In 1922, a Canadian nurse named Rene Caisse met an
80-year-old woman who claimed she had been cured of advanced breast cancer. The woman
credited the cure to an ancient Native American recipe of herbs and roots that had been
given to her by a medicine man 30 years before.
Rene asked the elderly lady to tell her what the herbs were
and how to take them. She did, and Rene filed the information away to be used one day, if
needed. Two years later, her aunt was diagnosed with cancer of the stomach and liver and
was considered terminal. The aunt's doctor agreed to let the patient take the brew. Rene
located the herbs, with some difficulty, brewed the tea, and successfully treated her aunt
with it. She lived another 21 years with no recurrence. The doctor was so impressed with
the result of the herbs that he asked her to treat his other "hopeless" cancer
patients! That was the beginning of Rene's new career.
Rene called her remedy, "Essiac", which is her
own last name, spelled backwards. Together, she and her aunts doctor treated
terminally-ill cancer patients. The doctor considered Nurse Caisse a worthy colleague. He
spread the word about her treatment and by 1926, she was well enough known that a group of
eight medical doctors consulted her in the case of an old man whose face was almost eaten
away by a malignant growth. They said, "If your treatment can help him in this stage,
we will know you have discovered a successful remedy for cancer." Rene Caisse
recorded, "My treatment stopped the bleeding in less than 24 hours. The old
mans face healed and he lived for six more months, with very little
The eight physicians were convinced. They submitted a
petition to the Department of National Health and Welfare in Ottawa, Canada, requesting
that Nurse Caisse be given facilities to do independent research with her herbal remedy.
But the petition back-fired. Health and Welfares own investigating physicians showed
up at her front door without warning, carrying papers that authorized Renes arrest,
but because she charged no fees for her services, she was not jailed. Because of this
event, she decided never to disclose the herbal formula or the brewing instructions,
though for the next 50 years she continued to treat anyone who came to her.
In 1936, Dr. Frederick Banting, the discoverer of insulin,
invited her to apply for continuing her research at Toronto University and offered to
share his own laboratory facilities with her. But after "... much soul-searching a
prayer," she turned it down. She would have had to give them the formula. Rene
rationalized that Essiac would be in danger of being mis-used, or filed in the archives
Rene Caisse died at the age of 90 in 1988, the famous
herbal formula was threatened to die with her. But Essiac kept appearing in the media,
notably on a phone-in radio show. Elaine Alexander was the producer of the program in
Vancouver, British Columbia, and she gave air time to controversial topics, interviewing
people from all over the world. One of the stories that captured her interest was Essiac.
Elaine never talked to Rene herself, but after Nurse Caisse died, she contacted Dr.
Brusch, the physician whom the nurse trusted more than any other. He was Renes
long-time partner in the development (and an equal owner) of the treatment. Elaine asked
him for an interview.
As a result, the radio station was swamped with telephone
calls, Elaine found herself talking to desperate people seeking help. Elaine told the
Canadian Health Food Association, "My street was lined with cars. Men and women, one
after the other. Most of them sobbing with pain. For 34 days and nights, thousands of
people fell on my daughter and myself to learn about the formula. We kept trying to help
these hurting people. They had done everything their medical doctors had said, to no
Dr. Brusch legally passed on the rights to the Essiac
herbal formula to Elaine and, since then, the formula for Essiac has been released into
the public domain. This means that anyone can produce it, provided them have the means,
and patience, to do all the work involved. The recipe for Essiac Tea may appear simple,
but its preparation is complex. The ingredients are 6½ cups of chopped burdock root, 16
oz. Sheep Sorrel herb powder, 1 oz. Turkey Rhubarb Root powder, and 4 oz. Slippery Elm
Bark powder. Bring 2 gallons of distilled water to a boil in a stainless steel kettle.
Stir in 8 ounces of the formula and boil briskly for 10 minutes. Cool for 6 hours. Stir
thoroughly with a wooden or stainless steel utensil and leave for another 6 hours. Bring
to a boil again, remove from heat, and pour through a stainless steel strainer into a
second stainless steel kettle. Clean the first kettle and strain the contents of the
second kettle back into the first. Bottle immediately into dark glass bottles and seal
while still hot. When cool, store in the refrigerator. Each prepared batch remains fresh
for only a few days, after which it is very prone to mold growth.
Fortunately, there is an easier way to enjoy the benefits
of Essaic Tea. By preparing the formula according to the recipe, and then evaporating the
water within a vacuum, a fine powder can be obtained which can be placed into capsules.
Each capsule can contain the equivalent of 1 ounce of Essaic Tea and can be easily mixed
with hot water. Our encapsulated formula is called E-Tea.
There are, of course, no claims made for this formula.
Claims for cure by herbal formulas are against the law, despite the evidence. Rene Caisse
once said, "It is my honest opinion that if apple cider vinegar were found to benefit
cancer patients, it would be banned from the public." Elaine Alexander says,
"The people who make claims are those who take it."
Read more about Essiac Tea.