Max Gerson, M.D. was born in Wongrowitz, Germany (1881). He attended the universities of Breslau, Wuerzburg, Berlin, and Freiburg. Suffering from severe migraines, Dr. Gerson focused his initial experimentation with diet on preventing his headaches. One of Dr. Gerson’s patients discovered in the course of his treatment, that the “migraine diet” had cured his skin tuberculosis. This discovery led Gerson to further study the diet, and he went on to successfully treat many tuberculosis patients. His work eventually came to the attention of famed thoracic surgeon, Ferdinand Sauerbruch, M.D.
Under Sauerbruch’s supervision, Dr. Gerson established a special skin tuberculosis treatment program at the Munich University Hospital. In a carefully monitored clinical trial, 446 out of 450 skin tuberculosis patients treated with the Gerson diet recovered completely. Dr. Sauerbruch and Dr. Gerson simultaneously published articles in a dozen of the world’s leading medical journals, establishing the Gerson treatment as the first cure for skin tuberculosis.
At this time, Dr. Gerson attracted the friendship of Nobel prize winner Albert Schweitzer, M.D., by curing Schweitzer’s wife of lung tuberculosis after all conventional treatments had failed. Gerson and Schweitzer remained friends for life, and maintained regular correspondence. Dr. Schweitzer followed Gerson’s progress as the dietary therapy was successfully applied to heart disease, kidney failure, and finally – cancer. Schweitzer’s own Type II diabetes was cured by treatment with Gerson’s therapy.
In 1938, Dr. Gerson passed his boards and was licensed to practice in the state of New York. For twenty years, he treated hundreds of cancer patients who had been given up to die after all conventional treatments had failed.
In 1946, Gerson demonstrated recovered patients before the Pepper-Neely Congressional Subcommittee, during hearings on a bill to fund research into cancer treatment. Although only a few peer-reviewed journals were receptive to Gerson’s then “radical” idea that diet could affect health, he continued to publish articles on his therapy and case histories of healed patients.
In 1958, after thirty years of clinical experimentation, Gerson published A Cancer Therapy: Results of 50 Cases. This medical monograph details the theories, treatment, and results achieved by a great physician. Gerson died in 1959, eulogized by long-time friend, Albert Schweitzer M.D.:
“…I see in him one of the most eminent geniuses in the history of medicine. Many of his basic ideas have been adopted without having his name connected with them. Yet, he has achieved more than seemed possible under adverse conditions. He leaves a legacy which commands attention and which will assure hThose whom he has cured will now attest to the truth of his ideas.”
You can read the full story of Dr. Max Gerson’s life and the development of the Gerson Therapy in his biography, Dr. Max Gerson: Healing the Hopeless, written by his grandson, Howard Straus. Dr. Max Gerson: Healing the Hopeless discusses the development of his world-famous dietary therapy and the struggles this medical pioneer faced as he challenged orthodox medicine with his nutritional protocol. This inspiring and uplifting biography follows Dr. Gerson through Nazi persecution, then persecution in the United States from the medical establishment, the continuation of his work despite the opposition, his questionable death, his daughter Charlotte’s work, and finally the present, where the Gerson Institute works to continue his legacy and vision.
When Charlotte Gerson was 12 years old, she was healed of tuberculosis by her father, Dr. Max Gerson and it is important to note that at the time, tuberculosis was considered a death sentence, Now in her 90's, she has the longest survival record of anyone who has been treated by the Gerson therapy. She is also the world’s leading authority on its theory, background, and practice.
The youngest of Max Gerson’s three daughters, she began in her teens serving as her father’s assistant, studying with him and working in his practice.
When the family fled Germany before World War II and the Holocaust, she was 11 years old. The Gersons' first stop was Vienna, Austria, where Charlotte contracted bone tuberculosis, then considered an incurable, fatal disease. Dr. Gerson cured her using his now famous therapy before they had to flee Austria for Ville d'Avray, France, then London. After they relocated in New York City, Max Gerson established a clinic for his seriously ill patients, where Charlotte spent many hours making rounds with him. She also continued her formal education, attending Smith College for two years before dropping out to marry her husband, Irwin.
When her father died in 1959, she vowed his work would not die with him. With funds in short supply and opposition by such powerful forces as the drug companies and the American Medical Association, it would have proved a daunting task for one without Charlotte’s determination. She has never wavered in her dedication to her father’s work and has trained her children, Howard Straus, and Margaret Straus Dego, to carry on after her, as Dr. Gerson trained her.
Charlotte began lecturing, first locally, then around the country, and was even asked to appear twice on the Oprah Winfrey show in Baltimore and Chicago before Oprah went national. She has appeared on Christian Broadcasting, Trinity Broadcasting, and PBS and is regularly interviewed on radio stations nationwide. Until she was 82, she did annual lecture tours in England, Ireland, Italy, Hungary and Germany.
In 1977 she founded the Gerson Institute with Norman Fritz, president of the Cancer Control Society. The Institute established treatment centers and trained holistic physicians, nurses and kitchen help in the elements of her father’s nutritional treatment. Their training programs have expanded and now treat hundreds of practitioners and caregivers annually, coming from all corners of the globe.
She is renowned for her integrity and deep, intuitive understanding of chronic disease and its cure. She uses iridology, keen observation, skin tone, any clue she can to accurately assess a patient’s condition. She will often detect conditions and ailments the patient does not tell her about.
Howard Straus describes his mother: “There are people all over the world who love her and whose lives have been changed by the Gerson Therapy. She is a combination of Billy Graham’s fervent evangelism, Ralph Nader’s cautionary suspicion of industry, and June Cleaver’s warmth and maternal energy. She is absolutely rock solid, keeps her promises, generous, quite literally a world treasure, yet humble, like Dr. Gerson. Surgeons and naturopaths, chiropractors and patients seek her out with admiration and honor.”
Charlotte Gerson is the author of four books, with the most successful and acclaimed book being Healing the Gerson Way: Defeating Cancer and Other Chronic Diseases. This book, an update and upgrade of Dr. Gerson's 50-year-old A Cancer Therapy: Results of 50 Cases, has been translated into a total of twelve languages and published in eight as of this writing. Her latest books are Defeating Obesity, Diabetes and High Blood Pressure: The Metabolic Syndrome and Defeating Arthritis, Bone and Joint Diseases. Because of the large and increasing incidence of these conditions, her books sell well all over the world. Charlotte has appeared in four documentaries directed by Steve Kroschel: The Gerson Miracle, Dying to Have Known, The Beautiful Truth and Alive Tomorrow. Because of her sterling reputation of integrity and unwillingness to compromise her principles, Charlotte has become the "Grande Dame" of alternative medicine, and is invited to appear in a documentary approximately every month or two. Charlotte has also authored many articles for the Gerson Healing Newsletter, and is the author of a series of nine introductory booklets on healing various disorders using the Gerson Therapy.
Charlotte is a true reflection of her father’s medical philosophy. In Healing the Gerson Way she describes the methods she has used successfully for six decades to help thousands of people recover from cancer, hepatitis, heart disease and other “incurable” illnesses. It’s a must-read for patients who have attended Gerson Therapy clinics and want to continue the work at home. Also, many people who could not attend a clinic have found the help they needed from the book alone.