Harry Hoxsey - An Introduction to His Life and Work
by Katherine Smith

Harry Hoxsey was born in 1902, into a family which had been successfully curing cancer for several generations using herbal medicine. According to Hoxsey, the healing power of the herbs used in the family's secret formula was discovered by his great grandfather in the nineteenth century.

In 1840 or thereabouts John Hoxsey had a horse which became sick with a cancerous sore. He fully expected the animal to die, but when it seemed to be miraculously gaining in strength, he observed the animal closely. He noticed that the horse would go and eat the wild herbs ("weeds") in a certain corner of its paddock. By the time the horse made a full recovery from the cancer which had threatened its life, John Hoxsey had become convinced it was the herbs which it had consumed which were responsible for its reprieve from death.

He refined the herbs over the years, treating other animals afflicted with cancer. In time he developed an herbal tonic to be taken internally as well as a powdered formula—which could be mixed into a paste—to be applied to external lesions and tumors.

When John Hoxsey died, he passed the knowledge of his cancer treatment to his son, who later passed the knowledge down to his son, Harry's father.

Harry Hoxsey was told the secret formula of the family's anti-cancer preparations by his father when the older man was on his death bed. (See inset "The Hoxsey Family Formulas" on page 116 for a listing of the herbs.) At that time, the eighteen-year-old Harry Hoxsey was already skilled in the application of the powdered formula to skin cancers. He was also familiar with the dosage for the herbal tonic, having assisted his father in the unofficial cancer clinic he had held in the evenings after his work.

With his father's death, however, Harry Hoxsey gained not only the responsibility of being the sole inheritor of an important cure for cancer, but also the responsibility for taking over his father's role of supporting the family.

Harry Hoxsey worked hard at a number of jobs, including coal miner, since he not only had to provide for his mother and younger siblings, but he also dreamed of going to medical school. Hoxsey believed that if he were to become a bona fide M.D., he would be able to carry on the family tradition of healing cancer without fear of censure, or being prosecuted for practicing medicine without a license.

To this end, he resolved not to treat any people with cancer until he had qualified as a doctor. However, after he was approached by an old friend of his father who had cancer, Hoxsey concluded that he couldn't withhold a life-saving treatment from someone who needed his help. After this first unofficial patient was cured of his cancer, word spread and Hoxsey soon found his skills in demand.

As a consequence of successfully treating cancer patients as an unqualified healer, Hoxsey found that his dream of becoming a doctor was to remain unfulfilled. The word had been put out within the community of organized medicine to blacklist the untutored young man who was treating cancer patients more successfully than the vast majority of the medical profession of the time (with a few notable renegade exceptions such as Dr. Max Gerson). No medical school in the United States would accept Hoxsey as a student.

For the rest of his working life, Hoxsey by virtue of his lack of formal qualifications was officially employed in his own clinics as a technical assistant by other doctors who were brave enough to face AMA reprisals and work with him.

Hoxsey also spent the rest of his life being harassed by the AMA (American Medical Asssociation), whose actions periodically forced him to close the clinics where he was successfully treating cancer, and move on to another location. Hoxsey, charged only modest fees for his cancer treatment in accordance to a promise he had made to his dying father. He never charged anyone who could prove they were unable to pay, but he was rewarded for his humanitarianism by being hauled into court over one hundred times for "practicing medicine without a license." Representatives of organized medicine even manipulated Hoxsey's own family into bringing a civil suit against him, having duped them into believing that Hoxsey had stolen a valuable economic asset from the family when his father had relinquished the secret formulas to him.

Despite his continued persecution by the AMA, Hoxsey remained hopeful that his cancer curing formulas might eventually be accepted by the medical profession. He submitted documented case studies to various official bodies as proof of the efficacy of his treatment. He also put out a Suppressed Inventions and Other Discoveries bold challenge to the medical profession: that if he were allowed to choose his own cancer cases so that he would not be faced with the impossible task of trying to treat people who were on death's doorstep, he would guarantee that 80 percent of those people he treated would be cured.

Organized medicine continued to persecute and prosecute Hoxsey, even though in court his enemies publicly acknowledged that his treatment had merit. Despite this admission, Hoxsey's treatment for cancer was nonetheless driven out of the United States in 1963.


Like the unconventional nutritional theory devised by Dr. Max Gerson, those doctors—and patients—who wish to use Hoxsey's external powders and herbal formula have been forced to relocate their practice out of the United States, in Tijuana, Mexico—a long way away from the hundreds of thousands of people most in need of their assistance.

The Hoxsey Family Formulas

Originally developed in the nineteenth century by John Hoxsey, the Hoxsey Therapy for cancer has been passed down from generation to generation. This therapy is comprised of herbs and other substances believed to have antitumor effects. Some of these substances are combined to form a tonic that is taken internally, while others are used to make a salve designed to heal external lesions.


The following shows the specific ingredients used in each of the Hoxsey therapies:

Internal tonic:

  • licorice root

  • potassium iodide

  • Cascara amarga

  • red clover

  • prickly ash bark

  • buckthorn bark

  • burdock root

External paste:

  • stillingia root

  • zinc chloride

  • berberis root

  • antimony trisulfide

  • pokeberries and root

  • bloodroot

For those who cannot travel to get these formulas, there are companies in the United States that sell similar combinations designed to have the same effect.

The AMA's Successful Attempt to Suppress My Cure for Cancer
by Harry M. Hoxsey, N.D.

One of the landmarks of Taylorville was the three-story converted residence on Main Street occupied by the local Loyal Order of Moose. My friend and former patient Fred Auchenbach, an official of the Lodge, informed us that the board of trustees might be induced to sell the property if persuaded that it would be employed for a worthy purpose. There was plenty of room not only for our rapidly-expanding clinic, but for a twenty-five bed hospital. He said his bank would finance the entire transaction.

Accordingly one Sunday afternoon in March, accompanied by Dr. Miller, I appeared before a meeting of the membership in the auditorium of the Lodge and presented our proposal. To reinforce my arguments nearly a dozen of my cured patients were present including Larkin, McVicker, Hunter, Bulpitt, Mrs. Sleighbough, Mrs. Stroud and Fred Baugh, secretary of the Lodge. After hearing their testimony the members voted unanimously to sell us the building.

At this point a stranger in the audience demanded the floor. He identified himself as Lucius O. V. Everhard, an insurance broker and member of a Moose Lodge in Chicago. He said he'd recently written a large policy on the life of Dr. Malcolm L. Harris, chief surgeon at the Alexian Brothers and the Henrotin Memorial hospitals in Chicago, and a power in the American Medical Association (he later became its President).

"If half of what I've heard today is true," Everhard declared, "Taylorville is too small to hold this clinic. Cancer is a national calamity. If Hoxsey is willing I'll telephone Dr. Harris and try to get his support for a clinic in Chicago, where the Hoxsey treatment can reach a wider audience."

I was more than willing, I was excited and elated. Here was the answer to all my problems. With the backing of Dr. Harris, medical recognition of the Hoxsey treatment was a foregone conclusion. Moreover his recommendation would be an "Open, Sesame" to any medical school in the country.

Everhard immediately put through a long-distance call, reached the eminent AMA official at his home, poured out what he'd just seen and heard, and urged that Dr. Miller and I be permitted to demonstrate our treatment on patients at one of the Chicago hospitals.


There was a pause, then came the reply:

"Have them meet me tomorrow morning at 8:30 at the south door of the Alexian Brothers Hospital!"

The distance from Taylorville to Chicago by road is more than 200 miles. Setting out in my car immediately after dinner that same night Everhard, Dr. Miller and I arrived at our destination just before midnight. We checked into the Sherman Hotel. Bright and early next morning we were waiting outside the hospital.

Promptly at 8:25 a shiny black Locomobile piloted by a chauffeur drew up at the door and Dr. Harris alighted. He was a thin, slightly-built gentleman (about 5 feet 6 inches tall) in his late fifties with steel-gray hair and a small, closely-cropped mustache. Well dressed and carefully groomed, he moved with the dignity and self-assurance of a man of distinction. As he gave me a limp hand and inspected me from head to foot I was painfully conscious of my rough, calloused miner's paws and ill-fitting store clothes, my Sunday best.


Leading the way into the hospital, he said:

"I have a patient I want you to see. Frankly, he's a terminal case. We've done all we can for him, so there's no harm in experimenting. I don't expect you to cure him. But if your treatment produces no unfavorable reaction, we'll go ahead and try it on other cases not so far advanced.'"

That sounded fair enough. We took the elevator to the third floor where we were met by Dr. Daniel Murphy, the resident in charge. After a brief conference with Dr. Harris he took us to the room where the patient lay.

Thomas Mannix, 66-year-old former desk sergeant at the Sheffield Avenue Police Station, seemed more dead than alive. His cadaverous appearance was enhanced by a head completely bald except for a fringe of gray hair, sunken orbs, long sharp nose and grizzled mustache over a bony chin. The mottled skin hung loosely from his scrawny neck, his once-burly frame had shrunk to little more than 70 pounds.


The chart at the foot of his bed showed that a prodigious amount of morphine was being administered at regular intervals to dull his pain. Unfastening the patient's gown, Dr. Murphy drew it away from the left shoulder and disclosed a hideous mass of diseased flesh about six inches in diameter. It was seared and baked by intensive X-ray treatment which had, however, failed to halt the progress of the disease.

After a minute examination of the patient, Dr. Miller drew me aside and told me that in his opinion there wasn't a ghost of a chance that Mannix would survive our treatment. I was less pessimistic.


Bending over the bed, I said with deep conviction:

"Sarge, if you help us we'll pull you through. You can get well. It depends on how hard you fight. Do you understand me?"

He was too weak to reply verbally, but I was sure I detected a responsive flicker in his dull, faded eyes.

Dr. Harris and Dr. Murphy watched intently as I applied a thick coating of the yellow powder to the gaping lesion, and Dr. Miller put a dressing over it. We left a bottle of our internal medicine with directions that the patient receive a teaspoonful three times per day, and advised the two doctors that we would be back in a week to administer another treatment.

On our way back to Taylorville, Dr. Miller observed:

"If we pull this one through, it'll be a miracle!"

I patted his arm.

"Don't worry, Doc. Mrs. Stroud looked even worse when I first saw her, and she recovered. We've given Mannix hope. He'll fight for his life now. And that's half the battle."

My confidence was justified in full. Within two weeks the surface of the pustulant sore turned black and started to dry, a sure sign that our medicine was working on the malignancy.

Within four weeks a hard crust had formed, the cancer was shrinking and pulling away at the edges from the normal tissue. Moreover the rapid improvement in the patient's general physical condition amazed all who saw him. He was able to sit up now, his eyes were bright and alert and the pain had vanished, he no longer needed morphine to sustain him, his appetite had returned, he was beginning to pick up weight.

Two weeks later he was walking around, taking care of his physical needs, champing at the bit and impatient to get back to work.


When he saw us he chortled:

"I guess we fooled 'em, didn't we, Doc? Can't wait to get back to the station house and see the look on the faces of the boys. They was all set to give me an Inspector's funeral."

His daughter Kate Mannix, a registered nurse who had assisted in the care of her father, stopped us in the corridor to express the gratitude of the family.

"We feel just as if he's been raised from the dead," she declared. "We'd given up hope. Anyone who's seen a loved one dying of cancer will know what a nightmare we've been through. Now we're just about the happiest people on earth. We'll remember you in all our prayers. And if there's any other way we can show our appreciation, please let us know."

To me these simple, heartfelt words were the richest reward any man could ask. That same day we informed Dr. Harris that necrosis of the cancerous mass in the policeman's shoulder was complete, it had separated from the normal tissue and could be lifted out within two days.


He could scarcely believe his ears, insisted on examining the patient himself.

"This is something I want every doctor in the hospital to witness," he asserted. "Would you be willing to perform that operation in the amphitheatre before the entire staff?"

Dr. Miller and I welcomed the opportunity.

That Wednesday at 10 A.M. when we arrived at the amphitheatre of the Alexian Brothers Hospital we found it buzzing with excitement. The gallery of seats surrounding the operating pit was crowded with more than sixty interns, house physicians and visiting doctors. Scrubbed and gowned, we took up our positions in the pit beside Dr. Harris. He cleared his throat, and the gallery suddenly was silent.

He began with a concise review of the case, detailed the various treatments given the patient, described the latter's condition when he was turned over to us. Then he introduced us and explained our procedure. When he'd finished the patient was wheeled in and we took over.

Dr. Miller removed the bandages from Mannix's shoulder. Self-conscious and tense with awareness that scores of trained eyes were following every move under the bright operating light, I picked up the forceps, scraped and probed the black mass of necrosed tissue. It moved freely at the perimeter but was still anchored at the base. I worked it loose, lifted it out with the forceps, deposited it on the white enamel tray provided for that purpose. And that's all there was to the operation.

Dr. Harris inspected the cavity left by the tumor. There was no sign of blood, pus or abnormal tissue, clean scar tissue already had begun to form.

"In time it will heal level with the surrounding flesh," I told him. "There will be no need for plastic surgery."

Shaking his head incredulously, he declared:

"It's amazing, if I hadn't seen it I wouldn't believe it!"

Then, looking closer:

"What about the necrosis in the clavicular bone?"

"That was caused by X-ray. It too will slough off."

Doctors and interns filled the pit and crowded around the operating table, inspecting the patient, examining the necrosed tissue, firing questions at Dr. Miller and me. The entire demonstration had taken less than half an hour but it was nearly noon before we could break away. Dr. Harris accompanied us to the door and asked where we were stopping.

I told him I was at the Sherman Hotel, and would remain there a couple of days before returning to Taylorville. He promised to get in touch with us before we left. On our way back to the hotel I was jubilant.

"We did it! Now they'll have to admit that we have a treatment that cures cancer!"

Dr. Miller smiled skeptically.

"It's not that easy. Wait until Harris gets a chance to think it over and discusses it with other doctors. They'll come up with all kinds of reasons why our treatment wasn't responsible for the patient's recovery. There's more at stake here than you think—prestige, and money, millions invested in X-ray and radium equipment..."

At that time it sounded fantastic, and I quickly changed the subject.

Early next morning I was awakened by a telephone call from Dr. Harris.

"I'd like to have a talk with you," he said. "I'm at my office in the Field Annex, about two blocks from your hotel. Can you come right over?"

Glancing at my watch, I discovered that it was just 7:15 A.M. I agreed to meet him in half an hour. Hastily I showered, shaved, threw on my clothes and—postponing breakfast—set off to keep the appointment.

Dr. Harris occupied an extensive suite on the seventh floor of the imposing office building. Bristling with early morning energy he met me at the door, ushered me into his private office, motioned me into a chair beside his desk.


Surveying me appraisingly, he began:

"Hoxsey, the demonstration you put on yesterday has opened up an entirely new vista in the treatment of cancer. I spent most of last evening discussing the Mannix case with some of my colleagues, and they agree that his amazing recovery is convincing evidence that chemical com-pounds such as you use offer the best hope to eradicate this disease. It's not just the yellow powder you used; that I suppose is an escharotic.* It's the amazing improvement in his general condition as the result of the medicine you've been giving him."


* A substance that causes a dry scab to be formed on skin.

This was it, the official recognition I'd been seeking so avidly. Giddy with triumph, I could scarcely control an impulse to jump up and grate-fully shake his hand.

"Of course," he cautioned, "it's much too early to say that Mannix is cured of cancer. There may be a recurrence; we'll have to wait five years or more before we can reach a definite conclusion. Moreover we can't be sure that your treatment actually cures cancer until we've tried it out on hundreds of other patients and thus can evaluate its effectiveness."

I broke in eagerly:

"We can show you hundreds of people who've already taken our treatment and been cured!"

He shook his head impatiently.

"That's not scientific proof. We must set up a large-scale experiment under absolute medical controls. Our doctors must select the cases treated so that we're treating cancer; they must administer the treatment in order to determine the effective dosage, unfavorable reactions etc.; the patients must be kept under constant medical observation to ward off the possibility that some other factor may account for their recovery. It's a long-range project involving technical skill, hard work and considerable expense."

He paused significantly.

"Dr. Harris," I assured him fervently, "I'll cooperate 100 percent in any experiments you care to make with the Hoxsey treatment. All I want is the opportunity to prove that it actually cures cancer, and is made available as widely as possible to relieve human suffering."

He nodded approvingly. Opening a drawer in his desk he produced a sheaf of papers fastened together with a clip and handed it to me.

"I was sure you'd feel that way about it, so I had my lawyers draw up a contract. Read it, sign it and we'll get busy at once in setting up an organization to handle the experiments."

There were ten double-spaced, typewritten, legal sized sheets in the contract. I read slowly, struggling with the involved, unfamiliar legal terms. Dr. Harris arose and strolled over to the window, contemplating the vast expanse of Lake Michigan in the distance.

By the time I reached the bottom of the second page I discovered that I was to turn over all the formulas of the Hoxsey treatment to Dr. Harris and his associates, and relinquish all claims to them. They would become the personal property of the doctors named in the contract.

On the following page it specified that I was to mix and deliver 10 barrels of the internal medicine, 50 pounds of the powder and 100 pounds of the yellow ointment, and instruct a representative of the doctors in the method of mixing these compounds.

Farther along I agreed to close my cancer clinic and henceforth take no active part in the treatment of cancer.

My reward for all this was set forth on next to the last page. It appeared that during a ten-year experimental period I would receive no financial remuneration. After that I was to get 10 percent of the net profits. Dr. Harris and his associates would set the fees—and collect 90 percent of the proceeds.

Stunned and appalled by this incredible document, I turned back and reread the principal clauses to make sure my eyes weren't playing me tricks. There it was, all neatly typed in black and white.


The eminent doctor turned away from the window, seated himself behind his desk and favored me with a nonchalant smile.

"Well," he said heartily, "I trust it's all clear to you."

It was all too clear. He and his friends were trying to trick me out of the family formulas, abscond with the fame and prestige attached to the discovery of a real cure for cancer, and thereby enrich themselves fabulously at my expense and the expense of millions of helpless cancer victims. Disillusioned and angry, I could scarcely speak.


Finally I found my voice.

"Before signing this," I said carefully, "I'd like to show it to a lawyer. Mr. Samuel Shaw Parks, who has offices in the Delaware Building on Randolph Street, was my father's attorney. I'll consult him and be guided by his advice. Perhaps he'll suggest some changes...."

Dr. Harris' smile turned frosty.

"There won't be any changes," he snapped. "We've set forth the only conditions under which your treatment can be ethically established. Unless you accept them in their entirety, no reputable doctor will have anything to do with you or your treatment."

With considerable effort I kept a tight rein on my temper. He has a powerful organization behind him, I kept telling myself. You mustn't antagonize him.

"In any case, I'll have to have some time to think over your proposition." I stood up. His eyes, friendly as a cobra's, took my full measure. "Hoxsey," he said levelly, "until you sign that contract you can't see Sgt. Mannix again."

He picked up the telephone, called the hospital, asked for the superintendent, Brother Anthony.

"This is Dr. Harris. Until further orders, neither Hoxsey nor Dr. Miller are to be admitted to your hospital, or to communicate in any way with the patient Thomas Mannix."

I waited until he hung up the receiver, then seized the telephone and called the Mannix home. Before I could be connected Dr. Harris reached over the desk and tried to take the telephone away from me. My left elbow flipped up, caught him squarely in the chest and sent him flying into his chair. It promptly toppled over, depositing him in a most undignified position on the floor.

Miss Mannix came on the wire and I explained the situation to her.

"If you want your father to get well you'd better get him out of the hospital and take him home. I'll be over to see him this evening and change the dressings."

She assured me she'd get him home immediately. Dr. Harris picked himself off the floor, his dignity considerably ruffled, his face as red as a boiled lobster.

"You'll never get away with this!" he shrilled. "If you as much as touch that patient I'll have you arrested for practicing medicine without a license. As long as you live you'll never treat cancer again. We'll close down your clinic, run you and that quack doctor of yours out of Illinois. Try and set up anywhere else in this country and you'll wind up in jail."

Without bothering to reply I walked out.

Returning to the hotel, I received a telephone call from Dr. Miller. He was in a booth across the street from the Alexian Brothers Hospital, where he'd gone to see our patient. They'd refused to let him in. I explained what had happened at Dr. Harris' office. When I finished, there was a long silence.


Finally he sighed:

"Well, that does it. Harris won't rest now until he's put us out of business. You've made yourself a powerful enemy. It's not just a few local doctors you have to reckon with now, it's the whole Medical Association. They'll hound you and blacken your name, and that of everyone associated with you, from one end of the country to the other. You're young and brash, but how long do you think you can go on bucking the entire medical profession?"

I didn't hesitate a moment.

"Until I prove to the world that I can cure cancer. As my Daddy once told me, there's one thing doctors can't do, and that's put back the cancers we remove. Don't worry about me, Doc. I can take anything they dish out. How about you?"

His voice came back strong over the wire:

"I still say a doctor's first duty is to his patients. I'll string along with you, my boy."

He waited outside while Kate Mannix, over the strenuous objection of hospital authorities, signed her father out of the institution. When they finally emerged he helped them into a cab and escorted them home.


There we continued to treat the policeman until he was fully recovered, three months later.

Letter from U.S. Senator Elmer Thomas,

explaining his failure to obtain official investigation of Hoxsey treatment.


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