by Dr. Amber Merrick, N.D.

“German Ingenuity”…a stereotype?  It seems to be a real thing! As a nation they are on the cutting edge of technology, economy, business and health care.  Praising efficient and practical ideas, whether they be based on the latest research or a traditional tried and true approach.

One such approach, I learned while shadowing Dr. Hagen Huneke in Mannheim.  Neural Therapy, the injection of procaine into “irritation centers” to treat chronic pain and illness, is his main approach for treatment of his patients.  However, he also uses Procaine in another “novel” way.  I say  “novel” as to me it was a fresh idea, simple in its application, and apparently very efficacious.  However, according to Dr. Huneke, this “novel” use of procaine was discovered in 1935 by researchers at the University of Frankfurt.

Procaine, a local anesthetic, is usually injected intramuscularly, intravenously or as a nerve block for its analgesic properties.  It was first synthesized by a German chemist, Dr. Albert Einhorn in 1905, as a non-addictive alternative to cocaine for anesthetizing patients.  The benefits of taking procaine by mouth, however, were discovered several years later.

In 1911, Zeliony and Sawitsch found that topical anesthetics inhibited the formation of gastrin (hormone that stimulates secretion of stomach acid), which Bayer then introduced for the treatment of peptic ulcers (Rheault, 1965).  Oral procaine was also shown to cause relaxation of the pyloric sphincter (the valve controlling the emptying of stomach contents into the small intestine) while allowing stomach movements to remain intact (Roka, 1950).  This decreased episodes of vomiting, GERD (gastro-esophageal reflux disease), and intestinal/stomach spasms irrespective of stomach acidity (whether too low or high).

Dr. Huneke uses a procaine drink for a wide variety of digestive concerns, and finds it very useful in almost all of his patients.  He attributes the efficacy of oral procaine for digestive concerns to its ability to decrease gastrointestinal spasm, and its effect as an anti-inflammatory.  Inflammation of the gut can be caused by many things; including infections, medications, stress, food allergies and environmental toxins.  This inflammation can cause GI distress, and unfortunately many other systemic issues, such as skin problems, headache, fatigue, arthritis, mental illness and autoimmune conditions (see photo above).  Research over the past decade has shown that anesthetics such as procaine have extensive anti-inflammatory effects.  Casserto (2006) found that local anesthetics were superior to NSAIDs as anti-inflammatories with fewer side effects.


Oral procaine has also gained some popularity as an anti-aging supplement.  This has been attributed to PABA (para-aminobenzoic acid), the metabolite of procaine.  PABA has been taken for skin conditions including vitiligo, Peyronie’s disease, and scleroderma. PABA is also used to treat infertility in women, arthritis, constipation, and headaches.  It is also used to darken gray hair, prevent hair loss, make skin look younger, and prevent sunburn (when applied topically).  I do not believe if much evidence exists for oral procaine for anti-aging, however, a Cochrane review in 2008 of procaine use for cognition and dementia found that oral procaine treatment might improve memory in persons without cognitive impairment, but they concluded that more research is needed.

Procaine is not very well absorbed by the GI tract, which may be why it works so well locally on the mucous membranes and digestive system.  However, by decreasing inflammation of the GI tract, and allowing the gut to heal, many systemic conditions may be alleviated.  For example, Luddeke (1951) used oral procaine with Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) in the treatment of pruritis (severe itching of the skin associated with allergies and/or eczema).

Oral procaine has very little side effects, however, one should always consult a health care practitioner before trying such regimen and to ensure there are no drug interactions with medications you are currently taking.  Definitely use caution if you have an allergy to certain local anesthetics, or are diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematous or Myasthenia Gravis.

Dr. Hueneke prescribes his procaine drink based on a protocol from 1935, discovered in Frankfurt, for most digestive concerns.  He instructs his patients to take the procaine drink on an empty stomach for 10 days.  In this time, he finds that most concerns are alleviated for years.  If it does not work, he will always consider h.pylori or some other chronic health issue, or a tumour, as a cause of the GI distress.  Tried and true, a simple method for treating numerous conditions, in the most direct way possible.  Indeed “German ingenuity” truly exists!


Dr. Amber Merrick, N.D.
About Dr. Amber Merrick, N.D.
Amber Merrick is a licensed and registered Naturopathic Doctor in St. Catharines, Ontario. Amber feels Naturopathy is not only a profession but a lifestyle. She aspires to live a highly energetic and healthy lifestyle. She can coach you to wellness as she has coached countess others.
You want me to swallow what??