The Wisdom of Dr. Eli Jones, One of the Greatest Physicians of All Time

“Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And departing leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time.”

~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (a favorite of Eli Jones)


In my opinion, one of the greatest physicians of all time—and perhaps the person that has influenced me more than any other in my clinical practice and pursuit of doing all that I can to help those with cancer—was Dr. Eli Jones, an American Eclectic physician. He was a master of knowing the specific actions and indications of each herb, and especially the applications of herbs for cancer.

The basic principles of Eclectic medicine can be distilled to these simple precepts:

  • Nature is the great physician who, if permitted and not interfered with, provides for our physical requirements.
  • Disease (dis-ease) of whatever nature is caused by a lack of equilibrium (an imbalance), the result of an abnormal condition in the body, or the result of congestion due to poor elimination.

Dr. Jones was a true Eclectic in that he read all medical textbooks of that time, including allopathic, Physiomedical, homeopathic, and of course, Eclectic. He believed in the exploration of every system of medicine, regardless of its origins, to discover and apply the most useful principles for the wellbeing of humanity. He combined his own botanical formulations (internal and topical) with simple Nature Cures such as hydrotherapy, and he also used some homeopathy.

Arnica montana

Eli Jones and His Approach To Cancer

Eli Jones practiced from the late nineteenth century into the early twentieth century and was the most successful doctor ever to treat cancer. He believed that a tumor is only a local manifestation of a constitutional (or blood) disease and that the underlying cause—a weakened constitution—must be addressed to successfully cure the cancer. Cancer, like most diseases, affects the whole organism, and should be treated as such. Modern conventional medicine fails to recognize this, and instead focuses on removing the cancer through surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, all of which further weaken the constitution.

Eli Jones gave these four main reasons for the increase of cancer in America, England, and most of the modern world (note that he made these observations a century ago):

  • Stress: he called this “worriment of the mind.” Worrying weakness the nervous system, lowers vitality, and opens the way for the invasion of cancer.
  • Vaccinations: In all states and countries where vaccinations are mandatory, you find cancer on the increase.
  • Diet: Overeating meat coupled with a low intake of vegetables and fruit increases the incidence of cancer. In England, where cancer increased 4 ½ times over the last fifty years, meat consumption rose to an average of 131 pounds per year per person. In the La Grande Trappe monastery in France, where the diet excludes meat, tea, coffee, and other stimulants, there was not a single case of cancer for twenty-seven years.
  • The abuse of stimulants: This includes tea, coffee, alcohol, tobacco, etc.

“In America we are becoming a nation of nervous, hysterical people.  You must realize that if the nerve power falls below the normal standards there is danger of the invasion of cancer. What our people need to be taught is how to live.  Good pure water, good pure air helps you make good healthy red blood. Unadulterated food, mostly vegetables which are easily digested, keep the nervous system strong and vigorous. “STOP WORRYING and return to the simple way of life.”

~Eli Jones

Other Thoughts On Cancer By Eli Jones

In addition to his thoughts on the underlying causes of cancer,

Eli Jones offered many wise insights into the treatment of cancer, including the following:

  • Some doctors claim to treat cancer by giving their patients morphine to keep them doped up. Morphine, or any opiate in any form, dries up the secretions, weakens the vitality of your patient and interferes with the action of any other remedies.
  • To say that a disease is incurable because someone else has said it so, or to sit calmly down and repeat like a parrot “it cannot be cured” is inhumane and cowardly.
  • A surgeon can only cut out what is seen and felt under the knife, while millions of cancer cells grow and multiply in the blood, the nuclei of future cancer. Another fact that the surgeon forgets is that every operation is a shock to the nervous system; it lowers the nerve power, weakens the power of resistance to disease and thus encourages the invasion of cancer. With the understanding of the role COX-2 plays in angiogenesis, modern medicine is perhaps beginning to recognize this.
  • A medicated bath with Epsom salts is just as essential to a cure as any other treatment and must never be omitted. The Epsom salt bath assists the body by neutralizing toxins, opens the pores of the skin, feeds the blood with magnesium, soothes the nerves, and improves sleep, which is necessary for health and healing.
  • The tendency to “hive up” in a house for a person with cancer is wrong. (Today it is even worse, allowing a person with advanced cancer to deteriorate in a hospital bed for days and often weeks.) They need fresh air and exercise; make them walk outside every day, and teach them how to breathe deeply. Good blood depends on good air, pure food, and pure water. These three things your patients must have to get well.
  • Many doctors make the mistake of trying this remedy, or that remedy, hearing that is has cured cancer. DO NOT DO IT. Examine your patient carefully, take notice of everything and make assessment; then proceed to give the remedy that is indicated and no other. Commit yourself to a plan and stick to it.
  • Never form an opinion about a case until you have seen the case and examined it.
  • DO NOT allow yourself, or your patients, to get unduly excited when you read in the headlines of the daily press that the regular school (AMA docs) has discovered a cure for cancer (sounds familiar doesn’t it?). They have been proclaiming cures for the past forty years.
  • Some physicians make a practice out of cutting out cancer with a knife or killing it with a escharotic, but I know, from experience, that when you touch a knife to cancer it irritates it, and makes it grow faster.
  • Your patient must have regular daily bowel movements – this is essential.
  • A hard and tense pulse means your patient is suffering from contraction of the capillaries, blood congestion, and pain. Strive to increase the overall health of the person before proceeding on to any invasive heroic therapy. Checking the eyes, tongue, and pulse is what should be monitored for you to know if you are making progress. Jones goes on to state, “Many times I have noticed this fact that when the eyes, the pulse, and the tongue showed the organs of the body secreting properly, good digestion, a strong full and regular pulse, the disease itself would be at the very least at a standstill. But if the signs showed weakened vitality, the disease would take on new life and activity.”  I truly believe this and practice this. The motto, “strengthen the person first, then proceed to see what needs to be done after,” should be the way cancer and other chronic diseases are treated.
  • The physicians who have had the best success with treatment of cancer are those men and women who are good prescribers. They know the materia medica from A to Z. Not any one materia medica, but many, including Hare, Ellingwood, and Kent, but all of them, getting a well rounded working knowledge of the materia medica of all the Schools of Medicine.
  • A doctor who tells you he, or she, cannot diagnose a cancer of the breast without cutting out a piece of it to view under a microscope is ignorant of the first principles of the diagnosis of cancer. Such so-called doctors should step aside and not take the case if they cannot diagnose cancer by feeling and seeing the lump. (Never pinch or squeeze a tumor, or bring any trauma to it—you only anger it.)
  • If a woman has cancer and passes through the change of life it is in her favor.
  • Any uterine or ovarian disorder must be corrected, or you can not succeed at curing cancer of the breast. It is senseless to cut out a growth in the breast when the trouble is elsewhere—ovary, uterus, liver, thyroid etc.
  • Whatever the complications may be that are lowering vitality must be treated and cured before you can expect to make any headway with the cancer. DO NOT get so taken up by the cancerous condition that you forget the most essential part of your treatment—THE GENERAL CONDITION. Always check the pulse, tongue, and eyes for assessment of the vital state.
  • Some of our doctors, when they find a certain remedy cures one or two cases of cancer, rush out and want to spread the word that they have a cure for cancer. If they know anything about cancer at all they would know there is no specific remedy, or remedies for the cure of cancer. The rational treatment of cancer is to be able to adapt your remedies to the disease in each particular person. You will never find two cases of cancer exactly alike, so if you stick to a stereotype plan you will fall down as others have.
  • Read your materia medica, study the symptoms and apply the appropriate remedy. Use the brains God has given you. Do your own thinking. All the regular allopathic physician can offer is an operation and a gloomy prognosis saying, “It cannot be cured.” How do we know a disease cannot be cured until we try in an intelligent, rational manner?
  • Never mind what others have said, if you think there is any chance of a cure, get after that cancer and stick to it. Each time you involve yourself with a person who has cancer and succeed, you will learn, and gain confidence and courage to attempt other difficult cases.
  • A good physician should have a delicate and sensitive touch (like a blind person has), and learn to depend on your eyes, ears, and fingers. That is what God gave them to us for.
  • Every dose of medicine we give must work in harmony with nature, every dose of medicine given that lowers the vitality just lessens the chance of recovery. Nature is our best friend in our pursuit to heal. Work in harmony with her, not against her.

Eli Jones’ Remedies Used for the Treatment of Cancer

Although Eli Jones believed in treating each person individually and, therefore, gave each person an individual protocol, he did eventually, after many years of testing different remedies for the internal treatment of cancer, form a combination which he named “Cancer Syrup.” He said about this formula, “I have devised the following formula.  It has been the earnest study of my life to find such a combination, which I could leave as a help to my brother and sister physicians in their efforts to cure the more desperate forms of the disease, cancer. I have the utmost faith in the curative power of this combination. I have never mentioned this remedy to anyone and would not until I had thoroughly tested it in many difficult cases of genuine cancer so that I could conscientiously recommend it in my book on cancer.”

Compound Cancer Syrup

Jones makes it a point that great care should be taken to get fresh herbs to make this formula. It is prepared from the following herbs:

  • Scrophularia (Figwort) leaves and root
  • Phytolacca (Poke) root
  • Rumex crispus (yellow dock)
  • Celestrus scandens bark and root
  • Corydalis formesa (turkey corn) root
  • Podophyllum (May apple) root
  • Juniper berries
  • Prickly ash berries
  • Guiacum wood

Poultice Compound

This formula was a favorite of Eli’s. Equal parts of poke root, slippery elm bark, and lobelia seed were pulverized and mixed with warm water, and applied to the tumor area and any reddened area outside the tumor. It was often used in tumors that are tender, hard like cheese, with pain, but not ulcerated. Once a day, the poultice was moistened with poke extract made from the fresh green root (sometimes both poke and lobelia seed extract were used). The poultice was changed 1 x daily until the tumor could no longer be detected.

Absorbent Ointment

This was used when Eli thought that the growth could be slowly absorbed, and did not require strong, painful drawing preparations. A basic ointment was made from poke, arnica, and belladonna and applied 3 x daily.

Liver Pills

This was a combination of May apple, Culver’s root, extract of nux vomica, and extract of gentian. It was given before bed to help keep the liver and bowels moving, preventing constipation.  A person with cancer should avoid becoming constipated.

The Specific Indications for Six Herbs in the Treatment of Cancer:

  • Arnica Montana: If the cancer was induced or stressed from injury, or from a trauma. The tumor feels sore, lame, and bruised. Mix the extract of arnica with glycerin and apply 3x daily.
  • Belladonna: Use when the pain from the cancer is worse when lying down and better when standing up. Dose: 5 drops 3-6 x daily.
  • Condurago: This remedy is indicated in cancer of the breast, when there are sores at the angle of the mouth, and indigestion that causes cramping pains in the stomach. Dose: 5 –10 drops 3 x daily.
  • Corydalis Formosa: When cancer is well advanced, with lymphatic swelling, dry scaly scabs on the face, and pain caused by the cancer. Dose: 10 drops 4 x daily.
  • Pipsissiwa (Chimaphila Umbellata): Use this herb in breast cancer when the breasts are very large and the tumor has spread into the glands, the nipple is drawn in and there are sharp pains in the tumor. Dose: 10-20 drops 3 x daily.
  • White Pond Lily (Nymphaea Odorata): This remedy was popularly used in a formula for cancer of the uterus. To make up the formula nymphaea was combined with poke, and helonias.

There Are No Limits To Healing

In the spirit of Eclectic Medicine, and in particular in the spirit of Eli Jones, I am convinced that healing has no boundaries. With the success I have experienced over the years, I find that healing is as much a mystery as is all of life.

As I involve myself with the art of healing, utilizing mostly herbal remedies, nutrition, hydrotherapy, and counseling, I believe it is the breath of God that heals. It is through faith, which is a gift, that the Spirit breathes healing into our lives. I believe that within healing, somehow divine intervention occurs. This does not mean that everyone is spared all sickness or death. What this means is that in the midst of sickness and death, God is with us, expanding our limited human vision, helping us to see beyond our sorrow and our fears.

In the words of Eli Jones: “When I can help a doctor cure a patient I feel just as happy as if it was my own patient. We are here in this word to help each other, and it is one of things that sweetens our life when we can hold out a helping hand to a brother, or sister, physician. No man liveth to himself.”

“We shall not pass this way again,

Oh, heed the passing hours,

And let each day a record make

Of something pure and noble.

A smiling face, a cheering word

Makes others round us happy,

And lightens up the rugged way

That leads us on to glory.”

~Eli Jones

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4 Replies to “The Wisdom of Dr. Eli Jones, One of the Greatest Physicians of All Time”

  1. Do you know anyone who is able to treat imbalances/disorders in the way Dr. Eli Jones did?if you could point me in the right direction, I would be so grateful!

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