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Harry Hoxsey

Harry Hoxsey, like Samuel Thomson 150 years earlier, was an uneducated, folk hero. On the deathbed of his father, he inherited the recipes for what is widely believed to be the world's most successful cancer treatment. He also took on the responsibility of keeping alive and making available a treatment that remains as controversial today as it was during the agonizing McCarthy era when Hoxsey was hounded by the AMA and its allies in bureaucracy. Hoxsey kept his promise to his father and suffered accordingly. He was arrested more times than anyone in history, more than 100 times, but was repeatedly vindicated at the end of every ordeal. . . as well as posthumously.

The passion surrounding Hoxsey and his work is as great today as it was fifty years ago. This treatment will not disappear no matter how irritating it is to those who regard it as archaic and hence obsolete. No one, regardless of their determination, has ever managed to prove that the treatment doesn't work. Quite the contrary, thousands of people claim to owe their lives to Hoxsey, and even today, I continually receive letters and e-mails from people who are wondering whether Hoxsey is still alive and how they might pursue the treatment that saved their parents or grandparents. At the height of his fame, Hoxsey, a rough hewn self-proclaimed healer, owned a chain of hospitals that spanned seventeen states.


An Archaic Treatment

Perhaps because I am a fool, I have somehow—inadvertently, I assure you—taken on the custodianship of an "antiquated, quaint, historic, and archaic" cancer treatment. Unlike those writing me, there is no history of cancer in my family, and I have no personal acquaintance with anyone who is alive today because of Hoxsey. Years have passed and the survivor's clocks have probably long since sounded their last tick.

Hoxsey's clinic was moved to Tijuana in the mid-seventies. The original director of the clinic passed on recently, but work is being carried on by Mildred Nelson's successors just as the heirs in Hoxsey's family kept their promises to Hoxsey's great grandfather.

In his day, Hoxsey was widely regarded as one of the few persons who was actually curing people of cancer. However, vested interests, jealousy, financial rivalry, dirty politics, and a score of other unpleasant experiences dogged practically every inch of Hoxsey's Path. I found a similar pattern of persecution of those who believe they have relief or a cure for cancer dating back 350 years.

Suppression and persecution have not, however, managed to stamp out either the hope or the understanding of historic treatments. It is my prayer that my book not only assures that this will never be the case, but that patient outcries will open the door to the kind of research that will provide people more assurance that their desire for more natural and less drastic approaches to disease will be supported by their doctors . . . and family members.

 

Hoxsey's Treatment

For many generations, the Hoxsey family offered a cancer treatment to those who chose it, many of whom traveled far to obtain the treatment, just as many today go abroad for treatments that are not found in their own countries. Superficially, the Hoxsey treatment seemed simple: some little herbal pills, an elixir or tonic, and an external escharotic paste that burns off tumors. Perceptions can be deceiving. Though it would seem that anyone can self-administer the treatment, they are ill-advised to do so because unanticipated reactions to the treatment make the guidance of more experienced advisable even if not absolutely necessary.

If, however, a person is adequately informed, there is a reasonable possibility of succeeding with the treatment of a relatively simple neoplasm without supervision. For those who do require supervision, there are more and more practitioners becoming proficient with this treatment, and there is the clinic in Mexico that Hoxsey's chief nurse ran for so many years.

Escharotics can be an alternative to surgery, but they are not for those looking for a quick, simple, or painless way to remove tumors. Nevertheless, they are a way to destroy and remove malignancies. Hoxsey, who grew up in a family devoted to this treatment, felt that it took years to train physicians in his methods.

I started this site (several years ago) in response to a deluge of e-mails precipitated by Dr. Andrew Weil's link from his web site to my personal e-mail. People were looking for bloodroot, the main herb in the black or red paste. Once they found it, they didn't know how to use it. I wrote the book, first as a how to manual and later as a more or less complete disclosure of what the treatment involves and the different pastes and strategies that can be utilized.

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Visitors to This Site

Many people visiting this site have found it after starting the use of some kind of escharotic treatment for which they were unprepared. Others have sought out this treatment as a first choice because they heard about from older family members. Others are coming after their growths are large and sometimes ulcerated or after other treatments have failed. Though it is likely that some of these people are suitable candidates for escharotic treatment, professional guidance will be almost a necessity for them. So, if you write me a personal email using the contact form, I will only suggest that you see a practitioner with experience.

This said, I do believe that it is realistic for some people to self administer an escharotic paste to a tiny basal cell carcinoma, but it just because it may be possible to succeed does not mean it is advisable. For a large breast tumor, the assistance of an experienced practitioner is mandatory.

 

Product Availability

Sacred Medicine Sanctuary does not sell any escharotic pastes because:

  • I promised those I interviewed about their experience with the products that I would never go into competition with them, and;
  • I want people to feel that they can turn to someone for guidance and the best persons to offer this assistance are those who provide the products.

Naturally, I hope patients will get the products from qualified practitioners who are willing to assist the treatment, but the products are widely available from literally hundreds of sources, some of which are mentioned on this site.

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How Effective is the Treatment?

This subject is discussed elsewhere on this site and in depth in my book. Though Hoxsey did not seem to be aware of the history of the treatment nor its use by other practitioners—many of them properly trained medical doctors—Hoxsey claimed the same 80% success rate as qualified physicians who used similar treatments.

I have tried to interpret this figure. On the one hand, it is easy to assume that cancer diagnosis was not as sophisticated in more historic times, that things as ordinary as warts might have been regarded as malignancies; but my research did not support this conclusion. On the contrary, it gave credence to the idea that diagnosis tended to occur much later than it does today so that tumors were rarely presented for treatment before they were quite large and often ulcerated. In short, I think the 80% figure is nothing less than remarkable.

 

The Formulas

As the result of much legal pressure and financial jealousy, Hoxsey's formulae were eventually disclosed. All of them are published in the Appendix of my book. Sacred Medicine Sanctuary has been re-creating one after another of the historic products to assess the validity of the claims made by people who are no longer able to participate in the ongoing debates. We have been providing my version of the Hoxsey Elixir, first as Trifolium Compound, so-named because I am personally convinced that the formula's true origin is with the Eclectic physicians who called it such after the red clover that is an ingredient in the formula. . . and that contrary to the story promulgated by the Hoxsey family, this formula was not discovered by a horse! Later, we renamed the formula Sundance Elixir in honor of Chief Sundance who was a contemporary of both Dr. John Christopher and Harry Hoxsey—and both had formulas nearly identical to the Hoxsey heirloom formula.




Besides red clover, the tonic contains Oregon grape root, poke root, sarsaparilla, stillingia, buckthorn, burdock, cascara sagrada, prickly ash berry, licorice, and Irish moss. It is prepared with distilled spring water and honey.


In Hoxsey's day, patients paid a one-time fee for a lifetime supply of the tonic. They were shipped one bottle a month and many enjoyed decades of support for their health as a result of their contract with Harry Hoxsey. Today, many patients who visit Tijuana are given the tonic for half a year before commencing the use of the escharotic paste. They continue on the tonic, at lesser dosages for at least five years. Many take the tonic throughout their entire lives. Hoxsey advised patients that initially, they are likely to eliminate black, tarry substances. No patient has reported such an experience to me.

Hoxsey's Elixirex was actually more like a potassium iodide drink with a small amount of herbs added. Our tonic does not contain any potassium iodide. Irish moss provides a small amount of potassium iodide in a natural form, but our Sundance Elixir is an elegant herbal tonic, made in the herbal tradition, not as a replica of the Hoxsey Elixirex.

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For more information on the research surrounding this tonic, visit the web site that maintains a list of links to professional publications and investigations of Hoxsey's treatment. For the report on the ingredients in Hoxsey's formulae, read the report commissioned by the U.S. Congress.

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For possible hazards associated with improper use of escharotics, please read some of the letters on the bulletin board. To understand that a virtually ideal outcome is also possible, read case history #1.

 

 

     
   

More on Herbal Tonics

           
     

Much of the material on this site is historic or ethnobotanical in origin. The information presented is not intended to replace the services of a qualified health care professional. All products discussed on this site are best used under the guidance of an experienced practitioner.

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Copyright by Ingrid Naiman 2000, 2001, 2005

 
     

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