Dr Eduard Salzborn's cancer treatment

Starvation diet and "Inoperan": success with inoperable terminal patients

by Healing Cancer Naturally copyright © 2013

Part of HCN's mission is to revive and bring to the attention of the English-speaking world successful cancer cures that no one is talking about.

One of these cures was invented bý Eduard Salzborn MD who reaped resounding successes with cancer patients that had been given up on (for examples see Dr Eduard Salzborn's terminal / inoperable cancer cures: clinically confirmed cancer cases).

To give a thorough introduction to the Salzborn method, the following information has been excerpted and translated from Dr. Eduard Salzborn's book "Ist der inoperable Krebs immer unheilbar?" [Is inoperable cancer invariably incurable?] which was first published in 1940 and republished in an expanded version by Dr. Oswald Schlegel two years later.

This information is not presented as a complete instruction manual to follow but has been written first of all

  • to revive interest on the part of doctors and publishers in reviewing Dr. Salzborn's work

and secondly

  • to share with cancer patients a number of important insights and observations derived from Salzborn's work.

Both for reasons of copyright and time, HCN cannot translate or paraphrase the entire book so a series of important treatment details and nuances mentioned by Dr. Salzborn are not included here.

Who was Dr. Eduard Salzborn?

Dr Salzborn was an Austrian physician who practised from around the time of World War I to approximately 1940 in a village named Bockfließ close to Vienna.

Called the cancer doctor of Bockfließ, Salzborn had developed his own successful method of treating cancer patients with a specific minimalist diet as well as a remedy he called "Inoperan". So successful was his approach, that for decades he worked near-exclusively with cancer patients most of whom had been abandoned to their fate, were inoperable or had refused surgery.

After the first World War he left his position as community physician in Bockfließ and totally devoted himself to cancer. His successes attracted clients from far and wide. Around the year 1928, the first small papers reported on his treatment, followed by sensational articles published by large dailies dubbing Bockfließ the "Mecca of cancer patients".

A huge public response ensued and letters came flooding in. Salzborn received offers up to a million to come and practice in the US but refused. Doctors joined him as apprentices and some Vienna physicians temporarily collaborated with him and assisted at the overcrowded consultations he held on a weekly basis.

How Dr. Salzborn discovered his cancer therapy

The Salzborn treatment was found empirically by studying the clinical experiences and tumor experimental results of various researchers such as Auler, Caspari, Fischer-Wasels, König, Seifert etc. and gradually developing and refining his own approach in his daily work with cancer patients.

As early as in his student days, Dr. Salzborn had refused worshipping the authorities in the white coat and began to critically examine the successes proclaimed in the operating theatre. What he discovered behind the scenes made him very skeptical.

When he recognized that the cancer treatments he was taught at medical school were based on a mere working hypothesis (positing that cancer was incurable unless one managed to mechanically extirpate it to the last cancer cell), he went back to study older neglected medical treatments on his own.

Initially, Dr. Salzborn seems to have tried numerous older cancer remedies and also concocted some himself. He also did first trials involving diet. One defining early insight concerned the

Observed link of tumor growth to a rich diet

Based on studies by the above-mentioned researchers, Dr. Salzborn concluded that

  • for tissue growth both growth triggers and energy are required. The former are supplied by most vitamins, hormones, minerals, etc., while growth energy comes from calories.
  • Cancer cells are fed by diet as much as normal ones are. All overfeeding is damaging to cancer patients, particularly since nutrients first and foremost benefit the tumor tissue.
  • With meagre fare bordering on starvation, tumor growth can often be slowed down. This is confirmed by individuals with esophageal carcinoma who by the nature of things are forced to reduce their food intake and live in a state of inanition, in most of whom the tumors stay small forever.
  • Such meagre fare is even well tolerated by kachectic persons, while "strengthening" diets favour tumor growth and thus worsen the progress of the disease.
  • Doctors telling an incurable stomach cancer patient he should eat what he likes make a big mistake, since in this way the patient suffers ten times more than with strict dieting.

Dr. Salzborn writes, "I give my patients the minimum of the necessary and never force them to eat. Forced eating mostly leads to pain, sleeplessness, vomiting etc. My patients often say they used to be big eaters and eat heavy dishes but felt fatigued, and now with their meagre fare they lost weight but feel fresher, in less pain, and with better sleep.

Eating beyond the necessary favours tumor growth, particulary if vitamin and mineral content is high and one-sided. An essential property of my cure is that it is not one-sided. As with proteins, fats and carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals are ingested in relatively small quantities. But I suppose all required vitamins are administered in a certain balanced ratio.

Undoubtedly, this meagre fare bordering on starvation but differing from it by the administration of the most indispensable nutritional minimum, activates biological processes we can summarise under the term reorganization, the value of which has been recognized by a number of authors such as Hochenegg, Knig, Seifert et al. The body must start tapping its stored tissues, while the cancerous tissue receives a decreased nutrient offer."

Two main legs of Dr. Salzborn's treatment: diet and medication

In addition to administering a special diet, Salzborn also experimented with medications and eventually came up with his formula "Inoperan". Although he considered the diet (at least temporarily) the main part, Salzborn saw identical successes from diet and medication, respectively, when each had to predominantly act by itself. He also saw similar successes with Inoperan bought from a seller and the one made and mixed by himself (and slightly adapted to each individual).

Hallmarks of Dr. Salzborn's dietary approach

Salzborn writes,

"I prescribe a strict diet, particularly with diseases of the digestive tract, stomach, bowels, liver, and the strictest form with esophagus cancer, here beginning with one teaspoon of fluid food every fifteen minutes. My patients take one to two tablespoons of permitted foods hourly, if they have an appetite up to ten tablespoons and, perhaps if their stomach can handle it, up to 20 tablespoons."

General dietary rules

  1. The quantities of food administered are adjusted to the patient's state, the worse the less food is taken (food ingestion must respect the stages of the disease, the worse the state, the stricter the limitation).
  2. The diet must be light, free of roughage (fiber), and not of high quality regarding caloric value.
  3. The diet must contain little fermentable and gas-producing carbohydrates, particularly cellulose.
  4. The diet must contain little protein and fat (relatively little fat favours easy digestion — once there is improvement, the protein supply will be slightly increased).
  5. The diet must contain relatively few vitamins and minerals (which in most cases are growth-promoting triggers), but there is no intentional elimination of certain nutrients. (This warning against most vitamins as growth triggers was based on research by Cordon, Fischer-Wasels, König, Seifert et al. — particularly vitamin B was thought to further tumor growth [Caspari, Greil].)
  6. The diet must be as non-irritating as possible since all irritating factors strongly worsen the condition of the cancer patient. Particularly to be avoided are fatty roasted foods (breaded schnitzel etc.), since they irritate the digestive organs.

    Other irritating stimuli (alcohol, nicotine) must also be eliminated. (Eliminating all irritating influences both in diet and elsewhere was also found helpful in cases where the disease couldn't be halted in this manner, often enabling relative freedom from complaints until the last minute.)
  7. The lack of gastric acid production found in most patients as well as their reduced absorption capacity must be taken into account by the best possible preparation of food. The gastro-intestinal tract must not be burdened with lots of work.

    Food should be thoroughly mechanically reduced and cooked to allow easy, optimum absorption of nutrients by the intestinal tract. Especially in the beginning, food is given in liquid and mush form so that there is the least strain on the organs of digestion.
  8. The patient only gets the minimum of the indispensable but mustn't starve. In cases of weakness from undernourishment (near-fainting fits, trembling, heart trouble etc.) food intake must be immediately increased.

    (A medical professor once told Salzborn of several cases of rectal tumor which were scheduled for colostomy. At post-mortem examination however the tumor was found to be gone, which the professor thought was spontaneous remission. Salzborn commented it was the starvation diet [hunger cure]: these cases had all died of malnutrition during the first world war [i.e. the cure had been too radical].)
  9. The gastro-intestinal tract must not be allowed to pile up waste products. It is very important to regulate bowel function and to make sure there is sufficient elimination. The meagre fare being next to devoid of fiber (allowing for better resorption) does not trigger proper elimination so this must be triggered via laxatives or a mild chamomile enema.

    If intestinal matter accumulates, auto-intoxication threatens which can both strongly further the predisposition to cancer and aworsen the course of the illness (although less food intake in itself will help avoid intestinal auto-intoxication).
  10. A raw food diet for cancer is erroneous due to its high content in fermentable and residue-forming matter, particularly soft cellulose. Its mineral excess is also damaging and increases [blood] alkalosis which in turn furthers tumor growth (Caspari et al.).[1]

    As stated, all food must be taken in easily digestible and absorbable form, i.e. cooked until done and/or mechanically reduced to small pieces. By completely avoiding raw foods and administering fruit and vegetables after crushing their cellular walls, all strain on the digestive organs due to fermentable and gas-producing soft cellulose is avoided.
  11. Salzborn advised moderate meat consumption to vegetarians and warned both the sick and the healthy against forgoing salt, butter, schmaltz (rendered fat of animal origin), and spinach in the long term. Many of his cancer survivors of several years took butter and schmaltz on a regular basis, and spinach was a mainstay of his diet.
  12. Extremely debilitated patients were administered foods such as Ovaltine and received regular body, arm and leg rubs with olive oil as described below.

The Salzborn medicine: Inoperan


Rp.: Guajacol. valerianic.     1.0
  Ol. oliv.     9.0
Rp.: Herb. Conii pulv.     0.02
  Chinin. sulf.      
  Magnes. sulf. a a 0.05
  Cortex chinae pulv      
  Carb. Ligni depur. a a 0.1
  Sach. lact.     2.0
  Misce fiat pulv.      
  Divide in dos. Nr. X.      

Salzborn did not call this a cancer remedy but modestly wrote that the medication often proved a useful support and adjunct to his dietary treatment.

On the other hand, he also noted that sometimes just Inoperan on its own gave distinct improvements as observed at the very beginning of his work when he hadn't considered diet yet except in cases of digestive diseases.

A current (at the time of writing his book) case in point concerned a man he decribed as "old" who suffered from serious stomach cancer, who lived near-exclusively on coffee, bread, and potatoes and was running around all day working as a sales agent. Since starting on the medication one year earlier, the serious pain he used to have had nearly gone.

Similarly, a patient with serious cancer of the throat experienced significant improvement upon using the Inoperan and only later started following the diet.

Salzborn advised to administer one half of the above powder formula and one drop of the fluid formula twice weekly, taken in a spoonful of sweetened black coffee.

(If you are able to buy the product Inoperan, 1 powder sachet corresponds to half the above powder recipe — the book mentions that Inoperan was available from Dr. Kusy, Wien XVIII, Josef-Hachel-Str. 64, Austria.)

Very weak patients were given one fourth powder. If there is no improvement with one half powder, three fourths or one whole powder should be tried. In cases of rectal, lung and other cancers it was often found helpful to additionally give one drop of the first formula every two hours.

Salzborn stresses that these larger doses were only found helpful in a small number of patients and that in c. 90 percent of cases the effect of the small standard dose of twice weekly half a powder and one drop proved far superior.

Salzborn adds, "Some of my disciples and collaborators use variations of the main ingredients but reap few successes since my medications have been tested on more than two thousand cases and it's very hard to improve upon my results but very easy to make my method worthless by applying senseless changes."

External treatment of tumor and body

With cancerous growths of the breast, face, tongue etc., Salzborn often used highest-quality olive oil externally on a linen cloth. He generally advised to apply a loose-fitting olive oil dressing three times a day but warned against leaving tumors several days under such dressings.

He often exposed tumors one to two hours to fresh air without covering but added that direct sunlight, particularly on hot summer days, was extremely dangerous.

In the evening, he frequently had the body, arms and legs of very debilitated patients massaged with olive oil. This often allowed better sleep and in most instances one tablespoon to be absorbed by the skin which over a month meant an enormous amount of extra nutrition, particularly in cases where the state of the stomach or esophagus only allowed minimal food intake. In the morning the parts rubbed with olive oil were rubbed down with diluted alcohol (Franzbranntwein / spiritus vini gallici).[2]

Other important therapeutic considerations

Salzborn stressed the extreme importance of not exerting any pressure upon tumors such as during medical exams. In fact he told his patients not to have any check-ups of that type during the Salzborn treatment, if possible not x-rays either. The coauthor of the second edition of Salzborn's book, Dr. Oswald Schlegel, added that he saw with his own eyes specialists roughly handling knots in breasts etc. in suspected cancer cases.

Salzborn limited himself mostly to questions and observation. He personally administered the medicine and always checked diet compliance and required upgrades, rest, symptomatic treatment etc. He also used many other time-honoured remedies such as Chelidonium, Viscum, Condurango, Silicium, clay according to Kneipp, cod-liver oil, and more.

How the Salzborn cure works

Salzborn thought it likely that the dietary change exerted a reorganizing influence on the body's current reactive / metabolic state. Among other things, the fasting cure increases oxydative processes and blood circulation (as shown in studies by Heun and Schromm).

An observation of significance reported by several patients was that before the Salzborn treatment, their blood (cut during shaving etc.) had been dark and viscous, while afterwards, it was light red and thin, furnishing proof of profound changes happening in their body.

Quinine, Guaiacol und Carb. ligni exert an antiseptic effect on the bowels which in conjunction with diet and regular elimination counteracts intestinal auto-intoxication. In this context, Salzborn points to the importance assigned to intestinal decomposition products in the genesis of cancer by researchers such as Fischer-Wasels et al.

Salzborn also described other effects of Inoperan not included here. He felt it very likely that diet alone couldn't heal cancer. Combined with Inoperan he obtained life extensions of several years, in some instances even decades.

Salzborn's stance on surgery and radiation

Similar to today's insistence on undergoing chemotherapy, at Salzborn's time every medical doctor dealing with cancer patients had to repeatedly stress that "naturally", all cancer cases must be submitted to early surgery and radiation, since that is where one got "the up to one hundred percent success rate". So Salzborn also did the obligatory kowtow to the supposed necessity of early surgery (although he knew that this was just a working hypothesis).

His tactic was as follows: he advised the patient to undergo surgery, and if refused, the patient had to sign a written declaration (which drew their attention to the threatened sequelae of belated surgery) before s/he was accepted on probation. Salzborn only took patients after exact preliminary clinical examination, i.e. he only treated patients after they had received their written death sentence from a renowned clinic or specialist.

If there was no improvement after several weeks, Salzborn advised the patient to reconsider surgery but never told them that without it they'd die a miserable death (since with surgery this could happen just as quickly, or more so).

With small breast tumors he generally advised watchful waiting for one to three months and advised surgery when the tumor enlarged or pain or a cancer navel appeared, etc. In his experience, a large percentage of such breast tumors was benign and biopsy was dangerous.[3] He writes that distinguished surgeons had shown that people who had surgery lived on average as long as those who didn't (adding that he did see cases where surgery was life-saving and urgent).

More advice by Dr Salzborn

Unless there is strict indication for immediate surgery, a limited period of watchful waiting should also be advisable with suspected stomach cancer, esp. with "old" people, a "suspect" bowel or uterus, and bleeding bladders.

One can safely wait a long time with surgery if under the Salzborn treatment the tumor gets smaller, softer or even disappears.

Surgery will remain for the numerous cases without the patience and time to undertake months of treatment demanding sacrifices by abstinence (alcohol, nicotine). Dr Salzborn felt however that invisible mets were often already present when the primary tumor had been confirmed, otherwise there wouldn't be so many relapses after radical treatment of "operable" carcinomas.

Re Radiation, Salzborn writes, "I avoid x-rays and radium during the cure. If the treatment doesn't show sufficient effect and radiation therapy yields good results (radiotherapy is sometimes beneficial, I saw the best results from conservative low-dose treatment), I advise to continue with it. In the majority of cases, diet alone brings great improvement."


Cancer treatment worse than cancer

Salzborn's rich experience convinced him that cancer had only become such a horrific disease by surgery and radiation. "Interrogate my patients as much as you wish and see for yourself when the pain and the miserý of the cancer patients start: after the violent interventions!"

The cancer patient can't eat, can't sleep and only finds help with narcotics (but not always); not rarely do we see the patient in the beginning stage with little complaints — before he gets treatment — and big ones after.

Salzborn on early stages of cancer

Cysts, leiomyoma, fibroma, some ulcers and sores in many cases are early stages of cancer. Biologically cysts, leiomyomata, fibromas, sarcomas are certainly related, one never knows when one form will devolve into the other. They all responded similarly to the Salzborn treatment, large cancerous tumors and sarcoma and leiomyoma tumors shrank in the same manner and in some cases disappeared.

Bacterial genesis of cancer?

Salzborn considered a bacterial origin of cancer highly likely, similar to tuberculosis and syphilis. "Think of the great similarity in the progression of the disorder, they all show tumor formation (which often creates great difficulties in the differential diagnosis), spread via lymph channels, produce glandular metastasis, increased temperature, night sweats, emaciation etc. The improvements lasting many years (healings) are hardly explainable but by the tried and tested bactericidal ingredients in Inoperan (Quinine and Guaiacol) killing the cancer agent."

Even the surgical successes are explainable with the bacterial genesis of cancer — tuberculosis, staphylococcal infections etc. are healed when the principal disease focus (abscess) is surgically removed. In most cases, the body's power of resistance will deal with the remaining smaller foci by itself.

Salzborn treatment successes due to placebo?

Many cancer patients remained well for years who were never even aware that they were treated with the Salzborn cure. With overanxious patients, doctors using his method kept Salzborn's name a secret.

Salzborn also tells the story of the hospital matron who had radical breast surgery two years earlier and developed bone metastases and major pain a year after. She had been bedbound for several months.

Her nurse collegues many of whom had successfully undergone the Salzborn treatment for cancer tried to convince her to attempt the Salzborn cure but the patient stayed with x-ray treatments and wouldn't hear of it for over a year. She only gave in when in spite of morphine her pain became unbearable.

She was up on her feet again within a few months. This case showed that the causal effect was independent of attitude.

Salzborn on stress as a cancer cause

Salzborn writes, "To date, the visibly most frequent cause of cancer is the general weakening due to aging... recently, many people under 30 have been coming to see me. I feel that exhaustion, worry, undernourishment play a large part in developing cancer. All these youngsters had already been pale-faced years earlier, often working in addition to strenuous studies and deeply concerned about their future. If there was just one cause, it would have been found long since.".

The word "cancer cure"

Salzborn never used the word healing. He simply said his patients lived and worked for months, years and/or decades (considering the many terminal cases he treated and the difficulty of doing the treatment, there were of course also many failures, compare Which cases responded to the Salzborn treatment?).

He quotes famed homeopathic physician Emil Schlegel (1852-1934, author of a book on cancer healing titled "Die Krebskrankheit - ihre Natur und ihre Heilmittel" [Cancer — Its Nature and Remedies]) as already showing that seriously ill patients that have been given up on can be returned to wellbeing and ability to work for many years, i.e. practically healed. His patients simply were content that their doctor extended their life and made living easier.

Quote: "Only that man can say he heals cancer who can bring malignant cases to many years of wellbeing and ability to work. There are many cases with a histological cancer diagnosis where for ten to 20 years wellbeing has hardly been impaired, eg many skin and also breast and even stomach carcinomas."

Dealing with criticism and attacks

As others before and after him who dared jumping off the bandwagon and think for themselves, and in spite of Hippocrates' admonishment that opposite viewpoints are justified and necessary, his dogmatic colleagues referred to him as a con man on a daily basis. When shortly before his death he published his book, its first edition was hailed as "unwelcome".

Salzborn had dreamed of doing trials in the larger framework of a clinic under the supervision of unbiased reviewers. One Vienna clinician did give him cancer patients to treat in his ward, but this professor soon received a letter from the State Medical Board telling him it was inadmissible that a certain Salzborn practised at his clinic.

Cancer prevention advice by Dr Salzborn

"Live carefree, to your heart's content, be reckless sometimes if you like wine, beer, cigars, it increases resistance. I have shown in more than three hundred cases that advanced stage cancer can be turned into many years of wellbeing (which in medical practice counts as a cure), so beginning cancer can certainly be halted even more easily (of course not always).

Don't wait until you have an exact diagnosis. When a stomach ailment, bleeding, weight loss, growths or ulcers don't get better for months in spite of the best efforts of capable physicians, try the Salzborn cure. Many of my patients have shown that such suspicious cases will heal within shortly."

Modern research

See On the anti-cancer effects of a low-calorie and/or ketogenic diet: new research into cancer as a metabolic disease.

Books and articles (German-language) on the Salzborn method

  • Salzborn, Eduard: Ist der inoperable Krebs immer unheilbar ? bearb. v. Oswald Schlegel, 1942
  • Salzborn: Zur internen Behandlung des inoperablen Karzinoms W.m.W. 1939, 13. - Hippokrates 1939: 1045
  • Salzborn: Zur Behandlung des inoperablen Karzinoms - Hippokrates 1940: 48, Fragenbeantwortung betr. Salzborn
  • Dr. A. Neumann: Die Ergebnisse bei der Krebsbehandlung des Dr. Salzborn, Wien 1929.
  • Dr. A. Neumann: Weitere Beobachtungen bei der Krebsbehandlung des Dr. Salzborn, Wien same year?
  • Dr. A. Neumann: Zur Behandlung des sogenannten inoperablen Karzinoms, Wien 1930
  • Dr. A. Neumann: Die Krebsbehandlung in der täglichen Praxis, II. (oder 11.) Auflage, Wien 1935

... and for the best, easiest, and least expensive ways I know to heal cancer

after studying the subject for some twenty years, click here.


1 Background on the important issue of blood alkalinity vs tissue acidity under Does alkalinity heal cancer?.

2 Another well-known naturopathic practitioner who frequently used virgin olive oil in his healing practice was Father Thomas Haeberle OSB. Some background on his work and topical application of olive oil can be found under Father Haeberle on the causes of leukaemia.

3 This has meanwhile been confirmed by a number of researchers / doctors, see Biopsy & Surgery Can Spread Cancer.

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