Essiac Herbal Tea Controversy
Essiac tea is a controversial tea made from an assortment of herbs. This mixture, first conceived by a nurse
from Canada in the 1920s was actually used before that by the natives. They called it the Tea of Life and used it
in healing and ritual ceremonies. It is thought by many to have some properties in it that will help in cancer
treatment. It is also used as a natural treatment option for people who are fighting diabetes, arthritis, lupus,
high cholesterol or high blood pressure. It is supposed to be so safe that you can even give it to your pets to
combat cancer or other animal illnesses.
Rene Caisse named this tea after herself by taking her last name and using the backwards equivalent to give it
its name. She made it herself and treated cancer patients with it. The results, she claimed, were very
Her original combination of herbs in Essiac tea was a mixture of sheep sorrel, Indian rhubarb root, burdock root
and slippery elm. The precise amounts when combined must be found in a recipe to make sure that one does not put
too much or too little of one of them into the mixture.
Many times the authorities tried to stop her from continuing her work with cancer patients. But each time she
came back, refining and reworking the tea until is became the mix of eight herbs that it is today.
During her treatment and experimental days of refining the tea she was often involved with, and guided by, Dr
Charles Brusch, President Kennedy’s personal physician. Dr. Brusch was quoted in 1959 as saying that Essiac tea has
“merit in the treatment of cancer.”
People believe this about Essiac tea so strongly that they insist that drinking it daily gets rid of the toxins
we carry in our bodies and so will prevent the onset of cancer.
There remains to this day a controversy that has been raging since the Essiac tea was first introduced. There
are many people who strongly disagree about its healing properties. Only time and continued research will see which
side is right.