Four Herb Tea – Essiac Tea

Possible Cancer Cure?

6-½ C burdock root, cut

1 lb sheep sorrel herb, powdered

¼ lb slippery elm bark, powdered

1 ounce Turkish rhubarb root, powdered

Mix the ingredients thoroughly. Store in glass jar in a cool, dark closet.

Use 1 cup of mixture to 256 ounces of water.

Boil hard for 10 minutes, covered.

Turn off heat, but leave sitting on warm burner overnight, covered

In the morning heat steaming hot, then let settle a few minutes

Strain this through a fine strainer into hot sterilized bottles, cap

Let sit to cool, store in cool dark closet

Upon opening it must be refrigerated

This is the formula as Rene Caisse received it from “an old Indian medicine man” as testified to by her assistant Mary McPherson her assistant. This is the formula in the sworn affidavit notarized by Janice M. Howden, Deputy Clerk of the Town of Bracebridge, in the district municipality of Muskoka (Ontario, Canada) on the 23-day of December 1994

This small town is where Rene Caisse carried on her clinic (on 6 Dominion Street) to treat her many cancer patients. Rene had made Mary (her assistant) swear never to reveal the recipe in her life, but at the age of 80, Mary felt she needed to clear up the mystery and allegations surrounding this formula. Even today there are many people who would have this formula changed and make it 8 or 9 herbs! But Mary worked closely with Rene from 1935 to 1978, being the sole maker of the recipe in Rene’s later years. She should therefore have known.

Dr. Gary Glum released this formula in his book The Calling of an Angel: Essiac Natures Cure for Cancer in 1988.

The preparation of Essiac is as important as the formula itself. Essiac is a decoction, not an infusion. An infusion is what people make when they put a tea bag in a cup of hot water. Generally speaking, an infusion tends to extract vitamins and volatile oils. A decoction is used to extract minerals, bitter components, etc. from hard materials such as roots, bark, or seeds by boiling for a few minutes and then allowing the herbs to steep for several hours. Entrepreneurs often sell Essiac imitations in tincture form (herbs in alcohol) or in gelatin capsules; neither form is Essiac because Essiac is a tea and, more specifically, a decoction that must be made in a certain way in order to achieve the kind of results that Nurse Caisse was demonstrating. 

People often substitute stainless steel for an enameled pot and lid. The main concern is not to use an aluminum pot. Also, be sure not to use unfiltered, chlorinated water. The formula above can be reduced to 1/2 cup of herb mix to one gallon of water. [Optional:  Dr. Glum suggests adding 2 or 3 cups of extra water to replace water lost through evaporation during boiling. Also, the dry herbs will absorb water as well.] After boiling for ten minutes, let the tea steep about 12 hours. Then heat up tea to steaming, but not boiling. (Do not boil twice.) The remaining pulp can be used for healing poultices. 

Don’t use cheesecloth to strain Essiac. Likewise, do not use a kitchen sieve that has a very fine mesh as this may filter out the slippery elm. Slippery elm gives the tea a slight viscous consistency when poured. If you do not notice this “slippery” consistency after refrigerating your tea, you may be using a sieve that is too fine. Don’t worry about herb particles in your Essiac; they will settle to the bottom of the jars. Some people drink the Essiac dregs (particles that settle on the bottom), others don’t. Some people give the Essiac dregs to their pets or farm animals as a health food. Many people have reported the same or similar health benefits with their pets that humans are reporting. The dregs can also be used topically as a poultice.

Burdock root is harvested in the fall of the first year. Slippery elm bark is wildcrafted or organically grown and is easy to buy. Turkey Rhubarb is the only herb in Essiac that cannot be wildcrafted in the US. The Chinese use six-year-old turkey rhubarb roots for maximum potency.


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