Holistic healing and cancer


Can the all-natural Gerson Therapy replace chemotherapy and heal cancer? By Neha Jamani.

The very word ‘cancer’ strikes fear and panic into the heart.

In allopathic medicine, its diagnosis offers only one option for treatment and survival: a punishing regime of radiation, chemotherapy and surgery. In the world of alternative healing though, there are other approaches to treating cancer and chronic degenerative diseases, one of which is The Gerson Therapy. It’s not easy though. As well as following a hyper strict vegan, plant-based, no salt and virtually fat-free diet, people on the therapy also have to make thirteen fresh juices a day and give themselves four coffee enemas a day – and they have to do this religiously for 18 months to three years, depending on the type of cancer and its severity. Not so much as a grain of white sugar or white flour can pass your lips. For some, chemotherapy seems easier.


Created by German physician Dr. Max Gerson in the 1930s, The Gerson Therapy is a detoxification and nutrition programme that strengthens the immune system.

Born in Germany in 1881, Dr. Gerson initially developed the therapy as a treatment for his own debilitating migraines and eventually as a treatment for chronic degenerative diseases such as skin tuberculosis, diabetes and — most famously — cancer. Dr. Gerson believed that toxicity and nutritional deficiency were the two factors in the onset of cancer. The Gerson programme seeks to address the underlying systemic causes of cancer and activate the body’s ability to heal itself.   His youngest daughter Charlotte, now age 92, energetically continues his work.

This is what sets the Gerson Therapy apart from conventional cancer treatments. A metabolic therapy, it is based on the theory that disease is caused by the body’s accumulation of toxic substances. Metabolic therapy uses a combination of special diets, enzymes, nutritional supplements, and other measures to remove ‘toxins’ from the body and strengthen the body’s defenses against disease.

The Gerson Therapy is a natural treatment that activates the body’s extraordinary ability to heal itself through a strictly organic vegetarian diet, raw juices, coffee enemas, and natural supplements.  The powerful natural treatment boasts the body’s immune system to heal cancer, arthritis, heart disease, allergies and many other degenerative diseases. With a whole body approach to healing, the Gerson programme aims to restore the internal terrain and fully utilise the body’s amazing self-healing ability.


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 Therapy is a finely-tuned precision instrument, where every component plays an important role and affects all other parts. It must be practiced in its entirety without omitting a single detail or the overall therapy cannot work to its potential.


Food processing adds more sodium to the foods we eat, which changes the metabolism of the cells in the body, eventually causing cancer.  According to practitioners of the Gerson Therapy, people who have cancer have too much sodium and not enough potassium in their cells.  The Gerson diet starts out as a strict low-salt vegan diet excluding animal products and oils (except for flax seed oil).  After four weeks, the diet evolves to include a small amount of protein. Nuts and seeds are initially excluded as they are too high in oils, but they are reintroduced later on.  Vegetable proteins such as lentils or rice are also gradually introduced back into the diet.


Freshly-made organic juices are one of the most important healing components in the Gerson programme. Juicing allows the body to easily digest and absorb nutrients and enzymes, so the programme consists of a large volume of fresh juices.  Apple and carrot juice, green juice and citrus juice are consumed throughout the day by patients on the Gerson programme.  Depending on the protocol, sometimes juices are consumed hourly up to 13 times per day. Green juices, in particular, contain high amounts of chlorophyll, which releases oxygen and promotes higher oxygen availability for the body.  The Gerson protocol requires a special two-step juicer or masticating juicer with a separate hydraulic press. The two-step process is best suited for the Gerson protocol because it helps extract more minerals and essential nutrients.


All medication used in connection with the Gerson therapy are classified as biological materials of organic origin that are supplied in therapeutic amounts. These medications are nutritional supplements consisting of natural substances present in and needed for the normal functioning of various body systems. Some of the supplements used in the programme – such as potassium and lugol — are added to the juices. Others, including CoQ10, liver extract, pancreatic enzymes, B-12, thyroid hormone, niacin, and flax seed oil – are taken orally with juices and food.


The combined effect if the food, juices and medication causes the immune system to attack and kill the tumor tissue.  Detoxification is key to flushing out the accumulated toxins and preventing the risk of overburdening the liver. Coffee enemas are the primary method of detoxification of the tissues and blood on the Gerson Therapy.  The amount of juice is matched to the number of coffee enemas (usually three to five daily), which are self-administered throughout the day.   The coffee recommended for use in the enemas is a special lightly-roasted variety.


Some people may have heard of The Gerson Therapy, but many have not.  This remains the case for most alternative cancer treatments. Mainstream cancer research centres feel that the available scientific evidence does not support claims that Gerson Therapy is effective in treating cancer.  Furthermore, the principles behind it are not widely accepted by the scientific and medical communities yet.

The Gerson Institute, which certifies centres to administer the therapy, is a non-profit organisation whose research unit maintains an extensive collection of reports documenting the research and science behind the Gerson Therapy.  The Institute also conducts and collects research on the role of diet on cancer and claims to have documented many success stories of people whose conventional doctors gave no hope for recovery, yet were able to overcome their disease against all odds using the Gerson programme.


Unless you check in to one of the licensed clinics in Tijuana, Mexico or near Budapest, Hungary, The Gerson Therapy is largely a do-it-yourself process, which means that you are solely in charge of administering your programme. Usually, there is no one to supervise you and make sure that you observe the rules faithfully.  The Gerson Institute does not own or operate any medical facilities.  Instead, it refers patients to the clinics that it licenses as properly administering the therapy.

Like most alternative therapies, the Gerson Therapy is very expensive. If you are thinking of having Gerson therapy at home there are also costs involved. In addition to the initial cost of a special juicer and possibly a water filter, you have ongoing costs of the organic fruit and vegetables, coffee and supplements because this is no short-term fix. The therapy takes time.  In his earlier research, Dr. Gerson specified being on the programme about 18 months. But with today’s more toxic environment, practitioners are finding that patients need to be on the therapy for at least two years, and in many cases, three.  Non-malignant diseases such as arthritis and lupus fall on the shorter end of that scale, while advanced cases of cancer fall closer to the three-year range.


According to the World Cancer Research Fund International, there were an estimated 14.1 million cancer cases around the world in 2012, of which 7.4 million cases were in men and 6.7 million in women. This number is expected to increase to 24 million by 2035. Of all diseases, cancer is undoubtedly the one that strikes the greatest fear into most hearts and minds. Its high prevalence in societies worldwide and its effects are devastating. The side effects of the treatments are harsh and the mortality rate is high.

It is ultimately up to those who are faced with cancer to decide which treatment they want to undergo. The system is not a miracle cure for everyone, and even the Gerson Institute states that Gerson way of healing is neither a universal panacea nor a miracle cure.  The Institute itself states that the therapy may fail for variety of reasons, or example, if the patient comes to the therapy too late, or commences the therapy after a full range of conventional treatments has failed to produce a remission, or if the patient doesn’t observe the rules of the programme or if the patient has had an essential organ removed.

Such cases aside, according to the Gerson Institute’s own research, the programme’s success rate with advanced cancer, and many other serious degenerative diseases, far outstrips that of conventional treatments.

The programme is demanding, intensive, prolonged and a far cry from the pill-popping ‘instant’ ways of conventional treatments. But most conventional physicians offer only one route for cancer treatment — drugs, radiation and surgery — while ignoring or discounting alternative options such as the Gerson Therapy.

For more detailed information on this all-natural approach to treatment of chronic degenerative disease, please visit www.thesacredkitchen.org/gerson and www.gerson.org.


A therapeutic and holistic chef, Neha Jamani is founder of Dubai-based The Sacred Kitchen. A graduate of Bauman College of Holistic Nutrition and Culinary Arts in California, Neha aims to raise awareness about the importance of food choices and reconnect people with their bodies and the food they eat.



What a typical day of therapy looks like for a patient on the cancer protocol…

Enema Meal Juice
6:00 AM Coffee
7:00 AM
8:00 AM Breakfast Orange
9:00 AM Green
9:30 AM Carrot/ apple
10:00 AM Coffee Carrot/ apple
11:00 AM Carrot
12:00 PM Green
1:00 PM Lunch Carrot/ apple
2:00 PM Coffee Green
3:00 PM Carrot
4:00 PM Carrot
5:00 PM Carrot/ apple
6:00 PM Coffee Green
7:00 PM Dinner Carrot/ apple
8:00 PM
9:00 PM
10:00 PM Coffee


It’s not the kind of thing one talks about in polite society but if the DIY approach to enemas appeals to you, here’s one way to do it…

The theory behind giving yourself a coffee enema is that it detoxifies the liver. The caffeine in the coffee is absorbed and sent straight to the liver where it becomes a strong detoxifier. It causes the liver to produce more bile, which moves toxins out towards the small intestine for elimination. This seems to free up the liver to process more incoming toxic materials that have accumulated in the organs, tissues and bloodstream. The coffee contains some alkaloids that also stimulate the production of glutathione-S-transferase, an enzyme used by the liver to make the detox pathways run. In other words, a coffee enema speeds up the detoxification process and minimises the backlog of yet to be detoxified substances. Sounds great but how do you actually do it?

Step one: In a stainless steel pot or glass plunger, add two flat tablespoons of organic coffee grounds to four cups (one litre) of boiled, distilled water. Some people pour the boiling water over the coffee grounds; while others boil the water and coffee together in a stainless steel pot for five minutes to release the oils. Either way, stir together and leave to cool to body or room temperature, this takes about half an hour. Do a finger test to judge temperature.

Step two: Take the cooled brewed coffee and, using a strainer to remove the grounds, pour the liquid into a jug. While waiting for the coffee liquid to cool, go the bathroom and prepare the bath tub – you’ll be lying on your right side in the empty bath so you might want to put towels, blankets or cushions in the bottom of the tub for comfort.

Step three: To administer the enema you need a timer, some coconut oil or olive oil, the coffee liquid, an enema bag and hose, and a novel and music for relaxing. Pour half or all of the coffee liquid the enema bag and hang it up about one metre above you, for example, over the shower faucet. With the coconut oil, lubricate the nozzle of the hose and your anus.

Step four: Lay flat on your right side in the bathtub, insert the end of the hose, set your timer for 15 minutes and, when ready, unclamp the enema bag hose. First timers should only take small amounts of the liquid at a time – some days you will be able to hold the litre; other days you may not be able to take so much liquid so choose to repeat the procedure. If possible, hold the liquid within your intestines for 12 to 15 minutes but if you can’t hold it for that long, remove the nozzle and get to the toilet. Expel and repeat the process until all the coffee liquid is gone.

Tips: You don’t have to use the bathtub, you can make a next of cushions and blankets in any room of the house (not too far from the toilet); you don’t have to use coffee, you could use warm water, chamomile tea… check out www.youtube.com for many and varied ways to do a DIY enema.


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