Gerson Therapy

Gerson Therapy

Max Gerson was a doctor who created many types of pastes and products to treat cancer. There is currently a clinic that uses the Gerson Therapy. His book is called: A Cancer Therapy.

Gerson Therapy Notes: From the Updated Gerson Therapy Primer; Substances and Activities to be Aware of for the Gerson Therapy Patient

The following article is a collection of Notes excerpted from the Updated Gerson Therapy Primer, available from the Gerson Institute for $15.00 (U.S.) plus $3.00 shipping. The Primer is literally required reading for the patient on the Gerson Therapy, as it elaborates on subjects from A Cancer Therapy: Results of 50 Cases, provides practical assistance in the day-to-day practice of the Therapy, and addresses issues that were often nonexistent during Dr. Gerson's lifetime.


All substances that go onto the skin at best clog pores and keep the skin from breathing and eliminating toxins. At worst, these materials are absorbed into the blood stream and damage the patient. While on the intensive therapy, the patient should refrain from using ANY skin lotions, creams, and ointments whatsoever. In particular, women need to refrain from using lipstick, which is regularly licked off the lips and therefore ingested. Sometimes, women complain that their lips are dry or raw if they do not use lipstick. This is often due to the lipstick. If the patient refrains from its use for a few days, uses a little Vaseline, the lips `heal' and will feel normal.

We feel very strongly about any underarm antiperspirant or deodorant. ALL these are harmful, even if purchased in a `health food store'. Many contain aluminum, and other chemicals which should never go to block lymph passages underarm. They not only block but are absorbed and toxic. The passages should be clear and open for elimination of toxic perspiration. If sweat is smelly, wash frequently and keep the lymph passages OPEN. To block them is to force the toxic materials back into the lymph passages to cause new harm. Once the body is well detoxified, it will not have any unpleasant smell.

Nail polish keeps the nails from breathing. Do not use it while on the Gerson Therapy; nor any artificial nails. If you are wearing it at the hospital, a nurse will provide you with nail polish remover.

We need not mention permanents or hair dyes, since these are mentioned on the list of FORBIDDEN ITEMS in A CANCER THERAPY, p. 238. However, hair sprays, lacquers with acetone solvents, are also very harmful and have to be avoided. On the therapy, your hair will become healthier and have natural `body'. You will not need some of the toxic cosmetics.


A very important consideration for success on the Gerson Therapy is the need to clear any possible dental root abscess. Sometimes, these abscesses cause no symptoms and the patient is not aware of them. Also, some patients are overly concerned about X-rays, to the point that they even refuse the small amount of radiation used to diagnose possible dental problems. That is a mistake. The amount of radiation is not harmful; but the possible existence of dental root canal infections or abscesses will negate the effectiveness of the Gerson Therapy. Sometimes seriously damaged or infected teeth have to be removed in order to eliminate the constant `re-infection' caused by these toxins in the mouth. Please check your teeth and make sure that there are no dental problems as you start on the Therapy.

Another possible dental problem is mercury. Most people are now aware that the so-called `silver amalgam' fillings contain about 51% mercury. This is a highly toxic heavy metal which affects not only the nervous system but can cause untold problems and can counteract the healing effect of the Gerson Therapy. There are now techniques available for removing these amalgam fillings correctly (see Dr. Hal Huggins, It's All In Your Head.) However, no matter how carefully the fillings are removed, some of the mercury is released as gas or particulate matter and re-enters the system. This causes a temporary mercury poisoning, which is fairly easily overcome by the Gerson Therapy. However, it is unwise to subject the seriously or terminally ill patient, just starting the Gerson Therapy, to this additional poisoning. We therefore suggest that the patient waits at least 6-12 months until he is much improved before considering the removal of the offending fillings.

Many dentists refuse to do this work. Refer to the above book, to Dr. Huggins' office in Colorado Springs, and he will give you names in your area of dentists who will do the work. Silver amalgam fillings can be replaced with various plastic materials that are now available. Gold fillings are also acceptable, however occasionally dentists have placed gold crowns on top of silver amalgam fillings in the same tooth. This is highly damaging.

In one respect, your dentist could cause you considerable trouble: namely if he recommends for you to brush your teeth with baking soda. `Soda' is sodium. It is very easily absorbed through the mucus membranes in the mouth and quickly enters the blood stream. We have had one patient who came to us with a colon cancer. On the therapy, after about 10 months, she was completely cleared of cancer. She continued the therapy, faithfully, as she had been instructed. Nevertheless, after another 6 months or so, she had a new malignant lesion in her colon. When she returned to the CHIPSA hospital, upon intensive questioning, it turned out that her dentist had suggested that she brush her teeth with baking soda. She did - and her tumor returned. When she was told to stop this practice, she again healed.
We need to warn our patients not to follow such dentist's instructions. Also, please note that Dr. Gerson's book, on p. 238, states on the list of "FORBIDDEN ITEMS" not to use baking soda also for gargling, etc. The above patient did not remember or check on this before following her dentist's instructions. Please also note that MANY brands of toothpaste presently contain baking soda - since dentists recommend it. Please do not use such toothpastes.


Dr. Gerson did not want patients to be exposed to sun, nor to sunbathe. During the last few years, it has become fashionable to recommend `sunscreen' because many doctors claim that sunlight can cause skin cancer. Dr. Gerson's reason for recommending to avoid sunlight is that sunlight is radiation, it is wearying and irritating; so the patient must avoid it. Sunscreen is not the answer, on the contrary: the latest information has it that the sunscreen that people are supposed to use and put on their children's skin becomes a carcinogen (cancer causing agent) when exposed to the sun! If you are going out, wear a long-sleeved shirt, preferably white cotton, or a blouse. Use a hat with a wide brim or visor to protect your face. You need not stay indoors altogether when the weather is sunny. Just don't expose yourself without clothes, to `sunbathe'. It is always suggested that you take in fresh air, IN THE SHADE, under a tree or umbrella. If you are using the sun `to warm you', rather use extra covers, sweaters, coats or blankets, but stay in the shade.


There is presently in the general population quite a serious problem consisting of depressed immune systems. There is a steady increase in infections which were virtually unknown a decade ago: AIDS, `chronic fatigue syndrome' (Epstein-Barr), genital herpes, hepatitis of all kinds and candida (yeast infections) Other infectious diseases which seemed to have almost disappeared, such as tuberculosis, and even syphilis, are making a threatening comeback.
It has to be assumed that the poor general nutrition, together with excess consumption of fats, proteins and salt, causes this health problem. Obviously, patients suffering from cancer also have a weakened immune system - since a fully functioning immune response is capable of protecting the body from ever developing cancer. So, we know that in all cancer patients, we have a problem if they `catch' cold or develop a flu. Even after a few months on the Gerson Therapy, which among other things restores the immune system, the former cancer patient does not yet have a good defense against cold and flu viruses. For that reason, much care has to be taken to protect the recovering patient from visitors, children or other household members who have colds. They should be completely segregated. Friends or visitors with colds should either be requested not to visit, or, if they have come into the house, the patient should quietly (even unsociably!) and quickly disappear behind his/her bedroom door.

If a recovering patient does develop a cold or flu, at the very first signs, he should take penicillin (other antibiotics if he is allergic to penicillin) together with the `triad', at least once every 6 hours for as long as symptoms are present, plus one day. It is also wise to gargle with chamomile tea in which you use 1/2 ounce of a 3% solution of hydrogen peroxide, at least three times a day. A very warm bath with at least 4 pints of 3% hydrogen peroxide twice a day is extremely helpful. Be sure that the patient is not chilled upon leaving the bath and immediately goes into a warm bed. A cold should be treated with great respect since it can cause recurrence of tumors. If you report to your CHIPSA doctor with possible regrowth of tumors, be sure you mention whether or not you had a cold or flu in the recent past, and whether you have overcome it.

Because of the seriousness of possible colds, it is suggested on the list of medications to take home, that you take penicillin with you. If, at the very first symptoms of a cold, you first have to go to a doctor for a prescription, or ask for penicillin to be mailed to you - it will be much too late to take it. It is mainly used to avoid opportunistic germs from aggravating the virus infection - but you need to have it on hand in case of need. Do not use it for any other reason.


Dr. Gerson felt very strongly that a cancer patient just starting on the Therapy, urgently needs rest. He even had patients who were not particularly debilitated, stay in bed for a full six weeks! The Gerson Therapy also will speed up the metabolism which requires energy. This energy requirement often causes patients starting the treatment to be tired. This is an urgent message of the body to rest! Do not force exercise when you are tired; it will not `build you up' at all; on the contrary, it will slow down or stop healing if you waste your energy.

Early on in the treatment, it is a good practice to do some trampolining. A little `rebounder' is quite inexpensive, and can be very helpful. In the beginning, use it only by lifting your heel and bending your knees - don't jump. Also, it is best to use it for only 30 seconds at a time, but several times a day - as often as 5-6 times. This very mild exercise stimulates lymphatic circulation and also helps to overcome pain, especially bone pain. But, again, don't overdo or exhaust yourself.
When patients first return home, they usually feel much better, but not yet strong. It is extremely important that they do not immediately jump into their jobs or housework - since the Therapy with all the foods and juices is very labor intensive. The patient needs continued rest and HELP. Usually, after about three months, energy will return. That, too, could be a period of danger: when the patient is recovering and feels energy coming back, he/she may well start into strenuous activities - overexerting himself, and stopping the healing. Do not overdo. As energy returns, you can start on some very mild `exercise': a five-minute walk! (Not in extreme heat or cold.) This can soon be extended to 8-10 minutes - but, if the patient is very tired, STOP IT, and go back to the last amount of walking that didn't exhaust you. Increase the time for a walk very slowly if you can easily handle it. More strenuous exercise (tennis, squash) must be avoided for a year or so. Swimming is a problem: all chlorinated pools must be completely avoided; ocean water is too salty for the patient. So what remains? A clean mountain stream or lake. "Clean" means that there are no factories upstream from the place where you swim, draining chemicals into the water. And, of course, the weather must be mild or warm, so the patient is not chilled. One of our recovered breast cancer patients in Santa Cruz, California, after some five years on the therapy and total recovery, has won several tennis tournaments, and can bike the legs off of her 16 year old daughter. Just be patient and heal first!


After approximately 6-10 weeks on the Therapy, your doctor will order you to start on some NON-FAT, UNSALTED, UNFLAVORED, MODIFIED milk proteins. This does NOT mean LOW FAT (yogurt or cottage cheese). In Dr. Gerson's book, you will find that he ordered the patient to take buttermilk and/or "pot-cheese". We have to be very careful with these items nowadays. Buttermilk comes in two forms: "churned" and "cultured". The churned type is good and acceptable - but it is almost never available anymore. If you have a dairy farmer in your neighborhood who will churn some sour cream to make his own butter, and let you have the buttermilk - that would be great. But, otherwise, don't bother looking for it. The "Cultured" type is completely forbidden. It is usually made of left-over, unsalable milk, treated with thickening agents; flavored AND SALTED!

The next problem is "Pot Cheese". In Dr. Gerson's day, this meant non-fat, unsalted cottage cheese which he approved of. Today, this is no longer available. All cottage cheese is creamed and salted; the "Low-fat" type is usually 2% butterfat (much too much) and is also salted. Sometimes, you can obtain so-called baker's cheese, which is supposed to be used in baking and is not supposed to contain cream or salt. This is all right to use; however, it is tasteless. So you have to add non-fat, unflavored yogurt to it, whip it up with onion, garlic, chives, etc. and make it into a delicious spread. Be sure that the cheese is free of cream and salt. One patient was using a cottage cheese, made by a farmer using his own `cottage industry' recipe, which was simple hard cheese, with about 40% butterfat and salt! Of course, her tumors recurred.

Another problem is yogurt. It has to be non-fat and unflavored. Some patients are trying their best to do right, and look for raw, unpasteurized milk yogurt. BE CAREFUL. You will possibly find raw goat's milk yogurt, and think you have it made. NOT SO. Goat's milk is by nature homogenized, and it is difficult to remove the cream - so it is left full fat. We lost one patient because the care-giver was not aware of the danger of raw goat's milk yogurt.

You can also be confused by labels; one set of information on your yogurt container will be "Ingredients". Obviously, this should only include non-fat milk and cultures. The other information on your container will be "analysis of content". I have had many calls from patients saying that the yogurt contains sodium. Of course, all milk contains a certain amount of natural sodium - don't worry about it. The problem is only caused by any addition of salt, which will show in the "Ingredients".

Very rarely, a patient is lactose intolerant and cannot handle any milk products. Your doctor may advise you to take spirulina, blue-green manna, or bee pollen. This, too, can sometimes cause allergic reactions. If you are trying it, use just a few grains at first, and add a few at a time before reaching your prescribed amount. If it causes you any allergic reaction, don't use it.

Article copyright The Gerson Institute.
By Dan Rogers and Charlotte Gerson

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Common Mistakes: Charlotte Gerson addresses some common misconceptions about the Gerson Therapy

A friend, who is one of our recovered patients, recently visited New Zealand. At that time, he came across a publication, Self Help Cancer Cure Book by several authors: Walter Last, Chris Wheeler, Max Yelsaeb "and a panel of Soil and Health writers." Naturally our friend was interested and picked up the book. He found it contained a rather detailed description of the Gerson Therapy, offering several positive comments. However, the author, Walter Last, also wrote some criticisms that are not altogether accurate, while at the same time, not so unusual. Since our members may find similar discussions in other publications, I should like to answer them here.

Walter Last correctly states that the Gerson Therapy is not as rapidly effective in our times as it was when Dr. Gerson practiced in the U.S., during the 40's and 50's. The earth, air and water pollution is vastly increased; people are much more toxic then they were while Dr. Gerson practiced. Also, antibiotics and many other drugs are seriously abused, causing additional poisoning of the liver and essential organs - the basic cause of cancer and other degenerative diseases. Mr. Last feels that Dr. Gerson's personal charisma inspired and encouraged his patients, helping the effectiveness of the treatment. Certainly that was true; however with present publications of the basic A Cancer Therapy book, the Gerson Therapy Primer, and the Gerson Therapy videotapes published by the Gerson Institute, many patients have been able to recover on the Gerson Therapy on their own at home. Thousands of terminally ill cancer patients have also been successfully treated and healed during the 21 years since the Gerson hospital was founded in Mexico.
Mr. Last objects to the very limited use of cow's milk products in the Gerson Therapy which uses only defatted and pre-digested, soured products, such as yogurt. He surely considers the many drugs and hormones used in milk production that cause allergies and other problems. Naturally, in patients who are unable to digest milk products (lactose intolerant) these items are removed from their diet and other protein substances are used. Mr. Last also takes exception to the use of wheat - Dr. Gerson avoided wheat products. If bread was used, (see below) he insisted on using rye with only a small percentage of organic whole wheat added. Naturally, this too was omitted in case of wheat allergies. The present Gerson Therapy directs patients to 100% salt-free rye if they use bread at all. Bread products are allowed in limited amounts for patients on the Gerson Therapy and freshly prepared foods are always preferred. If patients have consumed the required meals, including a substantial portion of oatmeal for breakfast, they are allowed a little additional salt-free rye bread. Bread is specifically not to be the basis of any meal.

Objections to sugar: Dr. Gerson allowed several natural sweeteners including organic honey, dried cane juice ("Sucanat") pure maple syrup and unsulphured molasses. He found that, in general, cancer patients have severely toxic livers. The livers of cancer patients are not only weakened and damaged, like those he found in other patients with chronic disease, but quite literally "poisoned." Due to this damage, the patients are often not able to store enough sugar in their livers (in the form of glycogen), to allow them to sleep through the night. When blood sugar drops below a certain level, a person wakes up. In order to help these damaged livers store a little more glycogen, Dr. Gerson allowed patients two level teaspoonfuls per day of the above natural sweeteners. Obvious exceptions are: patients suffering from diabetes, hypoglycemia and/or candidiasis. Mr. Last also quotes the Gerson book as suggesting" brown sugar or honey" to sweeten the morning oatmeal. This is not quite correct. Oatmeal is naturally sweetened with the fruit that is served as a sauce. The fruit can also be in the form of fresh, raw grapes, bananas, peaches, etc. and/or apple sauce, or stewed fresh fruit. Dried fruit is quite acceptable during seasons when fresh is not available. With the added fruit, little sweetener is required to make the dish tasty.

Mr. Last also objects to the dried fruit. True, if used as is, such as snacking on figs, dates, or raisins, these cause a rapid increase in blood sugar and are not suggested. However, when dried fruit are given, Dr. Gerson directed for these to be soaked and cooked to reconstitute the water and dilute the sugar concentration.

Baked potatoes and other nightshade vegetables (tomatoes, green peppers, egg plant): Mr. Last voices possible objections specifically to baked potatoes, as expressed by the famous psychic, Edgar Cayce, as well as biologist/educator Rudolf Steiner. Potatoes are a very important part of the Gerson Therapy. They provide a good level of proteins as well as potassium and other minerals, that are much more easily digested than grains such as rice. Since Dr. Gerson regularly observed a dramatic decrease of tumors and long-term healing with his diet, including the rather heavy use of potatoes, it is difficult to argue that these may be harmful. Tomatoes are also suggested for use in the specific "Hippocrates Soup" while a little green pepper is added not only to salads but in the green juice. Again, judging from the excellent results we are still obtaining in a very large number of patients, it would be difficult to argue that the `nightshade' vegetables may be harmful.

Dr. Gerson did not permit cucumbers. Mr. Last assumes that the reason for this prohibition was that Dr. Gerson felt cucumbers are too high in sodium - while on the other hand, he did permit some celery. Mr. Last is wrong. Nowhere in Dr. Gerson's book does he state that the reason for omitting cucumbers is their sodium content - it is not. The reason is that cucumbers are very poorly tolerated in conjunction with the hourly juices. They cause extreme gastro-intestinal distress, including nausea, gas and pain. This distress, surprisingly, is not caused by other vegetables of the same family, such as zucchini and squash. Dr. Gerson did restrict celery for its high sodium content and did not allow it to be used in the green juices. He did not, as Mr. Last assumes, mix up cucumbers and celery from the point of view of their sodium content.

Mr. Last also takes some exception to the use of stainless steel cookware in the Gerson Therapy I am aware of the nickel content of this product but find it difficult to substitute other materials. The coated metals are more dangerous when the coatings are disturbed or scratched; glass pots are not available for cooking coffee and soup, for instance. Again, judging from the results obtained in patients, the stainless steel cookware may not be as serious a problem as some of the literature suggests. If and when other practicable products become available, we should surely want to use them.

Sprouted seeds: Mr. Last applauds Dr. Gerson's recommendation of sprouted seeds. There is no mention anywhere in A Cancer Therapy of sprouts! It has also been proven by research and in our own seriously negative experience, that sprouted alfalfa contains precursor amino acids that have caused lupus in healthy monkeys, Unfortunately, we do not have the funds nor research facilities to test other sprouts for the possibly toxic precursor amino acid (l-canavanine, see Gerson Healing Newsletter No. 11, Jan/Feb `86) Therefore, in order to avoid any possible damage from immature proteins, we have prohibited all sprouts. Mr. Last mistakenly assumes that we now forbid sprouts because of their likely content of estrogens - but, as noted above, that is not the reason.

Finally, Mr. Last feels the Gerson Therapy is restrictive because many new remedies and additions have become available since Dr. Gerson's death. One of the more important activities of the Gerson Institute is to research new approaches as they are developed and cautiously incorporate effective additions to the Therapy. We have developed a careful testing protocol for the incorporation of new supportive approaches and made it available to practicing Gerson physicians. Using these protocols, we have added; Coenzyme Q-10, ultraviolet blood irradiation, castor oil packs (as described by Edgar Cayce) and clay packs, Laetrile and hyperthermia, acupuncture and more, along with psychological support for the patients.

We thank Mr. Last for his many positive comments but would really appreciate if he informed himself more thoroughly in recent developments of the Gerson Therapy.
Article copyright The Gerson Institute.


Gerson therapy is one of the metabolic therapies, using a special diet, plus supplements, and a coffee enema to cure terminal cases of cancer. 90-95% of his cancer cases were far advanced (terminal), and overall his cure rate was about 50%, which for his day was quite exceptional among alternative practitioners. This percentage is far higher than current day orthodox treatments!!