Is the cure for cancer to be found in everyday backyard weeds? If Harry Hoxsey was right, the cure is all around us -- dating back to Indian herbal lore and Hoxsey's father's experiments on horses.
Hoxsey was a pioneer in alternative cancer therapies and one of the most vilified people in the history of medicine, arrested more than 100 times for practicing without a license. His therapy: a "tonic" and a paste. The former cured "internal" cancers. The latter, "external" ones. After allegedly curing tens of thousands of patients and boasting an 80% cure rate, Hoxsey was finally run out of America, setting up shop in Tijuana.
Hoxsey: How Healing Becomes a Crime is a frightfully one-sided look at Hoxsey, putting him on a pedestal and spending its entire running time explaining his life as that of a misunderstood genius and victim of mammoth conspiracy and his therapy as the products of genius. Numerous patients of his offshore clinics (now being run by others, as Hoxsey is dead) are interviewed, as are various experts and journalists who have become convinced of his claims.
And yet, so much about Hoxsey reeks of Elmer Gantry-style hokum that it's difficult to take seriously, even if his claims of thousands of cured cancer patients is true. Looking at the old school tonic bottles and red-as-brick herbal paste, stored in a plastic jug, make you wonder how anyone could take this stuff seriously. And the sane among us would wonder as well whether there isn't some little bit of validity to those 100 arrests, AMA censure, and so on. Either Hoxsey is right, or everyone else is. I'm still not convinced that, based on one documentary, Hoxsey isn't much more than a lucky quack.