Other common name(s): original version was known as Hansi; Enercel Plus, Enercel Forte, or Enercel Max
Scientific/medical name(s): none
Enercel is an herbal preparation consisting of very small dilutions from plants of the desert and rain forests such as cactus (Cacti grandiflora), aloe, arnica, lachesis, and licopodium in a 2% to 8% alcohol base.
Available scientific evidence does not support claims that Enercel, Enercel Plus, Enercel Forte, or Enercel Max is effective in treating cancer or any other disease.
How is it promoted for use?
Proponents claim that Enercel enhances the immune system, prevents and stops the progression of some types of cancer, increases tolerance of side effects from chemotherapy and radiation therapy, and effectively treats chronic fatigue syndrome, AIDS, and asthma.
The proprietors of Enercel claim that the remedy helps asthma, stroke, Bell’s palsy, and numerous other disorders. They claim that more than 150,000 people with cancer have reported positive responses with Enercel treatment. Currently, the company is licensed in El Salvador.
What does it involve?
Enercel is taken by mouth in drop form, by nasal mist, through a nebulizer, or delivered by injection. The basic formula includes about 10 components, the proportions of which are adjusted according to the condition being treated and whether the drug will be delivered orally or by injection. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved Enercel injections.
What is the history behind it?
Hansi, the original formula, was claimed to have been developed by an Argentine biologist Juan Jose Hirschmann, PhD, who introduced his homeopathic formula in Buenos Aires in 1990.
What is the evidence?
Available scientific evidence does not support claims that Enercel or Enercel Plus is effective in treating cancer or any other disease. No studies testing this treatment could be found in the National Library of Medicine’s PubMed database of medical journal articles. One Web site that promoted Enercel-Hansi around 2005 included a page with the heading “Studies.” Although the page included experimental methods, results, and conclusions that were formatted to resemble a medical or scientific journal article, the authors provided no information regarding whether the manuscripts were ever published in any peer-reviewed journal. Because publication in such journals is considered standard practice among medical researchers, therapeutic claims that are promoted directly to the public and not subjected to the scrutiny of scientific experts cannot be considered reliable evidence.
As of early 2013, the “Studies” section of the Enercel Web site contained no completed studies of people with cancer. Although it lists some planned human cancer studies, none of them mention using scientific methods such as control groups, randomization, or blinding.
Are there any possible problems or complications?
Not enough is known about Enercel to determine whether it is safe for humans. Like most homeopathic remedies, it is a dilute liquid that has very little if any of its original components in each dose (see our document Homeopathy). Relying on this type of treatment alone, and avoiding conventional medical care, may have serious health consequences.
To learn more
More information from your American Cancer Society
The following information on complementary and alternative therapies may also be helpful to you. These materials may be found on our Web site (www.cancer.org) or ordered from our toll-free number (1-800-227-2345).
The ACS Operational Statement on Complementary and Alternative Methods of Cancer Management
Enercel. Enercel Web site. www.enercel.org. Accessed June 20, 2008. Content no longer available.
Enercel. Manufacturer’s product information. Enercel Web site. Accessed at http://www.enercel.com/ on January 31, 2013.
Studies. Hansi-Enercel Web site. www.prescriptionhelp.ws/page4.html. Accessed June 20, 2008. Content no longer available.
Note: This information may not cover all possible claims, uses, actions, precautions, side effects or interactions. It is not intended as medical advice, and should not be relied upon as a substitute for consultation with your doctor, who is familiar with your medical situation.
Last Revised: 02/04/2013