The Importance of Soil


For our Earth Month with the Gerson Institute series, we help you find where to get organic produce, how to start a garden and how to turn your trash into treasure by composting. Now we’re getting our hands dirty to learn more about how the health of our soil directly impacts our own health.

Our External Metabolism

Dr. Gerson emphasized the critical importance of the soil in his book, A Cancer Therapy: Results of Fifty Cases. He believed that disease is caused by “a permanent daily poisoning brought about by our modern civilization” that causes the deterioration of the digestive tract organs, mainly the liver (pg. 37). This daily poisoning is rooted in modern agricultural methods that deplete the soil and reduce topsoil by using artificial fertilizers and spraying with DDT and other poisons (pg. 37). He said that poisoned soil will not only increase disease but will also “reduce the healing power of the body” (pg. 151).

Dr. Gerson stresses the critical importance of taking care of the soil for the health of future generations. Otherwise, “we disturb the natural equilibrium and harmony, producing sickness of the soil, sickness of the plants and fruits… and finally sickness of both animals and human beings” (pg. 175).


Soil Damage

He describes how damage occurs to the soil, beginning with artificial fertilization that results in displacement of mineral contents, changes in microbial flora and the exodus of earthworms. This process leads to erosion of the soil, poisons the soil with insecticides (which get transferred to the plants we eat) and ultimately causes serious degenerative diseases in animals and humans (pgs. 14-15).

He discusses in detail what causes soil degradation as well as methods to restore the soil. Erosion is the worst damage that can happen to the soil and is caused by water and wind. Land cultivation can greatly accelerate erosion, and forests are the best defense against erosion (pg. 182). Earthworms are critical because they loosen the topsoil, create tunnels that allow rain water and oxygen to penetrate the soil, and their metabolism “transforms vegetable and animal waste into rich humus-thus they change the earth’s minerals into soluble plant food” (pg. 184). Crop rotation, timing, variety, organic versus inorganic soil, climate, sunshine and oxygen, water supply and type of fertilization are other factors that affect the mineral composition of crops (pg. 182).


Life Begets Life

In a well-known quote Dr. Gerson stresses that “The soil and all that grows in it…must be regarded as our external metabolism, which produces the basic substances for our internal metabolism” (pg. 15). He defines the external metabolism as consisting of plants and fruits, the composition of the soil, and lastly the transportation, storage and preparation of food. He defines the internal metabolism as “all the biochemical transformations that take place when such foodstuffs enter the animal body and support the nutrition and growth of its cells and tissues” (pg. 175).


He explains how food grown on living soil that is replenished with natural fertilizer yields “living substances” which must be freshly prepared, “for ‘life begets life'” (pg. 15). Food grown on damaged soil has lower potassium content, higher sodium content and lower protein levels (pg. 145). He even goes so far as to say, “Without knowing it, many vegetarians today are ‘starving'” as a result of these changes in nutrient levels of food grown using modern agriculture (pg. 145).


“We may compare the work of the soil to a mother feeding her baby”

– Dr. Max Gerson


Dr. Gerson liked the expression “mother earth” (pg. 175) and goes on to say, “We may compare the work of the soil to a mother feeding her baby” (pg. 176). I think the following quote from Dr. Gerson’s book sums it all up: “Organic gardening food seems to be the answer to the cancer problem” (pg. 185). Let us all follow his suggestion.


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This article originally appeared in the Spring 2016 issue of Healing News. Some modifications have been made.

Article written by Diane Ake
Posted by Nicole Ferrer-Clement


Category: Blog, Education, Nutrition & Recipes · Tags:

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