Johanna Budwig

Johanna Budwig (30 September 1908–19 May 2003) was a German biochemist and author. She developed the Budwig protocol, a supposed anti-cancer diet.

Budwig protocol

The Budwig protocol (or Budwig diet) is an anti-cancer diet developed by Budwig in 1952. The diet is rich in flaxseed oil, mixed with cottage cheese and milk, and meals high in fruits, vegetables, and fiber. The diet also avoided sugar, animal fats, salad oil, meats, butter, and especially margarine. She claimed that within 3 months, some patients on this diet had smaller tumors, some had no tumors left, and all felt better.

Evidence for the effectiveness of the Budwig diet is limited as most research has only been done on cell culture studies and experiments on rats and mice with inconsistent results. Such studies suggest that flaxseed may possibly be beneficial for cancers in mice. Some small studies have been done in humans which suggest flaxseed may be beneficial in reducing the risk of prostate cancer but more studies would be necessary to confirm any effects. There is no reliable evidence available for the effectiveness of the full Budwig protocol, though it is said that „thousands of cancer patients” in Europe went on the Budwig diet after it was publicized.

Claimed Nobel Prize nomination

Proponents of the Budwig protocol often claim that she was nominated for a Nobel Prize either six or seven times. However, the names of the nominees are never publicly announced, and neither are they told that they have been considered for the Prize. All nomination records for a prize are sealed for 50 years from the awarding of that prize.


After creating and utilizing the „Budwig Protocol” on a number of patients, Budwig was „prosecuted by the medical establishment for malpractice” in Germany for having used flax oil on patients, even though they had untreatable cancers. Though there were many court cases filed against her, there were never any charges brought to bear, as she was acquitted each time.

Papers by Budwig

  • Prof. Dr. H. P. Kaufmann, Dr. J. Budwig: Zur Biologie der Fette V: Die Papier-Chromatographie der Blutlipoide, Geschwulstproblem und Fettforschung Chemischen Landes-Untersuchungsamt Nordrhein-Westfalen und dem Deutschen Institut für Fettforschung. Münster i. W., Artikel erschienen in Fette und Seifen Nr. 54, S. 156-165, 1952.
  • Budwig J (October 1953). „[Remarks on Homann and Otto’s, Treatment of cancer patients with positive-pressure ether.]” (in German). Hippokrates 24 (19): 600–1. PMID 13128655
  • Budwig J (October 1956). „[Cytostatic or cytodynamic control of cancer?]” (in German). Hippokrates 27 (19): 605–12. PMID 13376028
  • Budwig J (February 1971). „Photo-elements of life as an anti-carcinoma factor, successful as a preventive and in the progressive state of the illness”. Minerva Ginecologica 23 (3): 115–7. PMID 5579726
  • Cousin M, Budwig J (1972). „[Air pollution by smoking or the smoke of the others]” (in French). Rehabilitation 25 (1): 34–6. PMID 5084629.

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