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Historical principles

Bacteria heal diseases

The "gentle revolution" from Herborn

by Dr.med. Christian Maaß


It has been a long journey to the recognition of the fact that bacteria are not just agents of illnesses, from which antibiotics and inoculations must protect us; rather, that they play a vital part in our health. Today, bacteria – “beneficial organisms” – have established themselves in medicine as probiotics (or “for life”) and have therefore, as a consequence, been named “pro-health agents” Unfortunately, bacteria were first discovered as enemies of humans, as agents of terrible diseases. The plague, cholera and tuberculosis were considered as “scourges of humanity”, which took countless human lives during epidemics, right up until the 20th century. A scientific “war” had been waged on them since their discovery. In the first part of the 20th century, weapons in the form of antibiotics were created. The first and best-known was penicillin, developed in 1932. From 1952, the development of broad-spectrum antibiotics proved to be unbelievably successful in the fight against infectious diseases.

The famous French microbiologist, Louis Pasteur, stated in 1885 that human life was impossible without bacteria in the gut. He had researched and become aware of the positive effects of bacteria and other microorganisms, such as yeast and fungi, for example, with milk souring and cheese production, the production of vinegar and alcoholic fermentation.

The term ‘symbiosis’ was coined for the continuous cohabitation of human organisms and bacteria. Intensive research work brought the proof that this cohabitation is, in most cases, performed for the benefit of both parties. In the meantime, it was proved irrevocably that without bacteria, there would be no immune system. Quite a lot of bacteria, up to 1,012 organisms, live in the mucosa of our digestive tract, and in this intestinal mucosa a large part of our immune system is based. The gut is considered the cradle of the immune system.


Consequentially, bacteria can be implemented in the treatment of diseases using their positive properties. This is done through microbiological therapy, the beginnings of which can be traced back to before the Second World War. Positive treatment results encouraged Wetzlar-based doctor Hans Kolb and gynaecologist and professor Hans Peter Rusch to form the MICROBIOLOGICAL THERAPY RESEARCH ASSOCIATION (AMT). Impetus has also been given to organic farming and to veterinary medicine thanks to the Research Association’s findings. The microbiological laboratory set up at the same time by RUSCH and KOLB in 1954 in Herborn was taken over in 1977 by the INSTITUT FÜR MIKROÖKOLOGIE (IFM – Institute for Micro-ecology). Today, their main tasks relate to microbiology and comprise basic research into immunology and allergology and research into the very latest problems with food allergies.

The number of doctors who are using microbiological therapy with probiotics is constantly growing, as this treatment uses natural means to strengthen the body’s own defence system. Through this, antibiotics can be reduced to a necessary minimum and many chronic diseases, leading to the body’s immune system being damaged by poor lifestyle and diet, environmental damage and the misuse of pharmaceutical products, can be treated, or rather, the existence of a weakened immune system can be prevented. The treatment concept of microbiological therapy therefore forms an important part of modern medicine, as it offers solutions to many chronic illnesses for which modern medicine has no answers.


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