Cancer Defeated Newsletter
By Lee Euler
Issue #46
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The Most Fascinating Story in Alternative Cancer
Demonized for 50 Years – But Today Thousands Still Seek This Cancer Treatment…

"When you really get right down to the whole scope of medicine, the only stable drugs we have today are a product of the herbs… being a nurse at heart, I have found that it is more important to have results than scientific proof."
— Mildred Nelson
"I do not believe that the pain endured with these hard-core semi-synthetic chemotherapeutic drugs is worth the extra month or two they might add to your life. In many cases, [the herb] is as efficacious and in some cases probably more so. In almost all cases, it’s cheaper. In almost all cases, it’s gentler… My genes already know the natural chemicals. My genes do not know tomorrow’s synthetic chemicals."
— James Duke, PhD, renowned botanist, author of 20 books and 200 scientific articles

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"There is an empirical tradition in all cultures involving plants and their formulas, which have been utilized through the ages because they are effective."
— Francis Brinker, Naturopathic Physician and Scholar of Botanical Medicine

What do the following have in common?

  • An Illinois horse breeder,
  • His prize stallion
  • A clump of shrubs and flowering plants
  • Cancer

Plenty — if you believe the story. And just for the record, I think there’s something in it, although I can’t be totally sure.

Settle back in your easy chair and pour yourself a drink if you’re so inclined. This is one of the most intriguing tales in the annals of alternative cancer treatment (and that’s saying something, because this field abounds in stories and it’s hard to know what to believe).

According to this story, legend, or whatever you want to call it, in 1840 a horse breeder owned a stallion that was expected to die from a cancerous lesion on its leg. He put it out to pasture, kept an eye on it, and observed it grazing on one particular clump of shrubs and flowering plants.

Then the most amazing thing happened...

Within three months, the horse’s cancer dried up, separated from the healthy tissue, and fell away.

Curious about his horse’s stunning return to health, John Hoxsey picked samples from the plants the horse was so intent on eating. He experimented until he had developed an herbal tonic, salve, and powder from them.

He added other popular ingredients from home remedies of the day and created three formulas – an internal tonic and two external salves.

That’s how he began using these remedies to treat horses suffering from external cancers and other types of lesions. His potions proved to be successful, word spread, and soon horse breeders were bringing horses to him from as far away as Indiana and Kentucky.

John Hoxsey’s mixtures were passed down to a son, who was a veterinarian — who used them for animals with cancer and other conditions.

In addition, the son quietly started using them for people with cancer.

Enter his 8-year-old son, Harry, who began assisting him in administering these treatments to local people — who generally had no other hope for recovery.

Just before his father’s death, Harry was entrusted with the secrets of how to prepare the remedies and given the responsibility to carry on the family’s healing tradition. Further, he promised his father he’d never deny anyone treatment due to their inability to pay.

After his father’s death, he founded the first Hoxsey Cancer Clinic in 1924, starting a 35-year cancer war between organized medicine and folk healing. Allopathic medicine branded him the worst cancer quack of the century. In the end, he was arrested more times than any other person in medical history.

Nevertheless, by the 1950s his Dallas clinic grew to be the world’s largest privately owned cancer center, with branches in 17 states.i

During these ‘cancer wars’, two federal courts upheld the therapeutic value of the treatmentii, and even his arch-enemies (the AMA and FDA) admitted the therapy cured some forms of cancer.

Still, medical authorities denied Hoxsey’s insistent plea for a fair scientific test. Instead they connived to ban the treatment, finally outlawing it in the US in 1960.

His chief nurse, Mildred Nelson, moved the treatment center to Tijuana in 1963 (now known as the Bio Medical Center).

She had initially gone to work for Hoxsey, in 1946, to disprove the treatment and discourage her mother from trying it after being diagnosed with incurable cancer. Her mother was healed, moving Mildred from hostility to belief. As the expression goes, "She came to scoff and stayed to pray," like an atheist who’d seen the light.

When the Hoxsey treatment was banned by the FDA in 1960, Mildred went underground with it for three years in California, Nevada, and Utah, before Harry Hoxsey arranged for her to take it to Tijuana. It was the first alternative cancer clinic to open south of the border.

Over the years, “Bio-Med” has treated an estimated 30,000 cancer patients — mostly terminal late-stage cases that conventional medicine has written off. "Bio-Med" relies exclusively on word-of-mouth patient referrals, doing no advertising.

Like Hoxsey, Mildred claimed an 80% success rate for previously untreated cancer cases. People who resorted first to chemo, radiation and surgery had a lower success rate.

Today Mildred’s younger sister, Liz Jonas, administers the Bio-Medical Center, since Mildred’s death in 1999.

Now the Hoxsey Therapy stands as the oldest alternative cancer treatment in continuous use, dating back to its mid-1800s roots.

But the real question is… How well does the treatment work?

People Who Got Well When They Weren’t Supposed To...

Despite Harry Hoxsey’s many requests for clinical trials of his treatment, powerful political medical forces saw that it was never permitted to happen.

Nevertheless, anecdotal accounts of miraculous healing abound. Many are detailed in both the book and movie, When Healing Becomes a Crime, by Kenny Ausebel.

For example...

  • "Look, I’m walking around carrying my cancer in the jar instead of inside of me, which is much better."

    Mrs. Martha Bond noticed a mark on her cheek in 1974 but paid no attention to it, as it was flat and painless. But in 1979 she got a dark mark on her leg which grew fast. Her husband said, "That’s cancer. We’d better go down to Tijuana to the Bio Medical Center."

    They went down to get tonic and vitamins in April. In August a friend suggested a second opinion. So they went to a skin specialist who diagnosed melanoma. He suggested Mrs. Bond see Dr. X to have it surgically removed.

    Indeed, when she saw Dr. X, he was adamant about her need for surgery.

    She asked Dr. X if there was any way they could take it off locally with a salve or tonic. He said, "No way. There’s no way but surgery. If you don’t go into surgery, you’re not going to live long."

    She told him she was taking a tonic, and it was getting flatter. He said, "No, it just can’t." He wanted to operate the next week.

    Melanoma is a particularly deadly form of cancer, which spreads internally with frightening speed. Advanced melanoma is almost always fatal, with an expected survival time of just seven months.

    Mrs. Bond talked with Mildred, who urged her not to let anyone cut it at all. So she refused the surgery, and returned to "Bio-Med". This time Mildred applied the external salves. Mrs. Bond reported that she could feel the salve penetrating to the root of the cancerous spots. Within three weeks, the cancers fell out by themselves, with just a pin-dot of evidence.

    Seven years later — not 7 months — she was interviewed for the book and movie, When Healing Becomes a Crime.

    Mrs. Bond provided the filmmakers with the biopsy from her original doctor, along with the early alarming letter from the surgeon, which read:

    Mrs. Bond, the skin tumors that you have are a very serious problem and I would urge you to reconsider this decision. I would strongly urge you to have these lesions surgically removed. Local therapy is not effective in treating a malignant melanoma, and these tumors will spread and ultimately result in your death, if not surgically removed.

    We know who got the last word in that argument!

  • "This is the year for a cure for cancer," stated the famous psychic Jeanne Dixon in the Enquirer. It caught the attention of Mrs. Margaret Griffin, who later became a Hoxsey patient.

    Her story began in November 1966, when she kept blacking out, and repeated x-rays showed two tumors around her aorta leading to her heart. The diagnosis was lymphosarcoma (cancer of the lymph system). She went to two other doctors for their opinion. Same verdict.

    She sent a message to Jeanne Dixon, care of the Enquirer, and soon received a call from Lee Alexander, an American Airlines pilot who knew of the Hoxsey Therapy. Desperation can lead to strange things, and Mrs. Griffin was desperate — and open-minded. The clinic was already closed, but one of Hoxsey’s doctors knew the formula and would treat Mrs. Griffin.

    Though Mrs. Griffin was afraid to fly, she was determined to go. She remembered looking up at ‘that beautiful bird’, thinking, "You’re taking me to life." And it did.

    She was in very bad shape when she made the trip. After ten months on the tonic, she started to notice a definite improvement in how she felt. Then all of a sudden, everything got better. X-rays showed that the tumors were no longer there. She went back to work, and worked many years after that.

    Eager to share her good fortune with her physician, she called to make an appointment. But she was shocked at the response. His nurse said, "I’m sorry, Mrs. Griffin, but Dr. So-and-So doesn’t want you as his patient anymore because you didn’t believe in him."

    Mrs. Griffin later paid to receive a lifetime supply of tonic — which she used continuously for eight years, then intermittently. She states, "It’s very simple. It doesn’t make you ill. Your hair doesn’t fall out like chemo, and it’s almost too good to be true, you might think. But it does work."

    She had lost a daughter to brain cancer at age four, and lost confidence in traditional treatments, but has great confidence in Hoxsey’s.

    When Kenny Ausubel, author of When Healing Becomes a Crime, called to see how she was doing, she answered the phone and happily reported that she’s cancer-free at the age of 79 — thirty-four years after starting Hoxsey therapy.

    Her tumor was originally believed to have an especially bad prognosis. Today it would be treated aggressively with chemo and radiation, with a 5-year survival rate of just 50%...

    There are more stories which space doesn’t allow me to relate here.

    Curious about the "magic" in Hoxsey’s secret "bunch of weeds" cocktail?

Magical Herbs…

Conventional medicine has a very contemptuous view of botanical medicine. Dr. Fishbein, of the AMA, mocked herbs as "veritable vegetable soups".iii Fishbein is an infamous figure who was the point man in suppressing many alternative cancer treatments in the previous century.

But James Duke, a renowned botanist who actually knows something about the subject (unlike Fishbein), observed that all the Hoxsey herbs have a long-standing empirical tradition of usage for cancer, going back as far as 3,000 years.

Only one herb, poke root, might be considered dangerous. Common throughout the Southeast, poke is a well-known herb. Locals like to parboil the leaves and add them to salads. (Back around 1970 there was a soul song called "Poke Salad Annie.") Its root, berry, and leaf are toxic in larger quantities.

The amount in Hoxsey’s formula is well below any threshold of danger. [Warning: Do NOT self-medicate with poke! Eating the leaves can be toxic without the proper preparation!]

Three of the formula’s herbs — barberry, cascara sagrada, and buckthorn — contain compounds being studied by the National Cancer Institute for effectiveness in tumors, although not on human subjects.

Duke sorted these plants into several categories of anti-cancer properties:

  • Antioxidants — protect cells against precancerous damage
  • Antimutagenic — shield from cellular mutations that lead directly to cancer
  • Cytotoxic — toxic action that can kill any cell, but is especially effective against cancer cells by virtue of their high-speed dividing.
  • Antimicrobial (antiseptic) — antiviral activity with some antitumor benefits because some cancers are believed to be caused by viruses

Eight of the nine herbs of the internal tonic showed antitumor activity in controlled lab animal tests… 5 showed antioxidant properties protective against cancer… all showed antimicrobial properties.

The internal tonic ingredients showed strong chemical and biological anticancer activity on an individual basis. In my view, they’re certainly worth a serious investigation.

It should be noted that the formula’s real purpose was not to kill cancer cells directly — but to create a terrain unfavorable to the growth of cancer cells. Its role was to enhance your body’s immune system and its ability to eliminate toxins.

Naturopathic physician and herbal expert Francis Brinker believes there is also evidence that the tonic has direct cancer-killing activity. "All of the plants of the Hoxsey tonic or certain of their active constituents have shown some degree of antitumor activity in human cancer cell-culture lab studies or in living animal systems."

What were the ‘miraculous’ components in Hoxsey’s formulaiv?

It’s pretty secretive, but records suggest some combination of these…

  • Red Clover — Documented to produce anticancer effects… Antiangiogenic (meaning it prevents formation of new blood vessels, cutting off cancer’s ability to grow)… A phytoestrogen, which regulates the immune system and appears to prevent the spread of breast cancer… Long folk tradition against cancer
  • Burdock Root — Excellent blood purifier… Has strong immune building properties… Lab tests show anticancer activity… Long-time folk cancer remedy in Chile, China, India, Canada, Russia, and the U.S.
  • Poke Root — Used by the Indians for cancer and by early settlers for skin cancer… Had a common name of "cancer root"... Triggers the immune system…

    [Note: Do NOT even consider self-medicating with poke. It can be toxic in larger quantities, and eating the leaves without proper preparation can also be toxic. Be sure you are under the care of an expert who knows the right amount and preparation.]

  • Barberry — Barberry contains a wealth of anticancer, antitumor, antioxidant, and mutation-preventing compounds, plus cancer-preventive properties. Indians used it to cleanse the blood.
  • Prickly Ash Bark — Contains alkaloid compounds similar to those in barberry
  • Buckthorn Bark — Long-standing remedy for cleansing the blood, liver disorders, and constipation… Contains aloe-emodin, a laxative compound with demonstrated antitumor qualities.
  • Cascara Sagrada — Contains same aloe-emodins as buckthorn, but in double the amount… traditionally used as a purgative, laxative, tonic, and liver medicine… Inhibited breast cancer tumor growth in mice in just 10 days.
  • Stillingia Root — Sometimes called Queen’s root… Known for unsurpassed influence on lymphatic and secretory functions… A known antitumor agent
  • Licorice Root — Enhances immune function… Assists elimination… Long-standing tonic and blood purifier… Soothes internal inflammations… Potent against certain bacteria… Animal tests show antitumor activity
  • Potassium Iodide — Regarded as the most overlooked factor in the tonic… Its only non-herbal ingredient… Is the base that contains all the herbs… Compound of potassium and iodine, known by the symbol KI… Long history of use in alternative and veterinary medicine.

    AMA files show obscure but important articles showing anticancer properties for KI — though at the time of Fishbein, AMA’s official position was that KI might accelerate cancer growth.

    I wrote at length about the cancer-fighting benefits of KI (potassium iodide) in issue #9 (you can see previous issues of Cancer Defeated by going to I take it myself, in a formula called Iodoral that also contains another form of iodine. You need both forms for optimal health.

    An interesting side note: U.S. public health officials and the FDA dispensed potassium iodide pills to those living close to the Three Mile Island nuclear accident, because it’s believed to block ionizing radiation from damaging the thyroid.

    Similarly, potassium iodide was also used in the former Soviet Union after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

Hoxsey always urged officials to test his formula, but they never did. So today, the Hoxsey tonic has not been tested as a whole entity, and we don’t have hard data about the complex synergy of its components.

However, its component parts have several types of activity that could contribute toward cancer cure or prevention.

And the stories of those who have lived years longer than their doctors expected offer a promising ray of light in a cancer world where there has been no major improvement or cure during the past fifty years.

I don’t regard the evidence as conclusive. It’s mostly anecdotal and confined to people who have been treated at the one clinic. But the Hoxsey treatment has a long history of happy patients — surely worth consideration on your part. I’d like to see it given a fair test.

Kindest regards,

Lee Euler Publisher

i Ausubel, Kenny. When Healing Becomes a Crime: The Amazing Story of the Hoxsey Cancer Clinics and the Return of Alternative Therapies, 2000.
ii US vs. Hoxsey Cancer Clinic, Civil No. 4144, District Court of the US, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division, 12/21/50; US Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit, No. 13645, US vs. Hoxsey Cancer Clinic, Appeal from the US District Court for Northern District of Texas, 7.31.52.
iii Ausubel, Kenny. When Healing Becomes a Crime: The Amazing Story of the Hoxsey Cancer Clinics and the Return of Alternative Therapies, 2000.
iv From the Father Nature’s Farmacy database and the CRC Handbook of Medicinal Herbs (Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1985).

Other Resources:

Ausubel, Kenny. When Healing Becomes a Crime: The Amazing Story of the Hoxsey Cancer Clinics and the Return of Alternative Therapies, 2000.

Chowka, Peter Barry. "Herbal Healing: A Cancer Alternative with a Record," New Age, Vol. 6, No. 6, 12.80, pp. 46-50.

Hoxsey, Harry. You Don’t Have to Die, 1984.

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