]

Doubts Regarding Drugs[edit]

It was during the early years of his practice in Illinois, that Dr. Tilden began to question the use of medicine to cure illness. His extensive reading, especially of medical studies from European medical schools, and his own thinking, led him to the conclusion that there should be some way to live so as not to build disease.

In 1900 he began the publication of a monthly magazine called "The Stuffed Club", which in 1915 was changed to "The Philosophy of Health", and in 1926 - to "Health Review and Critique". The purpose of the publication was not to make money but to spread knowledge of the Doctor's teachings.

Concept of Toxaemia[edit]

In 1926, Dr. Tilden published a book regarding his extensive research into the underlying cause of illness, Toxaemia Explained: The True Interpretation of the Cause of Disease.[3]

Dr. Tilden's views on health are summarized as follows:

Food is a stimulant. Overeating is overstimulating. Add to this excess one or two other stimulants—Coffee or tobacco—excessive venery, overwork and worry, and one subject to that amount of drain of nerve-energy will become decidedly enervated. Elimination falls far short of requirements; consequently toxin accumulates in the blood. This adds a pronounced auto-toxin stimulation to that coming from overstimulating habits, and completes a vicious circle. This complex stands for a disease-producing Toxemia, which will be permanent except as toxin crises—so-called acute diseases—lower the amount of toxin, again to accumulate and continue until the habits that keep the body enervated are controlled.[3]

The role of auto-toxaemia in health and illness is a critical one according to Dr. Tilden:

According to the Toxin Philosophy, every so-called disease is a crisis of Toxemia; which means that toxin has accumulated in the blood above the toleration-point, and the crisis, the so-called disease—call it cold, “flu,” pneumonia, headache, or typhoid fever—is a vicarious elimination. Nature is endeavoring to rid the body of toxin. Any treatment that obstructs this effort at elimination baffles nature in her effort at self-curing.[3]

Dr. Bieler mentions Dr. Tilden as one of the influences on his work.


  • Criticisms of the Practice of Medicine, (1910)
  • Cholera Infantum (1909)
  • Epilepsy (1918)
  • Typhoid Fever (1909)
  • Diseases Of Women and Easy Childbirth (1912)
  • Gonorrhea and Syphilis (1912)
  • Appendicitis (1921)
  • Care of Children (1920)
  • Impaired Health I (1921)
  • Impaired Health II (1921)
  • Food I - Its composition, preparation, combination, and effects, with appendix on cooking (1914)
  • Food II - Its influence as a factor in disease and health (1916)
  • Pocket Dietitian (1925)
  • "Toxaemia Explained: The True Interpretation of the Cause of Disease (1926)


  1. ^ a b c Portrait And Biographical Album of Sedgwick County, Kan., retrieved 5 September 2012 
  2. ^ Dr. John H. Tilden DR. Tilden's Biography, Frederic N. Gilbert
  3. ^ a b c Tilden, John H. (1997). Toxaemia Explained: The True Interpretation of the Cause of Disease. Kessinger. 

External links[edit]