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In Memoriam: Dr. Marc Swanepoel

by Tony Isaacs - December 01, 2015

(The Best Years in Life) The natural health world lost a dear friend today with the passing of my friend and mentor Dr. Marc Swanepoel, an alternative cancer and HIV pioneer and the developer of the SutherlandiaOPC oleander-based line of supplements. Marc passed away while undergoing a procedure for his pancreatitis.

I met Marc years ago, when I first began research into cancer alternatives and the amazing oleander plant. As part of my own research, I ended up as a member of two Yahoo Health Groups about oleander. One was named "Anvirzel" (after the patented Oleander medicine which had passed FDA phase 1 trials a few years earlier) and the other "Oleandersoup" (named for the home remedy version of the patented medicine). As a result I became friends and acquaintances with many people close to oleander and Anvirzel. One of those people was a noted South African humanitarian, entrepreneur, crusader and researcher named Marc Swanepoel. Following is Marc's bio as I know it:

Marc had a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree with Mathematics and Physics as majors, a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree with Psychology and Philosophy as majors, and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in Natural Health. He initially worked for a few years as a Physics lecturer before getting involved in a number of entrepreneurial ventures.


In 1975 Marc and some of his friends became concerned about the political problems South Africa was facing. They considered Apartheid an extreme form of Socialism and formed the Free Market Foundation of Southern Africa (FMF) as an institution to guide the country in the direction of a Market Economy. Marc funded the FMF for the first two years after which it became self-supporting. In 1983 Marc and a business partner started a training company, the Foundation for Economic and Business Development (FEBDEV) to run economic literacy programs for workers. Marc produced an 8-hour video training course for the foundation and it was translated into 7 of the South African languages. For the period 1983 to 1992, more than one and a half million workers attended the training. Marc also wrote two other booklets, “Understanding and Avoiding AIDS” (1988), and “The Common Sense of Wealth Creation” (1992). Each of these sold more than half a million copies. “The Common Sense of Wealth Creation” has been translated into six Eastern European languages and is being read in many countries. Marc gave permission for the book to be translated into any language without any royalties on sales. A Google search will show some of the translations. The AIDS video earned Marc the yearly Ad Educandum award by the South African National Department of Education for best educational video aimed at Secondary Schools.

Marc’s interest in health issues and alternative therapies for cancer started in the 1970s. After seeing a number of friends die from cancer and observing that chemo and radiation seemed ineffective, he started to research other ways of dealing with the scourge. He investigated Essiac, Kombucha tea, Apricot pips (Vit B17 or amygdalin), Hoxsey’s formula, Naessens’ 714X, the Rife machine, Ozone treatment, Melatonin, Agaricus Mushroom, Cat’s Claw and many others. When his wife got breast cancer (both breasts) in 1994, she had a very bad reaction to chemo and abandoned it after about 2 months. He then tried many of the above treatments on her and she is in total remission today.

Marc’s interest in oleander as a treatment for cancer started in about 1998 when he became aware of Dr. H. Ziya Ozel’s treatments in Turkey. It took a few years of fruitless enquiries before he was directed to the Anvirzel patent where he established how to prepare the extract. At the same time, he sourced the Agaricus Blazei Murrill (ABM) mushroom and Cat’s Claw in Brazil and signed an agreement with a Brazilian company to produce a patented Agaricus OPC mixture for him. When the Brazilian company failed to live up to its obligations, Marc decided to produce the mixture in South Africa and to use a well-known South African plant, Sutherlandia Frutescens (aka “the South Africa Cancer Bush”) as part of a new formulation. The new product was called Sutherlandia OPC.

The use of Sutherlandia OPC on HIV/AIDS resulted from a remark by Dr Ozel that oleander should work for this problem. As Marc already had written a booklet on AIDS as far back as 1988 and was running AIDS education programs, he was familiar with the plight of poor communities who did not have access to any medicines. He decided to donate the product to people with advanced clinical symptoms in some of the squatter camps surrounding Johannesburg. The sometimes “Lazarus effect” on many AIDS sufferers convinced him to do his PhD thesis on the effectiveness of the S/OPC on people with advanced clinical symptoms. After some initial refusals, he found an AIDS clinic where he could do his research. The results were astonishing and of the 20 randomly selected participants in the project, ALL ten of those who received the S/OPC had their symptoms reversed and had a 70% increase in CD4 count over a 60-day period, while those on the placebo all deteriorated. Marc subsequently entered into an agreement with a South African company to distribute the product throughout the country at a cost to the final user of less than $14 per month.

At the request of Tony Isaacs of the Yahoo “Oleandersoup” group, Marc made the S/OPC available to overseas buyers at an affordable price. S/OPC is produced by a WHO approved pharmaceutical manufacturing company and his product line has been expanded to include variations of the original S/OPC formula which contain extra herbal ingredients for specific needs as well as an oleander-based Rose Laurel intensive skin ointment. Today his products are exported to more than 70 countries where they are used very successfully for cancer, HIV/AIDS and many neurological problems.

Marc is survived by 3 sons, one daughter and 7 grandchildren. In 2011 Marc moved from Johannesburg to Cape Town to be closer to five of his seven grandchildren, whom he said he "loved to bits" and that they made life worth living. Marc will be sorely, sorely missed. Thousands of people around the world are alive and healthier today thanks to Dr. Marc Swanepoel and thousands more have had their lives enriched by him. I count myself fortunate and honored to be among them.


Here are two of Marc's articles which appear at The Best Years in Life website:

A Rational Theory of Cancer

A Brief Discussion on Oleander's Effectiveness Against Cancer

Marc is also prominently featured in The Oleander Series of articles, which can be found on The Best Years in Life's Article Directory as well as at the bottom of the articles on the Cancer Alternatives page.

Unknown to many people, in earlier years Marc Swanepoel was a noted Libertarian - actually referred to as South Africa's Original Libertarian. Check out and enjoy this video from 1987:



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