When diagnosed with a serious illness, many individuals will weigh the pros and cons of several treatment options.
Unfortunately, along with the hope to make a patient healthier, many treatments also carry the possibility of making a patient more sick.
So often we hear that if chemotherapy doesn’t kill the cancer, it may kill the individual. Although alternative or complementary treatments may not work for everyone, many empowered patients consider more than just one treatment option.
One alternative therapy that is gaining momentum is Gerson therapy.
The Gerson therapy site explains the therapy as “a state of the art, contemporary, alternative and natural treatment which utilizes the body's own healing mechanism in the treatment and cure of chronic debilitating illness.”
This therapy is considered to be a metabolic therapy, which uses a combination of a special diet, supplements, and detoxification, based on the belief that much of disease is the outcome of an accumulation of toxins like insecticides, herbicides, air pollution, and chemicals.
Each and every day, we are exposed to toxins from the air, various foods sources, and even from what we put onto our skin. Gerson therapy practitioners believe that these toxins contribute to food contamination by decreasing potassium and increasing sodium content in food.
The American Cancer Society explains that “Food processing and cooking adds more sodium, which changes the metabolism of cells in the body, eventually causing cancer.”
Gerson therapy works to correct this imbalance through strict diet, supplements, and enemas.
The diet consists of ingesting approximately 15 pounds of fruit and vegetables through hourly glasses of organic fresh juice per day, along with three vegetarian meals low in sodium and fat.
Supplements can include pancreatic enzymes, potassium, vitamin B12, and other organ stimulating nutrients.
Coffee enemas are used to aid the body’s natural elimination of waste through this detoxification process.
Charlotte Gerson explained, “The moment a patient is put on the full therapy, the combined effect of the food, the juices and the medication causes the immune system to attack and kill tumor tissue, besides working to flush out accumulated toxins from the body tissues. This great clearing-out procedure carries the risk of overburdening and poisoning the liver—the all-important organ of detoxification, which, in a cancer patient, is bound to be already damaged and debilitated.”
Aside from various types of cancer, Gerson Therapy also claims to help patients recover from diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, autoimmune diseases, and other ailments.
Gerson therapy has not been approved by the FDA as an effective treatment for cancer. Although some studies have been done on the therapy, there have not yet been conclusive results.
Of course, patients considering the use of Gerson therapy should learn more. Certain cancers and disorders should not be treated with Gerson therapy, nor should it be used alone as a sole treatment. Although detoxification can often be a good thing, Gerson therapy may come with risks.
Continued use of enemas may cause a weakened colon, colitis, or dehydration, while certain supplements can cause problems to worsen. Electrolyte imbalances may also occur from use of coffee enemas which could potentially be life-threatening. Women who are pregnant should not use Gersen therapy.
The American Cancer Society suggests that many of the practices in Gerson therapy have benefits for preventing cancer, rather than treating it.
To learn more, check out The Gerson Website, or watch The Gerson Miracle on Netflix instant!
Gerson Therapy . (n.d.). American Cancer Society | Information and Resources for Cancer: Breast, Colon, Lung, Prostate, Skin. Retrieved July 20, 2012, from
The Gerson Therapy : Gerson Institute. (n.d.). Gerson Institute. Retrieved July 20, 2012, from
Gerson therapy - The Skeptic's Dictionary - Skepdic.com. (n.d.). The Skeptic's Dictionary. Retrieved July 20, 2012, from
Reviewed July 24, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith