you were a woman with painful, cystic breasts who lived in the 1800’s—your doctor might have advised you to “paint your breasts” with iodine.  Some doctors even injected iodine directly into the breasts or ovaries to heal cysts.

Your doctor may have heard about it by word of mouth from the women he treated. Imagine how difficult word of mouth was back then—long before fast transportation and instant messaging.  Yet—this was real evidenced based medicine—shared for free by women who cared about each other. And you can bet—if it didn’t work—those same women would have told you!

Iodine had a rich healing history, long before the 1800’s. Prior to that, seaweed was used in healing treatments, but no one knew it was the iodine in it that did the healing.   

So why is it that most women today have never heard about painting cystic breasts or ovaries with iodine? How did this simple yet fundamentally proven, effective treatment get lost in the archives of ancient medicine?  And iodine wasn’t just used for cysts. In 1829, a Paris doctor named Jean Lugol, created Lugol’s Solution from 5% iodine and 10% potassium iodide combined with distilled water. This was formulated for lung diseases, which were prevalent in Europe at the time. Word of mouth spread quickly. Doctors of this era had a saying:

“If you know not where or why, use you then K and I”
(KI = potassium iodide) From “The Iodine Crisis” book by Lynne Farrow

Iodine was used for a multitude of documented disease treatments—from asthma and lung conditions—to infections, gout, ulcers, burns, inflammation, croup, etc. From Civil War canteens to early nebulizers—iodine was popular and effective. Potassium Iodide was also widely used for tertiary (cerebral) syphilis. Vincent Van Gogh suggested iodine to his brother—both had tertiary syphilis.

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