- The Breuss Cancer Cure includes a 42-day fast in combination with special vegetable juices and teas.
- There is not sufficient evidence to support the Breuss Cancer Cure as a cancer treatment.
- The fast could cause malnutrition and patients are advised to discontinue conventional cancer treatment.
The core of the Breuss Cancer Cure is a rigid diet, which consists of a 42-day fast in combination with special vegetable juices and teas. Additional recommendations are included, for instance, to avoid so-called water veins. According to Breuss’s theory, cancer requires solid food to survive in the body.
The claims of efficacy are not supported by sufficient evidence and there are no reliable scientific data to support the claimed mode of action.
It is likely that the recommended fast could be dangerous for cancer patients because there is a potential risk of general malnutrition. As Breuss bans conventional cancer treatment while patients undergo his treatment, there is a risk that patients will discontinue conventional treatment.
Scientific examinations of the benefits and dangers of Breuss Cancer Cure are lacking.
Assessed as up to date in January 2019 by Barbara Wider.
Assessed as up to date in February 2017 by Barbara Wider
Assessed as up to date in January 2016 by Barbara Wider.
Assessed as up to date in January 2015 by Barbara Wider.
Assessed as up to date in August 2013 by Barbara Wider.
Last updated in by March 2012 by Karl Krumwiede.
Updated and revised in January 2011 by Karl Krumwiede.
Fully updated and revised in October 2009 by Karl Krumwiede and Markus Horneber.
Summary first published in November 2005, authored by Karl Krumwiede and Markus Horneber.
K Krumwiede, Markus Horneber , CAM-Cancer Consortium. Breuss Cancer Cure [online document], http://cam-cancer.org/en/breuss-cancer-cure. February 8, 2017.
The core of the Breuss Cancer Cure is a rigid diet consisting of a 42-day fast in combination with special vegetable juices and teas. Additional recommendations are included, for instance, to avoid so-called water veins.
Rudolph Breuss was born in Austria in 1899. He first worked as an electrician, and later as a naturopath. He developed the Breuss Cancer Cure or Breuss Total Cancer Treatment1-3. Breuss died in 19904.
Ingredients, application and dosage
The treatment is described in three books written by Breuss1-3, but it is not clear whether the publishers have changed, added or left out original statements. For example, the English translation of Breuss’ book does not mention that he did not allow radiation treatment and injections concurrently with his treatment2. Further amendments were written by Thomar5,6.
Breuss rigidly stipulated that cancer patients are not allowed to drink or eat anything other than the juices and teas he recommended for a period for 42 days. He gave strict instructions about the preparation and ingestion of specific juices and teas. Juices include beetroot, carrots, celeriac, black radish and potatoes in cases where the patient has been diagnosed with cancer of the liver. All vegetables had to be organically grown and vegetable sediments were to be removed. The maximum ingested amount of juice was 500 ml per day.
Breuss allotted three teas for all types of cancers: "sage tea", "kidney tea" and "cranesbill tea". "Sage tea" includes Salvia officinalis (sage), Hypericum perforatum (St. John’s wort), Mentha piperita (peppermint) and Melissa officinalis (balm) in a specific ratio. The tea could be taken as desired. "Kidney tea" includes horsetail Equisetum arvense (balm), Urtica dioica(stinging nettle), Polygonum aviculare (knotgrass) and Hypericum perforatum (St. John’s wort), at a special ratio and to be taken only for the first three weeks. "Cranesbill tea" includes Geranium robertianum (red cranesbill) and only one half cup of cold tea should be ingested per day. For special types of cancer, additional teas are recommended. The use of sugar was not permitted.
In cases of leukemia, patients would have to drink the recommended teas and juices, but could eat anything else with the exception of meat soup, beef, pork and reheated food1,3 (the English translation mentions beef soup, pork, chemical food additives, burnt food and fats2).
Breuss further stipulated that patients should not start the Breuss Cancer Cure immediately after surgery, but should wait for at least two to five months. No concurrent treatments were permitted during the treatment. He recommended fresh air and exercise, and smoking should be stopped. Furthermore, the patient should not be lying above so-called “water veins” (sources of ground radiation) and should avoid moth powder, insecticides, aerosol cans or air fresheners in the house. Breuss stated that patients who had completed the Breuss Cancer Cure should never again eat reheated food, but could be allowed to gradually start eating salt-reduced, light food, and should drink approximately 60 ml of the vegetable juice per day for another two to four weeks.
Additional instructions were added in 19871,2: patients should have one or two bowls of onion broth a day (only the liquid). To support the heart, patients should take 20 to 40 drops of Crataegus oxyacantha (hawthorn) tincture. People with diabetes should continue insulin treatment.
Instructions published in 19901: for substitution of calcium and potassium, patients should drink a tea made from Plantago lanceolata (plantain lance), Plantago major (broad-leaved plantain), Cetraria islandica (Iceland moss), Pulmonaria officinalis(lungwort), Glechoma hederacea (ground ivy), Verbascum thapsus (mullein) and Ligusticum mutellina (Meum mutellina herb). Patients with liver or gall bladder problems should drink a broth of bean pods instead of onion broth.
Claims of efficacy
Breuss claimed that since 1950 he has successfully treated more than 2000 patients. He estimated that since 1986, an additional 40 000 patients with cancer and other “incurable diseases” had been healed by the used of his methods. As proof he cited testimonials and letters of thanks written in the period from 1971 to 19851-3. Breuss claimed that treatment failures could only occur if his instructions were not strictly adhered to1-3. He believed that about one million people could be healed, “if the so-called cancer research and the orthodox medicine would be with me instead against me”1.
Mechanism of action/alleged indications
Breuss postulated that cancer cells live exclusively on solid foods (“…the only patients that died were patients that were given something to eat.”)1-3. He claimed that cancer cells are not able to feed on vegetable juices and cancer cells die if patients only ingest vegetable juices and special teas for a period of 42 days. Breuss quoted Bruno Vornarburg who said that the carcinogenic process feeds on proteins and that a tumor can not continue to exist if the patient lives on a protein-free diet1-3. Furthermore, Breuss claimed that after a protein-free diet, the body attacks and destroys the tumor like “surgery without a knife”. Breuss believed his intervention was not only a cure, but that it also served preventively against cancer1-3.
Prevalence of use
Although the book the “Breuss Cancer Cure” was translated into Chinese, Croatian, English, French, Greek, Italian, Polish, Russian, Serbian and Spanish1,2, no exact data on prevalence of use have been published. Internet searches located several patients reporting their experiences with the treatment6-9, and spa hotels offering Breuss fasting exist. e.g.10,11.
The juices are produced and promoted by Biotta INC12. and can be purchased in health food stores, drugstores and over the internet. The required 21 litres cost €131 or more. Costs for teas are additional. Spa hotels offer the 42-day Breuss Cancer Cure for around €6000 to €6800, or more,
There is only one small clinical trial – involving eight cancer patients with metastatic diseases – that has investigated the “Breuss Cancer Cure”13. The study did not use a control group. The authors reported two complete, and two partial remissions and that the patients felt better than expected during the intervention and had experienced less pain. During the trial, one patient died, and two died shortly after completion of the trial. The authors did not attribute the deaths to the intervention. It was claimed that if that trial had been designed as a conventional phase-1-study, it would produce results showing Breuss to be an effective treatment with minor toxicity for patients with advanced cancer. No further studies have been published13. Thomar is currently looking for people who have reported success with the "Breuss Cancer Cure", in order to carry out a retrospective study6.
Jungi stated, without presenting data, that tumors usually become smaller during a fast but after resuming the consumption of nutrition, grow more quickly14. Pfortmueller put forward similar statements, but without providing any empirical data15.
The case reports found on the Internet6-9, lack valid documentation.
Caloric restriction (undernutrition without malnutrition) delays the incidence of various types of tumours and decreases their growth16-29. Tumours can be sensitive and resistant to dietary restriction30. Starvation (fasting) is a form of malnutrition. It has no beneficial effects on tumor growth, but tumor growth might be stimulated during an acute fast31-41.
There is a lack of published information regarding the safety of the Breuss cancer treatment. Senn and Jungi reported on several patients in whom the Breuss cure had led to a rapid and dangerous cachexia42. Douwes et al. observed weight-loss in the range from 9 and 16 kg13. This reported malnutrition constitutes a substantial risk involved with the Breuss method. Malnutrition has a known negative effect on morbidity, mortality, hospital stay and quality of life for cancer patients43,44,45. The “Schweizerische Gesellschaft für Onkologie” and the “Schweizerische Krebsliga” published documentation on the Breuss cure in which they referred to the publication of Senn and Jungi and advised against the method46,47. As Breuss forbade any conventional cancer treatments, patients could potentially be turned away from possibly beneficial conventional cancer treatments.
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- Healing Cancer Naturally. Two cases of stomach cancer healed with the Breuss juice diet,(accessed on 21st January 2019).
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- Jungi WF. Diättherapie maligner Tumoren. In: Oepen I editor. An den Grenzen der Schulmedizin. Köln: Deutscher Ärzte Verlag; 1985p. 123-42.
- Pfortmüller, J. Breuss´sche Saftkur gegen Krebs. Neue Luzerner Zeitung , 1. 2003.
- Berrigan D, Perkins SN, Haines DC, Hursting SD. Adult-onset calorie restriction and fasting delay spontaneous tumorigenesis in p53-deficient mice. Carcinogenesis 2002;23(5):817-22.
- Leary MP, Jacobson MK, Phillips FC, Getzin SC, Grande JP, Maihle NJ. Weight-cycling decreases incidence and increases latency of mammary tumors to a greater extent than does chronic caloric restriction in mouse mammary tumor virus-transforming growth factor-alpha female mice. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2002;11(9):836-43.
- Ruggeri BA, Klurfeld DM, Kritchevsky D, Furlanetto RW. Caloric restriction and 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene-induced mammary tumor growth in rats: alterations in circulating insulin, insulin-like growth factors I and II, and epidermal growth factor. Cancer Research 1989;49:4130-4134.
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- Goodstein ML, Richtsmeier WJ, Sauer LA. The effect of an acute fast on human head and neck carcinoma xenograft. Growth effects on an 'isolated tumor vascular pedicle' in the nude rat. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 1993;119(8):897-902.
- Hikita H, Vaughan J, Babcock K, Pitot HC. Short-term fasting and the reversal of the stage of promotion in rat hepatocarcinogenesis: role of cell replication, apoptosis, and gene expression. Toxicol Sci 1999;52(2 Suppl):17-23.
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- Premoselli F, Sesca E, Chiara M, Binasco V, Tessitore L. Fasting/refeeding enhances the crypt multiplicity in rat colon carcinogenesis induced by azoxymethane. Boll Soc Ital Biol Sper 1996;72(9-10):239-45.
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- Sauer LA, Dauchy RT. Blood nutrient concentrations and tumor growth in vivo in rats: relationships during the onset of an acute fast. Cancer Research 1987;47:1065-1068.
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- Laconi E, Tessitore L, Milia G, Yusuf A, Sarma DS, Todde P, Pani P. The enhancing effect of fasting/refeeding on the growth of nodules selectable by the resistant hepatocyte model in rat liver. Carcinogenesis 1995;16:1865-1869.
- Tessitore L, Tomasi C, Greco M, Sesca E, Laconi E, Maccioni O, Ramo R, Pani P. A subnecrogenic dose of diethylnitrosamine is able to inhibite hepatocarcinogenensis in the rat when coupled with fasting/refeeding. Carcinogenesis 1996;17:289-292.
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