Restoring Degraded Soils - Dr. Max Gerson





From: A Cancer Therapy - Results of Fifty Cases by Max Gerson, M.D. pages 182-185.

Soil losses are generally brought about through cropping or erosion - mostly the losses are of N. P. K., less of Ca and magnesium (See Table 1.) One such group of figures for a silty clay loam at Ithaca, N.Y., shows the average amount removed under a standard rotation (corn, oats, wheat, clover, timothy) to be as follows:

  Pounds per acre
Nitrogen 60
Phosphorous 25
Potassium 50
Calcium 30
Magnesium 20

All various mineral and trace soil losses can best be restored by stable and human manure, except phosphorous. Once the original supply of P has been depleted, it must be replaced by chemical fertilizers in connection with manure for even the high P-content of guano, up to 12 per cent and even 20 to 25 per cent, is not sufficient. Thus, several authors assume that the East Coast may be a desert after 150 to 200 years if we do not help to prevent such continuing conditions as prevail today.

There are two familiar types of erosion - water and wind erosion. When man steps in and cultivates the land, he creates conditions that may result in an enormous acceleration of erosion. This is the most disastrous of the evil things that can happen to the soil. Forests must be considered the best defense against erosion and on steep slopes certain protection is necessary.

Factors influencing the mineral composition of crops, according to C. A. Brown, are:
1. Difference in soil (organic - bacterial) (inorganic - pH)
2. Differences in cropping (time)
3. Variety of crops (rotation)
4. Period of growth of crop - successive cuttings
5. Climate - sunshine - oxygen
6. Water supply
7. Kind of fertilizer - even ploughing under legumes (lupines)

(We added: Cultural practices, environmental conditions and earthworms interpolating an intermediate metabolism.)

Natural manure exerts the best influence on crops: the Peruvian planter can raise 1,760 pounds of cotton per acre, using guano, compared with an average of less than 300 pounds in Louisiana and 390 in Egypt. Therefore, export of guano is no longer permitted in Peru.

While I was a consultant to the Prussian Ministry of Health in Germany during 1930-33, I had occasion to advise Dr. Hirtsiefer, State Secretary of Health, about the deplorable condition of the soil around certain large cities, especially Essen, Dortmund and Dusseldorf. I suggested the use of human manure, mostly wasted by canalization in place of chemical fertilizers. This was carried out along with the planting of vegetable gardens around these big cities. Composts, i.e., a mixture of dried manure from humans and animals plus straw and leaves, were used to cover these gardens in October and November and were allowed to remain through the winter. The soil was then ploughed in the spring, planting was done from four to six weeks later. Depending upon the original condition of the soil, it took several years or more to develop a fertile topsoil by this method. According to Dr. Hirtsiefer, the results were highly satisfactory, in that vegetables were obtained which were greatly superior in both quantity and quality to those previously obtained by the use of commercial chemical fertilizers. It is interesting that no human disease was transmitted by this type of fertilizing, due, most probably, first to the compost being exposed to the sun, air, freezing and snow throughout the winter, and second to the fact that most pathogenic bacteria will not survive long in a healthy soil which normally contains much antibiotic material.

This is the method of the natural cycle used for over a thousand years by the farmers of the ancient Teutonic or Allemanic Empire, now known as Western Europe.

For more than 30 years Professor Czapek of Prague collected an enormous amount of information about the mineral content of the lowly potato. He found that whenever artificial fertilizer was used on potatoes, there generally was a great increase in the potato crop but that at the same time there was more sodium chloride and H2O and less starch and K, P, etc.; therefore, there was a greater vulnerability to many diseases in which excess NaCl and H2O play a prominent causative and dangerous part. For example, excessive swelling in various degenerative diseases is felt by leading medical authorities everywhere to be closely connected with the excessive intake of NaCl and H2O. This tendency in humans may more or less be accentuated by potato tubers and other fruits produced by a sick soil. Many chronic diseases start with edema; in acute diseases, where there is more tendency to edema, the degree of disease is relative to the degree of edema.

In Readers Digest, Dr. Thomas Barrett referred to the earthworm and soil. A French peasant told Dr. Barrett, "Le Bon Dieu knows how to build good earth and he has given the secret to the earthworms." Dr. Barrett believes that the earthworm contributes a great deal toward the building of fertile soil because of the structural changes it makes to the soil, i.e., a loosening of the topsoil.  It is my theory that perhaps the earthworm's metabolism also transforms vegetable and animal waste into rich humus - thus they change the earth's minerals into soluble plant food. Their endless tiny tunnels enable rain water and oxygen to penetrate the soil. The earthworm does not require much oxygen as it has a predominantly fermentative and anaerobic metabolism. After being transformed by earthworms, working around the clock, the soil has been found to be five times richer in nitrogen, seven times more plentiful in phosphate, eleven times richer in potash. (Connecticut Environmental Station report.)

Results: "Vines yielded top-quality grapes. A single carrot, diced and cooked, filled three standard cans. Some of his peaches weighed a pound."

On a commercial fox ranch in the Harz Mountains the owner made a striking animal experiment. He used vegetables and fruits raised by organic gardening to cure foxes with lung tuberculosis after reading in a journal of my method of treating lung tuberculosis. He cured six out of seven foxes with the dietetic regime, containing among other things a great deal of K plus living tissue enzymes; he observed that the furs became extraordinarily good. He then advertised to buy sick foxes from other farms for very little, and established a large business as the low cost tuberculosis foxes regained their health and produced high quality fox furs.

We must conclude from these observations that unless the soil is cared for properly, the depleted soil with its abnormal external metabolism will bring about more and more abnormalities of our internal metabolism, resulting in serious degenerative diseases in animals and human beings. The soil needs activity - the natural cycle of growth; it needs rest; it needs protection from erosion; and finally, it needs less and less artificial fertilizer, but more and more of the use of organic waste material in the correct way, to maintain the soil's productivity and life. Food produced in that way - we have to eat as living substances, partly fresh and partly freshly prepared, for life begets life. Organic gardening food seems to be the answer to the cancer problem.



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