General Information

What conditions does the Gerson Therapy show good success?

While there is an exception to every situation and every case is different due to how advanced it is before starting the therapy and whether there has been chemotherapy pre-treatment, the therapy has had repeatedly good results with the following diseases: melanoma, lymphoma, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, Duke’s C colorectal cancer, Systemic Lupus Erythematosis. We are continuing to do more research into our patient base over the past 10 years to obtain more current information.

What conditions do not respond well to the Gerson Therapy?

There are certain types of cancer that do not respond well or do not respond at all. These include acute leukemia, pancreatic cancer after treatment with chemotherapy, and brain cancers other than an early stage astrocytoma. 

We have little or no experience with uncommon conditions of a congenital or genetic origin and would not expect the Therapy to reverse these conditions although overall health may be enhanced. Parkinson’s disease, especially after the use of dopamine drugs, does not respond well to the therapy.  Neither does ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). 

The Gerson Therapy should not be administered to organ or stem cell transplant recipients or people on kidney dialysis.

 Can the Gerson Therapy treat rare or uncommon genetic conditions?

Unfortunately, we have had little or no experience at the Gerson clinic with rare conditions or those of a genetic or congenital origin. These conditions present unique challenges and it is unlikely that there would be reversal or complete recovery from utilizing the Gerson Therapy. Our experience is with the more common cancers and certain chronic degenerative conditions. However, since the Gerson Therapy is a whole-body therapy designed to improve overall health through an organic nutrient dense diet, fresh juices and detoxification, utilizing the therapy has the potential to improve your overall health and give your body the best opportunity for optimal functioning and enhanced quality of life.

 How long will I have to be on the therapy?

Though Dr. Gerson specifies about 18 months in A Cancer Therapy: Results of 50 Cases, with today’s more toxic environment we are finding 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.

 When will I see a noticeable improvement from the therapy?

The time it takes to see results on the therapy varies greatly from patient to patient, but a good guideline to follow is; the faster-moving the cancer, the quicker it is controlled and eliminated. In cases of melanoma and lymphomas we have seen cases of extremely fast tumor reduction. Bone cancers and bony metastases take the longest to heal, often requiring 12-18 months. Multiple sclerosis (MS) takes at least several months to respond, and the symptoms often appear worse before they improve. This is not to say that when patients see improvement they are ready to discontinue the treatment. It is of utmost importance that patients continue the full therapy according to their doctor’s instructions for the full length of time, not just until symptoms improve.

 Does insurance cover the costs of the treatment?

The Gerson clinic does not accept insurance plans on assignment. Patients need to inquire with their carrier if they can receive reimbursement. Unfortunately, most HMO’s and Medicare/Medicaid do not cover any part of treatment at the Gerson Clinic.

 Is radiation therapy allowed while on the Gerson Therapy?

Radiation therapy is often effective for relief of bone pain or to shrink a tumor to facilitate surgical removal. While it does have some negative effects, radiation, used judiciously, can be an appropriate intervention while on the Gerson Therapy.

 Can I do the Gerson Therapy and chemotherapy at the same time?

No.  In most cases, chemotherapy works in conflict with a detoxifying therapy such as the Gerson Therapy.

When a patient receives chemotherapy, a significant percentage of each dose remains lodged in the body. When the Gerson Therapy begins to work, it can very quickly dislodge toxins from the cells into the bloodstream, including the chemotherapy residue. Patients with such a large amount of toxins being released into their bloodstream often cannot detoxify the body fast enough if they are using the standard intensive Gerson Therapy and may be prone to liver failure.  At the very least they can become very sick.  


 Do I have to take the enemas?

Yes. The coffee enemas are a must for anyone doing the therapy. As the juices begin rebuilding the body and encouraging toxins to be released from the cells into the bloodstream, a great deal of stress is placed upon the liver. The liver alone, especially in cancer patients, cannot deal with a sudden influx of toxins into the bloodstream. The coffee enemas increase liver filtering, greatly aiding the liver’s ability to remove serum toxins. If a patient has received chemotherapy, his/her schedule will be altered to reduce the number of enemas and eliminate the castor oil enemas, but some detoxification of this nature is always needed.

 What should I do if I can’t hold the enema?

Download and read the following PDF document, which provides suggestions and tips for holding coffee enemas (make that the link to the PDF coffee enemas-difficulty holding)

 Why aren’t colonics a part of the Gerson Therapy?

Colonics do not serve the same purpose as the coffee enema. Colonics are used to cleanse the bowel. Coffee enemas are used to increase the liver’s detoxification capacity. Certain substances in the coffee stimulate an important detoxification enzyme in the liver as well as dilate the bile ducts and increase the flow of bile. A secondary benefit of the coffee enema is to increase peristalsis which helps to empty the bowel. However, utilizing colonics along with several coffee enemas a day would be harmful and depleting to the body. In most cases additional cleansing of the bowel is not needed.

If someone who is anticipating starting the Gerson Therapy has a long history of constipation, it might be acceptable to do a series of colonics before starting the therapy to decongest the bowel. However, once the Gerson Therapy is started, only coffee enemas are used.

With a healthy Gerson diet, which includes plenty of fiber, the intestines manufacture and replenish the friendly flora on a daily basis so there is usually no risk of the enemas causing dysbiosis, a microbial imbalance in the digestive system. 

References: • Healing the Gerson Way, p. 163.


 Why do Gerson patients take such high quantities of niacin?

Dr. Gerson felt strongly about the use of increased amounts of niacin (Vitamin B3) in cancer patients from the beginning of treatment and without too much interruption. However after using 50mg six times a day for four to six months, it should not be diminished too fast. Niacin helps to bring back sufficient glycogen into the liver cells. It also helps in protein metabolism, acts to open small arteries and capillaries (of course it would be discontinued with any bleeding problems.) It raises electrical potential in cells. In addition, this information can be found on page 209 of A Cancer Therapy: Results of Fifty Cases

What is the difference between the clay pack and the castor oil pack?

The clay packs are typically used for inflammation characterized by swelling, redness and heat around the affected area, but not on open wounds. It draws toxins out through the skin into the clay. It is helpful for painful joints, boils, etc. Each pack should only be used one time and then discarded. 

The castor oil pack increases circulation to an area and stimulates the lymphatic system to carry off toxins aiding in detoxification. It is excellent for organ pain, especially of the liver, pancreas and kidneys and helps to relieve muscle spasms.

 Can I use any additional therapies or supplements with the Gerson Therapy?

Dr. Gerson developed and refined the therapy over many years. For best results, we recommend you do not add other elements to the therapy other than those discussed in Chapter 2 of Healing The Gerson Way. In and of themselves, certain other therapies or supplements may be helpful, but in conjunction with the Gerson Therapy they may interfere with how it works. There is a synergy that should not be interfered with unless absolutely necessary and determined by a Gerson doctor.

Juicing and Juicers

 What types of juices are included in the Gerson Therapy?

There are four: green, carrot, carrot/apple, and orange (or grapefruit) juices.  For further information, see Chapter 12: Preparing Food and Juices in Healing the Gerson Way.

 How do I make the green juice?

To learn the recipe and procedure for preparing the Gerson green juice, download this PDF document: Green Juice Recipe

 Can I add another fruit/vegetable into the juice?

No, every ingredient is there for a specific purpose.

 What if I can’t find one of the ingredients?

Don’t substitute. Find as many ingredients as possible and make the juice without the missing ingredients. Incorporate the missing ingredients once they become available again.

 Can I store the juices?

Green juice may not be stored, it must be taken right away. Carrot/apple juice is best taken right away, but may be stored if necessary up to 72 hours. It is best to store the juice in small 8oz. mason jars, filled up to the top so there is no room for oxygen, and placed in a cooler. A small container is better than a thermos or a larger jar, as each time a larger container is opened, more air gets in and further oxidizes the juice. A smaller container is best because it is not opened multiple times.

 Are the juices the same for diabetic people?

Contact the Gerson Institute for a Diabetes Protocol. info@gerson.org

 If I’m a healthy person, can I have other juices?

If you are following the Gerson therapy, there is a reason for everything and things shouldn’t be changed. But if you are healthy, it is your own personal decision to add other juices.

 Can I drink water in addition to, or instead of juices?

No, it will dilute the nutrients in the juices. There is already distilled, organic water in the juices that has been extracted from the fruit and vegetables. In some circumstances, herbal teas such as peppermint or chamomile tea are alright to drink.

 What do I do if I cannot find organic ingredients?

Under no circumstances are non-organic ingredients to be substituted for organic ingredients. Patients who have done this have quickly found it to be detrimental to their recovery. This is especially true of root vegetables, which absorb toxins in the soil. For example, the herbicide Roundup is one of the most toxic substances you can put in your body. Concentrating a chemical like Roundup with a press type juicer and drinking it is extremely harmful. Make the juices without the missing organic ingredients until they become available again.

 What about adding raw spinach?

Raw spinach is not part of the Gerson Therapy. It has oxalic acid in its raw form which inhibits the absorption of some necessary nutrients.

 Can I substitute with different apples if Granny Smiths (tart green apples) are not available?

Do not substitute red or yellow apples (example = Delicious). The preferred substitute would be a tart apple (example = Fiji). Return to the Granny Smith variety once they become available.

The Gerson Diet

 What does the Gerson Therapy diet consist of?

The following is a document listing all the foods that are allowed and all the foods that are prohibited on the Gerson Therapy: Foods For The Gerson Diet 

 Why are berries and pineapple not allowed on the Gerson Therapy?

Berries and pineapples contain aromatic acids, compounds that Dr. Gerson found interfered with the healing process in some people. To be safe, he has prohibited the intake of these fruits while someone is on the Gerson Therapy.

 Why are celery and avocadoes not allowed on the Gerson Therapy?

Celery is too high in sodium and avocadoes are too high in fat for people on the Gerson Therapy. Otherwise, they are healthy foods. REMOVE THIS QUESTION!  ADD THE NEXT TWO IN ITS PLACE.

Why aren’t avocados, nuts or seeds permitted on the Gerson diet?

 Nuts and seeds are too high in both fats and proteins to be included in the Gerson diet, and avocados are too high in fat.  While these are normally healthy foods, they are simply not compatible with the strict diet that the Gerson Therapy entails.

 The Gerson diet is supposed to be salt-free.  So what about vegetables that naturally contain some sodium? Are celery and cucumbers permitted on the Gerson Therapy?

 Though salt is to be avoided and eliminated at all costs, sodium is naturally present in many foods.  You do want to restrict those foods which naturally contain high amounts of sodium, but it’s not possible to avoid all sources of sodium altogether. Celery may be eaten, but should never be used in the juices. Remember to always follow the correct recipe for the Gerson green juice, and not to make any additions or substitutions.  Cucumbers are not permitted to be eaten. In part, this is due to their high sodium content, but also because cucumbers are difficult to digest, particularly in conjunction with the green juices.  Cucumbers can cause gas and indigestion, and often stay in the stomach without moving.

 Why aren’t any soy products permitted while on The Gerson Therapy?

The most important reason is that soy is high in protein.  Protein consumption is reduced to a minimum on the Gerson Therapy. Beans and legumes are not allowed as a source of protein in most instances until at least 9 months and only on a limited basis in certain cases as determined by the Gerson doctor. In addition to this, dietary use of soy is very controversial. It does contain enzyme inhibitors which may cause interference with proper digestion and phytates which can interfere with absorption of minerals. Soy also contains phytoestrogens which may not be appropriate for many people.

 Why is flax seed oil the only oil allowed and why can’t the seeds be eaten?

Dr. Gerson realized the need for the right type of essential fatty acids. He experimented with many types of oils and found that in all cases fats other than flax seed oil stimulated tumor growth and even the regrowth of tumors that had resolved. 

Flax seed oil is an omega 3 fatty acid containing linolenic and linoleic acids that inhibit the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and lipid mediators and thus reduces inflammatory responses in the body. It attracts oxygen at the cell membrane assisting in transport of oxygen into the cell. It also helps carry vitamin A through the blood stream. Lignans come from part of the fiber of the seed and are high in protein. Although they can provide health benefits for certain conditions, high lignan flax oil is not allowed on the Gerson Therapy as it introduces too much protein. 

Seeds, including flax seeds, have an important substance in them called an enzyme inhibitor that keeps them dormant until they are in the right environment to sprout. This enzyme inhibitor can also inhibit human digestive enzymes and interfere with good digestion.

 Where can I find organic produce?

Sources and prices of organic produce vary with location and season. It is almost always better for a patient to find a local source of organic produce at a food co-op or health food store than to have it shipped in from across the country. Local farmer’s markets and co-ops are often excellent sources for organic produce. Today more and more major supermarkets carry organic produce, and while they may not have what a patient needs in the quantities needed, they may be able to special order items on a regular basis. Also, there are some health-food oriented supermarkets that regularly stock organic produce. These include: Whole Foods, co-ops, Wild Oats, Bread and Circus, Trader Joe’s, Sprouts, Henry’s and Jimbo’s. Finally, there are several companies that ship organic produce across the country, but they are generally rather expensive.

If you live in the United States, we highly recommend that you check the website www.localharvest.org.  Simply enter your zip code to find all the organic produce suppliers in your area.

 When and how do I get off the Therapy? When can I add new foods?

There is not a simple answer to this question. It is not a easy thing to know when there has been a complete restoration and recovery from a condition. In Dr. Gerson’s day he assumed a general time for healing and rebuilding the body, including restoring the liver and essential organs to full function to be about 18 months to 2 years. We now find that it takes much longer due to the body being more toxic and depleted. If a patient is working with their Gerson clinic doctor, they will be slowly decreasing the protocol of juices, enemas and supplements over time based on the results of blood work, diagnostic imaging and general presentation. If these changes do not create new problems and the patient continues in good condition, this is a good sign. If any new symptoms appear, the patient should immediately return to the full Therapy for at least a month or two.  (See page 197 of Healing the Gerson Way for a general annual schedule for a cancer patient.) The best thing to remember in making any changes in diet and lifestyle is not to make a number of changes all at once. This will allow you to know which modifications may cause trouble. In general, after a recovery from cancer or other serious illness, the diet should remain 90% of original diet with only 10% of added new healthy foods.