So I visited an “Amish doctor” (Iridologist)…
Those who know that I have made this trip are super curious as to my experience, so I thought that I’d share for those who are interested.
I’m neither recommending or criticizing any aspect of Amish medicine/healthcare, I am simply sharing my experience, resources, and hope you find it helpful for your own journey to physical health.
Luke 5:31 "And Jesus answered them, 'Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.'" (ESV)
Why call them an “Amish doctor”?
I don’t think either Reuben Schwartz or Jake Shirk would ever claim to be a doctor, but they are the local Amish men trained to care for their community health needs. I will reference Jake (who I saw; Reuben is now retired) as a doctor throughout this post out of respect to his training and practice and not out of disrespect to modern doctors who go through more than a decade’s worth of schooling and training.
Who are Reuben Schwartz and Jake Shirk?
I now live in central Kentucky, and for the past 10 years I have heard several personal stories of Amish medical care that sometimes discovers health issues and solutions. This blog resource has lots of helpful information about their practice: https://barefootfaithjourney.com/category/reuben-schwartz-amish-iridologist/
What is “iridology” and who are “iridologists?
One definition of “iridology” from a medical website: “Iridologists claim to be able to diagnose medical conditions through abnormalities of pigmentation in the iris. This technique is popular in many countries.”
For some modern medical perspectives on Iridology consider:
- “Iridology: A Systematic Review": https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10213874/
- “Iridology: Not Useful and Potentially Harmful”: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaophthalmology/fullarticle/412789 )
I’ve attached an image of an “iridology” chart sold at Mount Air Herbs (down the road from the Amish doctor).
Why did you go to an Amish doctor?
About 3 months ago I suffered from an unprovoked deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolisms (blood clots in my leg and lungs without a known cause). Although my clots are improving, my health has progressively declined and to-date my modern doctors (whom I am continuing to see frequently) have yet to ascertain a specific diagnosis or solution. I was open to the possibility of Amish medicine offering some insights or helps so I was curious as to what sort of recommendations they would make for my health conditions. While some traditional medical approaches world-wide can be connected with spirit-worship and occult practices, it was encouraging to hear the love of Jesus in the Amish community. As a pastor, I try to be super-discerning with what I participate with, and throughout my experience I did not note anything unbiblical in their approach to helping and healing the sick.
What was your visit to the Amish doctor like?
It was a beautiful rural drive to this particular Amish community (about two hours from where I live) near the Kentucky and Tennessee border. My GPS took me to the edge of Radure Rd., from which an Amish woman told me to proceed another mile or so to the address: 1205 Radure Road, Hestand, KY 42151. After turning onto Radure Rd. I passed an abandoned church on the right, Mountain Air Herbs on the left, and then a mile or so later turned left at a small black mailbox marked “1205.”
The building is a simple storefront with no clear signage but stood out with the cars parked in front. Upon entering, I filled out a simple one page form with my information and a list of the medicines I was currently taking. On the backside was a waiver form of sorts.
There were several people in the room waiting to see the Amish doctor and another few were checking out and purchasing some of the herbal medications. I was seen by Jake Shirk within a few minutes even though I was thirty minutes early for my appointment. He was extremely kind and would peer into my eyes with a small pen light and glass magnifying lens. After each look into my eyes he would ask me specific questions like:
- Do you suffer from chest or heart pains? (I do.)
- Do you have problems with reflux? (Occasionally)
- Do you crave sugars and sweets? (Always lol)
- Do you drink sodas? (I don’t, just water, tea, and coffee mainly)
- What do you like to eat? (Too much junk)
- Are you stressed? (He asked me this one several times… I said I sincerely trust the Lord with my health and the situations of my life and am honestly not stressed.)
- Do you suffer from shakiness? (I don’t)
- Do you get up to go to the bathroom a lot at night? (TMI but nope)
- Are you easily agitated? (With my ongoing pain and children, “yes” I said. But he meant joint pain and inflammation by “agitated” bahaha)
As he would look into my eyes and then ask questions, he would write his recommendations on a small note card and explain what he was prescribing.
After his questions and looks into my eyes, I then shared some of the modern medical findings and was more specifically revealing about my health situation and ongoing pain. He was extremely humble and gracious with his responses and thoughts. He was inquisitive and helpful. He shared that he had several patients with unexplained illnesses that may be connected to the COVID19 vaccine and had recommendations (websites written down by non-Amish friends) as well as the Amish medicines to remove “poison”.
Notably I have found that the modern medical community quickly jumps to blame COVID with my unknown suffering while the non-medical community quickly jumps to blame the COVID19 vaccines. My personal goal at this point is, regardless of the origins of my suffering, to simply to find a solution that provides healing.
After Jake finished my “prescription” notecard he shared a sheet full of dietary recommendations. I found this very interesting as few modern doctors inquire about my diet or make dietary recommendations. Again, he was super gracious and humble with all of his recommendations. Although others were waiting to see Jake, he never rushed me and was super patient with my questions. There was no charge to Jake’s services, but if I wanted to leave a donation for their ministry there was a small cardboard box to do so. My recommendation would be to consider what you would self-pay for a general practice doctor today ($100-$200?), and make a comparable cash donation (no credit cards).
After I was finished with Jake I simply walked into the adjoining room to a sweet older Amish couple who filled my prescription. They wrote notes and highlighted items on a sheet while explaining the costs if I desired to purchased the prescriptions from them. They were not high pressure and didn’t grab anything off a shelf until I was comfortable with the total bill. Items they did not carry were marked with a black sharpie dot for me to consider filling at Mountain Air Herbs. A typical “2 week” dosage of an herbal medicine was about $10-$12 at the Amish storefront and a similar product seemed to be about double or triple the price at Mountain Air Herbs (which seems priced similar to other online retailers). I went ahead and got all of my “prescription” filled and added in some honey, sorghum, grits, and goats milk soap for my wife and daughters as a souvenir gift :)
When leaving you can easily scheduled a follow on appointment. The older Amish couple was super sweet and I enjoyed hearing talking Scripture with the Amish man.
How do I make an appointment with Jake Shirk?
The Amish do not use electricity, internet, or phones so the only way to contact them is to write snail-mail to:
V. C. Christian Charity
1205 Radure Road
Hestand, KY 42151
If you want an appointment (they are currently booked about 2 weeks out), then write them a note with your available dates and they’ll write you back with an appointment. If what they write you doesn’t work, just write them back until you find a workable date.
Walk-ins are available but they only see up to 13 patients a day I believe. They are currently open Monday and Friday - 7:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Saturday - 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m (central time). (Closed Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday). Everyone that walked in seemed to be seen by about 3pm the day that I visited.
What diet does an Amish doctor recommend?
I’ve attached the diet in case you are interested in the dietary recommendations. It is basically a natural diet with an emphasis on stepping away from sugars and processed foods. Honestly, a natural diet would probably do a lot of us Americans a lot of good even without any of the herbal medicines.
What medicine does an Amish doctor recommend?
All of the medical recommendations are also attached. Lots of herbal remedies of which I have no clue as to their effectiveness, interactions, or dangers. Although I have heard stories of some gaining great benefit and healing from these sorts of treatments, I also know that others have had serious problems. All of the medicines (most come in capsules or glass dropper bottles) say “Not approved by the FDA” or “For Animal Use Only” lol.
How do I order such medicines online? What is “Mountain Air Herbs”?
Just down the street is a small shop with the same hours as the Amish doctor. They are “English” (i.e. modern, non-Amish) and thus use electricity, have a credit card machine, and sell online. A lot of the items prescribed seem to be available online but some may be harder to find than others.
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mountainairherbs/
Mountain Air Herbs
1945 Radure Road
Hestand, KY 42151
United States of America
Herb Store hours are: Monday and Friday - 7:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Saturday - 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. (Closed Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday)
- The Amish are super kind, humble, and genuinely want to help. The experience in visiting them was super interesting and enjoyable.
- Modern doctors have seldom asked about my diet and or made dietary recommendations. I think a more natural diet (and exercise) would be helpful for most Americans, myself included.
- I am super thankful for the access I have to modern healthcare and modern medicine (many people in the world have no such options). However, I am concerned about some of the modern pharmaceutical motives and side effects (often unknown or not well understood).
- I am open to the possibility that traditional medicine (herbal/natural remedies) may be helpful and have been too overlooked in modern times. In my current situation of declining health with no diagnosis or effective modern treatment, I am hopeful for a natural remedy to work.
- Never stop seeing regular modern doctors but don’t be dismissive about more natural medical methods like the Amish.
I am continuing to be proactive with my medical concerns through modern medical doctors, testing, and medicine. At the same time I definitely need to adjust my diet to be more naturally healthy. The Amish recommendations for diet, water-drinking, and exercise all make sense to me, although I will likely to continue to struggle to eat green things.
As far as the Amish herbal medicines, I plan on a trial and error approach with each one. I will take caution and seek advice to ensure there aren’t interactions with my modern medicine and be careful to see what seems to be effective and helpful.
I hope that the sharing of my experience is helpful (or at least interesting) to you!
Here are the notes I received from my appointment:
NOTE: I know there are a BAZILLION online books and blogs on this stuff, and I am not recommending anything (I haven’t tried any of this yet), I am simply sharing for those who are interested in Amish dietary, health, and medical opinions. Please do you own research and seek out medical advice before trying any of this.
The below are general suggestions:
Any human body with a serious degenerative condition needs a prioritized diet to deliver maximum food energy to it so that repair and regeneration may take place. The following diet is designed to deliver optimum amounts and ratios of protein, carbohydrates, fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. The guidelines on this side of this sheet will all apply to you unless crossed out. The other side of sheet will only apply if indicated.
- All white sugar and sugar products must be eliminated from the diet. This includes all foods such as cake, cookies, candy, candy bars, granola bars, sweetened cereals, sweetened drinks, sweetened fruit juices, soft drinks, alcoholic beverages, sweet teas, etc.
- White flour and all products made with white flour must be eliminated.
- White potatoes, because of the adverse effect they have on blood sugar, should not be used.
- Bread and other baked goods should only be used if and as indicated below.
- No junk food (or "fast-foods") such as French fries, hamburgers, pizza, etc. should be eaten.
- All nuts, except coconut, almonds and Pinole nuts, are excluded, because they are difficult to digest.
- If any dried fruits are used, they should first be soaked in distilled water for 24 hours before using.
- All meats are eliminated unless otherwise indicated below.
- Breakfast: One (1) egg should be used for breakfast at least four (4) times per week. The following cooked cereals should be used: oatmeal, grits, cream of rye, millet, cream of rice, or any mixed grain cooked cereal, such as 7-grain cereal. Some fresh fruit mav be used with breakfast, such as grapefruit, orange, grapes, pineapple, pear, kiwi, mango, apple, cantaloupe, cherries, or peaches. Try to use a different one each day, and use variety. These fruits can be used with the noon meal as well.
- Lunch: Lunch should be a substantial meal the largest meal of the day. It can consist of a variety of any of the foods indicated below.
- Supper: Supper should be a very small, light meal. A vegetable soup or salad is a good choice.
The following foods may be used as indicated:
- One (1) serving of asparagus three (3) times per week
- One (1) serving of beets daily
- Heinz sweet pickles (or juice) may be used.
- A leafy green salad with a variety of vegetables should be used two (2) times daily.
- Olive oil should be used daily. (This can be made into a salad dressing.)
- Avocados may be used three (3) times per week.
- Pears may be used four (4) times per week.
- Cherries may be used four (4) times per week.
- Fruit juices can be used between meals.
- Coconut and Pinole nuts may be used four (4) times per week.
- Hominy may be used four (4) times per week.
- Yogurt may be used daily.
- One-half (1/2) cup cottage cheese three (3) times per week.
- Blackstrap molasses should be used daily.
- One (1) slice of bread (whole wheat) is allowed a day. This is best if toasted.
- Cornbread may be used four (4) times per week.
- Chicken gravy (made with 'free-range' chicken) is allowed two (2) times per week.
- Northern ocean fish may be used two (2) times per week.
- Flax seeds should be used daily.
- Raw milk, 8 to 16 oz. per day.
- Herbal teas may be used with meals.
- Real butter is O.K.
Make a point to include the following VEGETABLES in your diet: cucumbers, green beans, carrots, mustard, ripe olives, asparagus, avocados, beets, okra, peppers, onions, garlic, radish, lettuce, turnips and greens, broccoli, tomatoes, squash, sweet corn, and sweet potatoes.
70% of your vegetables should be cooked. 30% should be eaten raw.
Make a point to include the following FRUITS in your diet: apples, pears, plums, watermelon, mangos, grapes, cherries, pineapple, cranberries, peaches, kiwi, apricots, blueberries, oranges, and grapefruit.
Avoid stuffing! Eat only an amount sufficient to satisfy
EXERCISE is very important! Walking is probably the best form of exercise. If you are too weak to take a long walk, take a 5-minute walk, 6 - 12 times per day.
Get at least 30 minutes of SUNSHINE, 2 times per day. (In the summer, avoid sunburns.)
You should sing or do deep breathing several times every day in order to get more oxygen into your system.'
One Day Liver and Gall Bladder Cleanse
- Choose a day like Saturday to do your cleanse so you can rest the next day.
- Take no medicine, vitamins, or pills that you can do without.
- Eat a no-fat breakfast and lunch.
- Do not eat anything or drink much after 2:00 p.m
Things you will need:
- 4 tablespoons Epsom salts
- ½ cup of olive oil
- 1 large or 2 small fresh, pink grapefruit (enough for ¾ cup juice)
- 2:00 p.m. Mix 4 tablespoons Epsom salts in 3 cups water. This makes four servings of ¾ cup each. Set in refrigerator. Have grapefruit and olive oil at room temperature
- 6:00 p.m. Drink one serving, ¾ cup, Epsom salts.
- 8:00 p.m. Repeat Epsom salts dosage of ¾ cup. BE ON TIME!
- 9:45 p.m. Squeeze grapefruit into cup. Remove pulp. You may also add the juice of one lemon. Pour into olive oil and beat with rotary beater so they don't separate. Now visit the bathroom one more time and prepare for bed.
- 10:00 p.m. Drink the potion you have mixed. You may use one lump of brown sugar to
- chase it down. Get it down in 5 minutes. Lie down immediately. Lie flat on your back with your head high on pillows. Hold still at least twenty minutes.
- Go to sleep.
- Next morning: Take third dose of Epsom salts. (Don't take before 6:00 a.m.)
- 2 hours later: Take fourth (the last) dose of Epsom salts.
- After two more hours, you may begin eating lightly, preferably starting with fruits and juices. Expect diarrhea all day. Watch for gallstones (they float and look like green peas). This cleanse is to be done only once unless otherwise specified. Never cleanse when you are ill.
The suggestions below are for conditions as specified. Use accordingly.
For Diabetes or High Blood Sugar
- Avoid using white or Irish potatoes, white sugar and flour products.
- Use no fruits, sweets, pastas or starches after 2:00 pm.
- Evening meal should consist of things like green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, cabbage, onions, any dark leafy greens cooked or juiced raw, cottage cheese, plain non-fat yogurt, fax seeds and pumpkin seeds.
- Drink plenty distilled water and do as much walking as possible. Evening meal should be 3 hours before bedtime if possible in order to burn calories before retiring.
For Individuals with High Salt Levels or High Blood Pressure
- Avoid salt (sodium chloride). Potassium chloride may be used instead. Use garlic and cayenne pepper with food and lots of parsley, even Parsley Tea as a potassium source which may lower blood pressure.
For Cholesterol or Weight Metabolism Issues
Put enough distilled water in blender to cover the blades. Add approximately 1 cup seeds from the following list: flax seeds, hemp seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds. The seeds need to be raw so they contain the essential fatty acids.
Blend until the mix becomes a smooth creamy consistency. Add 2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses and 1 tablespoon honey; then while blending, add distilled water until the blender is full. Fruit may also be added if desired unless diabetes is an issue
Freshly made green vegetable juice. This can all be made up at once in the morning if capped tightly and set in the refrigerator. Green Drink can be made from the following:
- Green beans, Carrot tops or roots, Spinach, Lettuce, Romaine,Dandelion leaves, Cucumbers, Clover leaves, Beet tops, Celery, Wheat grass, Broccoli, Parsley, Plantain, Kale, Collards, Mustard, Turnip tops, Sweet peppers, Apple, or any edible leafy green vegetable
Make fresh onion soup by blending 1 pound of green or white onions into 1-1/2 quarts of distilled water. Simmer until the onions are completely clear. Strain out the pulp and use
Potassium foods: blackstrap, kiwi, coconut, hominy, corn tortillas, kelp, dulse, parsley, peppermint, and bananas. (Bananas should be limited, however, because of their high starch content.)
Hot foods: hot peppers, horseradish, onions, garlic, radish, ramp, mustard, leek, and chives.
Digestion-speeding foods: pears, prune juice, olives, oranges, grapefruit, sauerkraut, raw veggies, leafy salads, buttermilk
Digestion-slowing foods: aged cheeses, peanut butter, fresh breads, boiled milk
My Amish Medicine “Instruction Sheet” (can’t copy & paste this easily, so just see the image):