The Hoxsey Therapy or Hoxsey Method
Is a alternative medical treatment
Promoted as a cure for cancer. The alternative cancer treatment consists of a caustic herbal paste for external cancers or an herbal mixture for "internal" cancers, combined with laxatives, douches, vitamin supplements, and dietary changes. Reviews by major medical bodies, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, have found no evidence that the Hoxsey Therapy is an effective treatment for cancer. The sale or marketing of the Hoxsey Method was banned in the United States by the FDA on September 21, 1960 as a "worthless and discredited" remedy. Currently, the Hoxsey Method is primarily marketed and practiced by the Bio-Medical Center in Tijuana, Mexico. The Hoxsey Therapy is also marketed over the Internet; in June 2008, the FDA National Health Fraud Coordinator noted that "There is no scientific evidence that it has any value to treat cancer, yet consumers can go online right now and find all sorts of false claims that Hoxsey treatment is effective against the disease."
The Hoxsey Formula
Have you ever heard of Harry Hoxsey and the Hoxsey Formula? It is likely that the soap opera drama that played out in the medical community and court systems of the 50’s and early 60’s is a long forgotten episode in the fight against cancer in this country. That is, unless you are one of the thousands to have been supposedly cured of cancer by Hoxsey and his herbal therapy.
Harry Hoxsey (1901-1974) was an unconventional medical pioneer, possibly ahead of his time. For over three decades, the self-taught healer apparently cured many cancer patients using an herbal remedy reportedly handed down by his great-grandfather. According to Hoxsey’s autobiographical book You Don’t Have to Die, the herbal formula for the Hoxsey treatment was developed in 1840 by John Hoxsey, Harry Hoxsey’s great-grandfather. It was derived from grasses and flowering wild plants growing in a pasture where one of John Hoxsey’s prized stallions, afflicted with a cancerous growth, grazed daily. The horse’s cancer reportedly disappeared, and John Hoxsey surmised that the wild plants caused the recovery. He gathered some of the plants from the pasture, and later added ingredients from old home remedies for cancer. He used the resulting herbal mixture to treat similarly afflicted horses near his farm in southern Illinois. The herbal formula was bequeathed to John Hoxsey’s son, then to Hurry’s father John, and finally to Harry Hoxsey in 1919, whose father charged him with using it to treat cancer patients “if need be, in defiance of the high priests of medicine.”
By the 1950’s, the Hoxsey Cancer Clinic in Dallas, Texas was the largest private cancer center in the world, with branches in seventeen states, and with a patient base of 10,000 and growing daily. Despite the positive testimonies of scores of cancer patients treated with the Hoxsey formula, this sometimes idiosyncratic practitioner of herbal folk medicine faced unrelenting opposition and harassment from a hostile medical establishment. Eventually the combined efforts of the American Medical Association (AMA), the National Cancer Institutes (NCI) and the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) succeeded in shutting down all of the Hoxsey clinics in the U.S. According to a 1953 federal report to Congress, the AMA, NCI, and FDA organized a “conspiracy” to “suppress” a fair, unbiased assessment of Hoxsey’s methods.
The established medical community discredited Harry Hoxsey as “the worst cancer quack of the century,” and labeled his herbal medicine as “worthless,” containing extracts of useless backyard weeds. Yet despite repeated challenges from Hoxsey to the AMA and NCI to conduct scientific investigations on his formula, the issue was never addressed. In fact, in an interview conducted for a documentary about Hoxsey in the 80’s, an FDA investigator was quoted as saying, “If we were to conduct scientific investigations on Hoxsey’s formula than all we would be doing is lending credibility to the formula. We know that it doesn’t work.” I wonder if this isn’t a clear message that certain aspects of our medical science are based on preconceived notions. In other words, when you go into scientific testing looking for a certain result then you have a tendency to find that result, regardless of what the data actually says (see the famed Framingham study and the connection between cholesterol and heart disease).
Instead of really looking to see if anything was there, Hoxsey’s practice was outlawed and his therapy deemed inappropriate by a closed-minded medical fraternity that continues to consider inexpensive, non-toxic herbal medicine as a direct competitive threat to conventional Western treatments. Today we know that Hoxsey’s herbal remedy does indeed contain naturally occurring compounds with potent anti-cancer effects. According to eminent botanist and author James Duke, Ph.D., formerly of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, all of Hoxsey’s herbs have known anti-cancer properties. All of them are cited in Plants Used against Cancer, a global compendium of folk usage of medicinal plants compiled by NCI chemist Jonathan Hartwell.
Hoxsey treated external cancers with a red paste made of bloodroot (Sanguinary Canadensis), a common wildflower, mixed with zinc chloride and antimony sulfide. The wildflower contains an alkaloid, sanguinary, that has been shown to possess potent anti-tumor properties. In the 1960’s, various teams of physicians reported the complete healing of cancers of the nose, external ear, and other organs using a paste virtually identical to Hoxsey’s. The AMA, however, condemned Hoxsey’s “caustic pastes” as fraudulent in 1949, even though a prominent Wisconsin surgeon, Dr. Frederick Mohs, in 1941 had used a red paste identical to Hoxsey’s to fix cancerous tissue surgically removed using microscopic techniques.
The basic ingredients of Hoxsey’s internal tonic are herbs like Red Clover flower, Burdock root, Buckthorn bark, Licorice root, Oregon Grape root, Stillingia root, Phytolacca root, Prickly Ash bark, Quassia wood and Potassium Iodide. According to medical historian, Patricia Spain Ward, “orthodox scientific research has by now identified anti-tumor activity” in most of Hoxsey’s plants. For example, in 1966, Hungarian scientists reported “considerable anti-tumor activity” in a purified fraction of burdock. In 1984, Japanese researchers went a step further when they discovered that burdock contained a new type of desmutagen, a substance that is uniquely capable of reducing mutation in either the absence or presence of metabolic activation. This new property is so important; the Japanese researchers named it the B-factor, for “burdock factor.” Not surprisingly, we find these and similar ingredients in other traditional herbal treatments for cancer, including Essiac.
In 1954, an independent team of ten physicians from around the United States made a two-day inspection of Hoxsey’s Dallas clinic and issued a remarkable statement. After examining hundreds of case histories and interviewing numerous patients and ex-patients, the doctors released a signed report declaring that the clinic… ”is successfully treating pathologically proven cases of cancer, both internal and external, without the use of surgery, radium, or x-ray. …we as a committee feel that the Hoxsey treatment is superior to such conventional methods of treatment as x-ray, radium, or surgery. We are willing to assist this clinic in any way possible in bringing this treatment to the American public.”
This endorsement proved to be insufficient as the treatment was denied to the American public. In 1924, according to Hoxsey’s autobiography, Dr. Malcolm Harris, an eminent Chicago surgeon and later president of the AMA, had offered to buy out the Hoxsey anti-cancer tonic after watching Hoxsey successfully treat a terminal cancer patient. According to the offer, Hoxsey would get 10% of the profits, but only after ten years. The AMA would set the fees, keep all the profits for the first nine years, and then reap 90% of the profits from the tenth year on. The alleged offer would have given all control to a group of doctors including AMA boss Dr. Morris Fishbein. Hoxsey refused the offer because one of his precepts was that people should get the formula regardless of whether they could pay for it or not. Hoxsey’s refusal ignited one of the medical community’s most controversial wars.
In 1949, Hoxsey successfully sued Dr. Fishbein and the Hearst newspaper empire for libel and slander for printing unsubstantiated allegations that portrayed Hoxsey as a malevolent charlatan. The victory was not only stunning; it exposed some astonishing admissions from Fishbein. In addition to failing anatomy during medical school and never treating a patient or practicing a day of medicine in his entire career, Fishbein admitted in court that Hoxsey’s supposedly “brutal” pastes actually did cure external cancer.
In 1958, the Fitzgerald Report, commissioned by a United States Senate committee, concluded that organized medicine had “conspired” to suppress the Hoxsey therapy and at least a dozen other promising cancer treatments. The proponents of these conventional methods were mostly respected doctors and scientists who had developed nutritional or immunological approaches. Panels of surgeons and radiation therapists had dismissed the therapies as quackery, and these promising treatments were banned without any serious investigation. They all, to this day, remain on the American Cancer Society’s blacklist of “Unproven Methods of Cancer Management.”
Is it possible that the same sort of “conspiring” and “suppressing” happens today? Ever hear of Allan Hoffman and a possible cancer treatment using Aloe Vera? Allan continues to be tried in federal court in Baltimore on various counts of mail fraud and FDA violations, even after the first trial ended in a hung jury, supposedly because of a lone hold out. As an interested party I find it amazing that no one within the government seems to be asking the really important question… can Aloe Vera be useful in the treatment of cancer. And what about Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski in Houston, TX? His antineoplastin therapy seems to have some real merit, with countless patients reporting excellent results. Dr. Burzynski has been the target of government investigations for years now. He has withstood arrests and trials, and continues to prevail as differing government agencies try to find other ways to shut him down.
The allopathic medical community supposedly has been waging a war on cancer for decades now. And the results of this war are marginal at best. Most people feel that the war has already been lost. Maybe we should all realize that there may be readily available, inexpensive, highly effective weapons that are sitting on the side-line or hidden in some drawer because certain factions of the medical establishment wouldn’t have control over or be able to make money from their use.
As for the Hoxsey formula… it remains available as an herbal supplement, albeit sometimes under different names!
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