Born in 1904 into a well-to-do family in Russia, Catherine Kousmine and her parents fled the country in 1916 before the Russian revolution, settling in Lausanne. The young Catherine went to the Ecole Supérieure of Lausanne where she graduated in sciences. She then went on to medical school. Upon graduation in 1928, she moved to Zurich, in professor Guido Fanconi's unit, to specialize in pediatrics, then worked in Vienna, Austria, where she got her degree in this discipline.
Back in Switzerland, she had to resume her work as a general practitioner because her degree in pediatrics was not recognized by Swiss authorities. Dr. Kousmine spent most of her life in Switzerland. She set up the Fondation Catherine Kousmine in Lutry, Switzerland, to promote her methods. It has sister foundations in France, Germany and Italy. There is also a Kousmine Medical Center in Vevey, Switzerland.
Kousmine advocated a restrictive diet as a basis for treating a number of human ailments, especially cancer. The diet, that Dr. Kousmine provided as an alternative to mainstream medicine emphasizes first of all to put off saturated fats, totally for very ill people, to eat fruits, vegetables and a lot of whole grains and particularly advocates a no cooked grain- and no cooked seed-based breakfast; vitamins supplements are also incorporated.
She decided to conduct most of her reaearch on cancer, mostly because of the death from cancer of two children in her care while she was working as a general practitioner. For seventeen years, working in a makeshift laboratory in her kitchen, she studied a special breed of mice that develop mammal cancer at four months of age and had very good clinical results. She believed she discovered a correlation between this diet and a remission of their cancer and became convinced that the cure for diseases sometimes labeled "incurable" involves the return to a healthy feeding habit - one that provides all the nutrients that the organism needs to function properly but not only. She claimed that unhealthy nutrition change the microscopic structures of the gut wall and the gut being porous allowed the entry of bacteries in the blood and lymph stream and their negative effect on the body and a immune system permanent activation and then depletion. Consequently, she focused her attention on healthy diet. In 1949, she claimed to have treated with success her first of many cancer patients, this one suffering from reticulo-sarcoma, thanks in part to the use of a healthy diet. She used vitamins metals like iron in very small doses, bacterial vaccinations and sometimes chemotherapy. In her book "Soyez bien dans votre assiette jusqu a 80 ans et plus", Kousmine claimed her diet helped with other diseases such as acne, recurrent infections and Polyarthritis; however, there is no scientific evidence to support this. She was not at all opposed to surgery or other orthodox cancer therapies like chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
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- In 1985, the Société d'Encouragement au Progrès — whose headquarters are in Paris (France) — gave her the Médaille de Vermeil for her outstanding accomplishment with multiple sclerosis.
- In 1989, she was made an honorary citizen of Lutry, Switzerland.
- Soyez bien dans votre assiette jusqu'à 80 ans et plus (Be mindful of your diet, up to 80 and beyond), éditions Sand, 1980, ISBN 2-7107-0158-8
- La sclérose en plaque est guérissable (Multiple sclerosis is curable), éditions Delachaux et Nestlé 1983, ISBN 2-603-00502-2
- Sauvez votre corps (Save your body), éditions Robert Laffont, 1987, ISBN 2-290-33632-7, is a sequel to Soyez bien dans votre assiette, with more cases and in-depth explanations
- Simon Singh; Edzard Ernst (17 August 2008). Trick Or Treatment: The Undeniable Facts about Alternative Medicine. W. W. Norton. p. 295. ISBN 978-0-393-06661-6.
- "Catherine Kousmine Obituary". The Times. 8 September 1992.
- Kousmine, Fondation. "Les Centre de soins". www.solvida.org. Retrieved 2016-11-02.
- Jean-Marie Abgrall (1 January 2000). Healing Or Stealing?: Medical Charlatans in the New Age. Algora Publishing. pp. 82–83. ISBN 978-1-892941-28-2.
- Committee on Multiple Sclerosis: Current Status and Strategies for the Future; Board on Neuroscience and Behavioral Health; Institute of Medicine (10 July 2001). Multiple Sclerosis: Current Status and Strategies for the Future. National Academies Press. p. 405. ISBN 978-0-309-17130-4.