The Hoxsey Legend
Illinois horse farmer John Hoxsey found his prize stallion with
a malignant tumor on its right hock. As a Quaker, he couldn't
bear shooting the animal, so he put it out to pasture to die
peacefully. Three weeks later, he noticed the tumor stabilizing,
and observed the animal browsing knee-deep in a corner of the
pasture with a profusion of weeds, eating plants not part of its
Within three months the tumor dried up and began to separate
from the healthy tissue. The farmer retreated to the barn, where
he began to experiment with these herbs revealed to him by
"horse sense." He devised three formulas: an internal tonic, an
herbal-mineral red paste, and a mineral-based yellow powder for
external use. Within a year the horse was well, and the
veterinarian became locally famous for treating animals with
The farmer's grandson John C. Hoxsey, a veterinarian in southern
Illinois, was the first to try the remedies on people, and
claimed positive results. His son Harry showed an early interest
and began working with him at the age of eight. When John
suffered an untimely accident, he bequeathed the formulas to the
fifteen-year-old boy with a charge to treat poor people for
free, and to minister to all races, creeds, and religions
He asked that the treatment carry the Hoxsey name. Finally, he
warned the boy against the "High Priests of Medicine" who would
fight him tooth-and-nail because he was taking money out of
Hoxsey planned to go to medical school to bring the treatment to
the world, but soon found he had been blackballed after secretly
treating several terminal patients who pled for their lives.
With a local banker backing him, he founded the first Hoxsey
Cancer Clinic in 1924, championed by the chamber of commerce and
high school marching bands on Main Street.
As early word of his reputed successes spread, Hoxsey was
invited to nearby Chicago, headquarters of the newly powerful
AMA, to demonstrate the treatment. Grisly and indisputable
photographic proof of the terminal case Hoxsey treated verifies
that the patient recovered, living on for twelve years,
Hoxsey then claimed that a high AMA official offered him a
contract for the rights to the formulas. The alleged agreement
assigned the property rights to a consortium of doctors
including Dr. Morris Fishbein, the AMA chief and editor of the
JAMA. Hoxsey himself would be required to cease any further
practice, to be awarded a small percentage of profits after ten
years if the treatment panned out.
Invoking his Quaker father's deathbed charge that poor people be
treated for free and that the treatment carry the family name,
Hoxsey said the official threatened to hound him out of business
unless he acquiesced.
Whatever may have happened, that's when the battle started.
The AMA first denied the entire incident, then later
acknowledged the patient's remission, though crediting it to
prior treatments by surgery and radiation.
Yet one thing was certain: Hoxsey had made a very powerful
enemy. By crossing swords with Fishbein, he alienated the most
powerful figure in medicine. The AMA promptly dubbed him the
worst cancer quack of the century, and he would be arrested more
times than any other person in medical history.
Hoxsey quickly found himself opposing Fishbein's emerging
As late as 1900, medicine was therapeutically pluralistic and
Doctors had the highest suicide rate of any profession owing to
their extreme poverty and low social standing.
Fishbein's AMA would engineer an industrialized medical
What radically tipped the balance of power was an arranged
marriage between big business and organized medicine.
Under Fishbein's direction, the AMA sailed into a golden harbor
of prosperity fueled by surgery, radiation, drugs, and a
sprawling high-tech hospital system.
The corporatization of medicine throttled diversity. The code
word for competition was quackery.
It was easy for the medical profession to paint Hoxsey as a
quack: he fit the image perfectly.
Brandishing his famed tonic bottle, the ex-coal miner arrived
straight from central casting as the stereotype of the snake-oil
When the AMA coerced the pathologist who performed Hoxsey's
biopsies to cease and desist, Hoxsey could no longer verify the
validity of his reputed successes.
Organized medicine quickly adopted the stance that his alleged
"cures" fell into three categories: those who never had cancer
in the first place; those who were cured by prior radiation and
surgery; and those who died.
In exasperation, Hoxsey attempted an end run by approaching the
National Cancer Institute.
In close collaboration with the AMA, the federal agency refused
his application for a test because his medical records did not
include all the biopsies.
Meanwhile Hoxsey struck oil in Texas and used his riches to
promote his burgeoning clinic and finance his court battles.
Piqued at Hoxsey's rise, Fishbein struck back in the public
media, penning an inflammatory article in the Hearst Sunday
papers entitled "Blood Money," in a classic example of purple
prose and yellow journalism.
Outraged, Hoxsey sued Fishbein.
In two consecutive trials, Hoxsey beat Fishbein, standing as the
first person labeled a "quack" to defeat the AMA in court.
During the trials, Hoxsey's lawyers revealed that Fishbein had
failed anatomy in medical school, never completed his
internship, and never practiced a day of medicine in his entire
By now Fishbein was mired in multiple scandals, including his
effective but unpopular obstruction of national health insurance
at a time when doctors had become the richest professionals in
the country and the Journal the most profitable publication in
Drug ads powered JAMA, but its biggest single advertiser in the
1940s was Phillip Morris.
(Camel cigarettes had the largest booth at the AMA's 1948
convention, boasting in its ads that "More doctors smoke Camels
than any other cigarette.")
Enmeshed in controversy, Fishbein's stock was trading low, and,
shortly after his first loss to Hoxsey, the AMA chief was
deposed in a humiliating spectacle.
But ironically Hoxsey's stunning dark-horse victory against the
"most terrifying trade organization on Earth" only ended up
bringing the house down.
He immediately faced a decade-long "quackdown" by the FDA.
By the 1950s, Hoxsey was riding what was arguably the largest
alternative-medicine movement in American history.
A survey by the Chicago Medical Society showed 85 percent of
people still using "drugless healers."
Hoxsey's Dallas stronghold grew to be the world's largest
privately owned cancer center with 12,000 patients and branches
spreading to seventeen states.
Congressmen, judges, and even some doctors ardently supported
his quest for an investigation.
Two federal courts upheld the therapeutic value of the
Even his archenemies, the American Medical Association and the
Food and Drug Administration, admitted that the therapy does
cure certain forms of cancer.
JAMA itself had published the research of a respected physician
who got results superior to surgery using a red paste identical
to Hoxsey's for skin cancers including lethal melanoma, a skin
cancer that also spreads internally.
Medical authorities escalated their quackdown in the McCarthyite
wake of the 1950s.
On the heels of a California law criminalizing all cancer
treatments except surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, the
federal government finally outlawed Hoxsey entirely in the
United States in 1960 on questionable technicalities.
Chief nurse Mildred Nelson took the clinic to Tijuana in 1963,
abandoning any hope of operating in the United States.
It was the first alternative clinic to set up shop south of the
Mildred quietly treated another 30,000 patients there until her
death in 1999.
Like Hoxsey, she claimed a high success rate, but her contention
is unverifiable since the treatment has yet to be rigorously
Hoxsey never claimed a panacea or cure-all.
He maintained that the Dallas doctors used his clinic as a
"dumping ground" for hopeless cases, and that the great majority
of patients he got were terminal, having already had the limit
of surgery and radiation.
He said he cured about 25 percent of those. Of virgin cases with
no prior treatment, he claimed an 80 percent success rate.
Seventy-five years after Hoxsey began, why do we still not know
the validity of his claims?
More on Hoxsey
The Hoxsey Remedies
Harry Hoxsey, born 1901, was an ex-coalminer
with an 8th grade education. From the 1920s to
the 1950s Harry Hoxsey and his natural remedies
would wage the fiercest battle with conventional
medicine this country has ever seen. The
remedies were handed down by Harry's great
grandfather, John Hoxsey. John, a veterinarian,
had observed a horse he owned heal itself of
cancer by eating certain herbs in his pasture.
John used the herbs to heal other animals of
Over the years other natural products were added
and the remedy was tried on humans. The Hoxsey
treatment comprised of two components. A herbal
tonic which cleansed the body and boosted the
immune system and an external paste for tumors
outside the body. Harry opened his first clinic
in Dallas in 1924. By 1950 he was the largest
privately owned cancer clinic in America,
represented in seventeen States. Although
thousands of cancer patients swore that Hoxsey
had cured them of cancer, Harry was branded a
"quack" and charlatan by the medical community.
Dallas District Attorney, Al Templeton, detested
Hoxsey and arrested him an unprecedented one
hundred times in two years. Hoxsey would bail
himself out within a day or two because
Templeton could never persuade any of Harry's
patients to testify against him. Templeton vowed
to put Hoxsey away for good, until his own
brother secretly used the Hoxsey therapy. His
cancer disappeared and Templeton gave Hoxsey the
credit. In a startling about face, Al Templeton
became Hoxsey's lawyer and one of his greatest
advocates. In 1939, Esquire magazine writer
James Wakefield Burke was asked to write a piece
on Hoxsey and expose him as a quack. James
recalls; "I came to Texas, I expected to stay
about a day, get my information, and leave. I
became fascinated. I stayed for six weeks, every
day Harry would pick me up, bring me to the
clinic. "...He would put his arm around these
old men and woman, say, "Dad, them doctors been
cutting you up, I ain't gonna let them
sons-o-bitches kill you...He'd treat them and
they'd get better and begin to get well."
James wrote an article entitled, "The Quack That
Cured Cancer," but Esquire did not publish it.
The late Mildred Nelson treated people with the
Hoxsey method for some fifty years, but
initially she also thought Hoxsey was a fraud.
Mildred's mother, Della, had contracted uterine
cancer and orthodox medicine had given up on
her. Mildred's mother and father wanted to try
the Hoxsey treatment. Mildred recalls trying to
talk them out of it; "...I thought well, I'll
talk mum out of it you know...they didn't budge.
So I thought, well, I'll go down there and see
what's going on, then I can get them out of it."
"I called Harry and asked him if he still needed
a nurse, "I sure do, be here in the morning."
...By the end of a year I began to realize, gee
this does help, mum had gotten better and to
this day is alive and sassy as can be."
Mildred Nelson and James Burke had done
something the National Cancer Institute has
never done; investigate Hoxsey and his
treatments first hand. They found him to be a
caring and effective healer who was not
profiting from cancer patients. Harry had swore
on his fathers death bed that everyone would
have access to the remedy, regardless of their
ability to pay. As Harry said; "I don't have to
do this kind of work, I've got more oil wells
than a lot of men call themselves big
producers...Any man that would traffic on sick,
dying, limp the lame or the blind caused from
cancer is the worst scoundrel on earth."
Still, the Hoxsey treatment does not work for
everybody. Ironically, Hoxsey himself contracted
prostate cancer, but had to resort to surgery
when his remedies did not work for him. It was
not long before the infamous Morris Fishbein of
the AMA heard about the Hoxsey treatment and
wanted to buy sole rights to it, with some other
AMA doctors. Hoxsey would only agree if it
stated in the contract that everyone would have
access to the treatments, not just a wealthy
few. Fishbein refused and so began a 25-year
battle, fought in the media, between Fishbein
The mudslinging culminated in a lawsuit brought
by Hoxsey against Fishbein. Much to everyone's
amazement, Hoxsey won the case. Even so, in the
late 1950's the FDA closed down all of Hoxsey's
clinics. Mildred Nelson took the treatment to
Tijuana Mexico in 1963. Mildred treated
thousands of patients with cancer until her
death (her sister has taken over) in 1999. By
all accounts, Mildred was one of the finest,
most compassionate caregivers you are ever
likely to find. While thousands state that
Mildred cured them of cancer and with medical
records to prove it, the National Cancer
Institute turns a blind eye.
Healing Cancer with Hoxsey: Testimonials
[also known as Vitamin B17/Nitrilosides]
In 1952 Dr. Ernst Krebs from San Francisco
advanced the theory that cancer is a deficiency
disease, similar to scurvy or pellagra. His
theory was that the cause of the disease was the
lack of an essential food compound in
modern-man's diet. He identified it as part of
the nitriloside family which is found in over
1200 edible plants. Nitriloside, generally
referred to as amygdalin, is especially
prevalent in the seeds of apricot, blackthorn
cherry, nectarine, peach, apples and others.
The best way for Krebs to prove his theory would
be to have thousands of people eat a diet very
high in amygdalin and monitor them. An
enormously costly exercise to say the least.
Fortunately for Krebs, the experiment had
already been carried out. Nestled between W.
Pakistan, India and China is the tiny kingdom of
Hunza. The people of Hunza consume 200 times
more amygdalin in their diet than the average
American. Visiting medical teams found them
cancer free. In 1973 Prince Mohammed Khan, son
of the Mir of Hunza told Charles Hillinger of
the LA Times the average age of his people is
about 85. More importantly, they live vigorous
and mentally alert lives up until a few days
before they die.
Only in recent years have the first few Hunza
cancer cases been reported. That is due to a
narrow road being carved in the mountain and
food from the "civilized" world is reaching
Hunza. In the 1970s the FDA mounted a widespread
and erroneous media campaign alleging that
amygdalin is toxic and dangerous because it
contains cyanide. Yes, it does, in minute
quantities. If you eat the seeds from a hundred
apples in a day you risk serious side effects,
possibly death. If you eat enormous amounts of
anything you run serious health risks. Aspirin
is twenty times more toxic than the same amount
Orthodox medicine says that Laetrile (a purified
form of amygdalin developed by Dr. Krebs) was
thoroughly tested and found to be worthless. The
longest and most famous Laetrile tests ever
performed were run for nearly five years at
America¡¯s most prestigious cancer research
center, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
in New York. At the conclusion of the trials, on
June 15, 1977, they released a press statement.
The press release read; "...Laetrile was found
to possess neither preventative, nor
tumor-regressent, nor anti-metastatic, nor
curative anticancer activity."
So that is it then, right? It does not get more
adamant than that, we can close the book on
Laetrile. Unfortunately for the officials at
Sloan-Kettering there was an unforeseen problem.
When a journalist asked Dr. Kanematsu Sugiura;
"Do you stick by your belief that Laetrile stops
the spread of cancer"? He replied, "I stick."
Those two words were a major embarrassment to
the accumulated demigods on the dais. The reason
being is that Dr. Kanematsu Sugiura was the
preeminent cancer researcher in America,
probably the world, at this time. Nobody had
ever questioned Sugiura's data in over sixty
years of cancer research before. Sugiura was
asked why Sloan-Kettering was against Laetrile.
"Why are they so much against it"? Sugiura
answered "I don't know. Maybe the medical
profession doesn't like it because they are
making too much money." Sugiura had to be proven
wrong. But other researchers had obtained
essentially the same positive results. Dr. Lloyd
Schloen a biochemist at Sloan-Kettering had
included proteolytic enzymes to his injections
and reported 100% cure rate among his albino
mice. This data had to be buried. They then
changed the protocols of the tests and amounts
of Laetrile to make certain that they failed.
Not surprisingly, they failed, and that is what
they reported. Sloan-Kettering's motives were
clearly revealed in the minutes of a meeting
that top officials held on July 2, 1974. The
discussions were private and candid. The fact
that numerous Sloan-Kettering officials were
convinced of the effectiveness of amygdalin is
obvious, they just were not sure as to the
degree of its effectiveness. But they were not
interested in further testing of this natural
product. The minutes read; "...Sloan-Kettering
is not enthusiastic about studying amygdalin
[Laetrile] but would like to study CN
Sloan-Kettering wanted a man-made patentable
chemical to mimic the qualities found in
amygdalin, because that is where the money is.
If a very effective cancer treatment or cure was
found in the lowly apricot seed, it would spell
economic disaster for the cancer industry.
Compare the book
World Without Cancer,
Ernst Krebs lecturing on Vitamin B17,
The Ultimate Cancer Conspiracy: Vitamin