Gerson Therapy, Part 2

Potassium versus sodium in the Gerson Therapy!

Gerson found that sodium stimulates tumor growth. It interferes with body function. According to Gerson you need high potassium and low sodium, the same ratio which can be found in fresh live foods. All processed foods contain reduced potassium and raised sodium. Sodium is necessary for tumor growth. The Gerson Therapy supplements the body with potassium.

Liver regeneration and the Gerson Therapy!

The liver is the most important organ in the body. It is the filtration system for detoxification. I have heard doctors say that if your liver functions up to 35%, you are all right, but when it drops below that, disease develops, whether it is diabetes, cancer, arthritis, lupus or anything else. By the time cancer or chronic disease develops, liver function is below 35%.

So when the tumor, the cancer, arthritis or other disease symptoms are gone, that doesn’t mean the body is cured. The body isn’t really restored until the liver goes back to its full activity of somewhere between 90 and 100%. We never really know how long it takes to get there, but we can estimate it takes at least 1 1/2 year or 2. If you go back to eating average food right away, the foods you used to eat, candies, ice cream, cheese and meat, the cancer will come back rather quickly because the liver is not able to deal with these things.

Flaxseed oil and the Gerson Therapy!

Dr. Gerson found, after observing for a long time, that patients, especially with cancer and also with heart disease, atherosclerosis and so on cannot handle oils and fats, and that is why his book says no oils. Yet he was very much aware that the body needs a certain amount of essential fatty acids and that after deprivation for a year or year and a half, until the tumors disappear, there is a lack of essential fatty acids in the Gerson diet. He searched and searched and tried every kind of oil he could think of, everything from olive oil, sesame oil, safflower oil to sunflower oil. None of them were usable because in each case the tumors would regrow.

Fats stimulate tumor growth. But after the book came out, he came across the work of Dr. Johanna Budwig in Germany who showed that one may use flaxseed oil and that it is well tolerated by cancer patients. It helps to stimulate the immune system, and kills the tumor tissue. He used two tablespoons of flaxseed oil per day – one at lunch and one at dinner, and after a month on the therapy, he cut it down to one tablespoon a day. He advised against cooking with oils. You can’t cook with flaxseed oil because if it is heated, it deteriorates and causes problems. So the flaxseed oil must only be used raw and cold.

You can visit the Gerson Institute for more information on the Gerson Therapy.

The Gerson Miracle Cancer Therapy

“I know of one patient who turned to Gerson Therapy having been told she was suffering from terminal cancer and would not survive another course of chemotherapy. Happily, seven years later, she is alive and well. So it is vital that, rather than dismissing such experiences, we should further investigate the beneficial nature of these treatments.” (H.R.H. Charles, Prince of Wales). “I am familiar with the Gerson method and believe that it has a lot of merit. I have always been frustrated that it was not taken seriously and studied intensively as it should be. I think it has a very good track record.” (Abram Hoffer, M.D., Ph.D.). “I see in Dr. Max Gerson one of the most eminent geniuses in medical history.” (Albert Schweitzer, M.D., Nobel Prize laureate).

The Gerson Miracle

Review by Andrew W. Saul

“The cure for cancer has been discovered. In 1928.” These are the opening words of the new one-and-a-half hour documentary movie, The Gerson Miracle. No one that views it can possibly misunderstand its uncompromising assertions that cancer is curable, and that Dr. Max Gerson repeatedly proved it. When Max Gerson, M.D., testified before the U.S. Senate on July 1, 2, and 3, 1946, he likely had high hopes of acceptance of his work. No such luck. In 1958, he published all the how-to-do-it details in A Cancer Therapy: Results of Fifty Cases. He died the next year, under suspicious circumstances.

Even today it is necessary for persons seeking Gerson treatment to leave the country to obtain it. As the film’s narration says, “Laws in virtually all of the United States prohibit any other treatment of cancer than radiation, chemotherapy and surgery, even though they are usually ineffective at best, and completely ineffective at worst. Chemotherapy, for example, does not cure cancer at all, and usually merely poisons the patient instead of the cancer.” Strong words, those. If Oscar-winning documentarist Michael Moore initially had difficulty obtaining distribution for his Fahrenheit 9/11 movie, you can be sure there will be some hefty opposition to this one.

And yet, the heart of the Gerson therapy is ecological common sense. I think this is why it makes a good subject for film, and why it appealed so to producer/director Steven Kroschel. Kroschel’s previous documentary credits include work for the Learning Channel, National Geographic, PBS, and the BBC, as well as contributions to a number of Hollywood features including Straight Up, Vertical Limit, and I Spy. Not surprisingly, Kroschel personally follows the Gerson diet.

The narration continues:

“The soil, and all that grows in it, is not something distant from us, but must be regarded as our external metabolism, which produces the nutrients for our internal metabolism. Therefore, the soil must be cared for properly. It must not be depleted or poisoned Otherwise, changes will result in serious degenerative diseases in animals and humans.” This sounds much like text from any biology textbook that I’ve taught from. “Mass-produced, commercially-grown fruits and vegetables are fertilized with only three minerals: nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus,” says the narrator. Yet plants “need over 50 more.” As a consequence, “the plants are sick, and must be kept on life support with toxic chemicals until market.” On the other hand, organic farming methods enable both the plant, and you, to resist disease. This especially includes cancer.

The film states that the two key factors that are “the underlying cause of cancer are deficiency and toxicity.” A radical, organic raw vegetable juice-based diet is proposed as the primary remedy. Why juiced? Because “Dr. Gerson discovered early in his research that fruits and vegetables must be juiced to flood the body with nutrients that have been lacking within the human organism for so very long, sometimes for decades… When juice is drunk, it can enter the blood stream almost as fast as alcohol… Dr. Gerson required his patients to drink one 8 ounce glass of juice 13 times a day.” That amounts to some 20 pounds of produce, yielding “an organic medication straight from the table of Mother Nature.” The Gerson therapy calls for an expensive grind and press juicer, such as a Norwalk.

On the other hand, the film states, Norman W. Walker, that particular juicer’s inventor and namesake, died June 6, 1985 at the age of 117. All of Max Gerson’s brothers and sisters died in the Holocaust. Now for the second aspect of the Gerson therapy. Drinking such enormous quantities of fresh juice every day “dislodges accumulated body poisons, which are absorbed by the liver, somewhat overwhelming it.” Therefore, to help out the hard-working liver, the Gerson approach employs an unusual detoxification technique. “Organic body-temperature coffee administered rectally stimulates the liver’s bile ducts to then dump those scavenged toxins into the colon for evacuation.” This, the film states, ensures that “the immune system will now have the upper hand” and the patient is more likely to recover.

You will not be disappointed to know that the film does indeed provide step by step directions on exactly how to prepare a coffee enema. Boil 1 quart distilled water, add 3 tablespoons drip ground coffee, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain and add sufficient water to again have 1 quart. Cool to body temperature, and then introduce eight inches into the colon with an enema kit. Retain the enema for 12 to 15 minutes. The movie’s sound track music chosen to accompany the coffee enema recipe preparation sequence is a performance of Beethoven’s Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D Major by the City of Magenta, Italy Symphony Orchestra. The violin soloist is Francesca Ettorina Dego, Dr. Gerson’s great-granddaughter, age 14. Her rendition is excellent.

There is more to the therapy than juices and coffee enemas. “Table salt is a poison,” says the narration. Our “unrelenting” use of sodium “causes displacement of potassium found naturally in human cells, leaving them vulnerable to attack by disease.” For this reason, debated to this day, Dr. Gerson gave patients on his already very-low-sodium, potassium-rich diet still more supplemental potassium in the form of equal parts of potassium gluconate, potassium acetate, and mono potassium phosphate. Flaxseed oil was the preferred fatty acid source, and was to be “raw and cold” and not to be used for a cooking oil. Pancreatin, acidophilus, and vitamin B-3 (niacin) were also provided supplementally. The most common criticisms of the Gerson program are that the diet is restrictive and that the coffee enemas are excessive.

It is true that the Gerson therapy is an extreme diet, but then cancer is an extreme disease. One extreme may indeed call for another; it takes a lot of water to put out a burning building. Chemical, radiological and surgical extremes are the oncologist’s stock in trade. Why not extreme nutrition? I enjoyed the section of the movie where the camera follows Dr. Gerson’s daughter and successor, Charlotte, as she interviews patients under actual treatment at the Gerson facility in Mexico. There, it is said, patients in “as little as two weeks are free from cancer.” 35 years after man first walked on the moon, this remains a revolutionary statement, one that may invite either a physician’s ridicule or a cancer patient’s serious investigation.

Charlotte Gerson, now 82, practices what her father preached. “I cancelled my health insurance when I was 34 years old,” she says. “The reason was that I’m not interested in the kind of hospital or medical treatment that might be covered by insurance, because it’s toxic.” She says she saved money, plus feels good in the bargain. She is outspoken and emphatic. On camera, she states, “I’m always telling women: ‘Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you never had to worry about finding a lump in your breast?’ But if you eat healthy, that’s what happens. Living in this manner, you don’t risk cancer.” She is in a position to know, having seen her father’s work at close range for so many years. I asked Charlotte about this, and she told me, “My earliest childhood memories of helping my father go back to my playing in our sandbox when I was about five years old.

My father’s medical office was in the same house where we lived and patients would come to see him there. Many of those were from the agricultural area surrounding the city where we lived, Bielefeld (Westphalia), Germany. The farmers who consulted my father could hardly believe that one could survive in good health without meat and animal proteins. So my father would send for me, a little dirty and full of sand, to show me off. I was sturdy, tall for my age, healthy and rosy-cheeked and presented a good picture of the effectiveness of vegetarian nutrition.” She still does. Filmmaker Steven Kroschel says, “Working with Charlotte Gerson touched me deeply, as she reminded me of my German grandparents and the old fashioned hospitality that went along with it.

I have to say that I cannot recall meeting anyone quite as honest, compassionate and giving as she is.” Doctor-vexing patients’ testimonials form the backbone of Kroschel’s documentary. There are plenty of them. One man with prostate cancer, confirmed by biopsy, decided to go Gerson. After 18 months on the therapy, his PSA was an extraordinarily low 0.06. Ascites, the abdominal fluid buildup all too commonly accompanying cancer or liver disease, may be reduced by way of the Gerson therapy. One patient interviewed in the film reports a decrease of 8 cm on the first day of the therapy, with 2 cm/day afterwards. One woman, diagnosed with ovarian cancer and given 6 to 9 months to live, speaks on camera of how she lived not nine months, but nine years and is still in excellent, cancer-free health. Her therapy was the Gerson diet.

Three other women she knew, all of whom selected chemotherapy, were, as predicted, dead in nine months or less. Possibly the most moving testimonial comes from a child, named Stephanie, who was diagnosed with widespread cancer in the kidney, lungs, vena cava and heart before she was even six years old. After conventional treatment had been tried and had failed, she (and her parents as well) embarked on the Gerson program. Asked what she thought of the diet, the girl responded quite frankly: “The food? At first I thought it was kind of weird. But after, like, a week, it started tasting better.” Stephanie, who had been given six months to live, was very much alive over two years later and shown horseback riding. The narration presented her as not fully cured, but “on the road to recovery” to the point that her doctors were “astounded.”

Stephanie herself described her quality of life improvement as well as it has ever been described: “I’ve been feeling lots better. I’ve been having more energy when on the diet. I feel very healthy, and stronger, and much better than I did.” The most skeptical viewer cannot possibly watch the scenes of this lass horseback riding and not be at least a little bit persuaded. Then there is Pat, a woman with pancreatic cancer which had spread to her liver, gall bladder, and spleen. Throwing up blood, she was diagnosed at age 46, and given 3 months to live. That was in 1986. Pat’s bleeding and pain stopped in 10 days of Gerson therapy. After two years of Gerson, a CAT scan showed that the cancer was gone. Pat is now 65.

Hollywood star Michael Landon was similarly diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He, too, had been given three months to live, and he likewise tried the Gerson therapy. Landon appeared on the “Tonight” show, looking hale and hearty after only a short time on the Gerson program. Immediately afterwards, the narration says, Landon was warned off of the Gerson diet by his physicians. He abandoned it, and his condition promptly worsened. He later personally telephoned Pat and told her that he “should have stayed with the Gerson therapy.” Michael Landon died in 1991. As a very young man, I made a documentary film about the pollution and proposed reclamation of the Genesee River in Rochester, NY. Excessive camera motion was the byproduct of my limited equipment and poor technique.

Although it may be an intentional stylistic tool, I for one would ask that directors of feature documentaries everywhere lose the hand-held camera reality-look and get themselves better tripods than I had. The Gerson DVD has no menu for chapter selection, and for those wishing to re-study any one of the 30 chapters in this 90 minute feature, a chapter menu would be most helpful. This film makes no attempt at conciliation nor compromise, with frequent unabashedly in-your-face statements, such as: “The only area of which established orthodox medicine in the US is superlative is in the cost.” Another: “The viability of life hinging essentially on what we pour into our cups, and place on our plates, is so simple, and yet profoundly hard to grasp by modern medicine.”

The film also emphasizes the detrimental effects of all manner of pollution on our internal environment. Mercury-based dental amalgam condemned; Ritalin is ridiculed, as is the Standard American Diet (“SAD”). Even milk-drinking is eschewed by the Gerson approach. “With every meal, we are either digging our own graves with the silverware, or ensuring a healthy and productive life.” There is something in The Gerson Miracle to provoke practically anybody. On the other hand, there is such value in Gerson’s therapy to justify the film being seen by everybody. We have to face the facts: Dr. Gerson saved lives and his methods still do. Here is the very first movie to offer this essential message to a new and ever-widening audience.

To say that such a message is somewhat controversial is understatement akin to saying that the Beatles somewhat influenced popular music, or that Citizen Kane was a pretty good flick. Fact is, the Gerson therapy exists. You can say that it doesn’t work, but you can also find living, breathing people who will tell you differently. This documentary does exactly that, and this is what documentaries should be doing. (The Gerson Miracle. 91 minutes; 2004. VHS: 29.95; DVD: $24.95, from Charlotte Gerson, 355 Greenwood Place, Bonita, CA 91902. Shipping is $3, CA residents add 7.5% sales tax.)

Nutritional Therapy for Cancer

Cancer: Food Plan from Physiol. Chem. & Physics 10 (1978)

The Cure Of Advanced Cancer By Diet Therapy:
A Summary Of 30 Years Of Clinical Experimentation

Max Gerson, M.D.
Gerson Institute, Box 535, Imperial Beach, California 92032

(1978 Publisher’s Note. This is a lecture given by Dr. Gerson in Escondido, California, in 1956. Dr. Gerson died in 1959. More complete information on his therapy for advanced cancer may be found in his book A Cancer Therapy: Results of 50 Cases, by Max Gerson, 3rd edition, 1977, Totality Books, Del Mar, CA or from his daughter Mrs. Charlotte Gerson Straus at the Gerson Institute, Box 535, Imperial Beach, CA 92032. Socioeconomic and political perspectives are discussed in the book Has Dr. Max Gerson a True Cancer Cure? by S. J. Haught, 1976, Major Books, 21335, Roscoe Blvd., Canoga Park, CA 91304.)


Thirty years of clinical experimentation has led to a successful therapy for advanced cancer. This therapy is based on the concepts (1) that cancer patients have low immuno-reactivity and generalized tissue damage, especially of the liver, and (2) that when the cancer is destroyed, toxic degradation products appear in the bloodstream which lead to coma and death from liver failure. The therapy consists of high potassium, low sodium diet, with no fats or oils, and minimal animal proteins. Juices of raw fruits and vegetables and of raw liver provide active oxidizing enzymes which facilitate rehabilitation of the liver. Iodine and niacin supplementation is used. Caffeine enemas cause dilation of bile ducts, which facilitates excretion of toxic cancer breakdown products by the liver and dialysis of toxic products from blood across the colonic wall. The therapy must be used as an integrated whole. Parts of the therapy used in isolation will not be successful. This therapy has cured many cases of advanced cancer.

Ladies and Gentlemen: I came here on vacation; I didn’t come here for a lecture. I didn’t bring anything. So, I wrote down some things since I was asked to tell you first how I arrived at the cancer treatment. It is a funny story. When I was a physician for internal diseases in Bielefeld [Germany) in 1928, one day I was called to see a lady. I asked her what was wrong with her but on the telephone she didn’t want to tell me. So I went there, a little outside of town. Then I asked her “What’s wrong?” She told me she was operated on in a big clinic nearby and they found a cancer of the bile duct. I saw the operation scar. She was running a high fever, was jaundiced. I told her, “Sorry, I can do nothing for you. I don’t know how to treat cancer. I have not seen results, especially in such an advanced case where there is no longer the possibility of operation.” So, she said, “No, doctor, I called because I saw the results in your treatment of tuberculosis and arthritis in various cases. Now, here is a pad and you write down a treatment.

On that table over there, there is a book, and in that book, you will be good enough to read to me aloud the chapter called The Healing of Cancer.” It was a big book of about 1,200 pages on folk medicine and in the middle there was that chapter. I started to read. That book was edited by three schoolteachers and one physician. None of them practiced medicine. So they put together that book. I read that chapter. In it there was something about Hippocrates who gave these patients a special soup. I should like to tell you, we use that soup at the present time! That soup from that book, out of the practice of Hippocrates – 550 years before Christ! He was the greatest physician at that time, and I even think the greatest physician of all time. He had the idea that the patient has to be detoxified with the soup and with some enemas and so on. I read and read but finally I told the lady, “Look, because of my tuberculosis treatment physicians are opposed to me. Therefore I’d like not to treat you.”

Again she insisted, “I’ll give you in writing that you are not responsible for the outcome of the treatment and that I insisted that you do so.” So with that signed statement, I thought, all right, let’s try. I wrote down the treatment. It was almost the same which I used for tuberculosis patients (1-7) which I had worked out and used at the University Clinic in Munich with Prof. Sauerbruch. After the work at the University Clinic the treatment had been established and had been found effective. (8, 9). I thought that maybe it will be effective in cancer too. It is always written in scientific books that tuberculosis and cancer are both degenerative diseases where the body has to be detoxified. But this latter thought was written only by Hippocrates. I tried – and the patient was cured! Six months later she was up and around in the best condition. Then she sent me two other cancer cases. One of her family with a stomach cancer where it had been found during an attempted operation that there were metastasized glands around the stomach-also cured! And I had to cure then, against my will, a third case.

I expected to have still more opposition from the medical profession. The third case was also a stomach cancer. It was also cured. Three cases were tried and all three cases were cured! I have to tell you that up to this day, I don’t know how this happened, how I stumbled into that, how this was achieved. At that time I always said that I didn’t know why they were cured. I didn’t know enough about cancer and it was such a difficult problem to go into. But once it was in my head and in my hands and in my heart, I could no longer separate myself from that problem. Some time later I was in Vienna. I had left Germany due to the political upheaval at the time of Hitler. There in Vienna I tried six cases and in all six cases, no results-all failures. That was shocking. The sanatorium where I treated my patients was not so well organized for dietary treatments. They treated other diseases by other methods and didn’t pay much attention to diet. So, I attributed the failures to that.

Then I came to Paris. In Paris, I tried seven cases and I had three results. One of the cases was an older man. He had a cancer of the cecum where the colon starts, 70 years old. Another case was a lady from Armenia. This was a very interesting case. I had to work against the whole family. There were many physicians in the family, and I had plenty of trouble. But, anyway, I came through in that case. She had cancer of the breast which regrew. Every time the family insisted that she was “so much down.” She weighed only 78 pounds. She was skin and bones and they wanted me to give her egg yolks. I gave her small amounts of egg yolks-the cancer regrew. Then they insisted that I give her meat, raw chopped meat. I gave her this and the cancer regrew. The third time, they wanted me to give her some oil. I gave her that oil and the third time the cancer regrew. But, anyway, three times I could eliminate the cancer again and cure. And still I had no idea what cancer was. If somebody asked me about the theory, just what it was I was doing, I had to answer, “I don’t really know myself.”

Some time later I came to this country. I couldn’t get the cancer problem and the cure of the first three cases out of my mind. I kept thinking “It must be possible, it would a crime not to do it.” But is wasn’t so easy. When I came here, I had no clinic. I didn’t even have a license to practice medicine. When I had taken the exams and could take patients, I had to treat them at home and that was hard work. The patients didn’t like to obey the diet, to do it at home. They were accustomed to save kitchen time and not to work hard to make all the juices necessary for the treatment as it had been worked out. Now the treatment for tuberculosis was a saltless diet, mostly fruit and vegetables, vegetables cooked without added water, steamed in their own juices, with a heavy pot, no aluminum. The cover had to be heavy and fit well so that the steam could not escape. Then they had to have most of the food raw, finely grated. They had to drink orange juice, grapefruit juice, and apple and carrot juice.

This had to be produced in a special machine-a grinder and a separate press-because I found that in centrifugal juicers or liquefiers, I couldn’t obtain the kind of juice which cured patients. At first, I had thought that liquefiers would be the most wonderful thing. All the material was there, nothing was lost. But it didn’t work. Then I found out through a physicist that in the liquefier, in the center, there is positive electricity and in the fluid there is negative electricity. This electricity kills the oxidizing enzymes. And that is also true for the centrifugal juicer and the other apparatus. The juice must therefore be made by a grinder and a separate press – if possible, made of stainless steel. (Editor’s note: a masticating juicer, such as a Champion, might also work.) The patients must drink a lot of those juices. They have to have the Hippocrates soup. I can’t go into all the details. The evening would not be long enough for that. But very important for the detoxification are enemas. I felt that the detoxification as suggested in the book of Hippocrates was a most important part.

Finally, I had a clinic. The patients saw that also the more advanced cases and even some terminal cases, very far advanced cases, could be saved. They brought me more and more of these terminal cases. I was forced into that. On the one side, the knife of the AMA was at my throat and on my back. I had only terminal cases. If I had not saved them, my clinic would have been a death house. Some of the cases were brought on stretchers. They couldn’t walk. They could no longer eat. It was very, very difficult. So, I really had to work out a treatment that could help these far advanced cases.(10,11) Again, I was forced into it. On the need of where to put the emphasis: reading all the literature, I saw that all the scientists treat the symptoms. These, I thought, are only symptoms. There must be something basic behind them. It has to be impossible that there are symptoms in the brain, others in the lungs, in the bones, it the abdomen and in the liver. There must be something basic, or else this is impossible.

Already, through my work with tuberculosis, I learned that in tuberculosis and in all other degenerative diseases, one must not trcat the symptoms. The body-the whole body-has to be treated. But that is easily said. How will you do it? Little by little I came to the conclusion that the most important part of our body is the digestive tract. For all our intake to be properly digested, and for the other organs of the digestive tract to function right and help in the digestion to the end product-and at the same time eliminate all the waste products-all the toxins and poisons which must be eliminated so that nothing will accumulate in our system, I thought that this was the most important thing in the tuberculosis treatment. It must be the same in all the other degenerative diseases, too. And still, up to the present, I am convinced that cancer does not need a “specific” treatment.

Cancer is a so-called degenerative disease, and all the degenerative diseases have to be treated so that the whole body at first is detoxified. In my tuberculosis work again, I saw that the liver plays the important role. It eliminates the toxins from the body, prepares them so they can enter into the bile ducts, and can thus be eliminated with the bile-that is not an easy job. In addition, the liver helps to prepare the stomach juice with the help of the visceral nervous system. The liver helps to prepare the pancreas, trypsin, pepsin, lipase, the digestive enzymes-all that is regulated with the help of the visceral nervous system. The liver has many, many more very important functions. One of them is the reactivation of the oxidizing enzymes as we know through Rudolf Schoenheimer. He did the work along these lines. It would go too far to go into that at this time. It is very important to note that oxidizing enzymes are at a low level of function in cancer patients.

Now let us anticipate the theory. During these years the idea occurred to me that there are two components in cancer which are of particular importance. One is the whole body, the general component. The other is a local one, the symptom. The treatment has to be applied to the general component. When we are able to bring this into balance, the local one disappears. What is the general component and what does the treatment have to do to bring it into balance? I should like to devote this evening mostly to that question. The general component is the digestive tract and the liver. The digestive tract is very much poisoned in cancer. How can we handle that? Detoxification is an easy word, but it is very difficult to do in cancer patients. These cases, when they are far advanced, can hardly eat. They have no stomach juice, the liver doesn’t function, the pancreas doesn’t function, nothing is active.

Author: Life Enthusiast