Gerson Therapy

About Max Gerson
Dr. Max Gerson was a Jewish German physician who escaped Nazi Germany in 1933 first to France, then to the United States where he settled in 1936 and where he worked as a physician. He began with his therapy as a student, researching ways to heal his own migraine headaches and as a physician expanding his treatment first to tuberculosis patients in Germany and then to cancer patients in other countries in Europe. He was part of a group of physicians at the turn of the 20th century who contributed to the understanding and treatment of the cause of modern disease. Rather than adopting the view of conventional medicine by which harmful pharmaceuticels … Read Further

What is Gerson Therapy?

The Gerson Therapy is a detoxification and nutrition program, which strengthens the immune system.The intense detoxification program consists of juices, enemas, food and supplements. It was created by Dr. Max Gerson (1881 -1959). Dr. Gerson was suffering from severe migraine headaches while he was a medical student and healed himself with foods. When he became a doctor, he applied his therapy to tuberculosis and later on to cancer. Doctor Gerson believed that toxicity and deficiency were the two factors in the onset of cancer. Therefore, his therapy is based on a diet rich in nutrients and poor in animal proteins to help detoxify the body.

The Gerson Therapy seeks to regenerate the body to health, supporting each important metabolic requirement by flooding the body with nutrients from almost 20 pounds of organically grown fruits and vegetables daily.  Most is used to make fresh raw juice, one glass every hour, 13 times per day.  Raw and cooked solid foods are generously consumed.  Oxygenation is usually more than doubled, as oxygen deficiency in the blood contributes to many degenerative diseases.  The metabolism is also stimulated through the addition of thyroid, potassium and other supplements, and by avoiding heavy animal fats, excess protein, sodium and other toxins. As a result of detoxification and increased oxygenation, cellular regeneration of all organs occurs, in particular that of the liver, and the immune system is restored to its optimal function.

Degenerative diseases render the body increasingly unable to excrete waste materials adequately, commonly resulting in liver and kidney failure. To prevent this, the Gerson Therapy uses intensive detoxification to eliminate wastes, regenerate the liver, reactivate the immune system and restore the body’s essential defenses – enzyme, mineral and hormone systems.  With generous, high-quality nutrition, increased oxygen availability, detoxification, and improved metabolism, the cells – and the body – can regenerate, become healthy and prevent future illness.


The Gerson diet starts out as a strict vegan diet excluding animal products and oils except for flax seed oil.  The diet evolves to include a small amount of protein after four weeks.   Nuts and seeds, too high in oils are excluded at first, but they are reintroduced later on, as well as vegetable proteins such as lentils or rice.

The Gerson diet is composed of raw and cooked organic fresh fruits and vegetables, local if possible, taken in the form of juices or fresh whole foods.

A diet rich in oxygen, enzymes and antioxidants and avoiding carcinogenic compounds

A diet rich in oxygen

The Gerson diet involves drinking a large quantity of raw green juice and raw carrot juice. With such a large amount of fresh raw carrot and green juice, the diet is very rich in oxygen.  First, juices contain mostly water (hydrogen and oxygen).  It is well known that cancer cells are oxygen deprived cells that turned to fermentation, a different type of metabolism to survive without oxygen.  The problem is that the cancer cells became immortal.  Green juices contain high amounts of chlorophyll that releases oxygen.   In addition the diet is rich in antioxidants which enhance oxygen uptake into the cells.

A diet rich in enzymes

Enzymes are necessary for digestion but also to digest cancer cells and it has been theorized that our cooked food diet poor in enzymes depletes our body store by pulling on our reserve for digestion.  No enzymes are left to scavenge abnormal cells in the blood stream.

Recent research have validated the Gerson diet in another way. The large amount of raw juices reduce inflammation created by cooked foods. It was found that following the ingestion of cooked or processed food there was an increase in the number of white blood cells in the blood.

An organic plant based diet is rich in antioxidants

Antioxidants are molecules that protect the cells from free radical damage. Antioxidants help the body use oxygen more efficiently.  The typical American diet consisting in red meat sugar white bread and processed foods is an oxygen-depleted and depleting diet  and contributes to cancer.

All the foods ingested on the Gerson Therapy must be fresh, organically or biologically grown and consumed in their most natural form.

An alkaline diet

The Gerson diet is very alkaline and creates a hostile environment for cancer growth.  We often see a urine pH of 8 to 8.5 just a couple of weeks after starting the program.  It is also high in chlorophyll and oxygen which is toxic to cancer cells.  It is very high in nutrients such as vitamins and minerals and low in fat and proteins.  No oil is allowed except for flax oil and there is no frying or high temperature cooking.

A non-toxic diet

The Gerson diet avoids carcinogenic compounds formed at high cooking temperature methods such as broiling, barbecuing, roasting or pan frying.  Various toxic carcinogenic compounds are formed at high cooking temperatures such as acrylamides or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

1. Burnt or overheated food Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)
2. Barbecued / grilled food Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs),Heterocyclic amines (HCAs)
3. Burnt food during broiling & pan-frying Heterocyclic amines (HCAs, also called HAs)
4. High temperature cooking of starchy plant products (e.g., frying, grilling, baking and roasting) Toxic acrylamide



The Gerson Therapy program consists of a large volume of fresh organic juices, the ‘apple carrot juice’ and the ‘green juice’. The juices are drunk throughout the day.  The starting number and volume of juices is adapted to each case.  For instance, patients who have received chemotherapy are on a maximum regimen of 10 juices while patients who have not done chemotherapy will receive 13 juices.  It is important to start at a lower amount of juice and to build up to 8 oz per juice, to create progressive tolerance.  This rule is of particular importance for advanced cancers of the digestive tract or for cancers involving the organs of elimination.  Patients with pancreatic cancer, liver metastasis or any cancer involving the digestive tract may not tolerate large amount of juice right away and will suffer from nausea and vomiting.  It is important for these patients to start with a low dose of juices and increase progressively.

The Green Juice is made of red and green leaf lettuce, romaine, watercress, swiss chard, endive, escarole, red cabbage, beet tops


The gruel is a liquid form of oatmeal.  It is added to juices when the patient has difficulty with drinking the juices.


In addition to the juices the Gerson diet consists of three meals a day.  Breakfast consists of oatmeal and orange juice.  The oat groats are freshly ground with a special hand tool, a flaker (can be purchased follow our link) and soaked over night in fresh apple juice and or any cut up fresh local fruits available.  This dish may be consumed warm or cold in the morning with soaked raisins and molasses.  Variances of this breakfast depend on patient blood chemistry.  If the patient’s blood sugar is high the orange juice is replaced with grapefruit juice or noni juice and raisins are eliminated.  Molasses helps to fight anemia. Consult the list of fruits allowed.

Typical Gerson Therapy Breakfast – Oatmeal and Orange Juice (only one glass of citrus juice allowed per day)

Each lunch and dinner meal contains potatoes and the Hippocrates soup, also called the ‘Special soup’.  Potatoes are the most important source of protein in the Gerson diet, especially at the beginning.  Potatoes may be boiled, broiled or roasted in the oven in a covered pot.  They are cooked in their jacket to preserve the integrity of their nutrients. Elevated cooking temperatures will form carcinogenic compounds and are eliminated.  Steaming is also prohibited and lower oven temperatures, no higher than 350°F, are recommended.  Boiling potatoes in their jacket yields the healthiest result.

For variety, potatoes may be cut into wedges, halves, French fries or cooked whole.

Potatoes should be thoroughly washed, but not scraped or peeled.

The Hippocrates soup is cooked for two and a half hours and contains leeks, onions, potatoes, tomatoes, celery root or celeriac and parsley roots.  The soup is passed through a mill to remove potato peels and gross fibers or it may be consumed as is, in case of a strong healthy digestive system.  The soup can be varied by adding fresh herbs (see allowed list of herbs) and finely chopped raw tomatoes, garlic and parsley before serving.

 Stages of preparing the Hippocrates soup. Passing the vegetables through a food mill helps with digestion.

In addition to the soup and potatoes, fresh salads and other cooked vegetables may be added.  See the list of vegetables allowed.

The diet is adapted to each individual’s specific needs, and we follow dietary guidelines indicated for specific secondary conditions.  For instance, we will avoid raw tomatoes for gastric reflux or we will avoid foods known to be allergenic to a specific individual.

Raw foods are added as is tolerated.


Coffee enema

The amount of juice is matched to the number of coffee enemas, usually three to five, administered throughout the day.  The coffee recommended is a special lightly roasted coffee.  Since Dr. Gerson’s death, multiple research studies have shown that high temperature roasting of coffee beans generates carcinogenic compounds called acrylamides and black coffee is on the top of the list.  As part of the objective to eliminate carcinogens, we only use or recommend the lightly roasted coffee from s.a. Wilson’s.  The coffee is prepared in a special manner to eliminate aromatic compounds thought to promote cancer.  The coffee enema is a retention enema.  It is used is to help with the excretion of toxins from necrotizing (dying) tumors and body tissues. The coffee enemas are also helpful to reduce pain.  Whenever possible, painkillers are eliminated to avoid further toxic burden on the liver.  Studies have shown that coffee enemas can also increase production of glutathione and promote the absorption of an estimated 100,000 IU of vitamin A provided by the absorption of beta-carotene from the carrot juices.

Castor oil enema

In patients who have not received chemotherapy, a castor oil enema is done every other day.  The castor oil enema is a powerful treatment that consists in drinking three tablespoons of castor oil early in the morning and receiving a castor oil enema five hours later.  The castor oil enema is eliminated in chemotherapy patients to avoid excessively rapid detoxification of the harmful byproducts of chemotherapy.

Chamomile enema

In case of a healing crisis, flare up, or diarrhea, the coffee enema is replaced with a chamomile enema.  The coffee enema can also be mixed half and half, with the chamomile enema.


The Gerson therapy supplements such as potassium and lugol’s (potassium iodide) are added to the juices, or taken orally with juices and food: CoQ10, liver extract, digestive enzymes, niacin, flax seed oil.

The Gerson Therapy protocol also includes daily intramuscular injections of B12 and liver extract. There are two forms of vitamin B12.  Cyanocobalamin and methylcobalamin.  Cyanocobalamin is the synthetic form and methylcobalamin is the natural more absorbable form that we recommend and use.  Liver extract was substituted about 20 years ago for the original liver juice prescribed by Dr. Gerson, as it became impossible to find healthy calf liver.  Later on, just about a couple of years ago, the usual Mexican source of liver became problematic as well with the current contamination with mad cow disease and we replace it at this time with a New Zealand or Argentinean liver extract.

How the Gerson Therapy Supplements Work
Potassium restore proper sodium-potassium balance in cells. Digestive enzymes facilitate proper digestion and assimilation. Pancreatic enzymes digest tumor tissue. Thyroid supplementation supports proper energy metabolism in cells and Lugol’s delivers iodine to the cells where it promotes the synthesis of thyroid hormones and promotes cell differentiation which helps malignant cells return to normal structure. CoQ10 increases energy production at the cellular level and as a powerful antioxidant repairs damaged cells. Liver capsules and crude liver injections provide minerals, enzymes… Read Further
Success of The Gerson Therapy
Although opponents of the Gerson Therapy argue that no scientific studies exist and that the Gerson Therapy has not been scientifically proven effective, the basic components of the therapy such as enzymes, oxygenation, plant-based diet and antioxidants have been extensively studied separately by a large amount of scientists and shown to be effective in the treatment of cancer.  However, there are only two studies on the Gerson therapy itself showing its success rate. They are reported by Gar Hildenbrand. The melanoma study and the report from Austria show significant positive results. Read Futher
Why is the Gerson Therapy not as Successful as Expected?
  1. Looking for a cure.  Patients are looking for a miracle cure.  There is a misconception about surgery that cancer is identified to the actual visible tumor and that when the tumor is removed the cancer is gone.  I have seen many women who came to see me after their second or third breast cancer surgery.  The persistent recurrence showed them that they needed to address the cancer in another way and they looked for alternative cancer treatments.  Two or three times they were told that they were cancer free. How can it be gone if it comes back?  It is not gone it is just undetectable.  Acquiring cancer is a process and it takes a process to get rid of it.  Patients who want to do the Gerson therapy treatment sometimes are not aware that there is no miracle cure and that it takes patience and perseverance to see the cancer disappear. They are looking for an immediate cure.  Dealing with the fear of dying and acceptance of death is an important step in overcoming the “looking for a cure syndrome”.
  2. Dr. Gerson’s 50 successful cases are his most successful cases.  It would be a goal to achieve 100% remission but this is not possible at this time.  The cause of our illness lies in our environment.  Illness is only chronic because we do not have the power as individuals to stop world pollution.  The solution lies in a political decision to choose health versus profit as a basis for our society.
  3. The reason is that the vital force and the immune system are so damaged that it is impossible to affect the body cells fast enough.
  4. Some patients doubt that the therapy will cure them.  They were drawn to the therapy by relatives or friends who had a positive experience but they do not like vegetables and engage in the treatment with a negative attitude.  They do not like the juices or the food and do it to please someone else.  An important part of any treatment is the “placebo effect”.  The placebo effect is the belief that a treatment is going to work and it accounts for an important part of the success.
  5. Some patients refuse to look at emotions, reevaluate their purpose in life, and do not want to face painful unresolved issues that may have contribute to depress the immune system over time.  Wanting to examine the self, resolve past trauma or abuse is an important part of recovery.

Juice recipes, Coffee for enemas, Hippocrates soup, Oatmeal, etc.

Where to purchase coffee, juicers, supplements, oat flakers, etc.