The History of Iodine
The discovery of iodine, like most
discoveries, was a fortuitous accident. The most fortuitous accident in the
history of medicine, is one story many of us are familiar with: the discovery of
penicillin. We’ve all heard the stories of the mold ruining the cultures and
how suddenly, a mind shift occurred and bingo, the birth of antibiotics. Few
realize that penicillin had been discovered a lot earlier, back in the late
by a medical student.1 But, sadly, the world wasn’t ready for it and, the
haughtiness of physicians at that time would not allow them to look upon a mere
student’s discovery with more than condescending curiosity. Even fewer are
aware that Pasteur discovered and wrote up the first antibiotic experiment, in
which he watched a substance gobble up his bacteria specimens. That
In 1811 when Bernard Courtois (1777-1838) discovered iodine,
he was not searching for a way to heal his fellow humans. On the contrary; he
was looking for a way to kill his fellow humans. Napoleon’s army at the time
required huge quantities of gunpowder and supplies were running short. Saltpeter
(potassium nitrate—KNO3—sometimes spelled salpeter) is a major component in
gunpowder and requires an abundant source of potassium carbonate in order to be
manufactured. Potassium carbonate is extracted from wood ashes, but the war had
gone on so long that they’d run out of willow wood, the preferred source.
Someone suggested using dried seaweed (burnt to ash), which seemed to be
abundant off the coasts of Normandy and Brittany. The suggestion worked and the French were
back in business, making gunpowder and killing people.
However, in the process of making saltpeter, excess sulfur
compounds were created, forcing them to add sulfuric acid to the mixture to
clean the compounds from their vats. Courtois accidentally added a bit too much acid one day, and poof,
a violet vapor cloud appeared and condensed onto the colder, metal objects
forming lustrous crystals. Courtois, a working chemist, realized he’d created
something new. He performed a few minor experiments with this new substance and
noted that it combined well with phosphorous, hydrogen, and a few metals, but
did not combine easily with oxygen or carbon. Furthermore, he discovered that it was quite
explosive when mixed with ammonia and did not decompose when burned.
He suspected he’d discovered a new element, but the war (Napoleon
having stretched the government’s coffers to the point of bankruptcy) was the
focus of France’s spending at the time, and without funding, he could
experiment no further. Besides, there was a war to fight. So he turned his discovery
over to the French chemist (and physicist) Charles-Bernard Désormes
(1777-1862), who, with the help of his son-in-law Nicolas Clément (1779-1841)
performed the scientific investigation into this new element.
Courtous, for some reason, also gave samples to Louis-Joseph
Gay-Lussac (1778-1850) and André M. Ampère (1775–1836).
Both teams went to work investigating this new substance and
in November of 1813, at a meeting of the Imperial Institute of France, Désormes
and Clément announced their discovery. A few days later Gay-Lussac and André
M. Ampère published that this was either an element or a compound of oxygen. No
one yet, knew for sure exactly what it was, until the English chemist Sir
Humphry Davy got into the picture (you might recall
Davy as being the Father of
Stoners in our essay The History of Anesthesia) and did some experiments with
samples given him by Ampère.
Davy published, on the 10th of December, 1813, a little piece
in which he described this substance's qualities as being similar to chlorine, and that it
was quite analogous to both Fluorine and Chlorine. He named it Iodine from a
Greek word for "violet colored" but the hubbub did not stop there.
Suddenly the priority rights over the substance were in dispute (who did what
first and so on) while both Gay-Lussac and Davy acknowledged that Courtois was
Later, Jean Lugol discovered that bonding iodine to a mineral
(potassium) made it water soluble, and allowed for the later discovery of iodine’s
antiseptic qualities. Iodine naturally dissolves in alcohol, but not in water
until it is first bonded to the elements potassium or chlorine.
The use of antiseptics, the general use of antiseptics and
acceptance of the theory of germs, was far off. Iodine made it’s leap into
medical history when a Swiss physician, Dr Jean François Condet announced that
iodine could reduce goiters (enlarged thyroids).
At this moment, modern medical science is born. For the first
time in history we have a specific disorder that is relieved by a specific
treatment, which was discovered through empirical reasoning (experimentation
based upon trial and error).
Please note: this treatment is a nutritional substance. The
human body was designed to ingest minerals from the sea. This is nutritional
medicine, not chemical medicine. Please note this, because medicine abandons
this mind set later when … well, you’ll have to see when.
Iodine suddenly became hip and people consumed it till they
turned blue in the gills. It was a powerful stimulant loaded with uncomfortable
side effects and when a group of under-worked physicians, with little to do, got
together, the first regulations of medicine were initiated and iodine became a
semi-controlled substance. Like most controlled substances, the controllers knew
very little about the substance they were controlling and for the sake of the
public safety, they came up with an off-the-wall RYA (Required Yearly Amount)
for iodine that had nothing to do with empirical science. Just one more example
of people with control issues thinking they know what’s best for you and me.
Luckily, a true scientist, with an appropriate name to boot, in 1917, published
his findings on the study of thyroids in fish, dogs, and humans found in the
Great Lakes region. His name was David Marine. He discovered that the amount of
iodine our medical authorities had limited we humans to in a year’s period was
most likely the amount our bodies needed in a two week period. The medical
establishment poo-pooed these findings, and Marine’s work has never been
endorsed by the medical establishment. Keeping humans ill is profitable for drug
companies, and by 1917 pharmaceuticals were the most profitable business around
and growing faster than a forest fire in a wind storm after a ten-year drought.
But it was an Indian (from India) who is credited with
ushering Iodine into the Medical Hall of Fame. His name is Sunker Bisey. He won
a contest run by an English Manufacturing firm in which the winner would get a
full scholarship at a major British university. Bisey boarded a ship to jolly
old England, waved goodbye to his family, but never made it to the university.
Arriving in England dying of Malaria, he was treated to the best physicians the
British Isles had to offer, but to no avail, and he soon opted to die in his
homeland, and set sail. At a stopover in France where firing up kilns of seaweed
was now the latest craze, someone suggested treating the dying lad with Iodine.
Long story short: Bisey finished his education in England and set sail for New
York where he intended on bringing this magnificent new treatment for disease to
He had some minor successes with local physicians, but nothing
to write home about. In 1927, out of total frustration, he wrote a letter to a
crackpot psychic and requested a reading on iodine. When he received his reply,
it brought tears to his eyes, according to Phil Thomas, an Edgar Cayce
historian. The letter confirmed Bisey’s overall assertions and outlined an
electrification process by which the iodine could be exposed to a magnetic field
while suspended in a wet battery; a process that would transmute the iodine into
a state the body could fully recognize and fully assimilate.
As Phil Thomas writes in his paper "IODINE — The Once A
Sunker Bisey wasted no time in assembling the
necessary equipment and running the experiment. Having worked with the
element for many years he knew instantly, upon tasting the detoxified form
that Mr. Cayce's suggestion had finally cracked the coded mystery of the
once unruly element. He set about replacing the raw form with the new iodine
… and within days he started hearing back positive reports of his new
found discovery. In the months and years which followed thousands of people
were routinely cured of a wide assortment of ailments, most of which had no
viable treatment … prior to the advent of atomic iodine.
Now here is where the story goes sour. I’m not big on
conspiracy theories, so I’ll let you construct your own conclusions.
Sunker Bisey built up his iodine empire because he had no
competition. His simple, inexpensive nutritional therapy was all the rage. Edgar
Cayce did more readings on iodine, especially his new form which had such names
as Detoxified Iodine and Atomic Iodine, but eventually would be called
Atomidine. But there was only one person marketing this form of iodine and he
was about to be put out of business. Put out of business by the Government.
Gee, I seem to recall a tenth amendment and something to do
with restriction of free trade.
The government, in it’s almighty wisdom, decided to iodize
salt. This would guarantee that every American got their daily requirements for
iodine. The amount the government would require to go into salt was not based
upon David Marine’s research (which was scientific) but rather it was based
upon the 100 year old recommendations by that group of busybody physicians with
few patients to treat and way too much time on their hands. The required daily
amount (RDA) of iodine is just enough to keep our thyroids from expanding, not
unlike the RDA of vitamin C today which is just enough to keep us free of
scurvy, but not enough to prevent a pre scurvy disorder known as CVD, or
Cardiovascular Disease. (See our publication Bypassing
The average American was lulled into a false state of security
and Bisey’s business eventually crashed. He died a pauper in 1935, passing on
his business, what was left of it, a few notes and lots of Atomidine no one
wanted, onto his son. His son, who apparently had no interest in following in
his father’s footsteps (and die a pauper), turned around and sold the process
to a pharmaceutical company that immediately buried it and forgot about it.
Even Edgar Cayce quit doing readings about Atomidine since it
was no longer available, but near the end of his life, he resurrected a slew of
iodine readings and introduced a theory of "vibrational" medicine that
many are still investigating to this day. For more on Edgar Cayce, how he’s
been labeled a quack by some and a prophet by others, see: Edgar
From the Cayce readings, we get this:
Knowing the tendencies, supply in the vital energies
that ye call the vitamins, or elements. For, remember, while we give many
combinations, there are only four elements in your body, - water, salt, soda
and iodine. These are the basic elements, they make all the rest! Each
vitamin as a component part of an element is simply a combination of these
other influences, given a name mostly for confusion to individuals, by those
who would tell you what to do for a price.
This is an amazing statement, laughed at by the so-called
scientific community, but investigated by others. Scientific types will tell you
that water, salt, and soda (calcium carbonate) are not elements, while iodine
is. Cayce was not an educated man. Recordings of his readings are hard to
understand at times, because he went into a trance. In other words, he was
asleep and sounded oftentimes like someone talking in his sleep. When he uses
the word element, he is not using a chemistry denotation, but rather a loose
He often said that three or four drops of Atomidine three or
four times a week were all you needed to stay healthy. How much exactly? That’s
hard to determine since it's your body that needs it at your levels and not at
mine or your neighbors’.
How much? Where can you find it? What does it do? Well, lucky
you, my dear reader. Allow me to review for you some bottles I received from two
different companies. Click here to read the: Review
of Atomidine. Click here to read a
review of Magnascent (the most
powerful form of Atomidine from Cayce's readings).