Sunday, September 8, 2013

#697: Charlotte Gerson

Gerson therapy is a treatment regimen of which it is claimed that it is able to cure even severe cases of cancer through a special diet, coffee enemas, and various supplements. It does, of course, not cure cancer, but Charlotte Gerson – the current main promoter – has anecdotes! The treatments is named after the German crank Max Gerson. Charlotte is his daughter.

In 1977, Charlotte Gerson co-founded the Gerson Institute, which oversees The Baja Nutri Care Clinic in Tijuana, Mexico. Yup. It is illegal for a clinic to offer the Gerson treatment as a cancer cure in the U.S., for obvious reasons – it does not cure cancer, for instance, and it is rather dangerous (the Wikipedia article is actually decent). Charlotte Gerson is not a medical doctor, of course, but trains people in the Gerson method, lectures on the alleged benefits of the therapy and the conspiracy of evil forces trying to suppress her. She has written plenty of leaflets containing anecdotes and testimonials, but has done no studies and evidently doesn’t quite realize why anecdotes are not evidence and why real, controlled studies would be needed. She has also written a book on the Gerson therapy (with her son Howard Strauss, who also wrote a biography of old Max).

The appeal of the Gerson therapy is primarily a matter of fallacious appeals to nature (cancer is allegedly caused by “toxins”; also here), and Max Gerson managed to obtain the approval of several celebrities of his time (today the therapy is at least notably backed by some notorious moron called Charles). As with most crackpot treatments Gerson was also careful not to do any controlled studies but instead apply selection bias and rely on subjective validation, which is great, since in the case of alleged cancer treatments the failures won’t be widely advertised insofar as those patients won’t usually be there to provide critical testimonials (see also this). The Gerson therapy is covered in detail here.

Stay away from Steve Kroschel’s ghastly conspiracy theory pseudo-documentary commercial for the therapy called “The beautiful truth”. The movie is pretty much an altmed version of Expelled, and the collection of fallacies, distortions, and conspiracy mongering would be hilarious were its potential impact not so frightening. It is discussed here and here, and here. In order to make sure his idiocy is sufficiently garishly displayed Kroschel throws in plenty of other crackpottery as well. It is nevertheless endorsed, apparently, by Charlotte Gerson, Howard Strauss and the Gerson Institutes’s executive director Anita Wilson.

The Gerson therapy is a repertoire mainstay at quackwatch.

Diagnosis: Completely delusional crackpot, exhibiting such ignorance of science and evidence, and insulation to truth and reality that it shocks even hardened loon investigators. The Gerson therapy is sufficiently popular for Charlotte Gerson to be deemed extremely dangerous.


  1. I'm going to recommend Jonah Goldberg for an entry. not only is he intellectually dishonest and lazy, he also cited Scott Lively's Pink Swastika in his book Liberal Facsism.

  2. you are prob just another MD who has vested interest in killing people and too weak to deny that his whole life he's been living a quackery and not be able to admit it. Either that or another goon form the AMA, FDA, Big Pharma...etc

  3. No actually this therapy DOES work. You need to do more research on Charlotte and Max Gerson before you spew these lies.

    1. No, the Gerson therapy does not work (you can see a summary here), and may, indeed, be harmful. Merely asserting that it works is not evidence, manhood665, and I notice that you provide no other justification for your claim.

  4. All disease can be cured by God's natural remedies... this therapy does work... this site is run by the medical industry that is committing genocide on the people... not only does this work but many other ways to heal sickness naturally is available for us. Praise the Lord Jesus Christ...

  5. Chemotherapy, Radiation, and Surgery do not cure cancer. In fact, two out of three of them are carcinogenic. Last I checked, Gerson's regimen of abstaining from all toxins including the flouride in our water and eating an incredibly immaculate healthy diet is sound advice even if it doesn't cure cancer, although I would think it works a lot better than injecting known carcinogens into your veins.

  6. The author is woefully misinformed.

  7. GD ...
    What about living food, i.e. organic whole food sources in ample quantities is dangerous you nut job? Who put you up to this? Isn't there something else to do with your time besides steer people in the wrong direction? I know the answer...smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, eat fast food, and take pharmaceutical drugs...hmmm sounds like 95 percent of what everyone is doing and why we lead the world in all forms of chronic illness yet you choose to bash attack organic juicing and coffee enemas...cmon man seriously...its offensive.