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Feature Story

The Gerson Therapy: Revealing the Power of the Body to Heal Itself

by Elyssa Paige

“Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.” – Hippocrates

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Even as doctors take the traditional oath in his name, the wisdom of Hippocrates, who lived in the fourth century BC, is all but lost in modern medicine. Taking the place of the healing plants of the earth are pharmaceutical drugs that treat symptoms, rather than the causes of disease, while lining pockets and perpetuating illness. Lost in this seemingly endless cycle is the average American as chronic and degenerative diseases become rampant in our society.
But times are changing. People are discovering their innate ability to heal themselves. One alternative modality known as the Gerson Therapy has healed thousands of people afflicted with illnesses that conventional medicine has deemed incurable—even cancer and heart disease. Discovered by Dr. Max Gerson, who lived from 1881 to 1959, the Gerson Therapy activates the body’s healing mechanism through the simple consumption of organic vegetarian foods and juices, detoxification and natural supplements. In 1977, Dr. Gerson’s daughter, Charlotte Gerson, founded The Gerson Institute, a non-profit organization that has been teaching people all over the world how to take charge of their own health. Recently I had the opportunity to speak with Charlotte Gerson about her work in helping people learn to heal themselves.

Vision Magazine: How does the Gerson Therapy cause regeneration in the body?
Charlotte Gerson: The Gerson Therapy is a total approach for all of the body’s systems to heal and regenerate so that in the first place, people are able to overcome disease but in the long run, the systems can defend the body so that the person can live in good health without any possible recurrence of disease.
In order to do that, we have to first insist on organic food that’s grown from good soil without the use of chemicals, pesticides, and fungicides. This way, the food is truly rich in nutrients and is able to help restore the body. The next thing is we have to make sure that no toxins, additives or poisons are contained in those foods, such as emulsifiers, dyes, colorings, and preservatives. The Food and Drug Administration has passed something like 10,000 food additives as safe but none of them are safe. People ingest a tremendous amount of toxins. And to the surprise of a lot of people, that includes salt. Most people are aware of how damaging and dangerous sugar is. But salt is many times worse than sugar. It doesn’t matter if you call it Celtic salt, sodium chloride, or sea salt. Why didn’t sailors who were stuck out in the ocean drink sea water? Because salt is poison and it damages the body’s systems. When there is salt involved, there is damage. Cancer cannot grow without salt. Salt stimulates tumor growth as well.
With the Gerson Therapy, we have to not only see to it that people do not ingest any further toxins, but we have to detoxify them as well. This is extremely important to help the body get rid of long term accumulated poisons.

VM: How do people detoxify with the Gerson Therapy?
CG: Dr. Gerson found this more or less accidentally, if you believe in accidents, that is. During World War I, when soldiers were brought to the hospital with injuries, doctors had to work around the clock, so there was usually coffee available to them. The nurses didn’t know what to do because there wasn’t much morphine to relieve the soldiers’ pain. Occasionally, surgeons ordered enemas. They saw that coffee was doing the surgeons good and thought to pour coffee into the soldiers’ enema buckets. It turned out that the soldiers reported pain relief. To date, we find that coffee enemas are the best pain relieving agents when patients come for the Gerson Therapy. After only a couple of days with organic food, fresh juicing, and coffee enemas, the pain disappears.
The coffee enemas just happen to work this way, but they are primarily used as a detoxifier. Cleansing happens in the liver, which is a tremendously important organ that is responsible for hundreds of functions in the body. Everything that happens in the body biochemically begins and ends in the liver. The liver has to be damaged, weakened or poisoned before you function poorly or get sick. That’s why it’s so important to detoxify and keep the liver functioning properly. The whole bloodstream is filtered through the liver every three minutes. Because there are so many toxins in our food, air, water, and soil, the liver becomes so toxic that it can no longer function. The whole point of the coffee enemas is to help the liver release the poisons that it picks up from the blood stream.

VM: What diseases has the Gerson Therapy cured?
CG: There are over 100. Some of the major ones are cancer, advanced cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, fibromyalgia, autism—the list goes on and on. I don’t like to say that the Gerson Therapy cures—in Dr. Gerson’s words, “it restores the body’s normal built-in healing mechanism.” Every normal human body has a healing mechanism, like when you burn or cut yourself, and a week later, it’s all healed. Or you get a cold or the flu, and a week or ten days later, that too is healed. The body will naturally heal, provided that it has the capability. That capability rests largely on the immune system, part of which is dependent on the liver. The nutrients that the liver receives will help restore and regenerate the body’s ability to heal itself, and that’s the whole point of the Gerson Therapy.

VM: Can you talk about a success story that has touched your heart?
CG: There are so many of them. We had a lady who came to the clinic in Mexico with stage three ovarian cancer. It was very aggressive and they couldn’t do anything for her back in her home of Australia. She started the Gerson Therapy two years and two months ago. She just now came back to show herself and she’s perfectly well. Her ovarian cancer is gone.
We’ve had lots of terminal cancer patients, including a professor of medicine in northern Japan. One day he found that he couldn’t pass his bowels. Sure enough, he had colon cancer. So of course, he had surgery to remove the tumor. While they had him open, they found his liver to be full of cancer. Once there is cancer in the liver, there is no cure. He found information about the Gerson Therapy translated into Japanese and put himself on it. This was in 1992—16 years ago! He’s very much alive and well today.

VM: Are there any diseases that the Gerson Therapy can’t effectively treat?
CG: Yes. Some diseases with which we have had poor results are Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, if and when it is caused by a heavy exposure to pesticides. However, if it’s caused by pharmaceutical drugs, it’s curable because drugs can be detoxified. Another disease that we do poorly with is Parkinson’s. In other words, the basic neural diseases are more difficult to deal with. Another thing we cannot deal with is if kidney disease has progressed to a point where people have to get on dialysis or if they’ve had organ transplants. Then they have to be medicated with immune-killing drugs so that their bodies don’t reject the foreign material. The Gerson Therapy activates the immune system and therefore would result in an immediate rejection, so these patients can’t be treated.

VM: Where is the Gerson Therapy being practiced?
CG: There is one hospital in Mexico because—I hate to put it this way but it’s the fact—in the United States, it is forbidden to cure cancer. They have laws that are originally based on the health department regulation in California which says that any doctor or trained licensed health practitioner who uses anything but radiation, surgery, or chemotherapy in the diagnosis or treatment of cancer is a felon, goes to jail, loses his license, and pays a $10,000 fine. It is forbidden! People have lost their licenses and gone to jail for healing cancer. They can only poison, irradiate, and slash people to pieces—and that does not regenerate the body’s ability to heal.

VM: In your opinion, what is the reason that nutritional healing is not widely practiced in modern medicine?
CG: Money. The pharmaceutical/medical trusts are enormously powerful. They advertise drugs on television and they make tremendous amounts of money. They even make it difficult for us to work in Mexico by trying to influence the Mexican health department.
Do you know that oncologists in the United States get paid for prescribing chemotherapy drugs? There was one report, [published in The New York Times on May 9, 2007: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/09/business/09anemia.html] about six doctors in the Pacific Northwest who in the course of a year collected [$2.7 million] for the chemotherapy drugs they prescribed. That is the problem: money, money, money. They make so much money that they talk people into chemotherapy and they even tell them that if they don’t take chemo, they’re committing suicide. We’ve heard those reports from so many patients.

VM: Is there anything that people can do to change the medical profession’s rampant tendency to prescribe drugs?
CG: With the Gerson Therapy, you don’t need any pain killers or heart disease drugs that make enormous amounts of money. These huge money makers are immediately eliminated. Do you think they’ll stop that? People have to take matters into their own hands. I’ve written a book called Healing the Gerson Way and the Gerson Institute has materials that show what to do with the Gerson Therapy, how to prepare the food, the coffee enemas, and so on. We also have a new film called The Beautiful Truth, expected to be available on DVD in March 2009, which shows how easy it is to heal when you avoid toxins and get the right nutrients. People can do it on their own and they are! When people first get sick, they go to their regular doctors, who give drugs to suppress the symptoms. This causes new diseases, or side effects. Then they have to take another drug, and another, and another, and eventually people begin to understand that the doctors aren’t helping them; they are making the trouble worse. So in many cases, people start looking for alternatives.

VM: What do you think are some of the main reasons behind the prevalence of illness in our society?
CG: People are so brainwashed to believe that in order to have strength and energy, they need to have steak, milk, cheese, eggs or chicken. I am 86 years old, (very close to 87), and I eat no animal proteins. How come I am strong, healthy and active? Why do I not have high cholesterol, heart disease, or arthritis? It is because animal proteins are the cause of most diseases. And that’s very well presented in a book called The China Study, written by T. Colin Campbell, a 34-year professor of nutrition at Cornell University. Campbell clearly found that where there were little or no animal proteins, there was no cancer. Further, when the animals he studied had cancer, he clearly showed that those that were fed animal proteins would grow tumors, while the tumors would shrink invariably in those animals that were fed vegetarian diets. We see this in people too.
But the problem is not just animal proteins. It’s the deep fried foods, artificial flavors, salt, and all the processed foods. And it all starts with the artificially handled soil. [In commercial farming] they use three minerals as artificial fertilizer, known as N-P-K [nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium]. That’s very nice but the trouble is that the soil, the plants that grow on it, and we humans don’t need three, but 52 different minerals! So the first thing that happens is that the soil is deficient. Then the plant becomes deficient, which allows bugs, fungus and disease to attack it. Of course the farmers have to kill those attackers and the chemical companies are only too happy to sell them pesticides, fungicides and all kinds of chemicals. So unless you eat organic, your food is nutritionally deficient and chemically poisoned. Dr. Gerson said, “The soil is our external metabolism.” That’s the beginning because we have to live on the healthy nutrients of the soil. But the soil is deficient and toxic. All chronic degenerative disease is based on the same two problems: toxicity and deficiency.

VM: What about stress as a factor in causing disease?
CG: There is no life without stress. Once in awhile, I ask an audience of hundreds of people to raise their hands if they have no stress. No hands go up. Would you say that your life is without stress? I have seen people in terrible stress situations. But if they eat relatively well, the normal human body can handle stress. It’s only when the body’s already weakened, toxic, and deficient that it starts to collapse when stress is added.
Do you think that people didn’t have stress 50 to 100 years ago? That they were never depressed? Of course they were depressed! Life went on and after awhile, they overcame their depression. Nowadays, depression is a disease that has to be drugged. Those drugs are toxic and they cause terrible side effects. Wherever the pharmaceutical companies look, they find a new disease which requires drugs. And here we come back again to money.

VM: What are some basic steps that we can take on a daily basis to prevent disease and avoid the perceived need for pharmaceutical drugs?
CG: First of all, eat organic foods as much as possible: fresh living vegetarian foods, fresh fruit, salads, and vegetables that are unsalted and never deep-fried. Avoid restaurants because they use MSG (Mono Sodium Glutamate). That’s another thing that the pharmaceutical companies have found out: that MSG paralyzes a small portion of the brain which happens to tell you that you’ve eaten enough. Now virtually all the food in the supermarkets has MSG in it and you’ll never find it on the labels. It just says natural food enhancer or taste enhancer. The restaurants have picked up on that too so they can sell more food. So please be careful. Eat fresh organic living foods. Don’t eat canned, jarred, pickled, or preserved foods—they’re all damaged and processed in such a way that causes you to eat more, get sicker, and buy more drugs. Exercise is good if you’re well, but not once a patient is seriously ill. So eat right, be sure you eliminate right, and from there you have energy to exercise, go outdoors and get sunshine. But you have to have those basics of getting the right nutrition and avoiding toxins—these are the keys to restoring the body’s ability to heal itself.

On January 23-25, The Gerson Institute is offering a workshop to provide a thorough understanding of the Gerson Therapy. From February 22 – March 1, people without serious illness can experience the Gerson Therapy for a week at the Health Restoration Center in San Diego, CA to optimize health and prevent illness. To learn more or to obtain educational materials on the Gerson Therapy, visit www.gerson.org, call 619.685.5353, or stop by The Gerson Institute at 1572 Second Ave., San Diego, CA 92101.