General FAQ

For a number of reasons, every situation and every case is different, which is why each case is evaluated before treatment begins. The Gerson Therapy has had repeatedly good results with: melanoma, lymphoma, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, infertility, rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosis (SLE).

There are conditions that do not respond well or at all to the Gerson Therapy, including acute leukemia, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), Parkinson’s disease, pancreatic cancer after treatment with chemotherapy, brain cancers, organ or stem cell transplants, and kidney dialysis. We have little or no experience with uncommon conditions of a congenital or genetic origin and would not expect the Gerson Therapy alone to reverse these conditions.

Though Dr. Gerson specifies about 18 months in his book, A Cancer Therapy: Results of 50 Cases, in the modern day two-to-three years is recommended for most cancer diagnosis. Non-malignant diseases fall on the shorter end of that scale, while advanced cases of cancer fall closer to the three-to-five year range.

The time it takes to see results on the therapy varies greatly from patient to patient. Melanoma and lymphoma cases, swift tumor reduction has been observed, while bone cancers and metastases have been observed to require a longer duration of treatment. Some conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis (MS) can take several months to respond, and the symptoms often appear worse before they improve.

This is not to say that when patients see improvement they are ready to discontinue the treatment. It is of utmost importance that patients continue the full therapy according to their doctor’s instructions for the full length of time, not just until symptoms improve.

There isn’t a simple yes or no answer to this question, because it wholly depends on the needs of the individual patient. Radiation therapy is often effective for relief of bone pain or to shrink a tumor to facilitate surgical removal. While it does have some negative effects, radiation, used judiciously, can be an appropriate intervention while on the Gerson Therapy. The decision of whether or not it would be appropriate to combine the Gerson Therapy and chemotherapy is a complex one, and should only be made on a case-by-case basis with guidance and supervision of your local physician and Gerson practitioner.

It is important to note that Dr. Max Gerson developed the Gerson Therapy specifically as a treatment for cancer and other chronic degenerative diseases after extensive research on those who were chronically ill.

Following the intensive Gerson Therapy protocol is not necessary or advisable for overall health, but many of the components and principles can be beneficial to enhance or support overall health and wellness. These components include: nutritional principles of the therapy, juicing, eating organic produce, non-toxic cleaning and personal care, and detoxification methods such as coffee enemas.

Read our “General Health Maintenance Guidelines”, based on Dr. Max Gerson’s recommendations outlined in his book, A Cancer Therapy: Results of 50 Cases.

Juicing and Juicer FAQ

The Gerson Therapy for cancer requires a two-step machine, with a grinder and a hydraulic press. This type of juicer has two separate components, a grinder to grind the vegetable into a fine, moist, pulp and a hydraulic press to extract the juice of the vegetable from the pulp by squeezing it under high pressure. Research in this area, although limited, indicates that juice produced by the grinder/press can be as much 50 times higher in certain essential nutrients, and will produce 25 to 50% more than other juicers from the same amount of raw produce.

For non-malignant conditions and overall health, the best juicer is the one you have. It is not strictly necessary to buy a heavy-duty juicer like the Norwalk or PURE Juicer. There are several other options which would be acceptable.

Our Gerson Guide to Juicers has more information on recommended juicers and where to purchase.

There are three main juices used on the Gerson Therapy: the Gerson green juice, carrot juice and carrot-apple juice. Orange or grapefruit juice is typically taken with breakfast but not required.

For Type I & II Diabetes, juices and foods on the Gerson Therapy are modified. For example, apples are typically removed from juices, and carrot juices are reduced or removed temporarily. Refer to our educational materials for details about juicing on the Gerson Therapy.

Those using the Gerson Therapy to treat a chronic degenerative disease should precisely follow the personalized Gerson protocol from their Gerson Practitioner. Those seeking to incorporate Gerson Therapy principles for overall health and wellness can use other juices and ingredients.

No. Like a prescription, every juice and ingredient has a specific purpose, so tampering with juices and juice ingredients can negatively impact the overall function of the therapy. For example, raw spinach has oxalic acid in its raw form, which inhibits the absorption of some necessary nutrients.

Under no circumstances are non-organic ingredients to be substituted for organic ingredients. Make the juices without the missing organic ingredients until they become available again.

Any juice is best when consumed immediately after juicing, as the healing enzymes die off as the juice oxidizes. Green juice may not be stored, it must be consumed right away. Carrot-apple juice is best consumed right away, but may be stored if necessary up to 72 hours.

It is recommended to store the juice in 8 oz. mason jars, filled to the top so there is no room for oxygen, and refrigerated, or, if traveling, placed in a cooler. A smaller container helps to avoid oxidation of the juice because it is not opened multiple times.

Diet FAQ

The Gerson diet is entirely organic and vegetarian. The diet is naturally high in vitamins, minerals, enzymes, micro-nutrients, and extremely low in sodium, fats, and proteins. Refer to our education, materials for complete details concerning the Gerson Therapy’s diet.

Dr. Max Gerson found some healthy foods to be associated with adverse reactions while on the Gerson Therapy, and for this reason they are incorporated by the managing Gerson Practitioner on a case-by-case basis.

For example, berries and pineapples contain aromatic acids, compounds that Dr. Gerson found interfered with the healing process in some people. Another example are nuts, seeds and avocado, which are high in both fats and proteins. To be safe, Dr. Gerson temporarily removed the intake of these items.

If you live in the United States, we highly recommend that you check the website www.localharvest.org. Simply enter your zip code to find organic suppliers in your area.

Sources and prices of organic produce vary with location and season. It is almost always better for a patient to find a local source of organic produce at a food co-op or health food store than to have it shipped in from across the country.

Local farmer’s markets and co-ops are often excellent sources for organic produce. Today more and more major supermarkets carry organic produce, and while they may not have what a patient needs in the quantities needed, they may be able to special order items on a regular basis. Also, there are some health-food oriented supermarkets that regularly stock organic produce.

Though salt is to be avoided and eliminated at all costs, sodium is naturally present in many foods. You do want to restrict those foods which naturally contain high amounts of sodium, but it’s not possible to avoid all sources of sodium altogether.

Celery may be eaten, but should never be used in the juices. Remember to always follow the correct recipe for the Gerson green juice, and not to make any additions or substitutions. Cucumbers are generally not eaten, in part due to their high sodium content, but also because cucumbers are difficult to digest, particularly in conjunction with the green juices. Cucumbers can cause gas and indigestion, and often stay in the stomach without moving.

The most important reason is that soy is high in protein. Protein consumption is reduced to a minimum on the Gerson Therapy. Beans and legumes are not allowed as a source of protein in most instances until at least 9 months, and only on a limited basis in certain cases as determined by the Gerson doctor.

In addition to this, dietary use of soy is very controversial. It does contain enzyme inhibitors which may cause interference with proper digestion and phytates which can interfere with absorption of minerals. Soy also contains phytoestrogens which may not be appropriate for many people.

Dr. Gerson realized the need for the right type of essential fatty acids. He experimented with many types of oils and found that in all cases, fats other than flax seed oil stimulated tumor growth and even the regrowth of tumors that had resolved.

Flax seed oil is an omega 3 fatty acid containing linolenic and linoleic acids that inhibit the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and lipid mediators and thus reduces inflammatory responses in the body. It attracts oxygen at the cell membrane assisting in transport of oxygen into the cell. It also helps carry vitamin A through the blood stream. Lignans come from part of the fiber of the seed and are high in protein. Although they can provide health benefits for certain conditions, high lignan flax oil is not allowed on the Gerson Therapy as it introduces too much protein.

Seeds, including flax seeds, have an important substance in them called an enzyme inhibitor that keeps them dormant until they are in the right environment to sprout. This enzyme inhibitor can also inhibit human digestive enzymes and interfere with good digestion.

Detoxification + Enemas

No. The coffee enemas are a must for anyone doing the Gerson Therapy. As the juices begin rebuilding the body and encouraging toxins to be released from the cells into the bloodstream, a great deal of stress is placed upon the liver. The liver alone, especially in cancer patients, cannot deal with a sudden influx of toxins into the bloodstream. The coffee enemas increase liver filtering, greatly aiding the liver’s ability to remove serum toxins.

Those on or pre-treated with chemotherapy reduce the number of enemas and eliminate the castor oil enemas.

The Gerson Institute carries organic, therapy blend coffee and other enema supplies at store.gerson.org, and also maintains a list of Gerson-approved vendors for coffee, enema supplies and other Gerson-related materials such as supplements.

Yes. The gallbladder acts as a reservoir for bile so that when a fatty meal is taken, more is released into the intestines to help digestion of fat. However, there is no storage and concentration of bile in the gallbladder. If there is no gallbladder, bile passes from the liver to the bile ducts, on to the duodenum and so on.

In general, those without a gallbladder have to be careful with fats. The Gerson Therapy is low in fat to begin with.

Colonics do not serve the same purpose as the coffee enema. Colonics are used to cleanse the bowel. Coffee enemas are used to increase the liver’s detoxification capacity. Certain substances in the coffee stimulate an important detoxification enzyme in the liver as well as dilate the bile ducts and increase the flow of bile.

A secondary benefit of the coffee enema is to increase peristalsis which helps to empty the bowel. However, utilizing colonics along with several coffee enemas a day would be harmful and depleting to the body. In most cases additional cleansing of the bowel is not needed. If someone who is anticipating starting the Gerson Therapy has a long history of constipation, it might be acceptable to do a series of colonics before starting the therapy to decongest the bowel.

However, once the Gerson Therapy is started, only coffee enemas are used. With a healthy Gerson diet, which includes plenty of fiber, the intestines manufacture and replenish the friendly flora on a daily basis so there is usually no risk of the enemas causing dysbiosis, a microbial imbalance in the digestive system.

Supplement FAQ

We maintain a list of Gerson-approved vendors for all Gerson supply needs, including supplements. Visit the Supplies section for the most up-to-date list.

Dr. Gerson felt strongly about the use of increased amounts of niacin (Vitamin B3) in cancer patients from the beginning of treatment and without too much interruption. However after four to six months, it should not be diminished too fast. Niacin helps to bring back sufficient glycogen into the liver cells. It also helps in protein metabolism, acts to open small arteries and capillaries (of course it would be discontinued with any bleeding problems), and raises electrical potential in cells.

The availability of crude liver for injection varies greatly. At this time the general recommendations are:

  • Take an extra desiccated liver capsule per dose, if it is well tolerated. In total, a patient may take three caps of dessicated liver, three times a day. This would be contraindicated if the patient has gout. If this causes stomach upset, the liver caps can be taken with meals, when the digestive enzymes are taken.
  • B-12 can be taken orally or sublingually at 1000 mcg daily or alternatively a 1 cc injection per week (injection is also available by prescription). Methylcobalamin is the preferred form of B-12 for injection or oral.
  • Crude liver for injections is available at some compounding pharmacies in the US, but requires a doctor’s prescription. If you can obtain this, it will be of a higher concentration, so check with your Gerson Practitioner on whether the dosage needs to be adjusted.
  • Milk Thistle, an herb which is hepatoprotective and hepatorestorative, can be taken periodically at 250 mg twice a day between meals. It should be an extract standardized to 80% silimarin. This can provide extra support for the liver.

Dr. Gerson developed and refined the therapy over many years. For best results, we recommend you do not add other elements to the therapy other than those discussed in Chapter 2 of Healing The Gerson Way. In and of themselves, certain other therapies or supplements may be helpful, but in conjunction with the Gerson Therapy they may interfere with how it works. There is a synergy that should not be interfered with unless absolutely necessary and determined by a Gerson doctor.

The clay packs are typically used for inflammation characterized by swelling, redness and heat around the affected area, but not on open wounds. It draws toxins out through the skin into the clay. It is helpful for painful joints, boils, etc. Each pack should only be used one time and then discarded.

The castor oil pack increases circulation to an area and stimulates the lymphatic system to carry off toxins aiding in detoxification. It is excellent for organ pain, especially of the liver, pancreas and kidneys and helps to relieve muscle spasms.

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