What Is Essiac Tea?
Essiac tea is an herbal remedy that has been used for hundreds of years by Ojibway Indians.
Rene Caisse, a Canadian nurse, started researching this herbal formula in 1922 following a cancer patient testimonial about the curative properties of the tea.
The original recipe contained four herbs:
- 1. Sheep sorrel
- 2. Slippery elm
- 3. Indian rhubarb
- 4. Burdock root
For her study, Nurse Rene Caisse worked alongside an American physician named Dr. Charles Brusch, to research and improve the recipe. Soon after their clinical and laboratory work, four additional herbs were added to the original recipe to increase potency and make the blend more palatable:
- Red Clover
- Blessed Thistle
Caisse eventually used the formula for her own patients and named it Essiac, which is her last name spelled backward. In 1934, she left the hospital where she worked to open a clinic that distributed the tea for free to patients.
While some people use Essiac tea for gastrointestinal (GI) issues, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS, it’s most commonly used as an alternative cancer treatment.
How Essiac Tea Works for Cancer
While clinical studies are lacking, some preclinical and test tube research on Essiac has interesting findings:
- May act as a natural anti-cancer agent. Essiac has “potent antioxidant and DNA-protective activity.”
- Essiac prevented the growth of prostate cancer cells and leukemia cells.
- Enhance immunity, which may support the immune system in fighting off cancer.
Each of the primary botanicals in Essiac also has research indicating their potential as a cancer-fighting agent:
Burdock Root. Shown to detoxify the blood, promote circulation, contain antioxidant and antidiabetic compounds, and demonstrate anti-inflammatory effects.
Slippery Elm Bark. Native Americans have traditionally used this internally and externally for GI issues, wounds, sore throats, and skin inflammation.
Sheep Sorrel. This plant has antiviral properties, which may help patients whose cancer is suspected to originate from a virus, such as HPV.
Rhubarb. High in antioxidants, rhubarb, specifically Indian rhubarb, may help inhibit cell damage and cancer cell growth.
People who have used Essiac tea for cancer say it can relieve pain, reduce side effects associated with the condition, as well as those from conventional treatments, and improve their quality of life.
How to Take Essiac Herbs & Tea
Essiac is most often taken as a tea, but the herbs can also be taken combined in a powder or capsule form. The specific dose can vary depending on your particular needs and condition, but generally, up to 12 fluid ounces (360 milliliters) are taken per day in the form of tea.
The tea is usually taken 1–3 times a day on an empty stomach to minimize possible side effects of nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
The tea can be used with conventional therapies such as chemotherapy and radiation, and other alternative therapies.
Essiac Tea: Possible Side Effects
There is a small incidence of side effects in patients who take Essiac tea. These side effects can include fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting. Some patients have also experienced diarrhea and constipation, although taking the tea as directed can help minimize side effects.
Buy Essiac Tea
What to look for when buying this herbal remedy and why?
When purchasing Essiac tea, there are two key factors to be aware of:
1. Eight herb formula vs. four herb formula
The eight-herb formula was designed for enhanced detoxification of the liver and colon.
2. The quality of sheep sorrel.
Some companies use only the plant body and leaves of the plant. As a result, the tea will not be nearly effective, as sheep sorrel root is a key active component of Essiac tea. Not only must sheep sorrel contain the root, but it needs to be included in the right proportion, which is 20% root.