What is Essiac Tea?
Essiac Tea is a natural method cancer treatment. It dates back to before the 1920s.
Essiac is a product that is composed of four or more herbs, two of which — Sheep Sorrel and Burdock Root — are reported to have inhibitory effects on cancer cells. The other two herbs are touted to build the immune system and deal with detox and protecting the organs.
Note: This page is meant for educational purposes only. None of its contents are intended to diagnose, treat or cure any illness or disease. No statements have been evaluated by the FDA. The comments made are purely the opinion of the author and are not meant to be interpreted as undeniable “fact.” They are based on observations, made from research obtained from many sources. This is an ongoing project, and we will be adding to it as new information presents itself. No studies have been done to determine the safety of the herbs in the young.
This tea contains constituents (chemicals) which may increase blood flow to the pelvic region and stimulate menses. Safety of the herbs have not been determined for small children. Properties of this tea may pass through the mother's milk to the infant.
The varying amounts of oxalic acids in this tea are irritating to the kidneys.
Properties in this tea — specifically in the Turkey Rhubarb — promote peristalsis (the action by which the bowel moves it's contents through). In the case of diarrhea, valuable fluids and electrolytes are lost through the rapid emptying of the intestines. Prolonged diarrhea can result in dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.
The Turkey Rhubarb has an action of being a laxative or cathartic (depending on how much you take). Some properties in this root can be highly irritating to ulcers and colitis, exacerbating (or worsening) these conditions.
This is usually related to the way your digestive tract absorbs nutrients. The tea contains varying amounts of iron. If you have been advised not to take in foods / herbs that contain substantial amounts of iron, this tea should not be taken.
The first symptom presented by these persons was a high level of iron in the body, which seemed to be related to taking the essiac tea. Once the person stopped taking essiac, their blood iron levels began to return to normal.
Iron is present in Burdock root (Arctium lappa) in rather substantial amounts, with Slippery Elm inner bark (Ulmus fulva/rubra) and Turkey Rhubarb (Rheum palmatum) containing lesser amounts. Root and woody parts of plants may hold higher levels of many constituents than the leafy, above ground portions – specifically many minerals. These levels can fluctuate from place of harvest, each plant, time of harvest, etc. Many factors play a role including the actual “health” of the soil and water used.
It should also be taken into consideration, when looking at the amount of potential iron contained in essiac, that your diet can play an important role as well in the total iron you are taking into your body. The food items that are said to be good sources of iron are: liver, meat, eggs, whole grains, enriched breads and cereals, dark green vegetables, legumes, nuts and the use of iron cookware. Another factor which should be considered is that absorption controls the availability of iron in your body, which is favored by acidity, and some vitamins. It is hindered or reduced by stomach acid, infection and losses through the gastrointestinal tract such as diarrhea.
An Interview with Dr. Gary Glum by Elisabeth Robinson.
This is the story of a woman named Rene Caisse. For more than 50 years until her death in 1978 at the age of 90, she treated thousands of cancer patients, most of them written off by doctors as terminally ill, with her own secret formula. She called it Essiac — Caisse spelled backwards — and she brewed the tea herself, alone in her kitchen. Her patients swore by her. Men and women who believed she cured them of cancer, told their friends and families, wrote letters to politicians, swore affidavits, testified before the Canadian Parliament and pleaded with Rene to supply them with more Essiac.
Rene Caisse was a nurse living in Canada who for a period of almost 60 years treated hundreds of people with an herbal remedy she called Essiac. She discovered this remedy through a patient in the hospital where she worked who had been cured of cancer. The patient had used an herbal remedy given her by an Ojibway herbalist.
Rene left the hospital in 1922 at age 33, and went to Bracebridge, Ontario, Canada where she began administering Essiac to all who came to her. The majority of those whom she treated came on referral with letters from their physicians certifying they had incurable or terminal forms of cancer and that they had been given up by the medical profession as untreatable.
Rene began gathering the plants and preparing the herbal remedy herself in her own kitchen, in a building lent her for her patients. She administered Essiac both orally and by injection. In cases where there was severe damage to life support organs, her patients died — but they lived far longer than the medical profession had predicted, and, more significantly, they lived free of pain. Still others, listed as hopeless and terminal, but without severe damage to life support organs, were cured and lived 35-45 years (many are still living).
The controversy Essiac inspires has raged in Canada since the 1920's every few years in the public glare of the press, involving the highest medical, legal and political circles in Canada. But always that controversy centered on this one woman in the tiny village of Bracebridge, pop 9,000 or so. Rene Caisse was an unlikely public figure. She was a skilled nurse who didn't crave attention or money. “I never had $100 I could call my own” she used to laugh. She didn't charge a fee. She accepted only voluntary contributions — fruits, vegetables or eggs as often as not — from those who could afford them, and she didn't turn away people who couldn't make any payment at all.
She refused to reveal the formula to the Canadian government, the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York — the world's largest private cancer research center — and the National Cancer Institute, just to name some of the institutions that wanted the formula at one time or another. She wouldn't give them the formula until they would admit that Essiac had merit as a treatment for cancer. They refused to admit any merit until she gave them the formula. There were legitimate arguments made on both sides. The result was a tragic standoff.