Fun Fact: What Ailments Were the Color Green Claimed to Cure in the 1940s?
While working as a stage manager in a theater in Bombay, India, Dinshah Ghadiali began to read about the potential of color therapy to cure disease.
Question: What ailments were the color green claimed to cure in the 1940s?
Answer: Ailments of the pituitary glands
While working as a stage manager in a theater in Bombay, India, Dinshah Ghadiali began to read about the potential of color therapy to cure disease. With the book in hand, he brought a purple pickle bottle, a kerosene lamp, and a blue glass bottle filled with milk to visit a friend’s niece who was suffering from mucous colitis. Upon applying his items to her person based on his book’s guidelines, he became quite certain that she had been cured.
Ghadiali decided to emigrate to the United States to spread his wealth of color therapy knowledge further. He founded the Spectro-Chromo Institute, where, with a $100 cash advance, students could enroll in a course designed to teach them how to attune the body’s color waves from none other than Ghadiali himself.
To fully cover the breadth of knowledge he felt that he had obtained, Ghadiali extended his signature at the institute to read “Dinshah Ghadiali, MD, ME, DC, PhD, LLD, ND, DOpt, DEC, DHT, DMT, Etc.” He additionally noted in explanations of his professional background that he had begun teaching college-level mathematics at a university at the age of 11 due to his innate grasp on the material. His institute flourished.
Ghadiali taught his students some basic principles of color therapy, which were founded on the idea that every element presents 1 of 7 prismatic colors. Ghadiali explained that humans are made of oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, and carbon, which each correspond with a color: oxygen with blue, hydrogen with red, nitrogen with green, and carbon with yellow. If a person is sick, then one of their colors is imbalanced, requiring the color to either need to be amplified or subdued on their person.
Ghadiali also created and sold a specific device that was capable of facilitating this color balancing process, which he called a Spectro-Chrome. Sold at Ghadiali’s institute, the Spectro-Chrome consisted of both a box and a 1000-watt lightbulb. In order to benefit from its effects, one would place a glass plate in one of the sides of the box and then stand nude in front of the plate for full color absorption during a specific lunar phase corresponding with that period’s moon cycle.
For ease of use, a chart accompanied the Spectro-Chrome to guide users on the appropriate color for each illness. For example, yellow light supported food digestion, green light cured ailments of the pituitary glands, blue light improved general vitality, and lemon light restored bones.
By 1946, Ghadiali had sold 11,000 Spectro-Chromes from his institute, earning him over $1 million in profit. He had marketed his device with the slogan “No Diagnosis, No Drugs, No Surgery,” which appealed to an audience that was wary of the medical establishment and its treatments.
Back in 1925, Ghadiali had been arrested for transporting his 19-year-old secretary across state lines for “immoral purposes,” which was his first brush with the law in a life that would become riddled with litigation on the accuracy of his claims regarding the efficacy of his device.
Despite both the AMA and the FDA pursuing legal action against him, Ghadiali continued to pivot the language of his claims to adapt to the results of the litigation procedures. The word “cure” was replaced by “normalating” in his Spectro-Chrome advertisements, and “treated” was replaced by “restoration of the human radio-active and radio-emanative equilibrium.”
After the change in language to advertise his device, it became less possible for the AMA and the FDA to prosecute Ghadiali for his claims, as they were no longer all that medical in nature.
With this lack of further regulation, Ghadiali’s ideas were able to survive past his death in 1966. The heirs of Ghadiali’s fortune established the Dinshah Health Society of Malaga, New Jersey, which remains a registered nonprofit that primarily sells books on the value of color therapy and other related products.
Kang L, Pedersen N. Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything. New York, NY: Workman Publishing; 2017.