The Gerson Therapy – Curing the Incurable: Tuberculosis, Arthritis, Diabetes, and Cancer

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The following excerpt comes from Charlotte Gerson’s book, The Gerson Therapy: The Amazing Nutritional Program For Cancer and Other Illnesses by Charlotte Gerson and Morton Walker, D.P.M. (Kensington Publishing, 2001)

The anti-degenerative-disease diet developed during the 1930s by Max Gerson, M.D., was first officially recorded as a proven treatment program at the University of Munich. It was afforded extraordinary laboratory support through funding from both the Bavarian and the Prussian federal governments.

Dr. Gerson focused then on the experimental use of foods of dietary purity (unprocessed and totally natural). He added the adjunctive use of medications to remove tissue edema occurring in a variety of pathologies such as tuberculosis, arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Edema is characterized by salt and water alterations in the tissues that were eventually defined and named in 1977 as tissue damage syndrome — decreased cell potassium (K+), increased cell sodium (Na+), and increased cell water (cellular swelling).

Nutritional treatment to provide cells with a high K+, low Na+ environment improves edema and leads to enhanced tissue resistance and immunities, which together bring about better healing outcomes for sick people such as tubercular patients. This rationale of tissue damage syndrome may be traced through all of Dr. Gerson’s subsequent efforts in the management of degenerative diseases, particularly for those patients beset by cancer.

Dr. Gerson’s anti-degenerative-disease dietary program is individualized to meet the needs of every patient, but it does have uniform components. As we mentioned in chapters 1, 2, and 6, for most patients it is restricted in salt, fat, and protein. It furnishes large quantities of multiple nutrients, enzymes, phytochemicals, and other nourishing ingredients which act like nutraceuticals. At the same time, each day’s thirteen hourly feedings of 8 ounces of raw vegetable and fruit juices offer the diet’s participant an ultimate boosting of his or her immune system. Nothing else known to the mind of man could be healthier or more stimulating of medical preventive homeostasis than the Gerson Therapy.

Before the disruption of supplies that began in late 1985, raw veal liver was additionally offered as part of the Gerson dietary program. That practice of juicing and feeding calf’s liver had to be discontinued in 1987 because of repeated instances of bacterial contamination by the pathological organism Campylobacter fetus s. fetus. Comparisons of patients from different time frames show that those sick people receiving uncontaminated calf’s liver juice had experienced better survival outcomes overall.

Served in three generous daily meals, Dr. Gerson’s diet includes food consumption from 2,600 calories up to 3,200 calories per day. This is no small amount of food; it requires the ingestion of approximately 17 to 20 pounds of vegetables and fruits per day. The plant food comes from all of the required raw, organic material needed for the thirteen eight-ounce glasses of juices besides the solid foods of the three meals. Still, although massive in amount, there is some caloric restriction because of the naturalness and purity of quality of the foods.

The Gerson menu plan is patterned after the antitumor effect of calorie restriction first demonstrated in Germany in 1909 and again in the United States in 1914. Although this natural way of eating — which we re-emphasize as being mostly vegetables and fruits — was tailored mainly to correct the pathology of malignancies, it’s a form of orthomolecular medicine that works toward improving the physical, mental, and emotional health states of any person undergoing a worsening of well-being. It also restores body weight to normal, causing weight loss in the obese as well as weight gain in underweight patients.

Orthomolecular medicine, as defined by the now deceased two-time Nobel laureate Linus Pauling, Ph.D., in his foreword for Putting It All Together: The New Orthomolecular Nutrition, coauthored by Abram Hoffer, M.D., Ph.D., and Morton Walker, D.P.M., is a relatively new term in medicine. It means that a therapeutic approach is designed to provide an optimum molecular environment for body functions. The orthomolecular method offers particular reference to the best concentrations of substances normally present in the human physiology, whether formed within the body (endogenously) or ingested from outside the body (exogenously).

Orthomolecular medicine is the use of completely natural remedies (vitamins, minerals, herbs, enzymes, nutraceuticals, etc.) without any application of synthetic or other pharmaceutical agents. Orthomolecular medicine, in fact, is the healthiest way to achieve a therapeutic effect for healing diseases of all types. It is totally different from the toximolecular medicine of currently popular allopathic drug treatment taught in most medical schools.


In September 1985, pneumonia developed for forty-six-year-old Mrs. Ronald (Patricia) Ainey of Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada. Despite her being a cigarette smoker and alcoholic beverage drinker, she had sustained good general health throughout her life until that 1985 date. Then in January 1986, internist Bennett A. Horner, M.D., F.R.C.P.(C), also of Nanaimo, using CAT scan guidance, had a biopsy performed (tissue drawn out with a fine needle) from a tumor site on Pat Ainey’s pancreas. The object of this scan and biopsy was to differentiate pancreatic cancer from several other conditions: benign pancreatitis, pseudocyst, islet cell carcinoma, or lymphoma. Dr. Horner confirmed the woman’s diagnosis by letter to her family physician in the same town, A.C. Baird, M.B., CH.B, C.C.F.P. Dr. Horner’s letter stated: “Mrs. Pat Ainey returned to see me today, January 28, 1986. I informed her that she does have adenocarcinoma of the pancreas; there is no specific treatment indicated presently…if she has a lot of pain or discomfort, we’d be glad to help her any way we can.”

Dr. Horner gave the patient and her husband Ron, who were one month away from celebrating their thirtieth wedding anniversary, more personal advice too. “The medical specialist told me, ‘Go home, get your life in order, the cancer is so bad it is inoperable,” remembers Mrs. Ainey. “I went through all the anguish, the crying, and I finally resigned myself to my own death.”

She had learned that the malignancy had metastasized to her gall bladder, liver, and spleen. In just a few weeks she lost more that forty-five pounds and regularly vomited blood. She was classified as being in cytology class (stage) III-IV pancreatic cancer (which has a projected five-year survival of 1 percent or less). There were no curative therapies and no proven adjuvant treatment; only palliation could be offered by orthodox oncologists to provide some pain control or ascites reduction. She did have ascites, jaundice, pleural (chest wall) effusion, alcoholic hepatitis, and pain. Any chemotherapy probably would kill Pat Ainey faster than the cancer itself.

“When you’re told by the medical profession that your days are done, that’s who you believe,” admits Mrs. Ainey. But then she read in the Nanaimo Times newspaper about a Victoria, B.C., man who had been cured of pancreatic cancer by engaging in the Gerson Therapy. “I decided I wasn’t going to just bugger around crying and dying. I was going to try to live the last few months as well as I could for myself and for my family.”

While skeptical at first, wondering if the Gerson hospital in Tijuana, Mexico, was a scam designed to bilk desperate people, “It was the only hope I had. What I needed was a miracle,” the woman says. “And my husband stomped his foot down and said, ‘Dammit lady, pack your bag, we’re catching the eleven o’clock boat to the mainland and going to Mexico to try this damn Gerson thing.’”

Ron and Pat Ainey spent two weeks at the Gerson hospital in Playas, a suburb of Tijuana, where they learned to make her organic juices, what kinds of foods were appropriate, and how to self-administer five coffee enemas a day. She explains, “It wasn’t any fun, especially those ‘coffee breaks’ as we called them. But what choice did I have except to try?”

The Aineys had reserved two weeks to engage in the treatment, and in ten days she began to feel considerably better than she had in months. Knowing that she would be required to live stringently on the Gerson program for a minimum of two years, Mrs. Ainey took up the challenge to conduct the Gerson therapy at home. And it worked well.

“In December 1986 my doctor told me he thought I had the cancer licked.” A letter Dr. Baird wrote in February 1990 on another health matter states: “Mrs. Ainey was diagnosed as having a malignancy of her pancreas. She received treatment of her disease outside of Canada, and I am pleased to say that as of the present time she has no evidence of recurrence of the disease, and what evidence of malignancy was present in 1985 has now gone.”

In a follow-up letter he wrote to an insurance company’s law firm on that other matter, Dr. Baird added: “In conclusion, I would like to comment that Mrs. Ainey has survived what is generally a fatal illness and now lives life to the full.”

We spoke with Patricia Ainey on November 20, 1999, at which time she acknowledged, “I feel good, excellent in fact. I’ve had these past fifteen years to live happily and well, which I was not supposed to have. I’ve watched my grandchildren grow up and had a lot of good times in those years.” While Mrs. Ainey has been free of pancreatic cancer for all of this fifteen-year period, she still drinks lots of fresh, organic vegetable juices and takes a daily coffee enema. She also has regular blood tests and cancer markers taken, which she sends to the Gerson hospital for evaluation.

Friends and family sometimes ask why she continues these practices if she is cured. Says husband Ron Ainey: “Pat had been looking for a lifeline and once you’ve found one it’s very hard to let go.”


In November 1999, while taking maintenance care at the Oasis Hospital, the only official Gerson Therapy facility in Tijuana, Mexico, fifty-one-year-old Sandra Whitwell, now of Stuart, Virginia, described her permanent recovery from carcinoma of the ovary. Sandra currently works as a nanny and nutritionist. Fourteen years ago ovarian cancer had threatened her life; today she shares her story about using the Gerson Therapy to cure herself of the most common gynecologic malignancy.

As the fourth most frequent cause of cancer death in American women, ovarian cancer’s mortality rate exceeds that for all of the other gynecologic malignancies combined. Every seventieth woman develops it, and 1 in every 100 dies from the tumorous growth at its primary site or from metastases. Arising from cells covering the surface of an ovary (epithelial carcinoma), in 1997 in the United States 26,800 ovarian cancers were diagnosed, which caused 14,200 deaths. Subsequent years have shown even higher incidence. Despite all of the money invested in research by American taxpayers, the incidence of ovarian cancer is rising steadily.

Cancer of the ovary spreads by a shedding of malignant cells into the abdominal cavity and the peritoneum (its covering membrane) and then implanting on the surface of the liver, the large intestine, the omentum, the small intestine, the bladder, the diaphragm, or the stomach’s attached fatty tissue. Ovarian cancer cells also metastasize to lymph nodes in the pelvis, aorta, groin, and neck. Talcum powder containing asbestos is suspected as one of the probable causes.

Sandra Whitwell’s ovarian cancer came upon her gradually starting with the breakdown of her body when she was seventeen years old. Invariably her menstrual periods were beset with unbearable cramps, and these carried over to her early twenties when she married Lawrence Whitwell, a Nashville, Tennessee, policeman. “My painful menstruation was abnormal and an indication of ovarian problems to come,” advises Sandra. “By age twenty-three, cysts had developed on both of my ovaries which were removed by surgery. Next, endometriosis struck, which required more surgery to scrape the endometrium. After each of these two operations I had been asked by the consulting surgeons as to whether I had ever been pregnant, and I had not. They never explained why they wanted to know about pregnancy, but the doctors seemed anxious to perform an ovariectomy or hysterectomy on me.

“I never gave birth to a child. We adopted our son, Aaron, as a baby. But then, when he was three years old his daddy was killed in the line of police duty,” she reveals. “Ovarian cysts formed again, one of them the size of a baseball, and these were excised. After recuperating from a third operation for cyst removal, I had begun running for exercise — at least four miles a day. I enjoyed the running and thrived on it. This vigorous daily movement continued for me over an eight-year period. Early in 1985, however, running stopped abruptly for me. I awakened one morning in tremendous pain and with a distended fluid-filled abdomen [ascites],” describes Sandra. “The operation that followed for removal of a grapefruit-sized cyst also included a hysterectomy, which left me feeling awful pain. Two days later my gynecologist together with the gynecological surgeon told me I was the victim of ovarian cancer. They wanted to go back in and take biopsy tissue from the ovaries and several other organs.

“Since blood transfusions were required as well, and this was during the time when AIDS resulted from such transfusions, I refused the operation and three pints of blood that went with it. Simultaneously, my health insurance carrier did not honor our insurance contract. The insurance company just outright canceled my coverage,” Sandra states. “Upon my contacting a lawyer to enforce reimbursement, he informed me that a loophole in the policy allowed such cancelation under terms stating that this ovarian cancer was a ‘preexisting condition.’ I was just out of luck unless I had lots of money to pay court costs and legal fees for litigation without any guarantee I would win.

“Having no treatment available to me, I left the hospital after resting for seven days diagnosed with ovarian cancer. At age thirty-six, I was alone, a widow, the mother of a seven-year-old son showing diabetic tendencies, and without income. Except that I owned my Nashville house and some small compensation from my husband’s death. I could not afford the sophisticated chemotherapy or other toxic modalities being offered by orthodox medicine. But I do have loving parents living in Stuart, Virginia, who would do anything to save my life, and they were the people who did just that.

“My mother who has nursed cancer patients, did research and helped me in deciding to do nothing rather than take toxic therapy. With assistance from mom and dad in caring for Aaron, I moved in with my parents. Then a friend from Alaska sent me information about the Gerson Therapy,” Sandra says. “Sitting with them in their living room, I remember watching videotapes showing lectures by Charlotte Gerson. My mom said, ‘This program makes so much sense. Feed the immune system and give it a chance to fight off the cancer itself.’ So not having hospital insurance was a benefit, because I couldn’t even consider taking conventional therapy.

“Accompanied by my mother as companion and caregiver, I traveled to Tijuana’s Gerson Hospital. My intent was to receive the Gerson Therapy and take instructions in following it at home. The trip occurred in September 1985, exactly one month after my hysterectomy and cancer diagnosis. During that short period before learning the Gerson program, I became what looked like a bag of bones,” describes Sandra. “My weight loss was excessive, falling from 120 to 92 pounds. With a height of five feet, six-and-a-half inches, I looked really skinny. I was weak to the point of collapse, and I did remain bedridden for four months. Only the love and devotion of my caregiving parents pulled me through that worst period of my life.

“But first spending ten days at La Gloria Hospital to learn the Gerson Therapy, and then returning to my parents’ home to be nursed by them, saved me. I had rented my Nashville house to fellow church members. Then bringing my son, I moved in with my mother and dad,” explains Sandra. “At the Gerson hospital, I immediately underwent detoxification reactions — many of them — including emotional depression, many tears, constant nausea, vomiting, headaches, burning sensations from taking castor oil both orally and rectally, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, whole body pain in the joints, muscles, and bones. And I smelled like permanent-waving solution. It was my habit to periodically take hair permanents, perhaps five times a year and that poisonous liquid had permeated my body organs to poison them. The Gerson Therapy pulled out those accumulated toxins, and I gave off the stinky odor of permanent-waving solution. I reeked of perm.”

A lesson learned from Sandra Whitwell is that a person becomes what he or she puts into and onto the body. That is, eat garbagelike foods and you become garbage. Consume carcinogens and you turn into a walking cancer factory. Bathe a body part in poison as Sandra did to her head, and you make the entire body a receptacle for cancer. To stay healthy, you must expose yourself only to good stuff.

“Out of ignorance, I harmed myself with convenience or so-called ‘beauty’ items. In college, I had my room and the halls of that dormitory smelling really bad from the permanent-waving liquid. Just think of all the contaminated air I inhaled. Also, before I knew better, it had been my habit to drink up to three full, six-cup pots of coffee a day,” admits Sandra. “But instruction in the Gerson Therapy taught me how to live correctly. At my parents’ home back then, body weight began to come back from my dad and mom making juices for me to drink. They used only fresh, organic vegetables and fruits, which are more expensive than the supermarket variety. Originally, my mother was afraid for my life; she truly thought I was gone, but then she saw that slowly I was improving.

“It took nearly two years of detoxifying and nourishing my body before the immune system kicked in and took over against ovarian cancer. I observed it do this when one day my temperature rose to 104oF during a healing reaction. After that point, I just got better and better,” Sandra says. “I took no other medication or nutritional supplementation other than what the Gerson diet prescribes — the niacin, coenzymeQ10, thyroid, potassium, acidol/pepsin, pancreatin, and liver. These simple supplements, the diet itself, the juices, and the detox worked for me. I am alive and thriving today, fourteen years after being diagnosed with the cancer, because of my faithfully following the Gerson Therapy.”

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