Harry Hoxsey, American Healer

For over thirty years, Harry Hoxsey (1901-1974), a naturopath and self-taught healer, successfully treated cancer using an herbal recipe handed down from his great-grandfather. His treatment combined an herbal tonic, a special diet, vitamin and mineral supplements, and attitudinal counseling. The goal of the Hoxsey formula was not necessarily to kill cancer cells directly but, instead, to provide an unfavorable environment for them to exist.

Although Hoxsey admitted to adjusting the formula from time to time as he would customize it for patients’, the original ingredients published in his 1956 book were barberry, buckthorn bark, burdock root, cascara sagrada, licorice root, poke root, prickly ash, red clover blossoms, and stillingia root in a water base with potassium iodide.

Anti-Tumor Herbs

One researcher to conduct an independent investigation of the formula was Francis Brinker, a naturopathic physician and scholar of botanical medicine. He concluded thatall of the plants of the Hoxsey tonic or certain of their active constituents have shown some degree of anti-tumor activity in human cancer cell-culture laboratory studies or in living animal systems.James Duke, PhD, a renowned botanist and author of twenty books and more than two hundred scientific articles, also studied the Hoxsey formula. In HerbalGram (1988) a peer-reviewed journal of the esteemed American Botanical Council, he stated that eight of the nine herbs in the internal tonic showed anti-tumor activity.*

To date, in spite of the promising effects of its individual ingredients, the Hoxsey tonic as a whole has not been tested, despite repeated requests by Hoxsey himself. In an effort to portray the Hoxsey formula in a negative light, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) did perform laboratory tests on all the Hoxsey herbs individually using cancer cell lines in petri dishes; however, these testing methodologies have long since been abandoned because they are unreliable.

Have worked closely with the NCI, James Duke is critical of their procedures. “One of the problems with the NCI screen is that they do not test plants in the way humans use the plants. I don’t know that they have ever given an oral extract of red clover to a human being, and that’s how it’s used in folklore. If you’re going to test red clover tea, you’ve got to give it to a human being.

Hoxsey claimed an 80 percent success rate in curing internal cancers if the patient had not previously been treated with surgery or radiation. He also used a red paste made of bloodroot, zinc chloride, and antimony sulfide to treat external cancers. In the 1960’s, a variety of doctors using a paste almost identical in composition to Hoxsey’s reported the complete healing of cancers of the nose, external ear, and other organs. By the 1950’s, Hoxsey had the world’s largest private cancer clinic in Dallas, Texas, with branches in seventeen states.

Viewing Hoxsey as a competitive medical threat, The American Medical Association branded him a quack, even though Hoxsey begged them to study his herbal tonic so it could be used in mainstream medicine to treat cancer. Instead, they spent over thirty years persecuting him and other health professionals using his treatment. Finally, after being arrested over one hundred times, Hoxsey was driven out of the United States into Mexico where his clinic still treats patients today at the Bio Medical Center in Tijuana. Fortunately, the Hoxsey formula is still available for purchase today online and in select health food stores.

1) Ausubel, K. (2000). When Healing Becomes a Crime. (P 174-190). Vermont: Healing Arts Press. 2) Walters, R. (1993). OPTIONS. (P 82-90, 95-104). New York:Avery.