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Hoxsey formula

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Related terms
Background
Evidencetable
Tradition
Dosing
Safety
Interactions
Attribution
Bibliography

Related Terms
  • Antimony trisulfide, aromatic USP 14, arsenic sulfide, berberis root, bloodroot, buckthorn bark, burdock, cascara, licorice, pokeroot, prickly ash bark, red clover, stillingia root, sulfur, talc, trichloroacetic acid, zinc chloride.

Background
  • "Hoxsey formula" is a misleading name because it is not a single formula, but rather is a therapeutic regimen consisting of an oral tonic, topical (on the skin) preparations, and supportive therapy. The tonic is individualized for cancer patients based on their general condition, the location of their cancer, and their previous history of treatment. An ingredient that usually remains constant for every patient is potassium iodide. Other ingredients are then added and may include licorice, red clover, burdock, stillingia root, berberis root, pokeroot, cascara, Aromatic USP 14, prickly ash bark, and buckthorn bark. A red paste may be used, which tends to be caustic (irritating), and contains antimony trisulfide, zinc chloride, and bloodroot. A topical yellow powder may be used and contains arsenic sulfide, talc, sulfur, and a "yellow precipitate." A clear solution may also be administered and contains trichloroacetic acid.

Evidence Table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. GRADE *


The original "Hoxsey formula" was developed in the mid-1800s, when a horse belonging to John Hoxsey was observed to recover from cancer after feeding in a field of wild plants. These plants were collected and used to create a remedy that was initially given to ill animals. Different historical accounts state various herbs included in the original formula. The formula was passed down in the Hoxsey family, and John Hoxsey's great-grandson Harry Hoxsey, an Illinois coal miner, marketed an herbal mixture for cancer and promoted himself as an herbal healer.

The first Hoxsey clinic opened in the 1920s in Illinois, and Hoxsey therapy became popular for cancer in the United States during the 1940s and 1950s, with clinics operating in multiple states. The Hoxsey clinic in Dallas was one of the largest privately owned cancer hospitals in the world. However, after legal conflicts with the American Medical Association and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the last U.S. clinic closed in the 1950s. The formula was passed to Mildred Nelson, a nurse in the clinic, who used the formula to open and operate a Hoxsey clinic in Tijuana, Mexico.

There is a lack of well-designed human studies available evaluating the safety or effectiveness of Hoxsey formula.

C
* Key to grades

A: Strong scientific evidence for this use
B: Good scientific evidence for this use
C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use
D: Fair scientific evidence for this use (it may not work)
F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likley does not work)


Tradition / Theory

The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.

  • Elimination of toxins, improving/normalizing cell metabolism.

Dosing

Adults (18 years and older)

  • No specific doses can be recommended, either based on human use or scientific study.

Children (younger than 18 years)

  • There is a lack of reliable scientific evidence to support the safe or effective use of the Hoxsey formula in children.

Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

Allergies

  • Allergy/hypersensitivity to burdock root, potassium iodide, licorice, red clover, stillingia root, berberis root, pokeroot, cascara, prickly ash bark, and buckthorn bark (which all may be contained in the oral Hoxsey tonic) may cause an allergic reaction.

Side Effects and Warnings

  • Well-designed safety studies of the Hoxsey formula are currently unavailable. It is not known if concentrations of the various ingredients are great enough to cause side effects that may be associated with those ingredients when used alone in therapeutic amounts.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • There is a lack of reliable scientific study of the Hoxsey formula in pregnant or breastfeeding women. Safety is unknown, and therefore use cannot be recommended.

Interactions

Interactions with Drugs

  • There is a lack of published scientific evidence available of drug interactions with the Hoxsey formula. It is not known if concentrations of the various ingredients are great enough to cause interactions that may be associated with those ingredients when used alone in therapeutic amounts. The formula may include administration of antimony trisulphide, Aromatic USP 14, arsenic sulfide, berberis root, bloodroot, buckthorn bark, burdock, licorice, pokeroot, cascara, potassium iodide, prickly ash bark, red clover, stillingia root, sulfur, talc, trichloroacetic acid, and/or zinc chloride.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

  • Scientific evidence of herb or supplement interactions with the Hoxsey formula is currently unavailable. It is not known if concentrations of the various ingredients are great enough to cause interactions that may be associated with those ingredients when used alone in therapeutic amounts. The formula may include administration of antimony trisulphide, Aromatic USP 14, arsenic sulfide, berberis root, bloodroot, buckthorn bark, burdock, licorice, pokeroot, cascara, potassium iodide, prickly ash bark, red clover, stillingia root, sulfur, talc, trichloroacetic acid, and/or zinc chloride.

Attribution
  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).

Bibliography
  1. Austin S, Baumgartner E, DeKadt S. Long term follow-up of cancer patients using Contreras, Hoxsey and Gerson therapies. J Naturopathic Med 1995; 5(1):74-76.
  2. Gebland H. The hoxsey treatment. Unconventional Cancer Treatments. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1990:75-81.
  3. Hartwell JL. Plants used against cancer. A survey. Lloydia 1971;34(1):103-160.
  4. Morton JF. Medicinal plants--old and new. Bull Med Libr Assoc 1968;56(2):161-167.

Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)


The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

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