Essiac

Essiac is an herbal recipe with an interesting history. It is a combination of herbs that includes burdock root, slippery elm, sheep sorrel and rhubarb root. This formula has been used clinically to treat cancer.
In the 1890’s, the recipe was given to a Canadian nurse named Rene Caisse by a patient who had gotten it from an Ojibwa medicine man. “Essiac” is Caisse spelled backwards. Over the next eighty years, the formula was used in various forms and various proportions in clinical settings for treating cancer. There were great successes along with many failures, but overall, the formula seemed to work.
Some of the positive results from taking Essiac were: pain relief, increased appetite, improved sleep, feeling of well-being, decreased depression, increased life span and decreased nodular masses. When the treatment worked, the doctors reported that the herbal tea seemed to identify the toxins, break them down and cause them to be discharged.
Since Essiac was used in clinical settings, it was used in conjunction with other treatments of the day – particularly surgery. While in some patients Essiac completely got rid of the cancer, in others it would concentrate it into a single mass that was significantly easier to remove with surgery.
Until 1978, the true proportions to the formula were kept secret by Rene Caisse. She worked with several well known hospitals and universities without ever disclosing the exact formula. Many experiments were run on the individual herbs in the formula – the combination always worked better than any single herb. The form was also examined. It was determined that a tea form was the best.
Most of the herbs in the Essiac formula have cleansing and detoxifying properties, with one of the herbs being soothing and healing. I have always viewed the formula (and other herbal cancer formulas) as cleaners. What I find interesting about the Essiac story is Nurse Caisse’s account of what the herbs did. She believed that cancer results from a glandular deficiency in the body. She believed that when that gland failed, its protective hormone or enzyme was not available to control malignant cancer cells. What she observed was that Essiac seemed to restore this function to the body such that the immune system could then “fight” the cancer and restore health to the body.
Although the gland that Nurse Caisse referred to was never found, her theory lines up with other cancer theories that subscribe the immune dysfunction to pancreatic insufficiency. It is interesting to note that the diabetic cases that took Essiac no longer required insulin after treatment.
Essiac is available today in many forms and formulas. It is best made into a tea. Some formulations are sold in liquid form while others are sold in dry form to be brewed as needed. As with any herbal formulation – quality counts. If it’s cheap, the herbs are probably not of the quality that will give you the results you are seeking. I have also learned to watch high prices – particularly on the internet. Know your supplier if you want herbs that work.

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About NaturalCowgirl

Margaret Durst has been involved with natural health for over 20 years. In her early 30s, she was faced with a medical diagnosis that recommended a lifetime of prescription drugs. In her heart, she knew that there must be an alternative way to healing and health and thus began her journey into natural health. Along the way, Margaret has trained with many different natural health practitioners and earned a degree in Naturopathy. She established her nutritional consulting practice and opened The Green House in 2003 to enable her mission of helping people navigate the natural health maze. People have praised Margaret for intuitive ability to help people address their health issues and goals with diet and lifestyle choices and successfully take responsibility for their health and wellbeing. This comes from Margaret’s deeply held beliefs in the body’s innate ability to heal and in the tools nature provides for health and healing.
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7 Responses to Essiac

  1. Camille Bosley says:

    Very interesting post! Seems like essiac has a lot of great health benefits, is it ever used for anything other than cancer treatment?

    • Thank you.
      I view essiac as a blood cleaner / immune booster. I have used it with success in horses with warts / sarcoids.

      • Camille B. says:

        I love hearing about natural remedies and the many uses of natural products. Have you noticed any side effects using essiac as a blood cleaner? And what sort of symptoms give you the feeling it is working?

      • Cleansing formulas like Essiac can cause nausea and just not feeling well. This is normal as toxins come out of the body.

  2. Peter says:

    I have heard of it curing cancer.

  3. crystal says:

    Hello Margaret, I have come across your blog every so often as I am conducting various searches, so I decided yours would be a good one to subscribe to. Your efforts are appreciated!
    I have a question about this Essiac tea and the Essiac supplements available in your online store. It seems that there are times when this should NOT be taken and it should not be taken indefinitely. I am assuming if one were suffering from cancer or diabetes, it would be best to work with a naturopath while taking this, however, if someone were to take this tea/supplement 3 times daily for say 30 days, would that most likely be an appropriate and relatively safe duration for a “basic cleansing” or for a preventative measure for those in relative good health who are not working with a naturopath and/or dependent on some kind of regular pharmacological product?

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