Treating disease through nutritional therapy and detoxification is not a new treatment modality. Dr. Max Gerson discovered the power of healing through nutrition and detoxification more than eighty years ago.
Gerson suffered from migraines since childhood. His early experiments with diet were conducted as a means to find a cure. After becoming an M.D., he recommended his successful migraine diet to his patients, one of whom also suffered from lupus vulgaris (skin tuberculosis). The diet rid the man of migraines, and his skin lesions disappeared as well.
Albert Schweitzer and Max Gerson become lifelong friends after Dr. Gerson’s therapy cured Schweitzer of his Type II diabetes, cured Albert’s daughter of a chronic skin condition, and saved the life of Albert’s wife, suffering from tuberculosis of the lung, which had not responded to conventional treatment.
As Dr. Gerson continued to treat and cure tuberculosis patients, word spread. A well known and well respected physician set up a carefully monitored, in-house, hospital trial to replicate the results of the Gerson Therapy, but the diet wasn’t working. The patients made no progress towards recovery; several actually worsened. The hospital was on the brink of ending the trial when a nurse was caught sneaking prohibited food into the ward. Once the Gerson Therapy diet was strictly enforced, the patients rapidly responded to treatment. Of 450 lupus vulgaris patients – patients suffering from a hideous incurable disease – 446 were cured.
As is often the case when alternative treatments prevail, Dr. Gerson became the object of derision and suspicion by critics in the medical community. It didn’t matter that his results had been independently verified in the hospital study, or that sanatoriums were reporting great success treating their patients with his diet therapy. His critics accused him of falsifying data, saying Gerson’s patients had never suffered from lupus vulgaris.
During this time a woman with an advanced case of inoperable cancer of the bile duct heard of Gerson’s success in treating both tuberculosis and arthritis. She asked Dr. Gerson for help, but he didn’t want to treat her, fearing an attempt at cancer treatment would increase the professional backlash. But the woman insisted, telling him she would sign a statement holding him harmless if the treatment did not work. She finally convinced him. After she was cured, she brought two relatives with cancer to him for treatment, whom he also cured.
Dr. Gerson decided to appease his critics by conducting a new study. No patient would be included in the study unless two doctors independently confirmed the diagnosis prior to treatment. Unfortunately, Gerson’s research was left behind when he fled Nazi Germany.
Though Dr. Gerson was the first to say he didn’t know why the treatment worked on those first three cancer patients, he was intrigued by the possibility of successfully treating cancer. In Vienna he attempted to treat six more cancer patients, without success. In Paris he treated seven, with three successes.
When he immigrated to the United States and became licensed to practice, he again began treating cancer patients. Gerson said, “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.”
As he continued to refine his treatment, he came to the conclusion that the disease process is essentially the same in all degenerative diseases.
He believed the digestive tract to be the most important part of our bodies. If digestion does not work properly, the body and its other organs are not properly nourished. And if digestion does not work properly, all waste products—toxins and poisons—are not eliminated. Instead they accumulate in our bodies. If the liver is overwhelmed, good health is impossible. During the Gerson treatment, the body is flooded with nutrients, oxidizing enzymes, and potassium. No added salt or fats other than flaxseed oil are allowed. Freshly pressed organic fruit and vegetable juices are given hourly. Coffee enemas are administered several times daily. As tumors die, the mass of dead cells are absorbed. They flood the bloodstream. Without proper detoxification, poisons accumulate, and patients, even those whose cancer has been eradicated, will die. Coffee enemas aid in detoxification and decrease pain.
Gerson believed our health begins with the quality of the soil in which our food is grown. “Our soil must be normal, no artificial fertilizers should be used, no poisons, no sprays which go into the soil and poison it. Whatever grows on a poisoned soil carries poison, too. And that is our food, our fruit and vegetables. I am convinced that the soil is our external metabolism. It is not really far removed from our bodies. We depend on it. But our modern food, the “normal” food people eat is bottled, poisoned, canned, color added, powdered, frozen, dipped in acids, sprayed-no longer normal. We no longer have living, normal food, our food and drink is a mass of dead, poisoned material, and one cannot cure very sick people by adding poisons to their systems.”
And he believed our diet was also the cause of disease. “We cannot detoxify our bodies when we add poisons through our food which is one of the reasons why cancer is so much on the increase. Saving time in the kitchen is fine but the consequences are terrible. Thirty or fifty years ago cancer was a disease of old age. Only elderly people whose liver was no longer working well – was worn out-became sick. They contracted cancer when they were 60 to 70 years old and cancer was a rare disease. Everybody knows that. And now four, even going on one out of three dies of cancer. Now in the second generation it is even worse. The poor children get leukemias more and more. There is no country which has so much leukemia as this country (USA), no country in the world. That is our fault. Ice cream is made with invert sugar. Coca-Cola contains phosphoric acid. Is it surprising that children get degenerative disease?”
These words were spoken by Gerson in a speech delivered in 1956. By the ‘50s our food was toxic and processed. By the ‘50s cancer and other diseases were on the rise due to diet, after petroleum based fertilizers and pesticides became the norm, a mere 10-15 years after processed foods overran our grocery shelves.
As was the case in Germany so many years ago, Max Gerson’s alternative therapy has long been dismissed by mainstream medicine, despite its success. A Stephen Kroschel documentary, Dying to Have Known interviews Max Gerson’s family members who carry on his work, Gerson patients, and conventional doctors who denounce the Gerson Therapy.
Dr. Dean Edell, a well known conventional doctor, states, “I don’t think the Gerson therapy has ever cured a terminally ill patient. People get very confused by this.
“This is a world of science, a world of data. I always like to think of it as a courtroom, the courtroom of science and medicine. You don’t send somebody to jail or convict somebody without hard, hard evidence.
“And Gerson has been looked at many, many times. If you think of basically what’s in Gerson therapy, you really wouldn’t expect it to cure cancer. But people… Sometimes cancer cures itself. There is a rate of cancer <that> goes away by itself.
“Some people didn’t really have cancer. It’s a misdiagnosis. Sometimes people had chemotherapy many months before. And then try, for instance, Gerson therapy. They get better and attribute it to the Gerson therapy. Or whatever they’ve done.
“So no I don’t think there’s any evidence that anybody has ever been cured by Gerson therapy.”
Kroschel asked Dr. Wallace Sampson, Clinical Professor Emeritus at Stanford University and Editor of the Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine what it would take for him to be convinced or even persuaded a slight bit that the Gerson therapy has credibility.
Sampson said, “Well, first of all they’d have to show some reason why it should work. We know how cancers behave and we know the kinds of things that cause cancer. So they’d have to come up with some kind of a believable theory of why their diet should work. But second of all, they’d have to convince us that everything we know about it in the last 50 years is wrong and they’re right. Now how are they going to come up with material like that? That’s impossible. They don’t have it.”
After both of these doctors claimed no one had ever been cured by the Gerson therapy, Kroschel selected two patient files at random and asked if they would agree to an interview.
The first was a woman who had been cancer free for 6 years following treatment from melanoma which had spread to her liver, causing two large tumors. Her oncologist had told her she had 3-4 months to live.
She stayed at the Gerson clinic for two weeks and then followed the diet at home for 10 months before having a new CT scan. The scan was clear. She had attended a cancer support group in which she was the only patient pursuing alternative treatment. Every other member of her support group died.
The second case was a man suffering from testicular cancer who has been cancer free for 10 years. When he returned to his oncologist after just “a couple months” on the Gerson diet, his CT scan showed he was cancer free. His doctor said it was a miracle. The film includes many more amazing interviews, stories of men and women who completely regained their health and vitality.
Kroschel also interviews doctors in other countries who are successfully treating cancer patients with the Gerson Therapy. The Loma Linda Clinic in Japan is run by two doctors, one of whom, Prof. Yoshihiko Hoshino, M.D., developed colon cancer sixteen years ago that metastasized to his liver. He cured his own cancer through the Gerson Therapy and has remained cancer free for fifteen years. Through the clinic, they have treated more than 500 cancer patients using the Gerson Therapy.
The Gerson Therapy has been used to successfully fight cancer and other degenerative diseases for more than 80 years, and yet, a quick search on the Internet reveals many sites that claim the Gerson Therapy to be nothing short of quackery.
Conventional medicine continues to dismiss the success of plant based nutritional therapy. As long as pharmaceutical companies remain the driving force behind conventional medicine and remain in control of the medical journals, pharmaceutical treatment will prevail.
As plant based nutritional therapy gains in popularity, as cancer survivors tell their stories, the tide will turn. Hopefully, we will reach that tipping point soon.