MAX GERSON, M.D., 1928


The Gerson therapy is one of the most accessible alternative treatments available today.The Gerson treatment yields a high rate of success.  The Gerson treatment requires major changes in the diet, and must be exactly replicated.

Working Summary: The Gerson therapy has received the longest research (70 years of clinical improvement), is the most complete system (including a full range of dietetic changes), and can be done at home. They hide no secrets.It is an intriguing fact that, with the sole exception of the laetrile battle headed by Dr. John Richardson, the physicians who left the United States were the most successful in administering alternative therapies over a long-term basis.

The medical doctors who fled included Dr. Lawrence Burton, who went to the Bahamas; Dr. William Koch, who went to Brazil; and Dr. Steven Durovic,who returned to Argentina.

Then there were those who carried on a successful practice, entirely outside the United States.Included here were Dr. Robert Bell, in Scotland;the physicians, in Canada, who used Essiac for years; Dr. Ernesto Contreras, in Mexico; as well Dr. Manuel Navarro, in the Philippines; Dr. Ettore Gudetti, in Italy; Dr. Hans Nieper, in Germany; Dr.Shigeaki Sakai, in Japan; the Jankers Clinic, in Germany; and many others.

We can add to those clinics which have been successful outside America, the Gerson Institute in northwestern Mexico. Behind that hospital is an interesting story.It is especially interesting because the Gerson treatment appears to rank above even the laetrile treatment for including a wider range of nutrition,a more systematic cleansing of toxins, and therefore yielding a higher percentage of patients who survive five years or longer. (The Gerson treatment,as given by the Gerson Institute, also includes the administration of laetrile.) Here is the Gerson story:

Max Gerson, M.D., was born in Germany on October 18, 1881. For his graduation tests, at the age of 19, Max wrote a totally new approach to a mathematics problem. His teacher could not figure it out, so sent it to the University of Berlin.They wrote back, that it was the work of a brilliant mathematician and that Gerson should be directed into higher mathematical studies. But Gerson planned to become a medical doctor. He wanted to help people.

Graduating from the University of Freiburg in 1907 as a physician, he received advanced training under five of the leading medical experts in Germany.Shortly after completing medical school, Gerson began experiencing severe migraine headaches. He was only 25, yet he would have to lie in a darkened room for two or three days in pain.The doctors had no answer. One told him, “You will feel better when you are 55.” But that was not much of a solution.

Then Max read about a woman in Italy who had changed her diet, and her migraines lessened.This gave him an idea, so he began tinkering with his diet. In his case, he had excellent feedback: If he made a beneficial change, the migraines reduced in intensity and frequency; if he made a mistake,one would begin within 20 minutes.

First, he tried a milk diet, but that was useless.Then he went off all milk, and that helped a little.Then he tried eating apples only—raw, cooked,baked—and that was a great help. Slowly he added other things, till eventually he had totally eliminated his migraines.So he told his migraine patients about his diet.

He called it his “migraine diet.” When they returned,they would tell him theirs was gone too.But one said it had also eliminated his lupus (lupus vulgaris, or tuberculosis of the skin).Gersen knew the man could not have had lupus since it is incurable, but the patient showed him his medical records. The year was 1922.

It was obvious to Gerson that the medical theory, that there is but one medicine for each disease,was incorrect. As he later stated it, the great truth was this: “Nourish the body and it will do the healing.”

So Max treated some other lupus patients, and their problem vanished also. But patients came back with the news that their other problems had disappeared as well. The careful dietary program he devised was successful in treating asthma and other allergies; diseases of the intestinal tract, liver,and pancreas; tuberculosis; arthritis; heart disease,skin conditions, and on and on! Some of his most striking successes were in liver and gallbladder diseases.

In Germany at that time, trains often had private compartments, each one seating six. One day,as a train was about to pull out from the station, a man entered one of the compartments. The only other person there was a distinguished-appearing gentleman who said nothing. As the train got underway,the man started chattering to no one in particular. The gentleman tried to ignore him.Soon the man jovially got on the subject of health, and the gentleman wished he could get to his destination a little quicker.

Then, opening his shirt slightly, the man said,“And you know, I had this lupus, right here on my chest. And this doctor, he cured it. Now it’s gone!”At this, the gentleman jumped up, lunged at the man, reached for his shirt and said, “Let me see that!”

The gentleman was Ferdinand Sauerbruch,M.D., one of Europe’s leading skin and tuberculosis doctors. He well-knew that lupus cannot be cured!

Obtaining Gerson’s name and address from the man, Sauerbruch contacted Gerson as soon as he reached his office. A friendship was started,and Sauerbruch, impressed with his humility and sincerity, arranged a test using Gerson’s remarkable diet on 450 “incurable” lupus patients.

But after a week or so, it was obviously a failure.Sauerbruch did not think it would come to this; he had hoped against hope. So he penned a letter to his friend Gerson and, then, slowly walked back across the hospital grounds after posting the note.He was on his way to cancel the test; but, on the way, met a woman carrying two large trays full of meat, gravy, sugary foods, and all the trimmings.

Asking her what she was doing, she replied airily:“Oh, the people over in this building are starving,so we’re sneaking food in to make them happy.They have a crazy doctor!”Sauerbruch quickly set guards to keep the diet the way Gerson had prescribed it, and then wrote a second letter informing Gerson the test was still in progress.

Result: 446 of 450 incurable patients (99%)recovered. Lupus had been shown to be curable by diet therapy.

But Gerson still had not tried his therapy on cancer patients. Even in Germany, physicians were careful about trying out new cancer remedies.

When a couple of cancer victims came to him, he turned them down. But one day, a lady called him to her home, but would not tell him what was wrong with her. Arriving, she told him she had cancer and pled for him to help her. She was in bed, weakened, and in terrible condition. He told her he could not do so. “Please, she said, just write out your dietary formula, and I will sign a paper not holding you responsible for what happens.”

Gerson did so and left. It was obvious she was too weak to even follow the directions.All alone, the sick woman struggled to follow the program—and recovered totally from cancer.

Learning of this, Gerson began treating other cancer patients. The year was 1928. Of his first 12 cases, 7 responded favorably, remaining symptom free for seven and a half years.(Some of these facts we know because of testimony presented by him and others at the July 1-3, 1946, senate hearings, conducted by Claude Pepper of Florida.)

Gerson also treated Dr. Albert Schweitzer, his wife, and daughter for various health problems.Gerson saved Mrs. Helene Schweitzer from hopeless lung tuberculosis in 1931; and, several years later, he healed their daughter of a rare, serious “incurable” erupting skin condition that defied diagnosis.

Dr. Schweitzer himself came to Gerson at the age of 75, depressed and weary with advanced diabetes.In five weeks, Dr. Schweitzer had cut his insulin dosage in half, and in ten was completely off of it. Healed, and with new energy, he returned to Africa where he worked past the age of 90. In response, the world-famed Schweitzer declared,“I see in him one of the most eminent medical geniuses in the history of medicine.”

Schweitzer afterward required that his physicians in Lambarene, Africa, study Gerson’s book,Therapy of Lung Tuberculosis, before they started to treat the patients in his hospital.

Gerson was remarkable. Geniuses tend to focus their thoughts, whereas most people scatter theirs. Because of this trait, Gerson could not ride a bicycle. He would be so deep in thought that he would smash it. After having destroyed four of them, his family forbade more of that. For the same reason, he could not drive a car. His mind was continually at work, devising ways to help his patients.

One day while walking in the woods in the Harz Mountains near Bielefeld (before moving to Kassel), Max met a man who raised foxes. The rancher told him that he ran a very successful fox farm. He would buy sick, tubercular foxes for almost no cost, and later sell them. He said his foxes had the finest coats and their pelts brought the highest prices. Gerson asked him how he could do this. Mentioning that it was a secret which must not be shared with the other fox farmers, he said there was a doctor, somewhere in Germany, named Max Gerson who had a nutritional cure for disease.

The farmer bought sick foxes which had lung tuberculosis, healed them with Gerson’s diet of organic vegetables and fruits, and then sold them at a good profit because they produced such high quality fox furs. Both men were happy when Gerson introduced himself.

At the age of 51, Gerson was asked to present his findings, by appointment, at a meeting of the German Medical Association. At last he would have an opportunity for the world to learn of his work to save people. On April 1, 1933, as he sat in the railroad car, on his way to Berlin, the train stopped at a station and Hitler’s SS troups entered.When a young, inexperienced SS officer asked Gerson where he was going, Gerson, not knowing there was any danger, enthusiastically showed him X-rays and told him about his work. Impressed,the young man replied that he hoped Gerson would succeed, forgot to ask the question, and passed on to the next man just behind Gerson. For the first time, Gerson heard the question the troops were asking each passenger on the train: “Are you a Jew?”

Immediately, Max sensed the terrible danger.All the passengers except Gerson were asked that question, and Max saw one young man, a Jew, led outside, where he was gunned down as Gerson watched through the window. He had just seen the first large-scale action to collect 6,000,000 Jews for extermination in the Nazi concentration camps.

As the train continued on, Max completely changed his plans. Instead of getting off at Berlin,he continued on the train to Vienna, Austria. From there, he contacted his wife and told her to immediately come with their three girls, which she did.He also contacted all their brothers, sisters, and relatives, and offered to send money for them to leave. But they laughed at his concerns. They had their homes, their businesses, and there was nothing to fear from Hitler.

Max Gerson, his wife, and their relatives were Jews. All of those relatives (15, plus children) later perished. From Vienna, Gerson later went to Paris.In 1936, he emigrated to America, and went to school to learn English. In January 1938 he received his medical license and began practicing in New York City. By this time, Gerson could enlarge or shrink surface cancers at will. He knew exactly what was needed to help his patients. The only question generally was whether they were in earnest enough to fully follow his program when they went home.

His first contact with medicine in America was enlightening. Called as a consultant to physicians treating a wealthy industrialist for arthritis, Gerson outlined what he would do to bring a fairly quick recovery. There was an awkward pause, and then one of the doctors said, “Dr. Gerson, you are new here. You don’t understand. This man is a wealthy member of the W.R. Grace family. They own steamship lines, banks, chemical companies, and so on.

You don’t cure a patient like this. You treat him.”In New York, he treated 90% of his cancer patients without charge and financed his own researches in chronic diseases. From 1946 to 1948he saw patients at the Gotham Hospital.At the Senate hearings, he testified that believed the liver held the key to the cure of cancer—and that if the liver was too far gone, treatment was useless. This would be understandable, since the liver, an astounding chemical laboratory, is the primary detoxifying agency in the body.

Appearing with him on July 3, 1946, at the three-day Senate hearings were five of his patients,each of whom had fully recovered from some of the most common forms of cancer in America. He also came with X-ray photographs, pathology reports from leading hospitals, and testimonials from many other patients and relatives of cancer victims.

In reaction, on November 16, 1946, in its “Frauds and Fables” category, the Journal of the AMA hopefully dismissed the Gerson’s unprecedented Senate presentation with the words, “Fortunately for the American people this presentation received little, if any, newspaper publicity.”

In its January 8, 1949, issue, the Journal wrote, “There is no scientific evidence whatsoever to indicate that modifications in the dietary intake of food or other nutritional essentials are of any specific value in the control of cancer.”

During his lifetime, Gerson wrote 51 articles,published in medical journals. (All of his publicationsare listed at the back of S.J. Haught’s book,Has Dr. Max Gerson a True Cancer Cure?) But,for the most part, Gerson worked alone. Other physicians generally feared to help him or duplicate his work, for fear of reprisal.

Eventually, Gerson’s medical privileges at Gotham Hospital were revoked, and he was unable to find an affiliation with any other hospital in the city. In 1953 his malpractice insurance was discontinued. One $100,000 malpractice lawsuit would have wiped him out. Because the larger number of those who sought him had advanced cancers, some of them died. Yet their relatives knew that they died with dignity, free from pain and brain-numbing narcotics.

Gerson’s needs were simple. Patients were shocked to learn that he would generally charge $25 for the first visit, and $5 or $10 for subsequent visits. (They had earlier been told he charged high fees, $1,000 or $2,000 for each visit.)Refusing to stop his work, Gerson treated patients at his own facilities. In October 1954 at the age of 73, he wrote his former patient and close friend, Albert Schweitzer,

“Those who say they would like to help, often tell me they cannot. They regret not being able to assist me for fear of losing their position in hospitals and laboratories. I have long abandoned thoughts of attaining any kind of recognition, nonetheless I continue on my way.”—Journal of the Gerson Institute, Fall 1981, 16.

Some of his best-documented, recovered patients died, when they were urged back by their former physicians for examination, and then told they must have surgery or radiation—when they were totally free of cancer symptoms or evidence.

On two occasions Gerson became violently ill after being served coffee by a group supposedly supporting him. Later laboratory tests showed unusually high levels of arsenic in his urine.

Some of Gerson’s best case histories mysteriously disappeared from his files. In 1956, the manuscript and all of its copies for Gerson’s almost completed book (A Cancer Therapy: Results of Fifty Cases) were stolen and never recovered.

Separating himself from that group, Gerson,now quite aged, raced against time to completely rewrite the book. In 1958, the book was published.

On March 4 of that same year, he was finally suspended for two years from the New York Medical Society. At a meeting of the New York Academy of Medicine, the surgeons, radiologists, and physicians condemned a colleague who was living by Hippocrates’ dictum: “Above all, do no harm.”

Gerson died a year later (March 8, 1959),shortly after he fell down the stairs in his house.He was 78 years old.

Upon Gerson’s death, Albert Schweitzer, the Nobel prize-winning physician and missionary, and a patient of Gerson’s, made this statement:

“I see in him one of the most eminent medical geniuses in the history of medicine . . Many of his basic ideas have been adopted without having his name connected with them. Yet he has achieved more than seemed possible under adverse conditions. He leaves a legacy which commands attention and which will assure him his due place. Those whom he cured will now attest to the truth of his ideas.”—Albert Schweitzer, M.D., Ph.D., quoted in S.J. Haught,

That prediction was to prove true.At the urging of many individuals who recognized that a revival of Gerson’s therapy was urgently needed, Charlotte Gerson Strauss (the second of Gerson’s three daughters; born March 27,1922), headed up a new venture, called the Gerson Institute, in a clinic/hospital in Tijuana, Mexico.

The Gerson Institute was incorporated on June 27, 1978, twenty years after the publication of Gerson’s book, A Cancer Therapy, and nineteen years after his death.

The Gerson Institute headquarters is located in Bonita, California, near San Diego. The hospital,is in a suburb of Tijuana, Mexico.

Charlotte continues to travel around the world,speaking at conventions, meetings, and on talk shows. Although elderly herself, she is in good health, for she carefully remains on the nutrition and juice program her father developed.


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