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A lecture delivered by Dr. Max Gerson at Dr. Jensen’s Health Ranch in Escondido, CA in 1956.

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 patients1-7 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
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 re-grew. 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, if used only as a grinder in conjunction with a hydraulic press to extract the juice.)
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
Already, through my work with tuberculosis, I learned that in tuberculosis and in all other
degenerative diseases, one must not treat 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”
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.
Where do we begin? The most important first step is the detoxification. So let us go into
that. First, we gave some different enemas. I found out that the best enema is the coffee enema as
it was first used by Prof. O. A. Meyer in Goettingen. This idea occurred to him when together
with Prof. Heubner he gave caffeine solution into the rectum of animals.
He observed that the bile ducts were opened and more bile could flow. I felt that this was
very important and I worked out coffee enemas. We took three heaping tablespoons of ground
coffee for one quart of water, let it boil for three minutes, then simmer 10 to 20 minutes, and then
gave it at body temperature.
The patients reported that this was doing them good. The pain disappeared even though in
order to carry through the detoxification, we had to take away all sedation. I realized that it is
impossible to detoxify the body on the one hand and put in drugs and poisons on the other, such
as sedation medication—demerol, codeine, morphine, scopolamine, etc. So, we had to put the
medication aside which again was a very difficult problem. One patient told me that he had one
grain of codeine every two hours and he got morphine injections … how can you take these
away? I told him that the best sedation is a coffee enema.
After a very short time he had to agree with that. Some of the patients who had been in
severe pain didn’t take coffee enemas every four hours as I prescribed—they took one every two
hours. But no more sedation.
After just a few days there was very little pain, almost none. I can give you an example. A
lady came to me not so long ago. She had cancer of the cervix and then two large tumor masses
around the uterus. The cervix was a large crater, necrotic, producing blood and pus, and the poor
lady couldn’t sit any more. The condition was inoperable. She had been given X-rays and
vomited any food she took in. She couldn’t lie down anymore. She could not sit. She walked
around day and night. When she came to my clinic the manager told me, “Doctor, you can’t keep
her here. This moaning and walking day and night is keeping the other patients from sleeping.”
After four days she was able to sleep with no sedative whatsoever—which had not helped her
much anyway. The sedation had worked for perhaps half an hour or so. After 8 to 10 days, she
asked me for just one thing: let her omit that night enema at 3 or 4 o’clock in the morning. These
patients who absorb the big tumor masses are awakened with an alarm clock every night because
they are otherwise poisoned by the absorption of these masses. If I give them only one or two or
three enemas, they die of poisoning.
I did not have the right as a physician to cause the body to absorb all the cancer masses and
then not to detoxify enough. With two or three enemas they were not detoxified enough. They
went into a coma hepaticum (liver coma). Autopsies showed that the liver was poisoned. I learned
from these disasters that you can’t give these patients too much detoxification. So I told this lady
that for one night she could sleep for seven hours—but only for one night. I wouldn’t risk more!
When I didn’t give these patients the night enemas, they were drowsy and almost semi-conscious
in the morning. The nurses confirmed this and told me that it takes a couple of enemas till they
are free of this toxic state again. I cannot stress the detoxification enough. Even so with all these
enemas, this was not enough! I had to give them also castor oil by mouth and by enema every
other day, at least for the first two weeks or so.
After these two weeks you wouldn’t recognize these patients any more! They had arrived
on a stretcher and now they walked around. They had appetite. They gained weight and the
tumors went down.
You will ask, “How can such a cancerous tumor go down?” That was a difficult question
for me to understand. I had learned in my treatment of tuberculosis patients that I had to add
potassium, iodine, and liver injections to help the liver and the whole body to restore the
potassium. Now as far as I can see this is the situation. At first we give the patient the most saltfree
diet possible.12 So, as much salt (sodium) is removed from the body as can be. During the
first days, 3 grams, 5 grams, up to 8 grams a day of sodium are eliminated while the patients
receive only about one half gram of sodium content in the diet and no sodium is added.
The patients are given thyroid and Lugol’s solution (Lugol’s solution is iodine plus
potassium iodide) I learned first through the so-called Gudenath tadpole experiment that iodine is
necessary to increase and help the oxidation ability. Then we gave the patients large amount of
potassium.12 It took about 300 experiments until I found the right potassium combination. It is a
10% solution of potassium gluconate, potassium phosphate (monobasic), and potassium acetate.
From that solution the patient is given four teaspoonsful 10 times a day in juices. That large
amount of potassium is introduced into the body.12
At the same time 5 times one grain of thyroid and 6 times three drops of Lugol’s solution,
½ strength. That’s 18 drops of Lugol’s which is a large dose. Nobody was observed to develop
heart palpitations from that, even if some patients told me that they could previously not take
thyroid because they would develop heart palpitation. And all allergies disappeared! Some
patients claimed that they could previously not take one teaspoonful of lemon juice or orange
juice—they were allergic. But when they are well detoxified and have plenty of potassium, they
are not allergic. Allergies and other hypersensitivities are eliminated.
When introduced into the system, thyroid and Lugol’s solution go immediately into the
cancer mass. These ripe cells take it up fast and they perhaps grow a little faster but they soak in
more with great greed—as much as they can—together with a little bit of sodium, probably.
But then there isn’t much sodium left. So then these cells pick up potassium and the
oxidizing enzymes and die by themselves. You have to realize that cancer cells live essentially on
fermentation but potassium and oxidizing enzymes introduce oxidation. And that is the point at
which we can kill cancer cells because we take away the conditions which they need to continue
to live.
But now we have to deal with a mass of dead cells in the body, in the blood stream—and
they have to be eliminated wherever they may be. And that is not so easy! The ripe cells, the
mature cells are very abnormal. These are much more easily killed than the other cells which are
unripe, not yet mature, and not so well developed. And there are other cancer cells in lymph
vessels. These are clogged at both ends by cancer cells.
No blood and no lymph can reach them. There are cancer cells in the glands. They are
hidden there, protected from regular circulation. So it isn’t easy to reach these. At first it is only
the big mass which killed. But this dead mass now has to be absorbed wherever it is—perhaps in
the uterus, perhaps in the kidney, or in the lung, or in the brain—this has to be absorbed. This
absorption is only possible through the blood stream. I call this “parenteral digestion.” Enteral
digestion is in the intestinal tract. Parenteral digestion takes place outside of the digestive tract,
through the blood stream. It becomes important then to continually carry on detoxification day
and night in order to bring the parenteral digestion to the highest point, even to a “hyperfunction.”
How can this be done?
I found that in order to bring the parenteral digestion to the highest function, it is necessary
to start with the soil. 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
metab6lism. 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. 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 (this speech was delivered in 1956) 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 things constitute our external
Now let us consider our digestive tract. As part of the digestive tract, the most important
thing is that we restore the function of the liver—the tissue and the function of the liver. That is
very hard work. We give the patients (including also the tuberculosis patients) liver injections,
and since most of these patients need an increase in the red blood cells, we add some vitamin B12.
They receive 3 cc of crude liver extract together with 100 mcg of B12. In addition when I found
that our fruit and vegetables no longer have the normal content of potassium and not enough of
the oxidizing enzymes, I looked for the best source of potassium in the best composition and the
best supply of oxidizing enyymes. I found that to be calves liver. But we cannot give the patient
calves liver because it contains too much fat and cholesterol. As you know, fat and oils cannot be
given Therefore we give these patients freshly pressed calves liver juice, which is made in a
special way with equal parts of carrots. Liver alone cannot be pressed. We take ½ pound fresh
calves liver (not frozen) and ½ pound of carrots to make one glass of 200 cc (approx. 8 oz.) of
fresh juice. The patients, the far advanced cases, get two glasses a day, even three glasses, and
they like it!
All this is done in the effort to restore the enteral digestion. When that functions, we add
stomach juice (Acidol Pepsin) and we add pancreatin not coated. The cancer patients cannot
digest the coated pancreatin. The pancreatin is given five times a day, three tablets each time. So
they always have plenty of trypsin, pepsin, lipase and diastase in their systems. The blood can
carry this around and digest the tumor masses wherever they may be.
Now, since I am running out of time, I should like to tell you what we do to prove that this
treatment really does work on cancer.13,14
Number one, the results. I think I can claim that I have, even in these far advanced cases,
50% results. The real problem arises when we cannot restore the liver. Then there is no hope. The
liver-the restoration of the liver and its functions-are so important that some of the patients whose
livers cannot be restored die some six months to 2½ years later from cirrhosis. Autopsies show no
cancer cells in the body. They did not die from cancer. They died from a shrunken liver. Since I
give more liver juice and I give more for promoting the parenteral digestion, these cases of a
shrunken liver are rare.
I think I could do a lot to improve the results. I do not want to go into the problems that
patients face when they go home and the family physician tells them that they need not “eat that
cow fodder.” Or the family thinks they cannot carry through this treatment because it is too much
work as it takes one to one and a half years to restore the liver. The liver cells are renewed in four
to five weeks, five to six weeks in older patients. To restore such a liver, you would need 12 to 15
new generations of liver cells. That is 1½ years. But the most important part of the treatment, I
have learned, is to give the patients a new functioning liver.
Now, for the proof of this theory. I had the idea to make an animal experiment in which we
connected two rats—one cancerous rat and one healthy one. We cut them open along the side and
connected a blood vessel, then sewed them together: The blood from the healthy rat circulated in
the sick one day and night and cleared up the sick body. Thus we showed that with a healthy
normal metabolism you can cure cancer. You can cure the cancerous rat with the healthy body of
the normal rat. But we are in the early stages of this type of experiment.
There was one patient whose husband wanted to be connected to his wife because of her
very poor condition. But she said no, she didn’t want to have him immobilized so long, next to
her, with extensive nursing day and night. When she was first brought in to me, she had a very
bad liver with probably hundreds of metastases, also in the rest of the body. I had told them that I
didn’t believe I could do anything for her, so the husband had offered his healthy body. But, even
as it is, she is still living and improving. At any rate, with this type of experiment we have had no
experience on human beings, only on rats.
Our next step to prove the theory was by taking tiny tissue samples from the liver by liver
punctures. When time goes on and the patient recovers, the liver shows microscopically and
chemically that recovery has taken place. This is done by micro-chemistry. There is an increase
of the potassium content and iron, and now we can even trace the content of cobalt.
For ten years, I examined the potassium content in the serum of human beings and I made
about 200 curves. But these are not characteristic. On the other hand, if we take a little tissue—a
little mucous membrane or muscle tissue with the improvement of the patient, the tissue also
shows a return to the normal potassium content.12 This is of tremendous importance.
Two months ago when I planned to come here for my vacation, the parents of this little boy
wrote me and asked me for treatment for leukemia.
Here is the little boy. He was treated with blood transfusions, had been 50 and 60,000
white blood count and his red blood count was down to 1,400,000. He lost eight pounds in one
week, couldn’t eat or drink. I started the treatment about six weeks ago. Since that time, the boy is
up and around, he can ride his bicycle, he is active and gained a total of five pounds. The blood
count is normal. Lymphocytes are 6,500; hemoglobin is 73; 4,500,000 red blood cells—from
1,400,000! And here is the little boy. (The mother adds: “I want to tell you doctor, he really likes
the liver juice, he doesn’t want to eat chocolate!”) You see, the liver juice, the children really like
it and ask for more. In the clinic where the parents had taken the child, they were told that nothing
could be done for him but I feel that now we can save this child. (Applause)
I have here another patient: Mr. Eyerly. Could you come here? Mr. Eyerly came here to see
me. He lives in Salem, Oregon. The man had cancer of the prostate and it had grown into the
urine bladder. He went to the University Clinic at Portland, Oregon, to a famous urologist. He
diagnosed the metastasis into the urinary bladder and said that they could do nothing. Besides, the
cancer had grown into the pelvic bones.
This was two years ago. The physicians, including the family doctor, all told him that he
could live only 4 to 6 weeks, especially since all bones of the pelvis were full of cancer. He
looked terribly ill when he came to me. His wife brought him with a nurse. He had made his last
will and did not expect to live. Now we cured that. It was especially difficult. I should like to
thank his wife. She prepared the treatment with the greatest devotion. She was wonderful and we
could rely on her.
In a family where there is real devotion in the application of this treatment, we can even
save these far advanced cases. Of course, we cannot save all of them but we can save more than
we sometimes even consider possible. (Question from the audience: “How long did it take?”)
In the urinary bladder, it didn’t take but a few weeks and there was no longer any blood
and pus, nor in the stools either. But in the pelvis there were hundreds of spots, and that takes a
long time because the body transforms this cancer first into so-called osteoplastic areas, not an
osteolytic process which is bone reducing. With my treatment more bone is produced. The body
produces more bone, and then the hypertrophic bone is transformed into normal bone tissue. Then
there is no more pain.
Now the patient can get around and is even the manager of a company. By chance I had
these two patients here and could show them to you.
Post-Lecture Questions and Answers
Q. Can fibroid tumors be dissolved in the same manner?
A. Fibroid tumors are mostly benign. Benign tumors take 10 to 20 times as much time to absorb
as malignant tumors. This goes for adhesions and scars. Fibroid and benign tumors are dissolved
only very slowly because they are not abnormal. It is difficult for the parenteral system to bring
its digestive powers to bear on these benign tumors. But when they turn malignant, then they are
quickly dissolved.
Q. (from a doctor) Dr. Gerson, when I visited your hospital in 1946 your housekeeper was
drinking fresh carrot juice. She had had an inoperable cancer of the pancreas. Please tell us about
her. She was doing very well for such a bad condition.
A. She is living and in good condition now, 10 years later.
Q. Is cancer a state of reaction of unrestrained excessive factors of certain hormones working on
various degenerated organs or tissues?
A. No, I don’t think so. There is much more and to answer that question, I have to go deeper into
the problem. We have to separate the state of pre-cancerous condition from the state where the
cancer appears. In the pre-cancerous condition, all is prepared. The liver is sufficiently damaged
and the other organs of the intestinal tract are damaged enough and then later the symptoms
appear. Until then we have the pre-cancerous condition and this condition cannot be cured with
hormones and enzymes, etc. We can to a certain degree stimulate the liver with hormones. We
can stimulate the liver with cortisone. We can stimulate the liver with adrenalin etc., but then we
take out the last reserves. We empty the liver instead of refilling it. What we have to do in cancer
-a degenerative, deficiency disease- is to refill the organs which are empty and poisoned.
Therefore it is almost a crime to give cortisone and the other stimulants which will take away the
last reserves and improve the condition for a short while only.
Q. Why are all berries prohibited?
A. Some of the patients are hypersensitive, especially in the beginning, against berries which are
a little difficult to digest. Therefore I cut them out.
Q. Are tomatoes OK?
A. Tomatoes are OK.
Q. Soy products and soy beans are forbidden. But is lecithin forbidden, which is made from soy
A. Since soy beans contain fats, I had to forbid them. Cancer patients are not able for a long time
to digest fats to the end products. When some intermediate substances are left in the body, they
work as carcinogenic substances. Therefore we had to cut out fats, oil, and goods containing them
for a long time.
Q. What metabolic tests do you do before and after to further prove recovery systematically as
well as clinically?
A. I examine in all these case the urine, the complete blood count, basal metabolism or proteinbound
iodine, and potassium in serum and tissue. To see how the liver functions, I found it best to
examine the end product of the protein metabolism, urea nitrogen and uric acid. When these are
normal and stay normal, then I assume that the patient is all right. But potassium in serum does
not give a characteristic picture and makes it difficult to judge. The patient can be cured yet the
serum potassium still shows low because the tissues take it away. In some of the cancer patients
when they arrive as terminal cases, potassium is above normal! One of the physicians asked me
once, “Are you crazy? With the potassium above normal, you give such big doses of potassium?”
And I said, “Yes, sir, I am not crazy. The patient is losing the potassium.12 That is how it is
increased in the serum.”
Q. Is fat-free lecithin OK?
A. Yes. But not in the beginning. After six weeks, fat-free lecithin is OK.
Q. How harmful is coffee as a drink?
A. Coffee as a drink can be used by the patients only when they take the castor oil because coffee
increases the motility of the stomach so the castor oil moves more quickly out of the stomach.
But otherwise, coffee as a drink disturbs the function of the capillaries and therefore it has to be
cut out.
Q. Would not detoxification be advisable in the majority of illnesses? Is this not comparable to
what is called “a cleansing program?”
A. We have to detoxify the body in all degenerative diseases, in acute diseases too. But not to the
extent as is required in cancer. Even most of the arthritis cases are not so toxic. I found that
almost all of the arthritis cases have a weak liver or damaged liver. This is also true of coronary
Q. Are (synthetic) vitamin and mineral supplements OK?
A. No, they are wrong because calcium and many other minerals cannot be added so easily. They
bring the system out of harmony. With calcium you can produce cancer. I was forced in three
cases of hemophilia to give calcium to bring the blood to coagulate. I did it but the cancer regrew
and I lost all three cases. No calcium, no magnesium, no other minerals. I tried it. There must be
harmony in our body under the law of totality. One should not change the mineral metabolism,
especially not in cancer. Only the two most important minerals potassium and sodium must be
balanced. This is the need of the cancer patient.
Q. In John Gunther’s book, Death Be Not Proud, mention is made of your treatment as used on
John Gunther’s son. Spectacular results were obtained at first but then there was a relapse and the
patient died. Could you have cured this case without the regular MD’s interference?
A. I will tell you why this poor boy died. He had a terrible brain tumor growing out of the skull,
larger than my fist. I cured that. It’s written in the book. But after that, the boy had an eczema and
this eczema was of a special type which can usually be cured by giving the anterior lobe pituitary
extract, a hormone. The family doctor, Dr. Traeger, said, “Why don’t you give it to him?” But I
told him that this is a terrible risk and I don’t like to take such a risk with the life of that boy.
When we give the pituitary, like many other hormones we may kill. But finally I gave in and it
was my fault. And for a long time after that I couldn’t sleep nights. I gave him the hormone and
the tumor regrew. I can add to that, that more than 12 years ago now, there appeared an article by
a professor in Chicago that cancer patients benefit from administration of sex hormones. I gave it
first to three patients, then to five. They reacted well for the first two to three months. Then I gave
it to 25 more. They all reacted well for three to four months but after five months they went
downhill. I lost 25 of my best cancer cases. Only six I could save again. That was the disaster
from the hormone treatment. The Gunther boy was another disaster. That was not necessary. I
want to reemphasize that we must not give the cancer patient “a little something” for temporary
relief. I learned that the hard way.
Q. Your treatment worked in advanced cases of cancer of the liver?
A. If more than half to three-quarters of the liver is gone, you can’t restore its function enough to
save the patient. You may save them for half a year to a year, but then the liver may shrink and
the patients die of a shrunken liver, cirrhosis of the liver. The liver is such an important organ that
when it has to eliminate its own cancer, this has to be done by the healthy liver tissue. But the
process of elimination can damage the healthy liver tissue if we don’t detoxify constantly day and
night, especially in these cases.
Now about three or four months ago a case came to me from Philadelphia.
She told me when her son and. brother brought her in that she had suffered from cancer of the
rectum. At first the doctors didn’t want to operate, then they couldn’t. It was too late. Then she
spent a half year at the Hoxey Clinic, and then she came home with a liver full of cancer, and
hard as a board. I told her son and brother that this was too much, it wouldn’t go. Take her home
and make her comfortable. But they insisted I must try. And I did. And she is doing well! She can
eat and drink, and the anterior part of her liver is a scar, hard as though it were calcified. Probably
there is enough liver left. The son asked when they took her home after eight weeks, “You see,
why didn’t you want to take her?” At least for four weeks, every two hours and sometimes even
every hour, she took coffee enema and castor oil enemas twice a day! She had so much gas and
eliminated such large amounts of evil-smelling masses. When she left, we had to paint the room.
It couldn’t be washed off the paint.
(Comment by M.C.: “I may say that I have looked through a lot of these places in a general way.
I have been through Dr. Gerson’s sanatorium on three different occasions and spent each time
eight or ten days. I saw cases come in there by ambulance, on stretchers—just like Dr. Gerson
said -hopeless metastatic cancers of the liver, the intestines, with obstructions, getting morphine
every three to four hours. To my amazement within ten days these same patients would be
walking around, free from pain. I was so amazed I couldn’t understand it. It was so incredible that
I made my son who was a senior in medical school come back with me to see these things. But it
was not only cancer. I saw cases there of other degenerative diseases of all types.”)
Q. Is folic acid treatment contra-indicated during treatment of cancer?
A. Yes, (synthetic) folic acid did damage.
Q. Can arthritis be cured by the same treatment which you use for cancer?
A. Yes. The treatment is not specific. It is not a specific treatment for cancer.
Q. How do you account for the fact that many skin cancers and some other cancers can be
surgically removed and they never regrow or recur, even though no metabolic changes have been
A. Some patients have only temporary damage of the liver and the liver is then able to restore
itself. But that is not in a majority of the cases. Sometimes if you remove, say a breast cancer, the
removal of these toxins and poisons which the cancer itself generates is sufficient in some cases
to relieve the temporary damage from the liver. Then the liver can recover. But these are the
exceptions. And it is not basic. Also some of these patients get recurrences later. Many of my
patients, after an initial operation, had stayed well for three or sometimes even five years. Then
the cancer recurred. They were inoperable and orthodox medicine was helpless.
Q. Would it not be advantageous for the cancer patients to remain permanently on a vegetarian
diet for the rest of their lives?
A. That depends on how far the liver can be restored. If it can be restored entirely, after say 1½
years, we tell the patients only to avoid fats and salt. Otherwise they are free. Many of them lead
normal lives. But I’d like to say that about 75% like to stay more or less on the diet, and some
even convince the other members of their families to stay on it with them. For instance, we have a
photograph here in Escondido of Mr. Walter Wagg. He had a 100% incurable disease,
progressive muscular dystrophy. He had been in the best clinics and could get no help. I cured
him. Then his wife wanted to have another baby and they were able to have one. Later he came to
where I was spending my vacation and showed me his wife and the baby. He told me that the
whole family sticks to the diet and said he would stay with it as long as he lived since he is in
such fine condition.
Q. What can be done for impaired lymph circulation following surgery in one arm for what was
diagnosed as cancer?
A. It is very difficult to absorb these scars so that the lymph circulation can be restored, a very
difficult task. It takes years.
Q. What is your conception of a prolonged fast or periodical three-day fast?
A. You can’t let the cancer patient fast. In the cancer patient the body is so depleted, if you let
them fast they go downhill terribly.
Q. What would you consider more important, diet or balanced emotions?
A. The balanced emotional condition is very important but without the diet and the detoxification
you cannot heal.
Q. Would Parkinson’s disease respond to a treatment similar as that for cancer?
A. What is destroyed in the central nervous system—and Parkinson’s disease is a disease of the
basal centers—is destroyed forever. But you are able to help the arteries in the brain with the
treatment, and you can stop the progression, and you can restore what is not yet entirely
Q. Does anemia contribute to cancer?
A. Sometimes it is a pre-condition to cancer, especially a certain type of anemia, not the so-called
secondary anemia.
Q. Can too much vegetable juice cause alkalinity?
A. No.
Q. Dr. Otto Warburg advises increased intake of oxygen.
A. Oxygen would not go into the system so easily. You must have oxidizing enzymes, you must
have more potassium, you must have the conditions under which oxygen can function.
Q. What vitamins are OK to take with your treatment?
A. With the vitamins we have a similar situation as we saw with the hormones. I damaged
patients with vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin B and B6. Patients get really damaged. Vitamin A
and D is picked up by the cancer cells immediately. Niacin we can use, that is B3. (Editor’s Note:
the Gerson Diet is extremely high in natural vitamins. Cancer patients are probably very sensitive
to overdosage with synthetic vitamin preparations.)
Q. What do you think of deep manipulation?
A. Cancer patients should not be massaged. Rubbing of the skin to open the capillaries and to
help the body to stimulate the circulation is very valuable. We give the patient a rub two or three
times a day before meals with a solution of ½ glass water with two tablespoons rubbing alcohol
and two tablespoons of wine vinegar. To rub the whole body is very refreshing and helps the
Q. Can a person with a colostomy take the same type of coffee enema as a regular patient?
A. Yes.
Q. What are the principles of the coffee enema?
A. It opens the bile ducts. This is the principle.
Q. How can we prevent cancer?
A. Cancer must be prevented by preventing damage to the liver. The basic measure of prevention
is not to eat the damaged, dead, poisoned food which we bring into our bodies. Every day, day by
day, we poison our bodies. The older people still have a better liver and resistance from the food
they had when they were young. The younger people get worse and the babies, now the second
generation on canned baby foods, are still worse. They get leukemias. First of all, eat as much as
you can of raw food, keep the potassium level up, and take some iodine.
1. F. Sauerbruch, A. Herrmannsdorfer and M. Gerson, “Ueber Versuche, schwere Formen der
Tuberkulose durch diätetische Behandlungen zu beeinflussen,” Muench. Med. Wochenschr., 2,
2. M. Gerson, ibid., 77, 967 (1930).
3. M. Gerson, “Phosphorlebertran und die Gerson-Herrrnannsdorfersche Diät zur Heilung der
Tuberkulose,” Dtsch. Med. Wochenschr., 12, 1(1930).
4. F. Sauerbruch, A. Herrmannsdorfer and M. Gerson, Muench. Med. Wochenschr., 23 (1930).
5. M. Gerson, “Wiederherstellung der verschiedenen Gefuchiqualitaeten bei der Lupusheilung,”
Verh. Dtsch. Ges. Inn. Med., 43, 77 (1931).
6. M. Gerson, Diättherapie der Lungentuberkulose, Deuticke, Vienne, 1934.
7. M. Gerson, “Einiges ucher die kochsalzarme Diat,” Hyppokokrates Z. Einheitsbestr.
Gegenwarismed., 12, 627 (1931).
8. F. Sauerbruch, Das War Mein Leben, Kindler und Schiermeyer Verlag, Bad Woerischofen, 1951,
pp 363-371. This contains an account of how the author learned of Gerson’s work by an accidental
conversation on the train with one of Gerson’s cured TB patients, which led to a large scale
successful trial of the Gerson TB therapy at the Sauerbruch clinic.
9. E. Urbach and E. B. Le Winn, Skin Diseases, Nutrition, and Metabolism. Grune and Stratton, New
York, 1946, pp 4, 65-67, 530-537. This contains a comprehensive review (in English) of the
successful use of the Gerson therapy to cure tuberculosis of the skin.
10. M. Gerson, “Dietary considerations in malignant neoplastic disease. A preliminary report,” Rev.
Gastroenterol., 12, 419 (1945).
11. “Effects of a combined dietary regime on patients with malignant tumors,” Exp. Med. Surg., 7,
299 (1949).
12. F. W. Cope, “A medical application of the Ling association-induction hypothesis: The high
potassium, low sodium diet of the Gerson cancer therapy,” Physiol. Chem. Phys., 10, 465 (1978).
13. M. Gerson, “Diattherapie boesartiger Erkrankungen (Krebs),” in Handbuch der Diätetik. Scala,
Ed., Deuticke, Vienna, 1954, pp 123-169.
14. M. Gerson, A Cancer Therapy: Results of Fifty Cases, Third Ed., Totality Books, Box 1035, Del
Mar, California, 1977. This is comprehensive description of the Gerson method of cancer
treatment written both for the physician and for the layman.