Category: Medicines - non plant based



Introduction and description

Essiac is an herbal tea promoted as an alternative treatment for cancer. It contains a number of plants including burdock (Arctium lappa), Indian rhubarb, sheep sorrel (Rumex acetosella), and slippery elm bark (Ulmus rubra).

Essaic was first used in the 1920s and continued to be used until the 1970s, by Rene Caisse, a Canadian nurse, who obtained the recipe from a patient who, in turn, had been given the formula by an Ontario Ojibwa medicine man. The name "Essiac" is Caisse's surname spelled backwards. At the time that Rene was using the tea, the patients sent to her were either terminally ill or extremely ill and had effectively been told that the medical world had no treatment to give them. And some were indeed helped and some not, as one might expect given the state the patients were in when they were referred.

It is impossible to get unbiased information on Essiac in the USA and increasingly in Canada and Europe. Now that the drug companies sponsor university research and also have a tight hold over governments and the medical profession, most university studies undertaken cannot be deemed to be valid. Some of the research papers published on PubMed are a disgrace to the scientific community on this product.

I have little idea whether it is effective or not, but if you are terminally ill with cancer and the options are chemotherapy or essiac, it might be useful to know that Essiac exists if you cannot face chemotherapy.

Interestingly, despite all the negative publicity that has surrounded Essiac, Researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center have written that Essiac continues to be a popular cancer therapy with its patients

One website I found which may or may not be helpful is

It claims to provide a number of case studies from Rene Caisse's personal files. The descriptions make quite interesting reading as they include how long they were treated, their progress under treatment if any and medical details such as weight and symptoms. From the list and details it should be possible to get some idea of the types of cancer [and other illnesses] that responded to treatment.


How it works

I have no definitive evidence it does work, but at least if it is on this site you can make up your own mind


Related observations