Alternative Integrative Therapies Part 1: Gerson Method

The first time I ever heard of Gerson Therapy was in 2011 when I started my cancer treatment. At the time my brain was foggy due to the pain meds so I don’t think I fully understood what it was about. Over the past few years I have come across people who swear by it, so I did more digging to see what this therapy is about.

Here is the back story:

Max Gerson M.D. was born in Germany in 1881. He started using dietary changes to control his migraines and discovered that it also cured his skin tuberculosis. Soon afterward he treated and cured the wife of Nobel prize winner Albert Schweitzer M.D., from lung tuberculosis after all conventional treatments had failed. While Gerson was studying medicine he continued experimenting with diet as a treatment to heal several diseases including cancer. In 1938 Gerson became a medical doctor and practiced medicine in New York. The book A Cancer TherapyGerson therapy was published twenty years later which includes case studies of fifty patients who were successfully treated using his methods.

You’re probably thinking, “Only fifty cases over twenty years? That’s not enough to convince me.” I know I would think the same thing so I looked for more evidence. There are newer success stories from survivors who chose Gerson. I found a paper from PubMed that gives stats on five year survival rates for different stages of melanoma:

Five-year survival rates of melanoma patients treated by diet therapy after the manner of Gerson: a retrospective review. It was published back in 1995. You can read their findings here.

I follow another cancer survivor’s blog, Chris Beat Cancer who writes about many healing stories from patients who chose alternative therapies. He knows first hand what it’s like to have cancer. He chose a combination of surgery and healing diet to beat his Stage III colon cancer. The Gerson story Chris wrote is about a woman who recovered from Stage IV Lymphoma. You can read her story here. Chris recently accompanied Dr. Patrick Vickers from the Gerson Institute in Mexico to set up a Gerson clinic in Cambodia. I think third world countries are more open to the idea of alternative treatments because they already depend on herbal medicines to treat their sick. They are to poor to afford the high cost of Western Medicine. I am waiting to read about his experience, so when I find out, I’ll update this post with a link to his blog.

What is Gerson therapy anyway? I found this abstract on from a speech Gerson made in 1956 at a medical seminar, which gives a thorough explanation:

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.

Gerson runs a clinic in Mexico because it’s illegal to treat cancer any other way than chemotherapy, radiation or surgery in the United States. Don’t you find that interesting? Talk about a monopoly by the pharmaceutical companies. Not everyone can afford to travel to Mexico for treatment so there is a hand book that you can read and follow to get treatment at home. If you want more information about the clinic you will find it here.

Sorry, I couldn’t find a better picture of the book. It’s sold in several stores online and there is a Kindle edition as well. gerson handbook






This video helps explain the Gerson Method as well.

As far as I can determine, Gerson is a legitimate cancer treatment, although like any treatment you need to do more research for yourself before deciding what is best for you. I don’t know if any of the patients had other medical conditions besides cancer either, which is a huge factor in cancer treatments and successful outcomes.  Remember, there is no one-size- fits-all approach to any treatment and not all cancers are equal. The same is true for conventional treatments.

Be Well and Be Happy!


2 thoughts on “Alternative Integrative Therapies Part 1: Gerson Method

  1. Thanks for bringing this to people’s awareness. The more research I do, the more I think that nutrition and lifestyle can make all the difference in healing or preventing cancer. I don’t know at this point if I would go through conventional treatment again. I think that debulking the tumor with surgery may be enough to allow the immune system to catch up in many cases. All the chemo does is screw up your body chemistry, tax your organs, and severely debilitate your immune system. Sounds reasonable…

    • I agree Lisa. My hope is to provide my readers with as many options as I can find to help them heal from whatever disease they have. The common thread from all treatments so far, is nutrition. My own healing story is a combination of conventional and alternative based on nutrition.

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